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Ballet Not Seen to Greatly Improve Gait or Balance in Small Study in Parkinson’s Patients

Ballet practice may not improve balance and gait in people with Parkinson’s disease — at least not over the long term, a small study in patients engaged in dance for at least a year suggests, possibly contradicting earlier research reporting evidence of such benefits.

But the work did find probable social and psychological gains, noting a “high levels of adherence” among the Parkinson’s group, indicating motivation “to continue attending.”

Researchers for this study, “Effects of a ballet-based dance intervention on gait variability and balance confidence of people with Parkinson’s,” published in the journal Arts & Health, suggesting that more research needs to be done to understand whether and how dance therapy can be effective.

Dance can be beneficial for many, and especially people with neurodegenerative diseases. It is a form of physical movement that is often easier to “stick with” than just exercising, and offers social contact that rewards a person’s mental health and psychological well-being. Some previous studies specifically indicated that dance may improve motor skills in people with Parkinson’s.

The U.K. team here wondered whether ballet — a dance form that requires many balancing movements, like stabilizing weight on one leg while moving the other  — would be of benefit for Parkinson’s patients.

They recruited 19 patients already enrolled in weekly “dance for Parkinson’s” classes. Participants had to have been dancing for at least three months, although most had already been participating for over a year.

Another 13 patients who refrained from ballet classes for the study’s duration served as a control group.

Over the course of a year, people in both groups were examined for changes in gait and balance. To analyze gait, a sensor was placed on a participant’s lower back when they walked across the room, allowing for measurements of stability as they walked.

For balance, the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale was given to participants. This questionnaire is a measurement of confidence in balance, not balance itself, since it’s asking participants questions about their perceptions of their own balance.

No significant difference in all of the above measures was seen between the two groups over the study’s year. This contradicted pro-benefit findings of previous research, and the investigators offer two likely explanations for this disparity.

“First,” they write in their study, “gait variability as an indication of dynamic stability has not been assessed in previous dance for Parkinson’s research.” Further, measures of gait variability used in this study might “not be comparable” to “commonly used clinical rating scales” that look more at “static balance tasks,” and reliance on their  different variables may make all the difference.

“Secondly,” the researchers said, “previous studies evidencing changes to balance, gait, and functional mobility have often included a class frequency of two to three dance classes per week,” while participants in this study had one class per week.

They also suggested that a study limitation was the fact that its patient group had been taking the weekly classes for about a year prior to the study’s start. Regular long-term dance classes made it “possible that a ceiling effect may have occurred whereby any resulting change in gait variability as a result of the ballet-based sessions was no longer visible,” the researchers concluded.

“It is possible that the ballet-based sessions had a positive affect on gait variability for the participants; however, the measurements were not able to capture this early change at the beginning of their dance programme.”

 

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I’m Enjoying My Journey Despite Parkinson’s Interference

enjoy

Sherri Journeying Through

I received an email from someone concerned that they may be in the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease (PD). I have met others who have PD, but not someone in the throes of wondering if their symptoms indeed result from Parkinson’s disease.

I can’t stop thinking about them because the email takes me back to my diagnosis, to the days of wondering what was going on inside and outside of me. I can relate so well, and I can understand all too well.

They are scared, wondering if they have Parkinson’s. I can look back and see myself where this person is now — scared, uncertain, and desperate. I can now see that although the future is still uncertain, I have been blessed with a wonderful doctor, the support of friends and family, and more than anything, the opportunity to encourage others with empathy. 

I was not able to see those things at first. Fear took away everything good in my present and future and left hopelessness.

Isn’t the future uncertain for each of us, whether we have been diagnosed with a disease or not? None of us know how the end will turn out or if tonight will be the last time we will tuck our babies into bed.

I recall a favorite quote at times like these: “Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listing, and live every day as if it were to be your last.”

That is how I want to live each day, whether I am fighting Parkinson’s or making peace with it. I want to dance without reserve, even if I stumble. I want to sing at the top of my lungs, even if others think I’m still whispering. I want to live each day as if it is my last opportunity for anything, even if I think I’ll be given a tomorrow.

