Relationship between Cortical Activity and Physical Activity

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Systems Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2021) | Viewed by 15659

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Foggia, 71122 Foggia, FG, Italy
Interests: sport; physical exercise; sport physiology; cortical excitability; transcranial magnetic stimulation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, Unit of Dietetics and Sports Medicine, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, 80138 Naples, Italy
Interests: diet; nutrition; orexin; adiponectin; neuropeptides
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The adult brain has the ability to modify its organization (brain plasticity) through physiological mechanisms such as the repetition of simple movements. In 1985, Barker and colleagues were the first to describe magnetic stimulation of the human motor cortex. These observations led to the development of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The ability of TMS to stimulate deep neural structures, such as the motor cortex, has enabled researchers to investigate the integrity of the brain-to-muscle pathway and the functionality of cortical networks.

The aim of this Special Issue is to gather research investigating the effect of physical training on the excitability of the primary motor cortex as evaluated by using TMS. We have hypothesized that training may cause changes in motor cortex excitability. It has been also hypothesized that these changes may be reflected in motor coordination and reaction time. In particular, we would like to encourage the authors to submit original articles, or reviews, on the potential effects of physical and sports activity on the brain. Studies performed with transcranial magnetic stimulators are welcome; however, investigations carried out with other devices, such as EEG, will also be taken into consideration.

Keywords

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Cortical activity
  • Cortical excitability
  • TMS
  • EEG
  • Physical activity
  • Sport performance
  • Brain activity
  • Neural adaptation

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 4578 KiB  
Article
Corticomuscular Coherence and Motor Control Adaptations after Isometric Maximal Strength Training
by Dimitri Elie, Franck Barbier, Ghassan Ido and Sylvain Cremoux
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020254 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3070
Abstract
Strength training (ST) induces corticomuscular adaptations leading to enhanced strength. ST alters the agonist and antagonist muscle activations, which changes the motor control, i.e., force production stability and accuracy. This study evaluated the alteration of corticomuscular communication and motor control through the quantification [...] Read more.
Strength training (ST) induces corticomuscular adaptations leading to enhanced strength. ST alters the agonist and antagonist muscle activations, which changes the motor control, i.e., force production stability and accuracy. This study evaluated the alteration of corticomuscular communication and motor control through the quantification of corticomuscular coherence (CMC) and absolute (AE) and variable error (VE) of the force production throughout a 3 week Maximal Strength Training (MST) intervention specifically designed to strengthen ankle plantarflexion (PF). Evaluation sessions with electroencephalography, electromyography, and torque recordings were conducted pre-training, 1 week after the training initiation, then post-training. Training effect was evaluated over the maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC), the submaximal torque production, AE and VE, muscle activation, and CMC changes during submaximal contractions at 20% of the initial and daily MVIC. MVIC increased significantly throughout the training completion. For submaximal contractions, agonist muscle activation decreased over time only for the initial torque level while antagonist muscle activation, AE, and VE decreased over time for each torque level. CMC remained unaltered by the MST. Our results revealed that neurophysiological adaptations are noticeable as soon as 1 week post-training. However, CMC remained unaltered by MST, suggesting that central motor adaptations may take longer to be translated into CMC alteration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relationship between Cortical Activity and Physical Activity)
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Review

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17 pages, 6038 KiB  
Review
An Overview on Cognitive Function Enhancement through Physical Exercises
by Narayanasamy Sai Srinivas, Vijayaragavan Vimalan, Parasuraman Padmanabhan and Balázs Gulyás
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1289; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101289 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 7193
Abstract
This review is extensively focused on the enhancement of cognitive functions while performing physical exercises categorized into cardiovascular exercises, resistance training, martial arts, racquet sports, dancing and mind-body exercises. Imaging modalities, viz. functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electroencephalography [...] Read more.
This review is extensively focused on the enhancement of cognitive functions while performing physical exercises categorized into cardiovascular exercises, resistance training, martial arts, racquet sports, dancing and mind-body exercises. Imaging modalities, viz. functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG), have been included in this review. This review indicates that differences are present in cognitive functioning while changing the type of physical activity performed. This study concludes that employing fNIRS helps overcome certain limitations of fMRI. Further, the effects of physical activity on a diverse variety of the population, from active children to the old people, are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relationship between Cortical Activity and Physical Activity)
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12 pages, 1198 KiB  
Review
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a Tool to Investigate Motor Cortex Excitability in Sport
by Fiorenzo Moscatelli, Antonietta Messina, Anna Valenzano, Vincenzo Monda, Monica Salerno, Francesco Sessa, Ester La Torre, Domenico Tafuri, Alessia Scarinci, Michela Perrella, Gabriella Marsala, Marcellino Monda, Giuseppe Cibelli, Chiara Porro and Giovanni Messina
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(4), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11040432 - 28 Mar 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4453
Abstract
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, since its introduction in 1985, has brought important innovations to the study of cortical excitability as it is a non-invasive method and, therefore, can be used both in healthy and sick subjects. Since the introduction of this cortical stimulation technique, [...] Read more.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, since its introduction in 1985, has brought important innovations to the study of cortical excitability as it is a non-invasive method and, therefore, can be used both in healthy and sick subjects. Since the introduction of this cortical stimulation technique, it has been possible to deepen the neurophysiological aspects of motor activation and control. In this narrative review, we want to provide a brief overview regarding TMS as a tool to investigate changes in cortex excitability in athletes and highlight how this tool can be used to investigate the acute and chronic responses of the motor cortex in sport science. The parameters that could be used for the evaluation of cortical excitability and the relative relationship with motor coordination and muscle fatigue, will be also analyzed. Repetitive physical training is generally considered as a principal strategy for acquiring a motor skill, and this process can elicit cortical motor representational changes referred to as use-dependent plasticity. In training settings, physical practice combined with the observation of target movements can enhance cortical excitability and facilitate the process of learning. The data to date suggest that TMS is a valid technique to investigate the changes in motor cortex excitability in trained and untrained subjects. Recently, interest in the possible ergogenic effect of non-invasive brain stimulation in sport is growing and therefore in the future it could be useful to conduct new experiments to evaluate the impact on learning and motor performance of these techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relationship between Cortical Activity and Physical Activity)
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