Virtual Reality Component Reduces Risk of Falls in Elderly

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Virtual Reality Component Reduces Risk of Falls in Elderly
Virtual Reality Component Reduces Risk of Falls in Elderly

FRIDAY, Aug. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- For older adults at risk of falls, the addition of non-immersive virtual reality (VR) to treadmill training reduces the incidence of falls, according to a study published online Aug. 11 in The Lancet.

Anat Mirelman, Ph.D., from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial at five clinical centers across five countries involving adults aged 60 to 90 years with high risk of falls. Participants with a history of two or more falls in the six months before the study were randomized to receive six weeks of treadmill training plus VR (154 adults) or treadmill training alone (148 adults).

The researchers found that the incident rate of falls was significantly lower in the treadmill training plus VR group in the six months after training (6.00 falls per six months; P < 0.0001 versus before training); the rate of falls did not decrease significantly in the treadmill training alone group (8.27 falls; P = 0.49). The incidence rate of falls was also significantly lower in the treadmill training plus VR group than in the treadmill training alone group at six months after the end of training (incident rate ratio, 0.58).

"In a diverse group of older adults at high risk for falls, treadmill training plus VR led to reduced fall rates compared with treadmill training alone," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry; several authors disclosed a patent application on the use of virtual reality.

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