Background: While dance may improve motor features in Parkinson's disease (PD), it is not yet clear if the benefits extend to non-motor features.
Objective: To determine whether dance classes based on Dance for PD®, improve cognition, psychological symptoms and Quality of Life (QoL) in PD.
Methods: Participants were allocated to a Dance Group (DG; n = 17) or Control Group (CG: n = 16). Participants had early-stage PD (Hoehn & Yahr: DG = 1.6±0.7, CG = 1.5±0.8) with no cognitive impairment (Addenbrooke's score: DG = 93.2±3.6, CG = 92.6±4.3). The DG undertook a one-hour class, twice weekly for 12 weeks, while the CG had treatment as usual. Both groups were assessed for disease severity (MDS-UPDRS), cognition (NIH Toolbox® cognition battery, Trail Making Test), psychological symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, MDS-UPDRS-I) and QoL (PDQ-39, MDS-UPDRS-II).
Results: Group comparison of pre-post change scores showed that selected cognitive skills (executive function and episodic memory), psychological symptoms (anxiety and depression) as well as QoL (PDQ-39 summary index) were significantly improved by the intervention (DG > CG, p's < 0.05, Cohen's d > 0.8).
Discussions and conclusion: Dance classes had a clear benefit on psychological symptoms, QoL and a limited cognitive benefit. Follow-up assessment is required to confirm the durability of these effects.
Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; cognition; dance; psychological symptoms; quality of life.