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J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8010009

Brain Gray Matter Volume Is Modulated by Visual Input and Overall Learning Success but Not by Time Spent on Learning a Complex Balancing Task

1
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
2
Chair for Training Science “Cognition and Motion”, Department Sports Science, Otto von Guericke University, 39104 Magdeburg, Germany
3
Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences (CBBS), 39106 Magdeburg, Germany
4
Neurology Clinic, Otto von Guericke University, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Function)
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Abstract

To better understand the process of neuroplasticity, this study assesses brain changes observed by voxel-based morphometry (VBM) in response to two different learning conditions. Twenty-two young, healthy subjects learned slacklining, a complex balancing task, with either their eyes open (EO, n = 11) or their eyes closed (EC, n = 11). The learning took place three times per week for four weeks, with learning periods of 1 hour, providing a total of 12 hours of learning. The scanning and testing protocols were applied at three time-points: (1) immediately before learning (baseline), (2) immediately afterwards (post-test), and (3) two months afterwards (follow-up). The EO group performed better on the task-specific test. Significant group*time interaction effects were found in sensory-motor areas at the post-test, with increases in the EO group only. The results suggest that VBM-observed brain changes in response to learning a complex balancing task vary depending on the learning success and the availability of visual input, and not solely on the amount of time spent on learning. These findings should be taken into account by future studies using similar methodologies. View Full-Text
Keywords: balance; learning; VBM; sensory-motor system; vestibular system; visual system balance; learning; VBM; sensory-motor system; vestibular system; visual system
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Dordevic, M.; Taubert, M.; Müller, P.; Kaufmann, J.; Hökelmann, A.; Müller, N.G. Brain Gray Matter Volume Is Modulated by Visual Input and Overall Learning Success but Not by Time Spent on Learning a Complex Balancing Task. J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8, 9.

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