Reactivity of alpha rhythms to eyes opening is lower in athletes than non-athletes: a high-resolution EEG study

Paolo Maria Rossini, C Del Percio, F Infarinato, N Marzano, M Iacoboni, P Aschieri, R Lizio, A Soricelli, C Limatola, C. Babiloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that compared with non-athletes, elite athletes are characterized by a reduction of reactivity of electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha rhythms (about 8-12 Hz) to eyes opening in the condition of resting state, as a possible index of spatially selective cortical activation (i.e. "neural efficiency"). EEG data (56 channels; Eb-Neuro©) were recorded in 18 elite karate athletes and 28 non-athletes during resting state eyes-closed and eyes-open conditions. The EEG data were spatially enhanced by surface Laplacian estimation. Cortical activity was indexed by task-related power decrease (TRPD), namely the alpha power during the eyes-open referenced to the eyes-closed resting condition. Low-frequency alpha TRPD (about 8-10 Hz) was lower in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes in frontal (p<0.00002), central (p<0.008) and right occipital (p<0.02) areas. Similarly, high-frequency alpha TRPD (about 10-12 Hz) was lower in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes in frontal (p<0.00009) and central (p<0.01) areas. These results suggest that athletes' brain is characterized by reduced cortical reactivity to eyes opening in the condition of resting state, in line with the "neural efficiency" hypothesis. The present study motivates future research evaluating the extent to which this general functional brain feature is related to heritable trait or intensive visuo-motor training of elite athletes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume82
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Brain Mapping
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Martial Arts
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Sports
  • Young Adult

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