It has been several years since the 2003 study was completed. Over the years interested parties and the media have contacted Dr. Joe Verghese, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), about the impact dancing has on dementia. One in particular is the Washington Post in the article, “Might Dancing Delay Dementia? Experts Can’t Say, but Enthusiasts like the Beat” http://www.globalaging.org/health/us/twostep1.htm. These inquires have fueled enough interest to determine if social dancing (SD) can have a meaningful impact on 3 of the biggest health issues facing America today.
Who Will be Studied and How
The DanCE study will recruit adults with little or no previous dance experience to establish the benefits of dancing. Eligible participants will be randomly assigned to either a three month intervention or a non-dance intervention control group. Study outcomes will include performance test of cognition, adults fall rates and depression.
In order to rigorously establish the benefits of dance over other modalities, participants will be tested using a two-step process. In step 1, SD will be piloted in 30-40 participants in the first year to determine the optimal sample size (up to 240 estimated). The second step is the full-fledged randomized clinical trial and will be conducted over a 3-4 year period. This two-step process is efficient as it will more accurately estimate sample size and other resource requirements for the main study. It is predicted that dance participants will improve cognitive and physical functions relative to controls, that are inherently needed for these types of research studies.
In addition, there are 3 levels of investigation: (1) screen and develop interventions that will optimize the best decisions regarding the DanCE program development (2) evaluate the efficacy of dancing on age related capacity to plan, organize and monitor the execution of behaviors (3) define the cognitive benefits of SD and art therapy using advanced imaging techniques.