Published: 11-01-2016 13:29 | Updated: 11-01-2016 13:33

New thesis: balance training and medication in Parkinson´s disease

David Conradsson, doctoral student at the Division of Physiotherapy, conducts research on balance training and medication in elderly people with Parkinson's disease. On January 22 he will defend his thesis on the same subject, and among other things step width regulation will be on the agenda.

David Conradsson.What´s the main focus of your thesis?

My thesis focuses on the efficacy of a highly-challenging balance training program in older adults with Parkinson’s disease, along with how turning impairments in this group is effected by dopaminergic medication.

Which are the most important results?

Highly-challenging balance training for 10-weeks, including dual-tasking (i.e. performance of two tasks simultaneously), improved balance and gait performance as well as activities in everyday living in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Dopaminergic medication did not normalize turning performance and my findings suggest that difficulty alternating step width

during turning is a critical feature in Parkinson’s disease, which could induce instability and falls.

How can this new knowledge be useful for people, or contribute in improving their health?

The results could be used to improve the management of individuals with Parkinson’s disease who suffer from balance related impairments. In particular, my thesis highlights the benefits of cognitive challenging exercise and suggests that it is important to target appropriate step width regulation in the rehabilitation of individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

In the future, I will continue to combine research, clinical work and education. The long-term goal is to establish my own stream of research in neurology. But my first goal is to conduct a post-doc in stroke survivors at McGill University in Montreal.

The thesis

Balance control in older adults with Parkinson’s disease : effects of medication and exercise


Assistant professor

David Conradsson

Organizational unit: Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), H1