To compare the effects of exergames versus conventional physical training on the cognitive skills of older adults.
Scientific studies published in PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases were searched. Individual studies were assessed using the Cochrane Risk-of-bias tool for randomized trials (RoB 2). The quality of evidence was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE Pro). The cognitive outcomes were Trail Making Test (TMT)-A, TMT-B, Stroop Word-Color test, Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).
We identified 256 studies, in which 13 studies were included in the systematic review and 11 in the meta-analysis. The majority of the exergame interventions were based on the Xbox 360’s Kinect, followed by the Impact Dance Platform, Nintendo Wii, and the Bike Labyrinth. We observed heterogeneity in the conventional exercise group and in the duration of training, which ranged from 12 to 52 sessions. There was no statistically significant difference between groups in TMT-A (p=0.083), TMT-B (p=0.122), and Stroop (p=0.191). There were differences in favor of exergames in MMSE (raw mean difference=-1.58, 95% CI: -2.87 to -0.28, p<0.001) and MoCA (raw mean difference=-1.22, 95% CI: -2.24 to -0.20, p=0.019).
Despite statistical differences in MMSE and MoCA, these results should be interpreted with caution due to methodological heterogeneity. Some studies reported possible neurophysiological benefits induced by exergames, which should be explored in future investigations.

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