Importance: Falls increase morbidity and mortality in adults 65 years and older. The role of dance-based mind-motor activities in preventing falls among healthy older adults is not well established.
Objective: To assess the effectiveness of dance-based mind-motor activities in preventing falls.
Data Sources: Systematic search included the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Abstracts in Social Gerontology, AgeLine, AMED, and Scopus databases from database inception to February 18, 2018, using the Medical Subject Headings aged 65 and older, accidental falls, and dancing.
Study Selection: This systematic review and meta-analysis included 29 randomized clinical trials that evaluated a dance-based mind-motor activity in healthy older adults with regard to fall risk, fall rate, or well-established measures of physical function in the domains of balance, mobility, and strength. The included studies targeted participants without comorbidities associated with higher fall risk. Dance-based mind-motor activities were defined as coordinated upright mind-motor movements that emphasize dynamic balance, structured through music or an inner rhythm (eg, breathing) and distinctive instructions or choreography, and that involve social interaction.
Data Extraction and Synthesis: Standardized independent screening, data extraction, and bias assessment were performed. Data were pooled using random-effects models. The study followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guideline.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes were risk of falling and rate of falls. For the secondary end points of physical function (balance, mobility, and strength), standardized mean differences (SMDs) were estimated and pooled (Hedges g).
Results: In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 29 randomized clinical trials, dance-based mind-motor activities were significantly associated with reduced (37%) risk of falling (risk ratio, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.49-0.80; 8 trials, 1579 participants) and a significantly reduced (31%) rate of falls (incidence rate ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.53-0.89; 7 trials, 2012 participants). In addition, dance-based mind-motor activities were significantly associated with improved physical function in the domains of balance (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.62; 95% CI, 0.33-0.90; 15 trials, 1476 participants), mobility (SMD, -0.56; 95% CI, -0.81 to -0.31; 13 trials, 1379 participants), and lower body strength (SMD, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.23-0.91; 13 trials, 1613 participants) but not upper body strength (SMD, 0.18; 95% CI, -0.03 to 0.38; 4 trials, 414 participants).
Conclusion and Relevance: Among healthy older adults, dance-based mind-motor activities were associated with decreased risk of falling and rate of falls and improved balance, mobility, and lower body strength. This type of activity may be useful in preventing falls in this population.
I want to like this article as "common sense" suggests exercise is good for us as we age. However, I think the quality of evidence appears poor and the title "associated with" includes the possibility of confounding variables - self selection, drop out, unblinded - lowering my scores.