Content » Vol 47, Issue 1

Review article

Machines that go ”ping” may improve balance but may not improve mobility or reduce risk of falls: A systematic review

Amy M Dennett, Nicholas F. Taylor
Physiotherapy, Eastern Health, 3152 Wantirna, Australia. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1899


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of computer-based electronic devices that provide feedback in improving mobility and balance and reducing falls.
Data sources: Randomized controlled trials were searched from the earliest available date to August 2013.
Data extraction: Standardized mean differences were used to complete meta-analyses, with statistical heterogeneity being described with the I-squared statistic. The GRADE approach was used to summarize the level of evidence for each completed meta-analysis. Risk of bias for individual trials was assessed with the (Physiotherapy Evidence Database) PEDro scale.
Data synthesis: Thirty trials were included. There was high-quality evidence that computerized devices can improve dynamic balance in people with a neurological condition compared with no therapy. There was low-to-moderate-quality evidence that computerized devices have no significant effect on mobility, falls efficacy and falls risk in community-dwelling older adults, and people with a neurological condition compared with physiotherapy.
Conclusion: There is high-quality evidence that computerized devices that provide feedback may be useful in improving balance in people with neurological conditions compared with no therapy, but there is a lack of evidence supporting more meaningful changes in mobility and falls risk.

Lay Abstract


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