Localisation of exercise induced changes in brain cortical activity using a distributed source localization algorithm

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The relationship between physical exercise and the human brain activity is evolving as one of the key areas of sports medicine and science. To date our understanding of neural processes within the brain has relied on complex and costly methods such as positrom emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), both of which are difficult to apply to exercise studies. Low resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA) enables the spatial identification and analysis of brain cortical activity via traditional electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings. PURPOSE: To identify cortical regions that are affected by physical exercise using LORETA. METHODS: EEG was recorded before and after running at either 50% or 80% V02peak in 18 healthy subjects aged 20-45 years. LORETA analyses of alpha- and beta-activity were used to map and display activity within specific cortical regions that were affected by exercise. While alpha activity generally reflects normal brain function, beta activity is indicative of excitatory CNS activity. RESULTS: After exposure to 80% V02peak immediately following exercise there was a significant increase in alpha-activity (8-12Hz) in the frontal lobe combined with a reduction in beta-activity (12-35Hz) in the occipital and temporal lobes (p<0.05). Following 15 minutes of supine recovery, alpha activity returned to baseline levels whereas beta activity remained depressed compared with baseline activity (p<0.05). After running at 50% V02peak only marginal changes could be obtained. CONCLUSIONS: Exercise lead to a reduction in cortical activity which might reflect reduced cortical excitability. LORETA analysis localised these changes to the occipital and temporal lobes. Changes in brain cortical activity seems to be related to exercise intensity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number1
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 27.05.2009

ID: 3575914

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