Comparative efficacy of 24 exercise types on postural instability in adults with Parkinson's disease: a systematic review and network meta-analysis

BMC Geriatr. 2023 Aug 28;23(1):522. doi: 10.1186/s12877-023-04239-9.


Objective: To compare, rank and evaluate the 24 exercise types that improve postural instability in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Methods: We searched the data in PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Cochrane library, and Web of Science from their inception date to January 23, 2023. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that aimed at determining the effectiveness of physical activity interventions on postural instability in adults with PD. This review focused on different balance outcome categories: (a) balance test batteries (BBS); (b) static steady-state balance (sSSB); (c) dynamic steady-state balance (dSSB); (d) proactive balance (PB); (e) reactive balance (RB).

Results: Among 10,474 records, 199 studies (patients = 9523) were eligible for qualitative synthesis. The random-effects NMA model revealed that the following exercise training modalities had the highest p score of being best when compared with control group: body-weight support treadmill training (BWS_TT) for BBS (p score = 0.97; pooled standardised mean difference (95% CI): 1.56 (0.72 to 2.39)) and dSSB (1.00; 1.53 (1.07 to 2.00)), aquatic exercise (AQE) for sSSB (0.85; 0.94 (0.33 to 1.54)), Pilates for PB (0.95; 1.42 (0.59 to 2.26)). Balance and gait training with the external cue or attention (BGT_ECA) and robotic assisted gait balance (RA_GT) had similar superior effects in improving RB. The confidence in evidence was often low according to Confidence in Network Meta-Analysis.

Conclusions: There is low quality evidence that BWS_TT, AQE, Pilates, BGT_ECA and RA_GT are possibly the most effective treatments, pending outcome of interest, for adults with PD.

Keywords: Exercise; Meta-analysis; Parkinson disease; Physiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Parkinson Disease* / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy