Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this evidence based medicine (EBM) review was to determine whether or not Irish set dancing effectively improves the quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

STUDY DESIGN: A systematic review of three peer-reviewed studies published between the years of 2013 though 2016.

DATA SOURCES: The first study reviewed was a pilot multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT), the second study reviewed was a single blind, parallel group RCT, while the third study was an observational case study. All three studies were selected based on their relevance to the clinical question and their inclusion of patient reported oriented outcome measures (POEMS). The studies were selected via Pubmed and Cochrane Library.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Participants quality of life was measured using the Parkinson’s disease questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39). Participants filled out the questionnaire on two separate occasions once at the beginning of the study and once at the conclusion of the study.

RESULTS: A study conducted by Shanahan, Morris, Bhriain, et al. (Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2015;21(1):47-51. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.12.002.) found statistically significant data in support of Irish set dancing improving quality of life (p=0.01). Another study conducted by Volpe, Signorini, Marchetto, et al. (BMC Geriatrics. 2013;13(1). doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-54.) showed a decrease in the postintervention PDQ-39 score, when compared to the baseline, of 8.44, but was unable to report statistically significant data with a p-value of 0.153. Lastly, a third study was also unable to report data of statistical significance in the support of Irish set dancing effectively improving quality of life with a p-value of 0.43. (Shanahan J, Morris ME, Bhriain ON, Volpe D, Lynch T, Clifford AM. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2017;98(9):1744-1751. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2017.02.017.)

CONCLUSION: The data presented in this evidence based medicine review determined that it is inconclusive whether or not Irish set dancing effectively improves the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease. While there is confirmation that there was improvement in quality of life, the evidence was unable to be backed by enough statistical significance leading to the unsupported hypothesis. Future research studies should include larger sample sizes as well as extending the period of time that these studies are conducted.