MS patients sought for salsa dancing study

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – A Rhode Island neurologist is launching a research study that will examine the use of salsa dancing to improve physical activity and movement in people with multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and therefore between the brain and body. Symptoms of the disease range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.

Dr. Albert Lo, an associate professor in the departments of Neurology and Epidemiology at Brown University, is asking for volunteers to take part in this groundbreaking study.

This is the first study funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that will link dancing to MS.

“To date, this is the only clinical research study to examine dance for people with MS, so it is a unique opportunity for people with MS to be a part of an important study while also potentially improving their overall well-being while learning how to dance from a professional instructor,” Dr. Lo said in a news release.

Potential benefits of the salsa dancing include balance improvement, social engagement, increased activity, and overcoming the challenge of progression, as dancing requires the use of skills that are acquired each week, according to Dr. Lo.

At least 70 participants with MS are needed for the study. No dance experience or dance partner necessary. Participants must be able to meet the minimum dance requirements, which include front-to-back and side-to-side movements.

The study will run for 12 weeks, with one-hour sessions held twice each week at the Providence VA Medical Center. There is no cost to participate.

To be considered for the study, please contact the research staff, Yen Tran at (401) 273-7100  ext. 6257 or Kasey Morlé at (401) 273-7100 ext. 6176.

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