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Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2015;75(4):434-45.

Brain-training for physical performance: a study of EEG-neurofeedback and alpha relaxation training in athletes.

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Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland,
Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland.
The Nencki Institute for Experimental Biology PAS, Warsaw, Poland.


In recent years, EEG-neurofeedback training (EEG-NFB) has been increasingly used to optimize various brain functions. Better performance in various activities was also reported after relaxation trainings, another popular method in therapeutic practice. Both these methods are used as a part of professional coaching in sports training centers. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the impact of such holistic training on physiological (EEG) and behavioral measures on semi-professional athletes. EEG-NFB paradigm was intended for amplification of the amplitudes of SMR (12-15 Hz) and beta1 (13-20 Hz) bands and simultaneous reduction of the amplitude of theta (4-7.5 Hz) and beta2 (20-30 Hz). Participation in NFB sessions was accompanied with self-administration of relaxing, audio-visual stimulation after each daily athletic training session. The training program resulted in the increase of alpha and beta1 power of trained participants when assessed in rest with eyes-closed. In eyes - open state, participants of the trained group maintained the same level in all frequency bands, in opposite to the control subjects, whose power decreased in the second measurement in beta1 band when compared to the first one. The trained group exhibited greater reduction of reaction times in a test of visual attention than the control group and showed improvement in several performance measures of Kraepelin's work-curve, used to evaluate speed, effectiveness and work accuracy. Together, these results present initial support for the use of holistic, neurophysiological training in sports workout.

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