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Impact Factor

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Aging Neurosci., 10 October 2011 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2011.00014

Impact of a weekly dance class on the functional mobility and on the quality of life of individuals with parkinson’s disease

Lisa Heiberger1, Christoph Maurer1, Florian Amtage1, Ignacio Mendez-Balbuena1, Jürgen Schulte-Mönting2, Marie-Claude Hepp-Reymond3 and Rumyana Kristeva1*
  • 1 Cortical Motor Control Laboratory, Department of Neurology and Neurophysiology, University Hospital of Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
  • 2 Institute for Medical Biometry and Medical Informatics, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
  • 3 Institute of Neuroinformatics, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, University of Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland

Individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) mainly suffer from motor impairments which increase the risk of falls and lead to a decline of quality of life. Several studies investigated the long-term effect of dance for people with PD. The aims of the present study were to investigate (i) the short-term effects of dance (i.e., the effect immediately after the dance class) on motor control in individuals with PD and (ii) the long-term effects of 8 months of participation in the weekly dance class on the quality of life of the PD patients and their caregivers. The dance lessons took place in a ballet studio and were led by a professional dancer. Eleven people with moderate to severe PD (58–85 years old) were subjected to a motor and quality of life assessments. With respect to the motor assessments the unified Parkinson disease rating scale III (UPDRS III), the timed up and go test (TUG), and the Semitandem test (SeTa) before and after the dance class were used. With respect to the quality of life and well-being we applied quality of life scale (QOLS) as well as the Westheimer questionnaire. Additionally, we asked the caregivers to fill out the Questionnaire for caregivers. We found a significant beneficial short-term effect for the total score of the UPDRS motor score. The strongest improvements were in rigidity scores followed by significant improvements in hand movements, finger taps, and facial expression. No significant changes were found for TUG and for SeTa. The results of the questionnaires showed positive effects of the dance class on social life, health, body-feeling and mobility, and on everyday life competences of the PD patients. Beneficial effect was also found for the caregivers. The findings demonstrate that dance has beneficial effect on the functional mobility of individuals with PD. Further, dance improves the quality of life of the patients and their caregivers. Dance may lead to better therapeutic strategies as it is engaging and enjoyable.

Keywords: dance, Parkinson disease, intervention, motor scores, rigidity, quality of life

Citation: Heiberger L, Maurer C, Amtage F, Mendez-Balbuena I, Schulte-Mönting J, Hepp-Reymond M-C and Kristeva R (2011) Impact of a weekly dance class on the functional mobility and on the quality of life of individuals with parkinson’s disease. Front. Ag. Neurosci. 3:14. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2011.00014

Received: 30 June 2011; Paper pending published: 20 July 2011;
Accepted: 18 September 2011; Published online: 10 October 2011.

Edited by:

Hari S. Sharma, Uppsala University, Sweden

Reviewed by:

Bogdan O. Popescu, University Hospital Bucharest, Romania
Richard Camicioli, McGill University, Canada

Copyright: © 2011 Heiberger, Maurer, Amtage, Mendez-Balbuena, Schulte-Mönting, Hepp-Reymond and Kristeva. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Rumyana Kristeva, Cortical Motor Control Laboratory, Department of Neurology and Neurophysiology, University Hospital of Freiburg, Breisacherstr. 64, 79106 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. e-mail: rumyana.kristeva@uniklinik-freiburg.de