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Italian doctor to present research on Irish set dancing as remedy for Parkinson's

Tuesday July 23, 2013

Jane Walsh

Irish Central - An Italian Doctor’s chance discovery of the therapeutic effects of Irish set dancing in the treatment of Parkinson's disease will be the subject of an international Gathering event in Co. Clare next month.

Dr Daniel Volpe who is the Director of Neurological Rehabilitation at St. Raffaele Arcangelo Hospital in Venice will present his research work confirming the benefits of set dancing in the rehabilitative therapy for people with Parkinson's disease.

As part of the 26th Annual International Traditional Music Festival in Feakle, the Italian neurologist will present his latest research on "The Therapeutic Effects of Irish Set Dancing in the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease." The Conference will feature a series of lectures, workshops, set dancing, sean-nós dancing and a Céilí.

Dr Volpe be accompanied by the set dancing fraternity from Venice and Italian musicians.

The event will tie in with the world renowned Feakle International Festival of Traditional Music in County Clare from August 5th-7th August 2013.

World renowned Irish traditional musicians Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill will provide the musical accompaniment for a demonstration of Irish Dancing with Parkinson’s disease patients from Italy and Ireland. Meanwhile, there will be a workshop of set dancing in Parkinson’s for set dancing tutors and people with the disease.

Guest speakers at the conference include Prof Timothy Lynch, Consultant Neurologist, Mater University Hospital, Dublin, Dr Amanda Clifford, Lecturer, and Joanne Shanahan, MSc Research Student, University of Limerick.

Event spokesperson Pat Hayes described the background to Dr. Volpe’s research.

“During one of his regular visits to County Clare to play with his traditional Irish music band, Dr Volpe watched as a man he recognised as suffering from Parkinson’s disease walked into the room. Dr Volpe later watched in astonishment as the man who earlier had struggled to walk, took part in the festivities and set danced without any difficulty.”

He added: “Afterwards, Dr Volpe, who works in developing physiotherapy for people with Parkinson’s disease, took it upon himself to learn a bit more about the reel step. He conducted a study that found Irish dancing does, indeed, have positive effects for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.”

He concluded: “We are delighted to be hosting this unique event and have no doubt that it will focus in on the value of Irish music and dance.”

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