High-Intensity Interval Cycle Ergometer Training in Parkinson's Disease: Protocol for Identifying Individual Response Patterns Using a Single-Subject Research Design

van Wegen, Erwin E. H.; Hirsch, Mark A.; van de Berg, Wilma D. J.; Vriend, Chris; Rietberg, Marc B.; Newman, Mark A.; Vanbellingen, Tim; van den Heuvel, Odile A. (2020). High-Intensity Interval Cycle Ergometer Training in Parkinson's Disease: Protocol for Identifying Individual Response Patterns Using a Single-Subject Research Design. Frontiers in neurology, 11, p. 569880. Frontiers Media S.A. 10.3389/fneur.2020.569880

fneur-11-569880.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (349kB) | Preview

Background: People with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience not only motor problems but also non-motor problems that seriously impede their daily functioning and quality of life. The current pharmacologic treatment of PD is symptomatic, and alternative rehabilitation treatments, which preferably also have a disease-modifying effect and promote neuroplasticity, are needed. Recent studies suggest that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is promising for promoting neuroplasticity in human PD, with short training time and reduced burden. Biomarkers for neuroplasticity such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurodegeneration (including neurofilament NfL and α-synuclein) may play a role, but their response to HIIT is not well-investigated.

Objectives: The aims of this study were (1) to study the effects of 4 weeks of HIIT compared with 4 weeks of continuous aerobic exercise on motor and non-motor outcomes of PD and (2) to investigate the association between HIIT, motor/non-motor performances changes, and blood biomarker levels for neuroplasticity and neurodegeneration.

Study Design: Single-subject research design with alternating treatment setup (ABACA) and frequent repeated measurements was used. Each participant received different intervention conditions (B/C) interspersed with baseline periods (A, i.e., ABACA or ACABA), and frequent repeated assessment of outcome measures is done to quantify within-subject, individual response patterns with sufficient power for data analysis. Blood samples were collected once a week in the baseline and training phases (A1 and B/C) and once every 2 weeks in the washout phases (A2 and A3).

Intervention: Four subjects with PD on stable dopaminergic medication, two in Hoehn-Yahr stage 1-2, and two in Hoehn-Yahr stage 2.5-3 followed an ABACA or ACABA schedule, consisting of blocks with 30-min sessions of "B" (HIIT) or 50-min sessions of "C" [continuous aerobic exercise (CAE)] 3×/week for 4 weeks, separated by baseline "A" periods of 8 weeks for a total duration of 28 weeks.

Outcome Measures: Outcome measures include disease status [Movement Disorder Society-sponsored revision of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS)], blood biomarkers (BDNF, Nfl, and α-synuclein), measures for functional mobility (including an activity tracker), and activities of daily living, as well as cognition, mood, biorhythm (sleeping problems), and quality of life.

Data Analysis: Visual analysis of trends in level, slope, and variability in response patterns was carried out, confirmed by longitudinal regression analysis with phase (ABACA) as the independent variable.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation

UniBE Contributor:

Vanbellingen, Tim


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Frontiers Media S.A.




Angela Amira Botros

Date Deposited:

15 Jan 2021 09:53

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:43

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback