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Brain Sci ; 10(9)2020 Sep 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-750714


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder brought about due to dopaminergic neuronal cell loss in the midbrain substantia nigra pars compacta region. PD presents most commonly in older adults and is a disorder of both motor and nonmotor dysfunction. The novel SARS-CoV-2 virus is responsible for the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and older individuals, those with preexisting medical conditions, or both have an increased risk of developing COVID-19 with more severe outcomes. People-with-Parkinson's (PwP) of advanced age can have both immune and autonomic nervous problems that potentially lead to pre-existing pulmonary dysfunction and higher infection risk, increasing the probability of contracting COVID-19. A lifestyle change involving moderate-intensity exercise has the potential to protect against SARS-CoV-2 through strengthening the immune system. In addition to a potential protective measure against SARS-CoV-2, exercise has been shown to improve quality-of-life (QoL) in PD patients. Recent studies provide evidence of exercise as both neuroprotective and neuroplastic. This article is a literature review investigating the role exercise plays in modifying the immune system, improving health outcomes in PwP, and potentially acting as a protective measure against SARS-Cov-2 infection. We conclude that exercise, when correctly performed, improves QoL and outcomes in PwP, and that the enhanced immune response from moderate-intensity exercise could potentially offer additional protection against COVID-19.