It is a hard thing to do, to live that way. There are so many distractions, so many reminders that we are not “whole,” constant reminders from our bodies that struggle against their own desire to be free from disease. However, we can choose to have the attitude of living life to its fullest and enjoying the journey. It may not be the journey we would have chosen for ourselves, but there is good in it. It is always better to wear a face of hope than one of despair, because sooner or later, whichever face you choose to wear on the outside is the one you will feel like on the inside.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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Enjoying the Journey Despite Parkinson’s Disease

journey

Sherri Journeying Through

I recently received an email from someone concerned that he may have early signs of Parkinson’s disease. I have met others who have PD, but not someone in the throes of wondering if the symptoms he is are experiencing are, in fact, PD.

I can’t stop thinking about him. I think it’s because it takes me back to my diagnosis, to my days of wondering what was going on. I can relate and understand all too well.

He is scared, wondering if he does have PD. I can look back and see myself where he is now — scared, uncertain, and desperate. I can see now that, although the future is still uncertain, I have been blessed with a wonderful doctor and the support of friends and family, and I’ve been given the opportunity to encourage others. I couldn’t see those things then; all I had was the fear that my future was being taken away and a sense of hopelessness was left in its place.

Isn’t the future uncertain for everyone, whether we have been diagnosed with a disease or not? No one knows how the end will turn out or when we will tuck our babies into bed at night for the last time.

I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes: “Dance as if no one is watching, sing as if no one is listening, and live every day as if it were your last.”

That is how I want to live each day — whether I am fighting PD or making peace with it. I want to dance without caution, even if I stumble. I want to sing at the top of my lungs, even if others think I’m whispering. And I want live each day as if it is my last, even if I get a tomorrow.

It is a difficult thing to live like that. There are so many distractions and reminders that we are not “whole.” Distractions push their way into our daily paths and our bodies struggle to be free from this disease. We can, however, choose to have the attitude of living life to its fullest and enjoying the journey. It may not be the journey we would have chosen for ourselves, but there is good in it. It’s always better to wear a face of hope than one of despair.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Enjoying the Journey Despite Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today

Bial Creates Video of Parkinson’s Patients Dancing to Inspire and Educate

Video of Parkinson's dancers

The pharmaceutical company Bial has created a video of Parkinson’s patients dancing during daily tasks to inspire others to rise up to challenges and let more people know about the disease.

It has been posted on Bial’s and a number of other organizations’ websites. You can also find it below. The company purposely released it during Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April.

The video, titled “There’s no Right Rhythm for Life,” was made by award-winning Parkinson’s movement coach and choreographer Pamela Quinn. It shows people with Parkinson’s dancing to their own rhythms.

People have different rhythms — some faster, some slower — and none is wrong. In a world so fast-paced, Parkinson’s patients can feel left behind, as if they need more time to perform daily tasks.

The disease isn’t just about losing a few minutes on daily tasks, however. A much larger concern is losing independence.

One way diminished independence can manifest itself is a fear of taking too long and keeping others waiting. This in turn can worsen a person’s symptoms, making the original task take longer and seem harder to accomplish. This cycle can lead to some Parkinson’s patients gradually giving up their autonomy.

Bial’s inspire-and-educate campaign includes a documentary on the making of the dancing video. In it, Quinn and three Parkinson’s patients talk about their experiences working on  the project.

Quinn, of the New York-based school PD Movement Lab, asked both professional dancers and patients to help her create the video.

The film shows a choreography taking place in three settings. Professional dancers and patients can be seen dancing to their own rhythm while performing daily tasks such as shopping for groceries, getting a seat on a moving bus, or crossing a street. The message is that “there’s no right rhythm for life.”

“Parkinson’s is a disease that takes a lot from people, but the more we work with people, the more we find people like Pamela, who brings this incredible energy, and that really helped us to bring this idea to life,” Rui Sobral, director of Bial’s Parkinson’s Disease Global Department, said in a press release. “It was inspiring just to see her work, and incredibly humbling for us to have her collaborate with Bial in getting across the idea that we have much to learn and to be inspired by people with Parkinson’s.”

The video, which was posted on World Parkinson’s Day, is on the websites and social media channels of the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society and the European Academy of Neurology.

Bial made the video to help people who don’t have Parkinson’s learn more about the disease and its symptoms. The company hopes it makes people more open toward those with the condition. This could help improve the lives of the 10 million people worldwide who face the challenges associated with Parkinson’s.

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Source: Parkinson's News Today