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Parkinson's patients fight back in the boxing ring

Parkinson's patients are fighting back against the disease in the boxing ring, Reuters reports. A chain of gyms is offering sufferers classes based around non-contact boxing drills.

According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, research has shown that exercise can transiently increase the level of dopamine in the brain, which is significantly reduced in Parkinson's patients.

The Rock Steady Boxing club was started in 2006 and has 15 affiliates in six U.S. states, as well as one in Australia. In a post on Reuters' Photographers Blog, Mike Blake writes:

I have been lucky enough in my career to photograph some of the world’s best athletes going all out with effort, but in this boxing ring, throwing punches at 6’ 6” boxing trainer Justice Smith, I saw effort in a whole new light. This was not someone fighting an opponent, or diving to catch a pass, this was a personal, internal battle against a disease. They are in that ring fighting for who they once were, all those memories inside their head of their life before their disease are still intact and accessible. It’s the here and now that is affected and in this gym they have all come together to fight.EDITOR'S NOTE: Pictures taken Sept. 16 - Oct. 4, 2013, and made available to NBC News this week.

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