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Tango For Parkinson’s Disease

Motor Sign Severity And Quality Of Life

Tango Parkinson’s Therapy (Washington U. in St. Louis)

For MDS-UPDRS-III, there was a significant time by group interaction and a significant effect of time . There was no group effect on MDS-UPDRS-III . On average, UPDRS-III scores improved more from pre- to post-test in the tango group . There were no significant interaction, time, or group effects, respectively for the PDQ-39 Index scores .

Figure 1. Movement disorders society unified Parkinson disease rating scale motor subsection , mini-balance evaluation systems test , timed up and go , five times sit to stand , four square step test , and 6-min walk for participants in the Dance for Parkinsons and tango interventions. Significant group × time interaction for MDS-UPDRS-III score and timed up and go. Significant main effect of time for Mini-BESTest score, five times sit to stand, four square step test, and 6-min walk, *p 0.05, **p 0.01. Values are M ± SD.

Table 2. Pre- and Post-test measurements for all variables of interest.

Tango And Parkinsons Disease

Research is new, but several studies point to the possibility that dance is an effective form of rehabilitation for individuals with neurological conditions. As a former dancer, Dr. Hackney was drawn to the idea that a dance she loved tango could offer a positive impact for people.

Dance itself is a form of cognitive rehabilitation, Dr. Hackney explains. People dance and, especially in the tango, they have to use their brains in a very, very particular way. They have to remember things. They have to understand timing. They have to put a movement to music.

So far, results are promising. In Dr. Hackneys research, she has found that after tango classes, individuals with Parkinsons were able to:

  • Walk farther, faster and longer
  • Motor exams showed improved balance

Dr. Hackney found similar results in her first study, completed more than 12 years ago.

We looked at 20 hours of tango over a 12-week period compared to 20 hours of chair exercise class, which is the traditional exercise class offered at the time, she says. It proved that it improved balance and gait parameter better than traditional exercise.

Those findings mean a lot more to Jere.

Ive noticed a difference, states Jere. It helps me organize my movement better. The steps for tango you make, you have to switch your thinking.

As for Lee, hes just happy to keep dancing with his wife in his arms.

To schedule an appointment with the Movement Disorders Program at Emory Brain Health Center, please call .

Tango And Parkinsons: Can Dance Improve Movement And Confidence

Jere and Lee Reaves met on a dance floor in Cincinnati, Ohio. It seems only fitting that one of Jeres treatments for her Parkinsons disease is taking place on familiar territory.

Jere and Lee participate in tango classes at least twice a week, led by Madeleine Hackney, PhD, Emory researcher and research scientist at the Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation at the Atlanta VA. Dr. Hackney, a former professional tango dancer, believes that tango can and does help improve the quality of life for individuals with Parkinsons.

Its not about people being patients in a room, Dr. Hackney says. Its just about people being together and enjoying something together.

The benefits of tango for individuals with Parkinsons go far beyond a feel-good connection. In order to understand how dance can help with a neurodegenerative disorder, its important to understand the disease itself.

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Differential Effects Of Tango Versus Dance For Pd In Parkinson Disease

  • 1Program in Physical Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA
  • 2Department of Neurology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA
  • 3Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA
  • 4Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA

Argentine Tango Reduces Risk Of Falls

The Tango Effect: Parkinson

You may have clocked the fact that I am a big fan of dancing excellent exercise for mind and body, which always leaves you with a smile. More than can be said for some other workouts!

I was intrigued to discover recently that Argentine tango has been used successfully to improve the gait of people with Parkinsons, and help reduce falls.

A recent study from Florida State University demonstrated a significant reduction in fall risk for people with Parkinsons after taking a series of classes in Argentine tango. The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

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Walking Is A Big Issue With Parkinsons

The researchers used gait analysis to measure the risk of falling before and after the dance lessons. The patients who took a series of 12 classes had a significant reduction in fall risk compared to a control group.

Walking is a big issue for Parkinsonâs patients. They tend to shuffle, which is a risk factor for falling. They are also more likely to be seriously injured by a fall, because they cant move quickly enough to stop a fall with their hands.

Health Related Effects Of At

Our meta-analysis revealed significant overall effects in favor of tango which are moderate for motor severity, and small for gait with the timed up and go test. Gait as measured with the 6MWT showed a small effect which was not statistically significant. For freezing of gait, no significant effects were observed in favor of AT. Strong significant overall effects in favor of AT were found for balance using the Mini-BESTest and small for Berg Balance Scale. This might be an effect of different measures. Although different instruments were used , the consistent, positive and significant results of AT on balance indicate its potential as an intervention to improve this relevant outcome in individuals with PD, too.

