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Unleashing the potential of dance : a neuroplasticity-based approach bridging from older adults to Parkinson’s disease patients
Cécil J. W. Meulenberg, Kathrin Rehfeld, Saša Jovanović, Uroš Marušič, 2023, review article

Abstract: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects >1% of individuals worldwide and is manifested by motor symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia, as well as non-motor symptoms such as cognitive impairment and depression. Non-pharmacological interventions such as dance therapy are becoming increasingly popular as complementary therapies for PD, in addition to pharmacological treatments that are currently widely available. Dance as a sensorimotor activity stimulates multiple layers of the neural system, including those involved in motor planning and execution, sensory integration, and cognitive processing. Dance interventions in healthy older people have been associated with increased activation of the prefrontal cortex, as well as enhanced functional connectivity between the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and prefrontal cortex. Overall, the evidence suggests that dance interventions can induce neuroplastic changes in healthy older participants, leading to improvements in both motor and cognitive functions. Dance interventions involving patients with PD show better quality of life and improved mobility, whereas the literature on dance-induced neuroplasticity in PD is sparse. Nevertheless, this review argues that similar neuroplastic mechanisms may be at work in patients with PD, provides insight into the potential mechanisms underlying dance efficacy, and highlights the potential of dance therapy as a non-pharmacological intervention in PD. Further research is warranted to determine the optimal dance style, intensity, and duration for maximum therapeutic benefit and to determine the long-term effects of dance intervention on PD progression.
Keywords: dance, neurodegeneration, tremor, rhythm, sensorimotor integration
Published in DiRROS: 29.06.2023; Views: 226; Downloads: 100
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Does cognitive training improve mobility, enhance cognition, and promote neural activation?
Uroš Marušič, Joe Verghese, Jeannette R. Mahoney, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: A close inter-relationship between mobility and cognition is reported in older adults, with improvements in gait performance noticeable after cognitive remediation in frail individuals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of computerized cognitive training (CCT) on mobility in healthy, independently living older adults, and to determine whether CCT is associated with changes in neural activation for mobility-related brain processes. Using a randomized single-blind control design, sixty-three non-demented adults age 60 y and older (mean age = 67 y; 76% female, mean Montreal Cognitive Assessment [MoCA] score = 27) were recruited from a local Senior Activity Center. Participants were randomly assigned to either a 2-month CCT program (8 weeks, 3x/week, 40 min/session) or a wait-list control group. Primary outcome was self-selected gait speed during single- and dual-task walking. Secondary outcome was executive function on Trail Making Test (TMT), Part B. Neural activity was assessed via electroencephalography/event-related potentials (EEG/ERPs) targeting lower-limb performance. Results from a linear mixed effect model, adjusted for baseline MoCA score, age, gender, and study completion revealed that compared to controls, CCT improved gait speed during the dual-task (p = 0.008) but not during the single-task walking condition (p = 0.057). CCT also improved executive function (p = 0.024). Further, shorter foot reaction time responses (p = 0.019) were found with enhanced neural activation over sensorimotor areas, with shorter ERP latencies during the P2 component (p = 0.008) and enhanced motor responses (p = 0.009) also evident in the CCT group after the intervention. Overall, the electrophysiological findings suggest possible neural adaptations that could explain improvements in mobility and executive functions associated with CCT in healthy older adults.
Keywords: visual evoked potentials, motor-related cortical potentials, executive control, cognitive-motor brain networks, healthy aging, sensorimotor integration, functional mobility
Published in DiRROS: 24.05.2022; Views: 463; Downloads: 354
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