Dancing for Brain Function

In a small clinical trial with 26 elderly adults, researchers found that patients who engage in a regular dancing routine for 18 months showed greater enlargement of the hippocampus—a brain area critical for memory—and better balance control than patients who are engaged in regular endurance exercise.

This study suggests that dancing may serve as an alternative intervention to exercise for limiting cognitive and physical declines associated with aging.

This study uses brain imaging modalities to study changes in human brain structures associated with lifestyle interventions. It demonstrates the use of a noninvasive strategy to characterize human-relevant effects of a readily implementable intervention.

Rehfeld K, Müller P, Aye N, et al. Dancing or fitness sport? The effects of two training programs on hippocampal plasticity and balance abilities in healthy seniors. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017;11:305. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00305.