Potential of Whole-Body Vibration in Parkinson's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Human and Animal Studies

Creative Commons License

Arauz Y. L. A., Ahuja G., Kamsma Y. P. T., Kortholt A., van der Zee E. A., van Heuvelen M. J. G.

BIOLOGY-BASEL, vol.11, no.8, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/biology11081238
  • Journal Name: BIOLOGY-BASEL
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: exercise therapy, neuropathology, animal experimentation, human experimentation, motor skills, postural balance, gait, neuroinflammation, neurotransmitters, neurogenesis, RATING-SCALE, RELIABILITY, EXERCISE, BALANCE, REHABILITATION, BRAIN, VALIDATION, VALIDITY, THERAPY, SYMPTOMS
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


Simple Summary Exercise has shown to have a positive impact on both motor and non-motor functions in Parkinson's Disease patients. However, particularly in later stages of the disease, reduced cognitive function and motor capacity may lead to an inability to stay physically active. Therefore, alternative strategies for patients with Parkinson's Disease are necessary to minimize burden for patients, their families and public health care. Whole-Body Vibration could be such an alternative. Whole-Body Vibration is an exercise or treatment method in which subjects are exposed to a mechanical vibration while sitting, standing or exercising on a vibrating platform. Whole-Body Vibration is currently used for physiotherapy, sports and rehabilitation purposes. Whole-Body Vibration treatment is interesting because it affects both the body and brain. The potential of Whole-Body Vibration for, specifically, Parkinson's Disease patients should be clarified for further application. For this purpose, we conducted an extensive systematic review of the articles investigating the effects of Whole-Body Vibrations (1) on animals and humans with Parkinson's Disease and (2) on neuropathological Parkinson's Disease mechanisms. The results show some potential of Whole-Body Vibration for Parkinson's Disease patients. The recommendations provided by this review can be used by researchers and rehabilitative practitioners implementing Whole-Body Vibration as a treatment for Parkinson's Disease patients. (1) Background: When the severity of Parkinson's Disease (PD) increases, patients often have difficulties in performing exercises. Whole-Body Vibration (WBV) may be a suitable alternative. This systematic review aims to clarify if WBV shows potential as rehabilitative therapy for PD patients. (2) Methods: We searched several databases for controlled trials investigating the effects of WBV (1) on PD populations and (2) PD neuropathological mechanisms. We included both human and animal studies and performed meta-analyses. (3) Results: The studies on PD populations (14 studies) show an overall significant, but small, effect in favor of WBV (Hedges' g = 0.28), for which the effects on stability (Hedges' g = 0.39) and balance (Hedges' g = 0.30) are the most prominent. The studies on the neuropathological mechanisms (18 studies) show WBV effects on neuroinflammation (Hedges' g = -1.12) and several specific WBV effects on neurotransmitter systems, growth factors, neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity and oxidative stress. (4) Conclusions: The effects of WBV on human PD patients remains inconclusive. Nevertheless, WBV protocols with sufficient duration (>= 3 weeks), session frequency (>= 3 sessions/week) and vibration frequency (>= 20 Hz) show potential as a treatment method, especially for motor function. The potential of WBV for PD patients is confirmed by the effects on the neuropathological mechanisms in mostly non-PD populations. We recommend high-quality future studies on both PD patients and PD mouse models to optimize WBV protocols and to examine the neuropathological mechanisms in PD populations.