A Good ole Boy a’Dancin an’ a’Prancin’ Again

This just came in: A physiotherapist in Oklahoma has discovered gait training with the use of favorite music and posted the anecdotal results as a video on Facebook. I remember my first experience with Dance for Parkinson’s  and how it got me swinging my arms to the rhythm. Recently found that Walk Like A Man reminds me to get my shoulders back and my head up, instead of stooping over like Quasimodo. (YouTube of WLAM below).

Someone needs to put together a playlist on YouTube of Gait Training For Parkinson’s videos and songs. Who will beat me to it? Bueller? Bueller?


To dance beneath the diamond sky



To dance beneath the diamond sky“. photo of Clematis drummondii by Robert Kamper. All rights reserved.


Something not really research related: An article in the St. Paul – Minneapolis ParkBugle about a Women’s Drumming Center. But for anyone dealing with stress, the quotes from teachers and students speak volumes about the power of community and rhythms.  People with Parkinson’s could do worse than follow this lead. ( I happen to have a warm-up protocol for a Parkinson’s music group I was in that begins with beating a drum and progresses to call and responses rhythms, much like this group).

Over at University of Michigan’s blog, Victor Kartch reports on anecdotal and scientific evidence on the uses of music as medicine in his January 11, 2017, Health Yourself column. He does list some references, as well as listing some of the conditions for which music has been used as therapy with positive results. Slight quibble: music therapy is used here in a very broad and loosely defined sense, which does not bother me, but might be viewed negatively by professionals in the business of music therapy, where a stricter definition of music therapy as a specific prescription for a specific symptom or condition might be considered the norm.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has an article titled “Move your arm like a swan” reporting on Dance for PD  and the “demedicalization” (my spell checker doesn’t think that’s a word) of Parkinson’s. The full article is free and there is also a link to download a copy of the article in PDF.  A related article on a Google Glass app that uses augmented reality is also linked to, is available for free, and has a link to download the full article in PDF. It’s like Christmas in January!




Not just a “last resort”- Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) works for early stages of PD symptoms, too.

Science marches on. Researchers found evidence that DBS is helpful in early stages of PDS, not just in later stages. Benefits extend for at least 5 years:

BALTIMORE — Patients with Parkinson’s disease treated with deep-brain stimulation (DBS) in the early stage of disease show significant improvements in motor skills extending out to 5 years of follow-up, offering encouraging, though preliminary, evidence that the known benefits seen in advanced and midstage disease could also apply to earlier stages.

“We found that not only is DBS combined with medicine better than medicine alone, but we have this longitudinal data showing a sustained benefit for 5 years,” senior author David Charles, MD, professor and vice-chairman of neurology and chief medical officer of the Vanderbilt Neuroscience Institute at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville, Tennessee, told Medscape Medical News.

“Even with these small numbers of patients, the separation favoring DBS is dramatic, so this is very encouraging,” he said.

The PDF copy of the research paper referenced in the above news article can be found at this link:

Early diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s – review and recommendations

The London School of Economics and Political Science recently released a report on the “Value of Early Diagnosis and Treatment in Parkinson’s Disease”, a literature review of recent studies with recommendations for action. It can be downloaded at http://www.braincouncil.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Parkinson-report-2016-1.pdf 
On a broader view of PD,  here’s a link to a page that has links to just about everything Parkinson’s – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) Medline Plus topic page on Parkinson’s Disease.