Parkinson’s Disease Research in Japan

Notes on PD research in Japan

The prevalence of PD in Asian countries was assessed as being slightly lower than in “Western countries “ but, with considerable variation in the reported prevalence and incidence of PD, this difference may not be real. 

Systematic Review of the Prevalence and Incidence of Parkinson’s Disease in Asia

In a study in Japan it was concluded that the prevalence of PD had increased but primarily because the population had aged. Differences in prevalence between adjacent areas of the country may have resulted from differences in the methods of investigation.

Changes in prevalence and incidence of Parkinson’s disease in Japan during a quarter of a century

In relation to physical activity, in one study Public Health Nurses visited, and followed up for more than one year, 438 patients with Parkinson’s disease living in Osaka. The follow-up period averaged 4.1 years, during which 71 deaths were observed. Compared with the exercising group, the non-exercising patients had a hazard ratio of 1.83. That is, in this time frame the mortality experience of those not exercising was much greater.

Effect of physical exercise on mortality in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

An interesting rehabilitation approach involved “mental singing” where patients suffering from mild to moderate PD underwent a structured music therapy session in which they were trained to walk while singing in their heads. The patients were trained in 7 progressive tasks, with a final goal of walking while mentally singing. Follow-up interviews with the patients indicated that the persons studied, effectively utilized mental singing while walking in their daily lives. The authors noted that the tasks were simple, required no special tools, and could be utilized anytime and anyplace.

Training in mental singing while walking improves gait disturbance in Parkinson’s disease patients.!po=71.5909

The effectiveness of exercise at home was evaluated in another publication. A 2-month home exercise intervention consisting of self-administered exercise by patients (self-exercise), and home visit exercise therapy guided by a physical therapist (home visit exercise), was conducted in 10 home care patients with PD to compare changes in physical function, activities of daily living, and postural status between before and after the intervention. The researchers concluded that guidance in home exercise in home care patients with PD can be effective in making self-exercise a habit, improving range of motion and muscle strength, and reducing the time spent in a supine position.

Effects of Home Exercise on Physical Function and Activity in Home Care Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Inpatient rehabilitation was assessed in another piece of work. The conclusion reached was that intensive inpatient rehabilitation was effective even in advanced Parkinson’s disease and that intensive inpatient rehabilitation, together with home and day‐care exercise, might counteract the progressive motor decline in Parkinson’s disease.

Therapeutic effects of intensive inpatient rehabilitation in advanced Parkinson’s disease Yumiko Kaseda, Junko Ikeda, […], and Masayasu Matsumoto

We could only review articles in English. In looking at the literature on PD in Japan and news reports, the greatest effort seems to be related to drug therapy and surgery.

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