Giselle Petzinger

Giselle Petzinger, MD, an associate professor of Neurology at the University of Southern California, studies the extensive effects of how different types of exercise, in particular skill-based exercise, can affect the clinical outcome for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Petzinger's work focuses on understanding how to promote brain repair after injury, particularly in the context of Parkinson's disease. She is currently investigating ways to enhance neuroplasticity in a preclinical model of the disease. She has examined the role of exercise in Parkinson's disease, with emphasis on how different types of exercise affect distinct regions of the brain. Her work has implications for improving the quality of life of patients diagnosed with the neurological disorder — a condition for which there is no cure.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • (00:00) Introduction
  • (06:57) What is Parkinson’s disease?
  • (11:57) When symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear 
  • (14:57) Circuits in the brain can compensate for  substantia nigra dysfunction
  • (18:37) Hereditary risk factors of Parkinson’s disease
  • (21:25) Parkinson’s disease is associated with pesticide and pollutant exposure
  • (26:57) Exercise can lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease
  • (35:38) How skill-based exercise such as boxing reduces disease symptoms 
  • (47:49) Treadmill exercise increased BDNF and brain health
  • (58:33) Exercise at 80 percent of maximum heart rate slowed Parkinson’s disease progression 
  • (01:01:31) Why exercise may not fully replace medications 
  • (01:09:58) DHA reduces motor symptoms and dyskinesia 
  • (01:12:12) Patients with Parkinson’s disease have higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the full show notes here.

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Direct download: giselle_petzinger_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:35pm EDT