Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Skaters' brains: Specialized training of complex motor skills may induce sports-specific structural changes in cerebellum

Date:
March 26, 2012
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Specialized training of complex motor skills may induce sports-specific structural changes in the human brain.

Short track speed skaters.
Credit: sarah besson / Fotolia

A new study, using brain imaging technology, reveals structural adaptations in short-track speed skaters' brains which are likely to explain their extraordinary balance and co-ordination skills.

Related Articles


The work by Im Joo Rhyu from the Korea University College of Medicine, and colleagues, is published online in Springer's journal Cerebellum.

The cerebellum in the brain plays an essential role in balance control, coordinated movement, and visually guided movement, which are key abilities required for short-track speed skaters as they glide on perfectly smooth ice, cornering and passing at high speeds. Previous studies have shown that damage to the cerebellum results in impaired balance and coordination. In addition, structural changes in the brain have been documented following training of complex motor skills, in both jugglers and basketball players for instance. Are these changes sports-specific?

To assess the effect of short-track speed skating training on the relative structure and size of the two brain hemispheres, the authors analyzed brain MRI scans of 16 male professional short-track speed skaters. They compared them to scans of 18 non-skaters, who did not engage in regular exercise.

They found that skaters had larger right hemispheres of the cerebellum and vermian lobules VI-VII (the lobes connecting the left and right parts of the cerebellum) than non-skaters. These results suggest that the specialized abilities of balance and coordination in skaters are associated with a certain amount of flexibility in the structure of the right hemisphere of the cerebellum and vermian VI-VII.

Why do the structural changes occur to the right side of the cerebellum? Gliding on smooth ice requires specialized abilities to control dynamic balance and coordination. During cornering at high speed, short-track speed skaters turn only to the left while maintaining balance on their right foot. Standing on the right foot activates the right lobes of the cerebellum.

In addition, learning a visually guided task is thought to occur in the right side of the brain. Therefore the larger volume of the right hemisphere of the cerebellum in these skaters is likely to be associated with the type of movements which the sport requires, for strong visual guidance while cornering and passing.

The authors conclude: "Short-track speed skaters' specialized abilities of balance and coordination stimulate specific structural changes in the cerebellum, following extensive training. These changes reflect the effects of extraordinary abilities of balance and coordination on the right region of the brain."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. In Sung Park, Nam Joon Lee, Tae-Young Kim, Jin-Hoon Park, Yu-Mi Won, Yong-Ju Jung, Jin-Hwan Yoon, Im Joo Rhyu. Volumetric Analysis of Cerebellum in Short-Track Speed Skating Players. The Cerebellum, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s12311-012-0366-6

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Skaters' brains: Specialized training of complex motor skills may induce sports-specific structural changes in cerebellum." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120326112918.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2012, March 26). Skaters' brains: Specialized training of complex motor skills may induce sports-specific structural changes in cerebellum. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120326112918.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Skaters' brains: Specialized training of complex motor skills may induce sports-specific structural changes in cerebellum." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120326112918.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Governor Mike Pence declares the recent HIV outbreak in rural Indiana a "public health emergency" and authorizes a short-term needle-exchange program. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins