Dancing for Brain Function

The Physicians Committee

Dancing for Brain Function

September 22, 2017

dancing improves brain function in older adults

Study in a Sentence: 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.

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

Redefining Research: 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.

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