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The effect of mechanical vibration-based stimulation on dynamic balance control and gait characteristics in healthy young and older adults: A systematic review of cross-sectional study.

Gait & Posture 2023 Februrary 24
BACKGROUND: A good dynamic balance control and stable gait played an important role in the daily ambulation, especially for older adults with sensorimotor degeneration. This study aimed to systematically review the effects and potential mechanisms of mechanical vibration-based stimulation (MVBS) on dynamic balance control and gait characteristics in healthy young and older adults.

METHOD: Five bioscience and engineering databases, including MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL via EBSCO, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and Embase, were searched until September 4th, 2022. Studies published between 2000 and 2022 in English and Chinese involving mechanical vibration related to gait and dynamic balance were included. The procedure was followed via the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis method. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the NIH study quality assessment tool for observational cohort and cross-sectional studies.

RESULTS: A total of 41 cross-sectional studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this study. Eight studies were good-quality while 26 were moderate-quality and 7 were poor-quality. There were six categories of MVBS at various frequencies and amplitudes utilized in included studies, including plantar vibration, focal muscle vibration, Achilles tendon vibration, vestibular vibration, cervical vibration, and vibration on nail of hallux.

SIGNIFICANCE: Different types of MVBS targeting different sensory systems affected the dynamic balance control and gait characteristics differently. MVBS could be used to provide improvement or perturbation to specific sensory systems, to induce different sensory reweight strategies during gait.

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