Roger was awarded the ParkC Student Research Excellence Award in 2009.
Roger was finishing a Masters of Science degree investigating what causes muscle cramps. He joined ParkC to help establish the ParkC’s exercise intervention for people with Parkinson’s research trial. Over 25 people living with Parkinson’s participated. As a consequence of meeting people with Parkinson’s and his involvement in this research Roger decided to undertake further studies and enrolled at ECU to do a PhD focusing on exercise interventions for Parkinson’s.
The objective of Roger’s PhD project was to investigate what improvements people with Parkinson’s experience when they take on an exercise program. He evaluated the efficacy of a 12-week combined resistance and aerobic exercise intervention. Twenty eight people with PD were randomly allocated to a 12 week exercise intervention program (EIP, n= 15) or control group (n= 13). The EIP group immediately undertook a supervised group program of progressive anabolic and aerobic exercise twice weekly for 12 weeks, while the control group maintained their usual lifestyle. Both groups undertook a range of task to assess their “thinking” and mental and physical wellbeing, before and after the intervention. Results indicated that, compared to controls, the EIP group demonstrated significant improvements in some thinking tasks and had increased psychological wellbeing, decreased depression, improved perceived relationship with their environment and were generally stronger.
Based on this research ECU’s Vario Institute development a commercial exercise program for people with Parkinson’s (affectionately known amongst the group as The Parkie Pumpers). In addition the results were published in a scientific, peer-reviewed journal [Cruise, K.E., Bucks, R.S., Loftus, A.M., Newton, R.U., Pegoraro, R., and Thomas, M.G. (2011). Exercise and Parkinson's: benefits for cognition and quality of life. Acta Neurol Scand 123, 13-19].Roger has returned to his home state of Queensland where he is continuing his PhD studies.