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Clin Neurophysiol. 2010 Apr;121(4):482-91. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2009.12.004. Epub 2010 Jan 22.

Movement-related desynchronization of alpha rhythms is lower in athletes than non-athletes: a high-resolution EEG study.

Author information

  • 1Dipartimento di Fisiologia e Farmacologia, Universit√† "Sapienza", Roma, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The "neural efficiency" hypothesis posits that neural activity is reduced in experts. Here we tested the hypothesis that compared with non-athletes, elite athletes are characterized by a reduced cortical activation during simple voluntary movement and that this is reflected by the modulation of dominant alpha rhythms (8-12 Hz).

METHODS:

EEG data (56 channels; EB-Neuro) were continuously recorded in the following right-handed subjects: 10 elite karate athletes and 12 non-athletes. During the EEG recordings, they performed brisk voluntary wrist extensions of the right or left hand (right movement and left movement). The EEG cortical sources were estimated by standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) freeware. With reference to a baseline period, the power decrease of alpha rhythms during the motor preparation and execution indexed the cortical activation (event-related desynchronization, ERD).

RESULTS:

During both preparation and execution of the right movements, the low- (about 8-10 Hz) and high-frequency alpha ERD (about 10-12 Hz) was lower in amplitude in primary motor area, in lateral and medial premotor areas in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes. For the left movement, only the high-frequency alpha ERD during the motor execution was lower in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results confirmed that compared with non-athletes, elite athletes are characterized by a reduced cortical activation during simple voluntary movement.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Cortical alpha rhythms are implicated in the "neural efficiency" of athletes' motor systems.

2009 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20097129
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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