Effects of Exergames on Brain Dynamics in Women with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Clin Med. 2019 Jul 11;8(7):1015. doi: 10.3390/jcm8071015.


Background: Exergames are non-immersive versions of virtual reality that involve physical exercise and have shown several benefits on physical fitness and quality of life in women with fibromyalgia. However, the effects on brain dynamics are still unknown.

Aim: the aim was to evaluate the effects of a 24-week exergame intervention on resting brain dynamics in women with fibromyalgia in a single-blinded, randomized controlled trial.

Methods: Fifty-six women with fibromyalgia were assessed for eligibility; 55 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The exercise group completed a 24-week exergame-based intervention that focused on mobility, postural control, upper and lower limb coordination, aerobic fitness, and strength. This group received two 60-min sessions per week. We measured electroencephalographic (EEG) signals from 19 channels. Participants were also divided into two subgroups according to the duration of their symptoms. The intervention was more effective in the group with a shorter duration of symptoms, showing between-group differences in F8, T5 and T4.

Conclusion: Exergames may lead to changes in brain dynamics that could be related to increased cerebral blood flow.

Keywords: EEG; brain; chronic pain; exercise; virtual reality.