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Abstract #3806

Long-term intensive training induced cortical thickness alterations in world class gymnasts

Meng Li1, Min Lu2, Shumei Li1, Junjing Wang3, Bin Wang3, Guihua Jiang1, Ruibin Zhang3, Xue Wen3, Jun Wang4, and Ruiwang Huang3

1Department of Medical Imaging, Guangdong No. 2 Provincial People's Hospital, Guangzhou, China, People's Republic of, 2Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, People's Republic of, 3Center for the Study of Applied Psychology, Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science of Guangdong Province, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China, People's Republic of, 4State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, People's Republic of

World class gymnasts are typical elite athletes whose motor skills and experience are much more than non-athletes. Therefore, changes in brain structure may be expected to occur after long-term intensive training. Thus, we utilized the vertex-wise and ROI-wise methods to investigate the alterations in the cortical thickness of gymnasts. We found the increased thickness in some regions of parietal, occipital, and frontal cortex in the gymnasts, and the significant correlation between thickness with years of training in right superior frontal cortex. Our study indicates that in response to long-term training, neuroanatomical adaptations and plastic changes occur in gymnasts’ cortical thickness.

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