Dancing the Tango May Ease Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Emory Researcher Madeleine Hackney explores how tango may slow down the progress of Parkinson's Disease.

By Beth Galvin, Fox 5 Atlanta News
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James Parham is doing something he never imagined a guy like him, with Parkinson's Disease, would be doing, dancing the Argentine tango.

"As a young child I took ballroom dancing and learned about tango,” says the 74-year old retired business professor.  “So, I was very interested in doing it."

Each dancer here in the Atlanta VA Medical Center is paired with a partner who doesn't have Parkinson's. There are caregivers, and spouses, and medical and physical therapy students in the crowd.

Dr. Madeleine Hackney, Ph.D, is both their instructor and the lead researcher. "I was a professional dancer for 11 years before I went to graduate school,” says Hackney.

Eight years ago, the Atlanta VA research scientist and Assistant Professor at the Emory School of Medicine began adapting Argentine tango for people with movement disorders, like Parkinson's.

She thought dance might be helpful for their symptoms like difficulty walking, tremors, and stiffness.

Read the complete article on Fox 5 News here.

Editor’s Note: Madeleine Hackney is assistant professor for the Emory University Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics. This article was originally posted by Fox News on September 19, 2016 and is used with permission. Beth Galvin is the medical reporter for Fox 5 News

The Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation (CVNR) shares, “At the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Dr. Hackney aims to determine the characteristics of physical rehabilitative strategies, in terms of motor pattern and timing, dosage, duration, intensity, and overall effectiveness that will have high compliance while enhancing balance, mobility and quality of life and reducing fall risk for older adults with low vision. She is keenly interested in identifying movement programming, pedagogical methods of movement instruction, and related aspects (i.e., music accompaniment, assisting devices and tools, environment) that will optimize group physical activities for specific populations. She also investigates aspects pertaining to improved quality of life, enjoyment, satisfaction and goal-attainment as a result of rehabilitative physical activity approaches.”

Related Material: Madeleine Hackney receives 2015 Selma Jeanne Cohen Lecture Award