Neurological “awakening” in old age: vibration therapy as a nonpharmacological approach
Background: Population ageing raised new health issues driving medical sciences to seek novel complementary
therapies. In the elderly, a cognitive stimulation that counteracts neurological ageing could improve both
reaction time (decreased fall risk) and life quality (chronic pain improvement). The principal aim of the present
study was to evaluate vibrational treatment efficacy in reaction time improvement in subjects with aging-related
Methods: A Discovery and a Validation cohort of 28 and 38 subjects, with aging-related disease were prospectively
enrolled at the ORPEA’s “Casamia” in Borgaro and Richelmy facility in Turin (Italy). An additional cohort of
10 age – and gender – matched subjects were included as control group. Both intervention and control group
underwent vibrational treatment, and its efficacy was assessed by measuring reaction time to external stimuli
before and after each single treatment session.
Results: Compared to controls, a significant improvement in reaction time was already observed after the
first vibrational treatment session in subjects that underwent vibrational therapy (0.74 ± 0.46 vs 0.57 ± 0.24 s,
p = 0.134 and 0.69 ± 0.43 vs 0.54 ± 0.24 s, p < 0.001, respectively). Treated subjects showed an overtime
cumulative improvement of reaction time until end-of-treatment (treatment response rate: 79%). In addition,
the improvement in the reaction speed obtained at the first vibrational therapy was able to predict response at
end of treatment (OR = 10.83, 95% CI 1.83-64.03; p = 0.009). Finally, responsive subjects showed, between
the first and last sessions, a progressive decline in absorbed energy compared to non-responders in whom the
energy absorption was a continuum.
Conclusions: Subjects with aging-related disease may benefit from vibrational treatment showing a significant
improvement in reaction time after therapy administration. Further, the possibility to promptly identify responsive
subjects, may allow a cost-effective personalized therapy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
© Società Italiana di Gerontologia e Geriatria (SIGG) , 2018
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