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

TitleReactivity of alpha rhythms to eyes opening is lower in athletes than non-athletes: a high-resolution EEG study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsDel Percio, C, Infarinato F, Marzano N, Iacoboni M, Aschieri P, Lizio R, Soricelli A, Limatola C, Rossini PM, Babiloni C
JournalInternational journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
Volume82
Issue3
Pagination240-7
Date Published2011 Dec
ISSN1872-7697
KeywordsAdolescent, 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
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.

DOI10.1111/j.1460-9568.2012.08134.x
Alternate JournalInt J Psychophysiol