Acute effects of exergames on cognitive function of institutionalized older persons: a single-blinded, randomized and controlled pilot study
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Improvements on balance, gait and cognition are some of the benefits of exergames. Few studies have investigated the cognitive effects of exergames in institutionalized older persons.
To assess the acute effect of a single session of exergames on cognition of institutionalized older persons.
Nineteen institutionalized older persons were randomly allocated to Wii (WG, n = 10, 86 ± 7 year, two males) or control groups (CG, n = 9, 86 ± 5 year, one male). The WG performed six exercises with virtual reality, whereas CG performed six exercises without virtual reality. Verbal fluency test (VFT), digit span forward and digit span backward were used to evaluate semantic memory/executive function, short-term memory and work memory, respectively, before and after exergames and Δ post- to pre-session (absolute) and Δ % (relative) were calculated. Parametric (t independent test) and nonparametric (Mann–Whitney test) statistics and effect size were applied to tests for efficacy.
VFT was statistically significant within WG (−3.07, df = 9, p = 0.013). We found no statistically significant differences between the two groups (p > 0.05). Effect size between groups of Δ % (median = 21 %) showed moderate effect for WG (0.63).
Our data show moderate improvement of semantic memory/executive function due to exergames session. It is possible that cognitive brain areas are activated during exergames, increasing clinical response.
A single session of exergames showed no significant improvement in short-term memory, working memory and semantic memory/executive function. The effect size for verbal fluency was promising, and future studies on this issue should be developed.
Protocol number of Brazilian Registry of Clinical Trials
KeywordsCognition Memory Executive function Virtual reality Physical activity Mental health
This study was supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (Finep). We would like to acknowledge Mr. Victor Guilherme Miranda de Almeida who participated in data collection.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of Brazilian Council of Health and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Participants signed a consent term, and the study was approved by Ethics Committee in Research of the Universidade Federal Fluminense (no 458.834).
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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