Evidence of disease severity, cognitive and physical outcomes of dance interventions for persons with Parkinson’s Disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Sophia Rasheeqa Ismail, Shaun Wen Huey Lee, Dafna Merom, Puteri Sofia Nadira Megat Kamaruddin, Min San Chong, Terence Ong, Nai Ming Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) usually experience worsening of both motor and non-motor symptoms. Dancing has been postulated to help patients with Parkinson’s via several mechanisms that lead to improved physical, cognitive and social functions. Methods: This systematic review was conducted following Cochrane methodology and reported following the PRISMA guideline. Four databases (up to June 2021) were searched for RCTs comparing dance to standard or other physical therapy for improvements in disease severity, quality of life, cognitive and physical outcomes as well as adverse events in patients with PD. We synthesised data using RevMan and included certainty-of-evidence rating (GRADE) for major outcomes. Results: A total of 20 RCTs (N = 723) articles that evaluated Tango, Ballroom, Irish, Waltz-Foxtrot, Folk, Turo, mixed dances and a PD-tailored dance were included. Dancers (versus non-dancers) had better motor experience (MDS-UPDRS 3) (MD -6.01, 95 % CI -9.97 to -3.84; n = 148; 5 RCTs) and improved balance (MiniBest Test) (MD 4.47, 95 % CI 2.29 to 6.66; n = 95; 3 RCTs), with no consistent differences on gait, agility and cognitive outcomes. Small samples and methodological limitations resulted in low-certainty-evidence across outcomes. Conclusions: Apart from a suggestion that dance intervention modestly reduced motor disease severity and improved certain aspects of balance, there is insufficient evidence on all other outcomes, such as agility and motor function, cognitive, mood and social outcomes, quality of life as well as adverse events including the risk of fall. As evidence is insufficient to inform practice, evidence of benefits on motor disease severity and balance needs to be considered in the context of user-perception of benefit versus harm and acceptability in the development of practice guideline recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number503
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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