Effectiveness of exergaming in improving cognitive and physical function in people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia: Systematic review

Yinan Zhao, Hui Feng, Xinyin Wu, Yan Du, Xiufen Yang, Mingyue Hu, Hongting Ning, Lulu Liao, Huijing Chen, Yishan Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Individuals with mild cognitive impairment and dementia have impaired physical and cognitive functions, leading to a reduced quality of life compared with those without such impairment. Exergaming, which is defined as a combination of exercise and gaming, is an innovative, fun, and relatively safe way to exercise in a virtual reality or gaming environment. Therefore, exergaming may help people living with mild cognitive impairment or dementia to overcome obstacles that they may experience regarding regular exercise and activities. Objective: The aim of this systematic review was to review studies on exergaming interventions administered to elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment and dementia, and to summarize the results related to physical and cognitive functions such as balance, gait, executive function, and episodic memory. Methods: We searched Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Amed, and Nursing Database for articles published from the inception of the respective databases to January 2019. We included all clinical trials of exergaming interventions in individuals with mild cognitive impairment and dementia for review. The risk of bias was independently evaluated by two reviewers using the Cochrane Collaboration and Risk of Bias in Non-randomized Studies of Interventions tools. Results: Ten studies involving 702 participants were included for review. There was consistent evidence from 7 studies with a low risk of bias showing statistically significant effects of exergaming on cognitive functioning in people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. With respect to physical function, 3 of 5 full-scale studies found positive results, and the intensity of most games was classified as moderate. Conclusions: Overall, exergaming is an innovative tool for improving physical and cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia, although there is high heterogeneity among studies in terms of the duration, frequency, and gaming platform used. The quality of the included articles was moderate to high. More high-quality studies with more accurate outcome indicators are needed for further exploration and validation of the benefits of exergaming for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere16841
JournalJMIR Serious Games
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Cognitive
  • Dementia
  • Exergaming
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Physical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biomedical Engineering

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