The Movement Disorder Society

MDS Abstract of the 16th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, Volume 27,
June 2012 Abstract Supplement

Movement Disorders 2012
Dublin, Ireland June 17-21, 2012.

Irish set dance improves mobility, balance and quality of life in Parkinson's disease

Volpe,  D., Signorini,  M., Marchetto,  A., Scutari,  A., Zambito Marsala,  S., Piggott,  C., Lynch,  T.


To verify if Irish set dance could be effective on mobility, balance and quality of life in Parkinson's disease (PD).


The effectiveness of aerobic exercise in healthy subjects is well documented in the last years where it was demonstrated that it improves not only motor but also cognitive performances with an improvement of motor learning and memory. Recently some research has demonstrated that dance may be an effective strategy for ameliorating mobility in elderly people. Specifically tango seems to improve mobility and quality of life in PD. Irish set dance is a dance with very high social value and its peculiar characteristics with strong acoustic cue, twisting in pairs and interesting steps for improving gait could represent an interesting rehabilitative intervention in PD.


We recruited 24 subjects with PD. The patients were randomly assigned to an Irish set dance group or to conventional physiotherapy group. The subjects were evaluated 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after the interventions with UPDRS motor score, Berg Balance Scale, falls diary, FOG questionnaire, Time Up and Go test, gait analysis and neuropsychological evaluation. For quality of life we submitted PDQ-39. All the subjects underwent respectively a program of Irish set dance and physiotherapy for 6 months with a lesson of 2 hours weekly.


Both groups showed significant improvements only in UPDRS III and PDQ-39.The Irish set dance group documented significant improvements also in the Berg Balance Scale, in reduced number of falls, in self-reported Freezing of Gait, in the Time Up and Go test, in stridelength and walkspeed. On the contrary not significant improvements in the same measurements were registered in the conventional physiotherapy group.


Irish set dance seems to be an effective rehabilitative intervention to improve mobility, balance and quality of life in PD. Further studies are needed to confirm our results.

Keywords :

Gait disorders: Treatment,Parkinsonism,Rehabilitation,Sensorimotor cortex

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Volpe, D., Signorini, M., Marchetto, A., Scutari, A., Zambito Marsala, S., Piggott, C., Lynch, T.; Irish set dance improves mobility, balance and quality of life in Parkinson's disease [abstract]. Movement Disorders 2012;27 Suppl 1 :557