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Israel Hayom - the website of the newspaper health section 31-03-2021

Because of the closures: the condition of 43% of Parkinson's patients worsened

The patients reported to researchers from the University of Haifa about worsening symptoms such as lack of balance, stiffness and tremors • The researchers: It is necessary to develop a response even during periods of social distancing

The corona closures and the cessation of treatments in the last year did not benefit Michal Shoshani. "My condition has worsened," says Shoshani (71), who has been dealing with Parkinson's since the age of 52. "The worsening manifests itself in severe sleep disturbances, nightmares, difficulty walking, fixation and movement stiffness, as well as obesity. Today I have to use a walking stick or a walker, and I feel really retreat in the disease".

Shoshani says that she needs complementary treatments such as hydrotherapy, occupational therapy, communication clinics and physiotherapy. "The treatments were completely stopped because of the corona virus and my health condition worsened a lot, especially in light of the fact that I live in the northern periphery, in a settlement near Tiberias, where there is not enough access to treatments and rehabilitation services."

Shoshani is not alone. A survey conducted by the University of Haifa revealed that the quarantine periods worsened the condition of Parkinson's patients in Israel and worsened both their physical and mental condition. The study was conducted among 150 patients.

According to the study, conducted by Dr. Galit Yogev-Zeligman and Dr. Michal Kafri, about 43% of the respondents reported a worsening of the symptoms of the disease: muscle stiffness, tremors, lack of balance and fatigue. About 37% reported a deterioration in the ability to walk, 42% an increase in depression, anxiety and a feeling of loneliness, and 34% - an increase in weight. About 25% of the respondents reported an increase in the need for help in performing routine tasks and functioning in daily life.

"Maintain the treatment routine"

It was also found that about 68% of those reporting a worsening of symptoms testified that in their opinion the reason for this is the break in rehabilitation treatments and physical activity.

Among the surveyed patients, those who had a good capacity and high skills for self-management of the disease, reported less negative effects of the quarantine on the disease state.

"We received reports of an increase in patient falls, fractures, and hospitalizations at the end of the quarantine, and this is an expression of the deterioration in the functional condition that occurred during the days of the quarantine," stated Dr. Yogev-Zeligman and Dr. Kafri, "the findings of the survey indicate the need to develop solutions for the population of Parkinson's sufferers, who are in need for chronic rehabilitation treatment, which will make it possible to maintain the treatment routine even during periods of restriction on leaving the house or of social distancing."

Eyal Levy, CEO of the Israel Parkinson Association: "We recently launched the 'Parkint' - a variety of remote physical activity classes, which make it possible to maintain a physical activity routine that is very necessary to maintain their health, and remote rehabilitation activities. In addition to this, the association intends to continue working to increase the number of specialist medical teams in clinics for movement disorders that treat Parkinson's and to open clinics, especially in the periphery, while expanding the basket of medical services, and recognizing physiotherapy treatments and communication clinics as services provided in the health basket."