Dancing is good for Parkinson’s. That’s the assertion that underpinned my attendance at a three-day conference in Glasgow in early October 2017. The world of dance, for those of you who like me are uninitiated, involves a great number of people from just about every country and culture. There are specialisms for older people, children, people with physical disabilities, mental disabilities, Parkinson’s, dementia, and so forth.
Dancing is good for Parkinson’s. There is research that says so. It’s good for your physicality, your emotional being and your spiritual being. It can generate change, it can bring people together. It can help to alleviate some of the negative effects of a condition like Parkinson’s and the accompanying side-effects of some of the medication that goes with it, albeit that might only be for the duration of the lesson, although there was some research to show these benefits to last for up to a day.
Dancing is good for Parkinson’s. Or is it? There is research that says it makes no difference. But then again it depends what you mean by “dancing”. It also depends what you mean by “good for”. And as I’m sure you can imagine, this creates scope for lots of debate. And it’s a serious debate. Many of the academics who study dance, including those researching its impact on people with Parkinson’s are themselves dancers. They bring an understanding of the discipline to their research. They also bring their experience of dance to their work. They can tell when there’s a mismatch between what they see taking part in dance and what might be uncovered by specific pieces of research into the benefits or otherwise of dance on Parkinson’s.
Do you have views, comments or questions about the role of research into issues like dance for Parkinson’s. Feel free to share them here.
I think the better question might be "why NOT rattle?" I have been told often enough of my tendency to 'rattle on' about things, adopting positions and advocating causes, but not doing anything. Yes, I admit, thinking through a problem, or better still, talking through a problem it is one of the ways that I deal with the issues of the day or the thing that is bugging me at any point in time. Very effective it is too. It doesn't fix a problem, or provide a solution. But it does help me to work out what I need to do to handle whatever it is.
As you can imagine, many of my issues that need dealing with are Parkinsons related.
This is not my first blog, nor will it be my last and I hope I have more to say than has already been said. The first time I wrote one, I approached the task as I thought it should be done. Considered, thoughtful, written to my best guess ( or estimation) as to an average reading and comprehension ability. Like that just now - comprehension or understanding, guess or estimation? Which should be used. What is the impact of each and what impact do I want to have?
I did not have an answer and certainly did not have a solution to the questions that I was posing myself. Nothing ventured and undaunted I proceeded to write, I forget what about, and circulated first drafts around a small number of friends who had generously agreed to make comment. Of course I had assumed they would have the answers. Four copies given out, four very different responses.
“It’s too long and too complex” “people won’t read it to the end” “were the two comments that raised the thorny issue of length. How long is a blog? I know they range from four or five lines to pages of writing because I have looked. What is the correct length of a blog? I’ll bet a pound of my own money that there is no official answer to that because it will depend on the matter at hand being considered, the audience required, the response required, the time available, the clarity with which the issue is raised and expressed and other variables such as distribution, circulation et cetera.
Should an assumption be made that the main audience has a low reading threshold and a low comprehension? I think not and I intend not. Does that mean some people may not be able to understand what I write? Yes it does. Am I bothered about that? Yes I am, but not so much that I would step away from my education. If there are people who read and don’t understand what I’ve presented and who are interested enough and they will reach forward and take a step toward better understanding one way or another. If they’re not sufficiently interested they will not pursue the issue and that’s perfectly fine because there have other things they want to pursue. A blog doesn’t have to reach everybody. It doesn’t have to touch everybody or provoke a response from everybody.
And so it is with Parkinson’s. There are many ideas and views around about what causes Parkinson’s, what will fix it, what will allow for better management et cetera et cetera. These ideas sit with people with Parkinson’s, researchers, pharmaceutical industrialists, neurologists, GPs, nurses et cetera. Each of these groups of people will approach Parkinson’s from a perspective made up of their current discipline, their history, preferred methodology et cetera. Do I have to believe them all? Do I even have to read them all? Might I miss out on a miraculous cure? Yes I well may. But I don’t expect to. If there is a highly academic piece of research which appears by the title and the Digest to be relevant and interesting then I will find a way of understanding what is being written. If it appears to be pie in the sky and woolly I won’t bother. If that means I miss out then that’s what it means. Other people may feel that they need to read everything or read nothing or to operate by speaking directly with people or to get their views from a forum and these are all proper adult choices to be made by people who make similar choices everyday. Whether or not I agree with them is more or less irrelevant and I have no expectation that people should agree with me. If people want to actively disagree with me that’s fine and I may or may not take up cudgels in response. I rarely find that I want to correct somebody who thinks differently than myself and persuade them that I’m right and they’re wrong, but that’s me.
See you next time.