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Does Exercise Modify the Progression of Neurologic Disease?

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Date Published

November 8, 2016


Ohio Physical Therapy Association




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Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new nerve connections. This is a life-long process that occurs continually as one learns new behaviors, memorizes new data, and as the brain develops. It is a way for the brain to fine-tune itself for efficiency by modifying existing nerve pathways in the brain. Research is showing that exercise enhances this process of neuroplasticity. Exercise promotes increased blood flow to the brain and the upregulation, or increased production of a brain chemical called BDNF, Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. BDNF is a growth factor that may slow the progression or even reverse symptoms of neurologic diseases by enhancing synaptic regrowth / neuron rewiring / relearning. It may act to protect the brain from further degeneration. The concentration of BDNF in blood increases in proportion to the intensity of the exercise. Additionally, exercise strengthens the immune system which may also play a role in managing this disease.

Jackie Russell, RN, BSN, CNOR, will present a 45-minute PowerPoint evidence-based discussion of the neuroplastic impact of exercise on degenerative neurologic disease (Parkinson's / Alzheimer's Disease) as well as its effect on the normal aging brain.

After participating in the course, attendees will be able to:

  • Explain the life-long process of neuroplasticity and the brain's ability to continually reorganize itself to learn new behaviors, memorize data, and modify existing nerve pathways
  • Understand the concept of cognitive resilience and the positive effect that rigorous exercise during the middle stages of life may have on the normal aging process of the brain in later years
  • Integrate growing evidence demonstrating neuroplastic, neuroprotective, and neurorestorative positive effects of exercise on Parkinson's disease / Alzheimer's disease

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Jackie Russell, RN, BSN, CNOR

In her 30 year career as a registered nurse, Jackie Russell boasts a dedicated interest in the treatment of people with... Read More

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Program Titles and Supporting Materials

This program contains the following components:

Does Exercise Modify the Progression of Neurologic Disease? - Video
Does Exercise Modify the Progression of Neurologic Disease? - Handout
Resource Paper 1
Research Paper 2
Alzheimer's Journal Paper
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If applicable, you may obtain credit in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously for this program (see pending/approved list below). If electing credit for this program, registrants in jurisdictions not listed below will receive a Certificate of Completion that may or may not meet credit requirements in other jurisdictions. Where applicable, credit will be only awarded to a paid registrant completing all the requirements of the program as determined by the selected accreditation authority.

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How to Attend

Join the self-paced program from your office, home, or hotel room using a computer and high speed internet connection. You may start and stop the program at your convenience, continue where you left off, and review supporting materials as often as you like. Please note: Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser. We recommend using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari for best results.

Technical Requirements
You may access this course on a computer or mobile device with high speed internet (iPhones require iOS 10 or higher). Recommended browsers are Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

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