To summarize, recent research activities show that there is a strong focus on the positive influences of dance on clinical symptoms. McGill, Houston & Lee stated that future research should also look at how dance is influencing a particular individual in all aspects of their life to understand the significance of physical changes for individuals with PD . The authors propose the use of the World Health Organizations International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health as a framework for dance for Parkinsons research .

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Therapeutic Argentine Tango Dancing For People With Mild Parkinsons Disease: A Feasibility Study

  • College of Science, Health and Engineering, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia

Background: Individuals living with Parkinsons disease can experience a range of movement disorders that affect mobility and balance and increase the risk of falls. Low health-related quality of life, depression, and anxiety are more common in people with PD than age-matched comparisons. Therapeutic dance is a form of physical activity believed to facilitate movement and therapy uptake. As well as being enjoyable, dancing is thought to improve mobility, balance, and well-being in some people living with PD. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a 4-week Argentine tango dance program for people with PD.

Results: The Argentine tango dance intervention was shown to be safe, with no adverse events. Adherence to the dance program was 89%. Depression scores improved after intervention . Some challenges were associated with the need to quickly recruit participants and physiotherapists to act as dance partners during classes and to monitor participants.

The 4-week, twice weekly Argentine tango dancing program was shown to be feasible and safe for people with mild-to-moderately severe PD.

Effects Of Tango On Functional Mobility In Parkinson”s Disease

YFM Episode 2 – Tango for Parkinson’s Disease

Hackney, M. E., Kantorovich, S., Levin, R., & Gammon, M. . Effects of tango on functional mobility in Parkinson’s disease: A preliminary study. Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, 31, 173-179.

Purpose:Recent evidence suggests that dance can be an effective therapeutic intervention targeting balance and complex gait tasks in elderly individuals. Subjectively, dance appears to be an appropriate and pleasurable therapeutic activity physically, mentally, and emotionally. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of two movement programs in participants with Parkinson’s disease .

Participants:Nineteen subjects diagnosed with idiopathic PD participated in this study.

Subjects were assessed prior to the intervention and again the week following the 20th training session. Subjects were evaluated using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale , Motor Subscale 3. Balance was evaluated using the Berg Balance Scale. Gait velocity was assessed while walking straight along a 5-meter path with and without a concurrent dual task. Mobility was assessed with the Timed Up and Go . For the gait tasks and the TUG, subjects performed five trials of each task and results were averaged. Subjects also completed a Freezing of Gait questionnaire, a six-item self-report questionnaire in which each item is answered on a 0-to-4 scale.

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Alzheimers Dementia And Parkinsons Prevention

The first article I stumble upon caught my eye:

On the fourth floor of Buenos Aires largest psychiatric hospital, patients dance the tango with doctors and nurses.

Doctors as far afield as Italy and Australia are using Argentinas world famous tango to treat problems ranging from Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease to phobias and marital breakdowns.

I saw pictures of people dancing and smiling. What a blessing I thought

Then I found a video of Professor Michael Valenzuela about the rising incidence of dementia and the key factors for its prevention. And once again, tango was part of it, since it combines mental, physical, and social activity, all important factors for reducing dementia risk, according to the professor.

I dance tango for more than 11 years now , and I have written two of the most well known tango books. I felt that I am already doing one of the best things I could do to reduce my risk of Alzheimers and Parkinsons, and that felt good.

On the other hand, I recently moved to Antanhol, a village close to the city of Coimbra in Portugal.

Opportunities for tango around here are few, but when friends or family are visiting, I make sure to dance a few songs. It just feels great. The combination of a warm hug, beautiful music, and the feeling of connection is just unique. And when I give a tango class, I feel like I am offering so much more than just a dance. We all need to feel we are contributing in other peoples lives.


Conflict Of Interest Statement

Dr. Ronald B. Postuma received personal compensation for travel and speaker fees from Novartis Canada and Teva Neurosciences, and is funded by grants from the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec, the Parkinson Society of Canada, the Webster Foundation, and by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest related to the study.

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Veteran Feels Immediate Benefit From Classes

After three weeks of tango classes, the researchers found that the cohort did not increase motor module number but did increase motor module distinctness. That means the participants learned to group muscles together in a different way to better meet the functional demands of walking and balance, Hackney says. The researchers also found that the motor modules recruited for walking became much more similar to those recruited for balance. The cohort recruited very different modules prior to the classes, she says.

To identify positive changes related to walking and balance, the researchers attached electrodes to the body. They then measured the electrical activity that comes from muscles in the trunk and leg as a person performed a movement. That recording provided patterns of activity for each muscle. The researchers used statistical techniques to group the muscles into motor modules.

