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Behav Neurosci. 2008 Aug;122(4):917-27. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.122.4.917.

Functional cortico-muscular coupling during upright standing in athletes and nonathletes: a coherence electroencephalographic-electromyographic study.

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Department of Neuroscience, Fatebenfratelli Hospital, Isola Tiberina, Rome, Italy.


We tested the hypothesis that functional cortico-muscular coupling of brain rhythms is implied in the control of lower limb muscles for upright standing. Electroencephalographic (EEG; Be-plus Eb-Neuro) and electromyographic (EMG) data were recorded in 18 fencing and 19 karate elite athletes, 14 karate amateurs, and 9 non-athletes, during quiet upright standing with open and closed eyes conditions. Cortico-muscular coupling was evaluated by computing EEG-EMG spectral coherence and directed transfer function (DTF). Body sway area did not differ among the groups. In non-athletes, the EEG-EMG coherence (gastrocnemius lateralis) at centro-parietal and parasylvian alpha rhythms (about 8-12 Hz) was higher during the open than closed eyes condition. This was not true in the elite athletes. At the same alpha rhythms, the sport amateurs presented values halfway between the non-athletes and elite athletes. Finally, the DTF was higher for cortico-muscular than muscular-cortical direction. These results suggest that visual information affects cortico-muscular coherence at 8-12 Hz in non-athletes and amateur athletes but not in elite athletes. In elite athletes, this might be due to a long training for the control of equilibrium based on proprioceptive and tactile inputs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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