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The use of virtual reality games ( known as “exergaming” ) as a neurorehabilitation tool is gaining interest. Therefore, we aim to collate evidence for the effects of exergaming on the balance and postural control of older adults and people with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease ( IPD ). Six electronic databases were searched, from inception to April 2015, to identify relevant studies. Standardized mean differences ( SMDs ) and 95% confidence intervals ( CI ) were used to calculate effect sizes between experimental and control groups. I2 statistics were used to determine levels of heterogeneity. 325 older adults and 56 people with IPD who were assessed across 11 ¬studies. The results showed that exergaming improved static balance ( SMD 1.069, 95% CI 0.563–1.576 ), postural control ( SMD 0.826, 95% CI 0.481–1.170 ), and dynamic balance ( SMD −0.808, 95% CI −1.192 to −0.424 ) in healthy older adults. Two IPD studies showed an improvement in static balance ( SMD 0.124, 95% CI −0.581 to 0.828 ) and postural control ( SMD 2.576, 95% CI 1.534–3.599 ). Our findings suggest that exergaming might be an appropriate therapeutic tool for improving balance and postural control in older adults, but more ¬large-scale trials are needed to determine if the same is true for people with IPD.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access


© 2015 Harris, Rantalainen, Muthalib, Johnson and Teo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.