For Bill Barsin, this was his third round of adapted tango classes under the direction of Hackney and her colleagues. He says he can feel an immediate benefit from the classes while they are taking place and for a short time after. But he notes that the gains dissipate if he fails to practice the steps.

The classes train you through dancing to keep track of where your feet are, he says. Im not looking down at my feet when I finish one of those classes. Im being trained to put my feet down in a way in which I memorize where theyre supposed to be. It works out pretty good.

Lets Dance: Fsu Researchers Investigate How Tango May Help Parkinsons Patients


Parkinsons disease takes a lot from its victims.

Patients often notice its onset as a tremor in one of their hands. As it progresses, it can impair balance, change speech patterns, alter thinking and dramatically affect movement.

There is no cure, but there are ways to improve symptoms. Researchers from Florida State University suggest practicing the Argentine tango could provide useful relief.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, FSU researchers used gait analysis to measure the risk of falling for Parkinsons patients before and after Argentine tango dance lessons. The patients who took a series of 12 classes had a significant reduction in fall risk compared to a control group.

One of the main obstacles for Parkinsons patients is walking. They walk slower and with a shuffling gait, which increases their risk of falling. Because they cannot move as quickly, they are often unable to stop a fall with their hands and are at a significantly higher risk of injury than non-Parkinsons patients.

That is why fall prevention is key, said Shani Peter, a third-year medical student and a member of the team that completed the project. Argentine tango involves specific dance techniques that decrease fall risk and are generally not taught in other dances or activities. Our study further solidifies the potential Argentine tango has as a therapeutic and rehabilitative means for patients.

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Tango Alzheimers And Parkinsons Disease And Prevention

More and more doctors are writing an unusual prescription for their patients with Parkinsons disease: Go out dancing and call me in the morning.

A growing body of research suggests that dance, notably the tango, can improve balance, strength and walking ability in people with neurological disorders, including Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers and other forms of dementia, as well as multiple sclerosis and stroke.

When I read this post from the Department of Neurology of the Washington University School of Medicine, I smiled.

I always felt that tango can impact peoples lives, and it is great to see that it is being more and more accepted worldwide, not just for people who already struggle with Parkinsons and Alzheimers, but also for people who are focusing on prevention.

Dance therapy has been gaining acceptance because researchers looking for new avenues of treatment have found that it works.

At the heart of all movement disorders is a breakdown or disconnect in the proper signaling between our brains and the peripheral nervous system that controls our muscles. The problems manifest themselves in balance and gait problems, poor coordination, involuntary or irregular muscle movements, tremors, tics and other repetitive movements.

Dance as a treatment for Parkinsons is widely accepted and is endorsed by the American Parkinson Disease Association, the article continued.

I feel differently when I dance, Popick said. Its like I can move again like I used to.

Tango For Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson’s Patients Do The Tango In Hopes Of Improving Walking Ability Balance

Bill Barsin has taken part in tango classes at the Atlanta VAMC to help his Parkinson’s symptoms.

Bill Barsin has what he calls moderate to heavy duty Parkinsons, a neurodegenerative disorder that short-circuits the bodys motor system. The Army Vet often has trouble lifting his feet when he tries to walk, struggles with balance, and experiences slurred speech and short-term memory loss. Dementia can occur in the advanced stages of the disease.

I freeze when I walk, he says. Its like I cant move.

Barsin, 70, who has been battling the disease for 16 years, is on medication and has had a brain stimulation operation. That procedure delivers electrical stimulation to areas of the brain that control movement, blocking the abnormal nerve impulses that cause Parkinsons symptoms.

As a form of rehabilitation, hes also completed dance classes aimed at improving mobility, walking, and balance. In fact, hes been doing the tango.

Emory Brain Health Center

How dancing the tango may help people with Parkinson’s Disease

The Emory Brain Health Center uniquely integrates neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, rehabilitation medicine and sleep medicine and transforms patient-centered care for brain and spinal cord conditions through research and discovery.

Bringing these specialties together allows more than 400 researchers and clinicians from different areas to collaborate to predict, prevent, treat or cure devastating diseases and disorders of the brain more rapidly. These collaborations are demonstrated in numerous centers and programs across the Brain Health Center, including the Epilepsy Center, Pituitary Center, Stroke Center, Treatment-Resistant Depression Program and Veterans Program.

Emorys multidisciplinary approach is transforming the worlds understanding of the vast frontiers of the brain, harnessing imagination and discovery to address 21st century challenges.

Learn more about comprehensive, diagnostic and innovative treatment options at the Emory Brain Health Center.

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