Background Somatic techniques such as contemporary dance are believed to improve cognitive, psychopathological and motor function in Huntington’s disease (HD).
Aims To evaluate the effects of two hours of contemporary dance training per week for 5 months on cognitive, psychopathological and motor function of HD patients.
Methods/techniques We included 19 HD patients and 12 controls at the National Reference centre for HD at the Salpêtrière University Hospital between October 2013 and July 2015. At the baseline visit (V1), patients were split into two groups of which the first (gI) enrolled into 5 months of two hours weekly dance classes while the second (g2) maintained treatment as usual. After 5 months all subjects were seen for a second evaluation (V2), permitting the observation of deterioration or retest effects in g2. Subsequently, g2 enrolled in dance training and was assessed again after 5 more months (V3). At V1-3 cognitive (Mattis, Symbol Digit, Stroop, TMT, psychopathological (HAD/SIS, PBA, LARS) and motor function (UHDRS) were assessed.
Results UHDRS scores improved significantly after dance training (mbefore = 30.8 ± 17.5, mafter = 24.9 ± 13.2, Z = −2.36, p = 0.018). Executive function (TMT) also improved (mbefore = 190.7 ± 108.0, mafter = 169.1 ± 62.9, Z = −2.521, p = 0.012. Both tests further showed deterioration from V1 to V2 in g2, corroborating a positive effect of contemporary dance training. A tendency for improvement was also found for depression but not apathy, nor any other psychopathological or cognitive scores.
Conclusions The somatic technique of contemporary dance training significantly impacts on patients’ cognitive and motor impairments. The real challenge is the accessibility of this powerful means that is dance for individuals suffering from HD.
- Contemporary Dance
- Somatic techniques