Evaluating the effects of dance on motor outcomes, non-motor outcomes, and quality of life in people living with Parkinson's: a feasibility study

Anna M Carapellotti, Matthew Rodger, Michail Doumas

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Community-based dance programs for people living with Parkinson's have grown in popularity over the past two decades. Studies investigating these programs have demonstrated multidimensional benefits in motor, non-motor, and quality of life related outcomes, yet there is a need to focus on the feasibility of larger trials. The primary objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of conducting a trial investigating dance and Parkinson's in Northern Ireland. The secondary objectives were to conduct preliminary analyses of the classes' effects and to assess the appropriateness of outcome measures for a randomized controlled trial.

METHODS: Participants were recruited through the community, Parkinson's UK, and university contacts to participate in a 12-week dance intervention inspired by the Dance for PD® model. Pre- and post-intervention, participants completed the following outcomes: MDS-UPDRS III, TUG, DT-TUG, Sensory Organization Test, MoCA, Trail Making Tests A&B, Digit Symbol Substitution Test, Digit Span, PDQ-39, FOG-Q, PHQ-9, FES-I, and an exit questionnaire (post-test only). Data were analyzed using paired samples t tests or Wilcoxon signed ranked test.

RESULTS: Ten people living with Parkinson's participated. Running a larger trial was deemed infeasible in this setting due to recruitment issues; conversely, the dance intervention was accepted by participants with all but one completing the study. Functional mobility (TUG), symptoms of depression (PHQ-9), and bodily discomfort showed improvement. All other outcomes did not. The exit questionnaire revealed that the social aspect of classes was important, and improvements in mood or mental state were cited most frequently as perceived benefits. Outcome measures were feasible, with some changes suggested for future trials.

CONCLUSIONS: This study highlighted the infeasibility of running a larger trial using this design in this setting despite demonstrating the acceptability of implementing a dance program in Northern Ireland for people living with Parkinson's. The results support existing evidence demonstrating that dance may improve functional mobility and symptoms of depression in people living with Parkinson's, though the study design and small sample size prevent the generalizability of results. The findings also support the idea that dancing has the potential to support several aspects of physical, emotional, mental, and social health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 09 Feb 2022

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