Dancing for Multiple Sclerosis

Take home message:

A recent small study had shown that regular dance classes for patients with multiple sclerosis improves function such as walking, hand function, attention as well as mood.

In detail:

The study involved 12 patients with MS who were able to walk 25 feet and stand for 5 minutes, even if they needed to use a stick or walker.

The program they attended included two hour-long sessions per week led by a professional dance instructors, with partners.

The types of dance included rumba, foxtrot, waltz, tango (ballroom), swing, salsa, and merengue. Water was provided and there were fans and chairs in the room.

Patients had to participate for at least 8 of the 10 weeks of the program (16 sessions). Control patients received usual care.

Several markets of physical activity ability improved, such as fatigue score and gait index, as well add the speed to get up and walk 25 feet. Interestingly, markers of coordination also improved affecting hand function, such as nine hole peg test, and attention and thinking, such add the PASAT.

Depression ratings also improved.

The improvement was not seen in the control patients, who remained unchanged.

The trial is too small to make treatment recommendations about, but is supported by similar trials in Parkinson’s disease and other conditions showing similar benefits.

Reference
Dr Ng. Poster QL13. Presented May 29, 2015. Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) 2015 Annual Meeting

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