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Does dancing slow down the brain diseases?

Scientists from the German Centre of Neurodegenerative Diseases in Magdeburg observed that learning to dance had a greater positive effect on efficiency of the bran than fitness exercises which included endurance exercises (such as running, jumping), strength exercises and stretching. 26 volunteers aged 68 on average participated in the research. 14 of them for 18 months participated in diversified dance classes, and 12 of the m in fitness exercises.

Image tests of the brain after completion of the classes showed that in both groups the volume of various areas of the hippocampus, the structure responsible for memorising information (that is transferring it from short-term memory to long-term memory), has grown. The hippocampus is the main structure which is damaged in persons suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Its volume decreases also with age.

In the group taking the dance classes the increase of volume regarding a larger number of areas in the left part of the hippocampus, and what is more, only in this group a part of the right hippocampus called subiculum has grown. What is more, only the persons taking dance classes improved their balance.

As the doctors stress, dance classes are a very promising method which may slow down, and even prevent, the age-related deterioration of psychological and physical fitness. They have the advantage that they require aerobic , psychological as well as sensimotor activity, but at the same time they have a low risk of contusion.