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Ballroom Dance a Boon to MS Patients

A small study finds ballroom dance — waltz, salsa, foxtrot, and others — may improve function in MS patients.

INDIANAPOLIS — Ballroom dancing may help improve function in patients with MS, researchers reported here.

In a small study, MS patients who participated in a ballroom dance program — which included waltz, foxtrot, swing, and salsa, among others — had improvements over baseline on several functional measures, Alexander Ng, PhD, of Marquette University in Milwaukee, and colleagues reported during a poster session at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers meeting here.

“I can say that recreational ballroom or social dance appears to be fun and well tolerated,” Ng toldMedPage Today. “As such it can be an important component of an active or at least nonsedentary lifestyle for persons with MS.”

Ballroom dancing has been shown to help improve motor function in Parkinson’s disease, but it hasn’t been well studied in MS, Ng said — with the exception of one recent study by Albert Lo, MD, of Brown University. That pilot study, reported inDisability and Rehabilitation, found that structured dance intervention improved physical activity as well as gait and balance in MS patients.

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