Evaluation of the impact of 6-month training by whole body vibration on the risk of falls among nursing home residents, observed over a 12-month period: a single blind, randomized controlled trial.

Author: Buckinx F, Beaudart C, Maquet D, Demonceau M, Crielaard JM, Reginster JY, Bruyère O.
Affiliation: Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium, fanny.buckinx@ulg.ac.be.
Conference/Journal: Aging Clin Exp Res.
Date published: 2014 Jan 28
Other: Word Count: 317

We have previously shown that short sessions of whole body vibration (WBV) were not able to significantly improve fall risk among nursing home residents but some trends towards an improvement of motor capacity were observed.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate the impact of 6-month training by WBV on functional and motor abilities among nursing home residents observed over a 12-month period.
Patients were randomized into two groups: the WBV group which received three training sessions every week composed of five series of 15 s of vibration at 30 Hz intensity for a period of 6 months and a control group with normal daily life. The impact of this training on the risk of falls was assessed blindly after 6 and 12 months by the Tinetti Test, the "Timed Up and Go" test and a quantitative evaluation of a 10-s walk performed with a tri-axial accelerometer. The occurrence of falls was also observed.
62 elderly healthy volunteers, (47 women and 15 men, mean age 83.2 ± 7.9 years) were included in this study. There was no significant difference between the two groups regarding the Tinetti test (p = 0.75), the "Timed Up and Go" test (p = 0.19) and the Locométrix® test, except for the step length, measured by dual task (p < 0.01). No significant inter-group difference in the frequency of falls was observed during the 12 months of research. A total of 42 falls were recorded during the first 6 months of experimentation: 24 falls in the treated group and 18 in the control group (p = 0.60). During the next 6 months, 19 falls occurred: 8 falls in the treated group and 11 in the control group (p = 0.52).
This study failed to establish the effectiveness of low doses of WBV, under the conditions used in our study, on functional and motor abilities of institutionalized elderly patients. However, given the positive results of other studies, further investigations, with modified therapeutic protocols, seem necessary to clarify the effects of WBV in the elderly.
PMID: 24469903