Skip to main content

Table 1 Characteristics of the articles included in the systematic review

From: Virtual reality therapy for rehabilitation of balance in the elderly: a systematic review and META-analysis

Author/Year Participants
N (mean age)
Diagnosis Outcomes Intervention Result Conclusion
TREML, 2012 [15] N = 32
CG = 16
(67.63 years old)EG = 16
(66.88 years old)
Healthy Elderly Balance, mobility, flexibility and number of falls. CG: proprioceptive training EG: proprioceptive training and Wii Fit Plus Games.
Duration: 2 times a week, 10 sessions of 30 min.
POMA: p = 0.018
Unipedal support: p = 0.018
Anterior functional range: p = 0.012
Lateral functional range: p = 0.012
Berg Balance Scale: p = 0.068
VRT has been shown to be more efficient at conventional proprioceptive training in mobility, static balance and range.
RENDON, 2012 [8] N = 40
CG = 20
(83.3 years old)
EG = 20
(85.7 years old)
Elderly with risk of falls Dynamic balance CG: no intervention
EG: stationary bicycle warm up and Wii Fit games.
Duration: 3 times a week, 18 sessions of 35–45 min.
Balance confidence scale: p = 0.04 Authors reported improved dynamic balance, greater postural stability in the elderly and reduced risk of falls.
YEN, 2011 [18] N = 42
CG = 14
(71.6 years old)
GTC = 14
(70.1 years old)
EG = 14
(70.4 years old)
Elderly with Parkinson’s balance   CG: no intervention
CTG: stretching and conventional balance training protocol
EG: stretching, VRT balance board and games.
Duration: 2 times per week, 12 sessions of 30 min.
Computerized posturography: p > 0.05 Both CTG and EG improved sensory integration for postural control. However, the demand for attention to postural control did not change after any VR or conventional treatment.
MUSSATO, 2012 [9] N = 10
CG = 5
(65.6 years old)
EG = 5
(66 years old)
Healthy Elderly Balance and functional capacity CG: no intervention
EG: training with Nintendo Wii Fit accompanied by Balance Board and games.
Duration: once a week, 10 sessions of 30 min.
Stabilometric platform variables after training with Wii Fit: p > 0.05
Unipedal support: p = 0.01
TUG: p = 0.004 (comparison between the pre- and post-intervention results of the EG)
TUG: p = 0.704 (comparison between EG and CG)
The results did not show changes in stabilometric variables after treatment with Wii Fit. There was a significant difference between the pre- and post-intervention for the experimental group for both the Unipedal Support test and the TUG, but there was no statistical difference when compared with the control group.
LEE, 2013 [10] N = 55
CG = 28
(74.29 years old)
EG = 27
(73.78 years old)
Diabetes Mellitus Balance and gait CG: health education guidelines on diabetes
EG: virtual reality and games. Duration: 2 times per week, 20 sessions of 50 min.
Unipedal support: p = 0.001
Gait cadence speed: p = 0.001
Falls efficacy scale: p = 0.002
After the training, the intervention group showed improvement in balance, decreased sitting and standing time, increased gait cadence and perceived falls.
SZTURM, 2011 [16] N = 27
CG = 14
(81 years old)
EG = 13
(80.5 years old)
Deficit of balance and mobility Balance and gait CG: conventional physiotherapy program for strengthening and balance sitting and standing.
EG: rehabilitation with exercises of dynamic balance associated to games.
Duration: 2 times per week, 16 sessions of 45 min
Berg Balance Scale: p < 0.001
Balance Confidence Scale: p < 0.02
Timed Up and Go: p < 0.01
Gait speed: p = 0.20
Improvement of the dynamic standing balance control (EG) compared with the conventional exercise program (CG). However, there was no statistically significant effect on gait.
BIERYLA, 2013 [17] N = 10
CG = 5
(80.5 years old)
EG = 5
(82.5 years old)
Healthy Elderly balance CG: no intervention
EG: series of exercises and activities with games
Duration: 3 times per week, 9 sessions of 30 min
Berg Balance Scale: p = 0.037
Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale: p = 0.529
Functional Reach Test: p = 0.779
Timed Up and Go: p = 0.174
Better balance results, with delayed effect for 1 month post-intervention on the Berg Balance Scale. No effects on the Advanced Balance Scale, range tests or TUG.
LAI, 2013 [20] N = 30
CG = 15
(74.8 years old)
EG = 15
(70.6 years old)
Healthy Elderly Balance CG: no intervention
EG: VR therapy in the Xavix Measured Step System (XMSS)
Duration: 3 times per week, 18 sessions of 30 min.
Berg Balance Scale: p = 0.001
Timed Up and Go: p = 0.046
Modified Falls Efficacy Scale: p = 0.001
Bipedal balance test on force platform:
Eyes open: p = 0.052
Eyes closed: p = 0.092
Improved balance after 6 weeks of training; effects persisted partially after 6 weeks without intervention.
FRANCO, 2012 [14] N = 32
CG = 10
(76.9 years old)
GTP = 11
(77.9 years old)
EG = 11
(79.8 years old)
Healthy Elderly Balance WFG: Guidance for balance and flexibility home exercises and intervention in Nintendo Wii Fit with games.
MOB: group exercise sessions.
CG: no intervention
Duration: GTP: 2 times per week, 6 sessions of 10–15 min active play
EG: 2 times per week, 6 sessions of 30–45 min
Berg’s Balance Scale: p = 0.837
Tinetti’s Balance Scale: p = 0.913
Quality of Life (SF-36): p = 0.058
No significant increase in balance in any outcome measures.
TOULOTTE, 2012 [19] N = 36
G1 = 9
84.2 years old)
G2 = 9
(72.2 years old)
G3 = 9
(76.4 years old)
G4 = 9
(71.8 years old)
Healthy Elderly Balance G1: Physical activities - strengthening exercises, proprioception, flexibility and static and dynamic balance.
G2: Training with Wii Fit - Games.
G3: Physical activities associated with Wii Fit training.
G4: control group - watched television and board games
Duration: once a week, 20 sessions of 60 min.
Tinetti scale: p < 0.05 for G1, G2 and G3
Unipedal support: p < 0.05 for G1 and G3.
Modified position of center of gravity: p < 0.05 for G2 and G3.
Improvement in static balance.
G1 and G3 improved dynamic balance.
  1. *CG Control Group, EG Experimental Group, WFG Wii Fit Group, MOB Matter of Balance, TUG Timed Up and Go Group