University of Liège Masters physiotherapy students Paloma Dastor and Marceau Chaney are leading a research study examining the impact of dance on patients with Parkinson’s disease.  The study will take place during the autumn and winter of 2022/23 and they are actively looking for participants.  They spoke to the Demoucelle Parkinson Charity about their research and why they are particularly interested in Parkinson’s disease.

For more information about the study and how to join it, please click here.

We are two physiotherapy students from the University of Liège who are doing our masters dissertation on the effect of dance on Parkinson’s disease. We are looking for as many patients as possible in order to have the most representative results. The study will take place over four months, with two groups, one group that will have access to the dance lessons and the other group that will not participate during the study but will obviously have access to them after the last evaluation. The groups will be composed randomly.

Our hypothesis is that dance can promote functional improvements as well as improvements in well-being for Parkinson’s patients.

Why did you select to study Parkinson’s disease?

We are both interested in physical activity and its benefits on many pathologies, so it seemed like a natural choice when we came across this thesis subject proposed by Héléna Cassol and Olivier Bouquiaux to look a little more into the effect of physical activity in a degenerative pathology such as Parkinson’s disease.

Why is this study important and how could the results of the study impact the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease, which means that the person loses function over time. However, some treatments such as medication or physical activity can help relieve the symptoms. We are therefore trying to determine whether dance can help maintain the quality of life of individuals with Parkinson’s disease, both in terms of motor skills and well-being.

In what way does this study give you positive energy?

This study could shed light on a complementary means of relieving the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and thus improve the quality of life of these people and those around them. It therefore gives us great hope of making the lives of Parkinson’s patients more pleasant.

What is something you would like people to understand about physiotherapy research (for Parkinson’s disease)?

You have to understand that in scientific research you try to choose a population that is as representative as possible of the subject being studied. However, in the case of a degenerative disease such as Parkinson’s, and especially the effect of dance in this pathology, we are obliged to choose a population that is at least autonomous and can take part in the dance classes and it is difficult to find a large number of participants for this and many other reasons (other inclusion and exclusion criteria, people who don’t like dancing…).

Do you have a favourite motto or suggestion to share?

Did you know that sound stimuli (including therefore music), as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, besides being beneficial for walking and improving cognitive abilities, also encourages the elderly to be physically active! So don’t forget to put on some music for your next activity!