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Endurance Exercise in Parkinson’s Disease (SPARX)

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Why should you participate in a clinical trial?
Clinical Trials in Parkinson's Disease

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, is looking for individuals to participate in clinical studies. Participating in clinical trials allows you to play an active role in research on the nature and causes of many disorders of the brain and nervous system, and to possibly help physician-scientists develop future treatments. The information below is designed to help you quickly learn about actively recruiting research studies for which you or someone you know may be eligible.


The purpose of this study is to learn more about the effects of exercise on people who have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

This study will test two aerobic exercise levels (moderate or vigorous) against no exercise. Study investigators think exercise may reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and will learn which level of exercise offers the most benefit.

The study will enroll 126 participants at three U.S. locations—Denver, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Volunteers will be given screening tests such as a physical examination (including a neurological examination), a metabolic panel, and an exercise stress test. After screening, eligible participants will undergo additional tests including the United Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), an activity level test, and an exercise test. Additionally, participants will be asked to fill out questionnaires.

After completing the tests, participants will be randomly assigned to one of 3 exercise programs: Group 1—moderate exercise (at 60-65 percent of age adjusted maximum heart rate); Group 2—vigorous exercise (at 80-85 percent of age adjusted maximum heart rate); or Group 3—no exercise for the first 6 months of the study, followed by aerobic exercise (either moderate or vigorous, randomly chosen) for 6 months after that. The total duration of the trial for participants is 14 months.


Phase 2

Eligibility Criteria:

Please follow this link for trial eligibility information to share with your doctor.

Study Design: 

Interventional, Treatment

Study Locations: 

Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania Only

For more information:

Contact: Toby Wellington; Tel: 720-848-6376; Email:


Last Reviewed July 15, 2015