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Dance therapy helping Parkinson's patients in Ukraine

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    Research shows that regular exercise can help improve the mobility of people with Parkinson's disease. Now doctors in Ukraine are exploring how dancing can improve balance, walking and general well-being.

    Dance therapy is already used for patients with movement disorders in the US and Europe but is relatively new in Ukraine. Since late last year, UCB has been supporting dance classes for PD patients in collaboration with the National Gerontology Institute and the Ukrainian Association of Movement disorders.

    Borrowing elements from rumba, tango and other popular dancing styles, people with Parkinson's enjoy the regular exercise and social interaction the dance classes can bring.

    Some patients had difficulty taking even a few steps at the beginning of the programme but have improved significantly since. They are highly motivated and dancing appears to have a positive psychological impact.

    The effects have been so startling that healthcare professionals in Ukraine have begun to study dancing more closely. Neurologists have evaluated PD symptoms of patients taking dance classes and are comparing this group with a control group of PD patients on traditional exercise programmes.

    The study is ongoing but so far the investigators have observed improvements in movement initiation, balance, stride length and the psychological wellbeing in the dance group. All of this adds up to real improvements in quality of life.

    Researchers from Ukraine's National Gerontology Institute have kindly shared the short film which was produced to mark World Parkinson’s Day.

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