The study aims to examine the effectiveness of a new dance-physiotherapy combined intervention, called DArT method, in mild PD patients.
A prospective, randomized, single-blind, controlled pilot trial was conducted on 38 mild PD patients under dopaminergic therapy. The intervention consisted in an add-on protocol: the control group received 1 h of conventional physiotherapy followed by 1 h of conventional physiotherapy each day, 3 times a week, for 5 weeks. The experimental group received 1 h of conventional physiotherapy followed by 1 h of dance class each day, 3 times a week, for 5 weeks. The week before and after the training period, patients were assessed for motor, cognitive, emotional, and sensory components of PD, with MDS-UPDRS-III as primary outcome measure.
DArT method was associated with a 2.72-point reduction in the post-treatment MDS-UPDRS-III total score compared to control group (95% CI – 5.28, – 0.16, p = 0.038, d = 0.71), and with a 2.16-point reduction in the post-treatment MDS-UPDRS-III upper body subscore (95% CI – 3.56, – 0.76, p = 0.003, d = 1.02). Conversely, conventional physiotherapy program was associated with a 2.95-point reduction in the post-treatment trait anxiety compared to the experimental group (95% CI 0.19, 5.71, p = 0.037, d = 0.70). Withdrawal and fall rates were equal to 0% in both groups.
DArT method showed to be safe, well accepted, and more effective than an intensive program of conventional physiotherapy in improving motor impairment in mild PD.