Dancing with Music Can Slow Progress of Most Debilitating Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

A new study, published online on July 7, 2021 in Brain Sciences, shows that patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson's disease (PD) can slow the progress of the disease by participating in dance training with music for one-and-a-quarter hours per week. Over the course of three years, this activity was found to reduce daily motor issues such as those related to balance and speech, which often lead to social isolation. The open-access article is titled “Parkinson’s Disease Motor Symptom Progression Slowed with Multisensory Dance Learning Over 3-Years: A Preliminary Longitudinal Investigation.”

Joseph DeSouza, PhD, senior author, principal investigator and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University (Toronto, Canada) and PhD candidate Karolina Bearss, found people with Parkinson's (PwPD) who participated in weekly dance training, had less motor impairment and showed significant improvement in areas related to speech, tremors, balance, and rigidity compared to those who did not do any dance exercise. Their data showed significant improvements in experiences of daily living, which include cognitive impairment, hallucinations, depression, and anxious mood such as sadness. The study showed, overall, that non-motor aspects of daily living, motor experiences of daily living, motor examination symptoms, and motor complications did not show any impairment across time among the dance-trained PwPD group compared to PwPD who do not dance.

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