Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
: 2012  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 167-

Physical exercise: Potential candidate as complementary therapy for epilepsy

Ricardo Mario Arida1, Luiz Fernando Peixinho-Pena1, Fulvio A Scorza2, Esper A Cavalheiro2,  
1 Departamento de Fisiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo/Escola Paulista de Medicina (UNIFESP/EPM), São Paulo, Brazil
2 Disciplina de Neurologia Experimental, Universidade Federal de São Paulo/Escola Paulista de Medicina (UNIFESP/EPM), São Paulo, Brazil

Correspondence Address:
Ricardo Mario Arida
Departamento de Fisiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Rua Botucatu 862, Ed. Ciências Biomédicas, 5° andar. Vila Clementino, 04023-900, São Paulo

How to cite this article:
Arida RM, Peixinho-Pena LF, Scorza FA, Cavalheiro EA. Physical exercise: Potential candidate as complementary therapy for epilepsy.Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2012;15:167-167

How to cite this URL:
Arida RM, Peixinho-Pena LF, Scorza FA, Cavalheiro EA. Physical exercise: Potential candidate as complementary therapy for epilepsy. Ann Indian Acad Neurol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2022 Dec 10 ];15:167-167
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We read with great interest the review article entitled "Nonpharmacological Treatment of Epilepsy" by Saxena and Nadkarni that has appeared in Ann Indian Acad Neurol.­ [1] The authors reported several evidences from benefits of non-pharmacological treatment of epilepsy. They notably highlighted that therapies cited in their manuscript should not be considered as alternatives to antiepileptic medication, but as complementary therapy for epilepsy. We applaud the authors for pursuing this topic, but we are also interested in addressing some goals for this review.

A large number of people with epilepsy use alternative therapies along with their conventional medicine. Although the practice of Yoga may also be referred to as exercise, programs of physical exercise (such as endurance, strength, balance and flexibility) have an important role in this picture. It is interesting to note that individuals with epilepsy and health care professionals do not usually include physical exercise programs as complementary therapy (for review see Arida et al. [2] ). In accordance with this reasoning, positive effects of exercise to people with epilepsy have been increasingly reported in the literature. Studies have generally shown that physical activity can decrease seizure frequency as well as lead to improved cardiovascular and psychological health in people with epilepsy. [3],[4],[5],[6] From an experimental point of view, beneficial actions of exercise in animals with epilepsy have been reported by our research group in the last decades. For instance, physical exercise reduced the amygdala kindling development [7] and the frequency of seizures in the pilocarpine model of epilepsy.­ [8] Metabolic, electrophysiological and immunohistochemical studies also demonstrated encouraging effects of exercise in rats with epilepsy. [9],[10],[11]

Considering the influence of physical exercise on brain function and positive impact in seizure control, it seems reasonable to include programs of exercise as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in epilepsy. Epileptologists should bear in mind the therapeutic use of regular physical exercise when advising the patient to CAM. They should stimulate patients to the practice of regular physical activities not only for seizure control but also for amelioration of general health. Overall, we would like to express our congratulations to Saxena and Nadkarni [1] on their interesting paper and emphasize the possible role of exercise interference as complementary non-pharmacological treatment of epilepsy.


1Saxena VS, Nadkarni VV. Nonpharmacological treatment of epilepsy. Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2011;14:148-52.
2Arida RM, Scorza FA, Gomes da Silva S, Schachter SC, Cavalheiro EA. The potential role of physical exercise in the treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 2010;17:432-5.
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5Eriksen HR, Ellertsen B, Gronningsaeter H, Nakken KO, Løyning Y, Ursin H. Physical exercise in women with intractable epilepsy. Epilepsy 1994;35:1256-64.
6McAuley JW, Long L, Heise J, Kirby T, Buckworth J, Pitt C, et al. A Prospective Evaluation of the effects of a 12-week outpatient exercise program on clinical and behavioral outcomes in patients with epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 2001;2:592-600.
7Arida RM, de Jesus Vieira A, Cavalheiro EA. Effect of physical exercise on kindling development. Epilepsy Res 1998;30:127-32.
8Arida RM, Scorza FA, dos Santos NF, Peres CA, Cavalheiro EA. Effect of physical exercise on seizure occurrence in a model of temporal lobe epilepsy in rats. Epilepsy Res 1999;37:45-52.
9Arida RM, Fernandes MJ, Scorza FA, Preti SC, Cavalheiro EA. Physical training does not influence interictal LCMRglu in pilocarpine-treated rats with epilepsy. Physiol Behav 2003;79:789-94.
10Arida RM, Sanabria ER, Silva AC, Faria LC, Scorza FA, Cavalheiro EA. Physical training reverts hippocampal electrophysiological changes in rats submitted to the pilocarpine model of epilepsy. Physiol Behav 2004;83:165-71.
11Arida RM, Scorza CA, Scorza FA, Gomes da Silva S, da Graça Naffah-Mazzacoratti M, Cavalheiro EA. Effects of different types of physical exercise on the staining of parvalbumin-positive neurons in the hippocampal formation of rats with epilepsy. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2007;31:814-22.