PURPOSE: Ballroom, or recreational social dance is a recreational physical activity that can allow participants to use each other as support during partnered dance. We have previously showed in a small sample that ballroom dance is a feasible, fun, social form of mild to moderate physical activity that may improve quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). The purpose of this study was to further investigate physical and psychological/emotional efficacy resulting from a ballroom dance program.
METHODS: 18 PwMS participated in an 8 out of 10 week, dance program comprising two 1hr sessions per week (MSD) and 7 PwMS comprised a time control group (C). A professional dance teacher with knowledge of MS taught dances. Subjects were ambulatory with minimal assistance. All MSD subjects were paired with a non-MS partner during the program. Pre- and post-test measures included: Berg Balance Scale, Dynamic Gait Index (DGI), Timed Up and Go (TUG), PROMIS Global Well-Being, MS Self-Efficacy (Control, Function), Fatigue Impact Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, MS Functional Composite (timed 25-Foot Walk (25FW), Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), and 9-Hole Peg Test (9HPT), and 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT).
RESULTS: Results are mean (SD). Improvements in the MSD group were noted in the DGI (pre=19 (6), post=21 (4), p=0.02), TUG (pre = 10.0(3.4)s, post 8.6(3.9)s, p = 0.003) PASAT (pre=40 (19), post=45(19), p=0.01), 9HPT (pre=22.3 (2.6)s, post=21.2 (2.2)s, p=0.02), and 6MWT (pre=447 (112) m, post=485 (113) m, p=0.010). In contrast, there were no differences over 8 weeks in any of these variables in C. For C, DGI (pre=19 (6), post=20 (5), p=0.2), TUG (pre = 8.0(1.7)s, post 7.8(1.9)s, p = 0.60), PASAT (pre=44 (10), post=44(17), p=0.01), 9HPT (pre=21.9 (5.3)s, post=20.6 (4.0)s, p=0. 2), and 6MWT (pre=491 (80) m, post=519 (66) m, p=0.07).
CONCLUSIONS: A partnered ballroom dance program can lead to some significant improvements in physical function and cognition in PwMS. This study was supported by The Greater Milwaukee Foundation.