Dance Training 'Drastically' Reduces Parkinson's Progression, Eases Symptoms
Dancing helps slow the progression of motor and nonmotor symptoms and improves quality of life for patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), new research shows. Over 3 years, weekly participation in dance training classes "drastically" reduced the expected decline in motor function and significantly improved speech, tremors, balance, and stiffness, the researchers report. Dance training also appeared to have benefits regarding cognition, hallucinations, depression, and anxiety.
@awanish PD is a neurodegenerative disease associated with progression of motor dysfunction within the first 5 years of diagnosis. The annual rate of motor decline, as determined with the Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS), is between 5.2 and 8.9 points. Prior studies that assessed various styles of dance by patients with PD showed beneficial effects regarding gait speed, balance, locomotion, and aspects of quality of life. To investigate further, DeSouza and co-author Karolina Bearss, a PhD candidate at York University, followed 16 patients with mild to moderate PD who participated in a weekly dance class at Canada's National Ballet School and Trinity St. Paul's church. Dance for Parkinson's Disease, which is an established dance curriculum, involves aerobic and anaerobic movements. The protocol begins with a seated warm-up, followed by barre work, and ends with moving across the floor. All participants learn choreography for an upcoming performance.