Functional balance and dual-task reaction times in older adults are improved by virtual reality and biofeedback training.
Cyberpsychol Behav. 2007 Feb;10(1):16-23
Authors: Bisson E, Contant B, Sveistrup H, Lajoie Y
Virtual reality (VR) training has been used successfully to rehabilitate functional balance and mobility in both traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors and elderly subjects. Similarly, computer-based biofeedback (BF) training has resulted in decreased sway during quiet stance and decreased reaction times during a dual-task reaction time paradigm in elderly subjects. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of VR and BF training on balance and reaction time in older adults. Two groups of twelve healthy older adults completed 10-week training programs consisting of two 30-min sessions per week. VR training required that participants lean sideways to juggle a virtual ball. Participants in the BF group viewed a red dot representing their center of gravity on a screen and were required to move the dot to the four corners of the monitor. Measures of functional balance and mobility (Community Balance and Mobility Scale [CB&M]), sway during quiet stance, and reaction time during a dual task paradigm were recorded before training, as well as 1 week and 1 month after the end of the program. Both groups showed significant improvements on the CB&M, as well as decreased reaction times with training. Postural sway during quiet stance did not change significantly.