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Training-induced neural plasticity in golf novices


Bezzola, Ladina; Merillat, S; Gaser, C; Jäncke, Lutz (2011). Training-induced neural plasticity in golf novices. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(35):12444-12448.

Abstract

Previous neuroimaging studies in the field of motor learning have shown that learning a new skill induces specific changes of neural gray
and white matter in human brain areas necessary to control the practiced task. Former longitudinal studies investigating motor skill
learning have used strict training protocols with little ecological validity rather than physical leisure activities, although there are several
retrospective and cross-sectional studies suggesting neuroprotective effects of physical leisure activities. In the present longitudinal MRI
study, we used voxel-based morphometry to investigate training-induced gray matter changes in golf novices between the age of 40 and
60 years, an age period when an active life style is assumed to counteract cognitive decline. As a main result, we demonstrate that 40 h of
golf practice, performed as a leisure activity with highly individual training protocols, are associated with gray matter increases in a
task-relevant cortical network encompassing sensorimotor regions and areas belonging to the dorsal stream.Anew and striking result is
the relationship between training intensity (time needed to complete the 40 training hours) and structural changes observed in the
parieto-occipital junction. Thus, we demonstrate that a physical leisure activity induces training-dependent changes in gray matter and
assume that a strict and controlled training protocol is not mandatory for training-induced adaptations of gray matter.

Abstract

Previous neuroimaging studies in the field of motor learning have shown that learning a new skill induces specific changes of neural gray
and white matter in human brain areas necessary to control the practiced task. Former longitudinal studies investigating motor skill
learning have used strict training protocols with little ecological validity rather than physical leisure activities, although there are several
retrospective and cross-sectional studies suggesting neuroprotective effects of physical leisure activities. In the present longitudinal MRI
study, we used voxel-based morphometry to investigate training-induced gray matter changes in golf novices between the age of 40 and
60 years, an age period when an active life style is assumed to counteract cognitive decline. As a main result, we demonstrate that 40 h of
golf practice, performed as a leisure activity with highly individual training protocols, are associated with gray matter increases in a
task-relevant cortical network encompassing sensorimotor regions and areas belonging to the dorsal stream.Anew and striking result is
the relationship between training intensity (time needed to complete the 40 training hours) and structural changes observed in the
parieto-occipital junction. Thus, we demonstrate that a physical leisure activity induces training-dependent changes in gray matter and
assume that a strict and controlled training protocol is not mandatory for training-induced adaptations of gray matter.

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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:2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 10:16
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 09:50
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1996-11.2011

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