Pulsed electromagnetic fields can prevent bone loss and improve balance function in older adults with primary osteoporosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Question(s): What is the effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) for the management of primary osteoporosis in older adults? Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trial. Participants: Older adults aged over 50 years with primary osteoporosis. Intervention: PEMFs at extremely low frequencies. Outcome measures: Bone mass, number of incident fractures, functional assessments, and adverse events. Results: Eight trials including 396
... rticipants met the inclusion criteria. Low certainty evidence showed that PEMFs was non-inferior to conventional pharmacological agents in preventing the decline of Bone Mineral Density (BMD) at the lumbar (MD 0.01; CI -0.04 to 0.06) and femur neck (MD 0.01; CI -0.02 to 0.04), and improving balance function measured by Berg Balance Scale (BBS) (MD 0.01; CI -0.09 to 0.11) and Timed Up and Go test (MD -0.04; CI -0.80 to 0.72), directly after intervention. The similar effects were observed in BMD and BBS at 12- and 24-weeks follow-up from baseline with moderate certainty evidence. Very low certainty evidence showed that PEMFs (versus exercise) had small but significant effect on BMD at the femur neck (MD 0.10; CI 0.01 to 0.20), and no effect on BMD at the lumbar (MD 0.15; CI -0.04 to 0.35). Conclusion: PEMFs had positive effects non-inferior to first-line treatment on BMD and balance function in older adults with primary osteoporosis, but with low to very low certainty evidence and short-term follow-ups. There is a need for high-quality randomised controlled trials evaluating PEMFs for the management of primary osteoporosis. Registration: PROSPERO CRD42018099518.