Modulation of neural activity in response to dance training in Parkinson’s: A case study
Co-Authors:Judith Bek, Kathy Ghanai, Rebecca Barnstapple, Rachel Bar, Joseph DeSouza
Virtual or In-person:In-person
Introduction. Recent evidence suggests that long-term participation in dance could delay the progression of symptoms in people with mild Parkinson’s, but little is known about the neurobiological mechanisms of dance in Parkinson’s. The present case study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate potential neuroplastic effects of dance in a 69-year-old male with mild Parkinson’s attending weekly dance for Parkinson’s classes over a period of 29 weeks.
Methods. Neural activations were measured with fMRI at four timepoints (pre-training, 11 weeks, 18 weeks, and 29 weeks), while the participant listened to music from the dance classes and imagined dancing. Blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal modulation associated with the dance imagery was examined using region-of-interest analysis across the four timepoints.
Results. Significant changes over time were found in the supplementary motor area, right and left superior temporal gyri, and the right insula.
Conclusion. The findings indicate that regular dance participation modulated neural activity in regions associated with motor planning and learning, auditory processing, rhythm, emotion, and multisensory integration. This suggests the potential for dance to have neuroplastic effects across multiple domains in people with Parkinson’s. Analysis of neuroimaging data from a larger number of participants is needed to further understand and interpret these findings.