He looked over and said, ‘Where did my tremor go?’ and I said, ‘I don't know, but let's get back on the bike and keep going.’"
This led to a more scientific eight-week tandem bike trial where patients, including Jaffe, rode for 40 minutes, three times a week.
Patients saw a 35 percent improvement in symptoms.
"If you give someone their Parkinson's medication that activates a certain area of the brain or increases blood flow,” Alberts said. “And if you have someone do the forced exercise, you see almost an identical pattern of activation."
Jaffe was able to lower her medication dosage, and she regained motion in her arm.
Other patients said they have regained their sense of smell from bike riding, Alberts said, which is a common side effect of the disease.
The positive effects of bike riding last as long as four hours after exercising, Alberts said.
"For those of us who have Parkinson's, we don't have a cure,” Jaffe said. “I mean, if we can slow the disease or change the outcome, we'll take what we can get. And so I'll be cycling for as long as I have to."
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