Study Shows Endurance Training Helps Patients With Huntington’s Disease

While it’s general knowledge that working out is a huge plus for a healthy life, many questioned whether it was positive or dangerous to individuals with rare diseases. Yet, BMC reports a new study shows that endurance training for patients with rare diseases, specifically Huntington’s disease (HD), are showing a positive response increasing one’s mitochondrial respiratory capacity, which is often damaged in HD patients.

Huntington’s disease is a dangerous rare genetic disease that affects patients neurologically. Researchers have found the cause is due to the neuronal cells breaking down in a patient’s central nervous system. The symptoms are debilitating, showing regression in development and the progressive loss of control of all functions. Physical, mental, and behavioral declines are common. Most patients are forced to have caregivers when the disease becomes too aggressive affecting their every day lives, and often die 15-20 years after the first onset of symptoms. To learn more about Huntington’s disease, click here.

Many theorized that putting the body into physical distress would cause the those with rare disease harm, yet this might not be of worry anymore. Whenever someone performs physical activity, they build upon their skeletal muscle mitochondrial function, and ironically, that is a major lacking factor for those with HD and other rare disease. In a recent study, HD patients were put into a 26-week training program and these patients showed a very similar growth to their skeletal muscle fibers similar to a healthy individual would.

While the study was small, a lot of hope has sparked from the positive findings. There are a lot of rare diseases that have given patients mitochondrial myopathies, causing them to be physically weak. Yet, this research has shown that exposing these patients to HIIT (high-intensity interval training) has given clear improvements to their mitochondrial count and their stamina. The study concluded that these patients not only showed progress with managing their disease, but participants shared that they felt stronger and it improved their quality of life. Endurance training might just be the new go-to treatment of 2018.


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