Research News

Article from UW-Madison scholars appears in OT Practice magazine

December 02, 2016

A team of scholars from UW-Madison published an article examining how exercise interventions that are rooted in meaningful activity may be especially beneficial to helping adults with Parkinson’s disease.

The report, which appears in the latest OT Practice magazine, is headlined, “Dancing the Tango: Promoting Exercise as Meaningful Activity for Adults with Parkinson Disease.”

OT Practice magazineThe article is authored by faculty, staff and students with the occupational therapy program, which is housed within the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology. The authors include second-year students in the master’s of science in OT program Katrina J. Lathrop, Amy L. Malsch, Rachel N. Massart and Sophie E. Goloff. Co-authors also include Deborah Bebeau, a clinical assistant professor and academic fieldwork coordinator with the OT program, and Kristen Pickett, an assistant professor with the OT program.

According to the report, use of community-based therapeutic exercise will significantly increase quality of life for people living with Parkinson's disease (PD). Not only does research show that “exercise programs may effectively slow the progression of functional decline in individuals with PD,” the social aspect of programs will decrease symptoms of depression and stress.

Tango is one example of occupation-based therapeutic activity among many, and is especially effective for people with PD because it includes a  wide range of movements in all directions. The specific moves common in tango is also helpful in targeting the specific motor challenges that affect those with PD.

Here at UW-Madison, people with PD and occupational therapy student volunteers meet twice a week for tango lessons to increase community participation and reduce motor symptoms common for people living with PD.