Munich Neuroscience Calendar

Event:

13.12.2018, 17:15 TUM Lehrstuhl für Bewegungswissenschaft - Fakultät für Sport- und Gesundheitswissenschaft

Event Type: Talk
Speaker: Nico Lehmann
Institute: Universität Magdeburg, Sportwissenschaft

Title: WHITE MATTER PLASTICITY MEDIATES THE BENEFICIAL EFFECT OF CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE ON MOTOR LEARNING

Location:
L006
Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60
80992 München

Host: Joachim Hermsdörfer
Host Email: joachim.hermsdoerfer@tum.de
Abstract:
Neuroplasticity is considered as the neural basis of cognitive and motor learning in the CNS, manifesting itself through changes from the molecular to the systems level. The central notion of my talk is that cardiovascular exercise (CE) contributes to an improved responsiveness of the brain for quickly adapting to new environmental stimuli like learning.
In the first part of my presentation, I will argue that 1) cognitive and motor learning success depends on structural properties of the brain and their (practice-induced) reorganization, and that 2) CE stimulates structural plasticity in brain’s gray and white matter. We thus asked whether exposure to a CE intervention would improve subsequent learning via affecting brain structure.
The second part of my talk is devoted to the results of our latest MRI-study in which we tested this assumption experimentally.
Specifically, we used a sequential transfer design to investigate whether a short-term CE intervention speeds up subsequent complex motor learning and, if so, to assess whether this effect was driven by structural neuroplasticity in brain’s gray and white matter. We not only demonstrate that CE led to improved motor learning, but also that a substantial part of the between-group differences in learning can be statistically explained by CE-induced morphological changes of the brain, especially in white matter. This suggests that CE might have influenced subsequent motor learning by altered speed and/ or timing of information transfer in the brain. Potential implications of our findings for different target groups will be discussed.