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The architecture of the golfer's brain


Jäncke, Lutz; Koeneke, Susan; Hoppe, A; Rominger, C; Hänggi, Jürgen (2009). The architecture of the golfer's brain. PLoS ONE, 4(3):e4785.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Several recent studies have shown practice-dependent structural alterations in humans. Cross-sectional studies of intensive practice of specific tasks suggest associated long-term structural adaptations. Playing golf at a high level of performance is one of the most demanding sporting activities. In this study, we report the relationship between a particular level of proficiency in playing golf (indicated by golf handicap level) and specific neuroanatomical features. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of grey (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes and fractional anisotropy (FA) measures of the fibre tracts, we identified differences between skilled (professional golfers and golfers with an handicap from 1-14) and less-skilled golfers (golfers with an handicap from 15-36 and non-golfer). Larger GM volumes were found in skilled golfers in a fronto-parietal network including premotor and parietal areas. Skilled golfers revealed smaller WM volume and FA values in the vicinity of the corticospinal tract at the level of the internal and external capsule and in the parietal operculum. However, there was no structural difference within the skilled and less-skilled golfer group. CONCLUSION: There is no linear relationship between the anatomical findings and handicap level, amount of practice, and practice hours per year. There was however a strong difference between highly-practiced golfers (at least 800-3,000 hours) and those who have practised less or non-golfers without any golfing practise, thus indicating a step-wise structural and not a linear change.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Several recent studies have shown practice-dependent structural alterations in humans. Cross-sectional studies of intensive practice of specific tasks suggest associated long-term structural adaptations. Playing golf at a high level of performance is one of the most demanding sporting activities. In this study, we report the relationship between a particular level of proficiency in playing golf (indicated by golf handicap level) and specific neuroanatomical features. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of grey (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes and fractional anisotropy (FA) measures of the fibre tracts, we identified differences between skilled (professional golfers and golfers with an handicap from 1-14) and less-skilled golfers (golfers with an handicap from 15-36 and non-golfer). Larger GM volumes were found in skilled golfers in a fronto-parietal network including premotor and parietal areas. Skilled golfers revealed smaller WM volume and FA values in the vicinity of the corticospinal tract at the level of the internal and external capsule and in the parietal operculum. However, there was no structural difference within the skilled and less-skilled golfer group. CONCLUSION: There is no linear relationship between the anatomical findings and handicap level, amount of practice, and practice hours per year. There was however a strong difference between highly-practiced golfers (at least 800-3,000 hours) and those who have practised less or non-golfers without any golfing practise, thus indicating a step-wise structural and not a linear change.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:March 2009
Deposited On:27 Apr 2009 12:46
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 15:03
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0004785
PubMed ID:19277116

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