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Influence of sports on cortical connectivity in patients with spinal cord injury-A high-density EEG study

Influence of sports on cortical connectivity in patients with spinal cord injury-A high-density EEG study

Title: Influence of sports on cortical connectivity in patients with spinal cord injury-A high-density EEG study
Author: Frey, Vanessa N.
Renz, Nora
Thomschewski, Aljoscha
Langthaler, Patrick B.
van Schalkwijk, Frank J.
Trinka, Eugen
Höller, Yvonne   orcid.org/0000-0002-1727-8557
Date: 2023-08-21
Language: English
Scope: 3229760
Department: Faculty of Psychology
Series: Applied Sciences (Switzerland); 13(16)
ISSN: 2076-3417
DOI: 10.3390/app13169469
Subject: cortical connectivity; exercise; HD-EEG; spinal cord injury; wheelchair sports; Materials Science (all); Instrumentation; Engineering (all); Process Chemistry and Technology; Computer Science Applications; Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/4489

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Frey , V N , Renz , N , Thomschewski , A , Langthaler , P B , van Schalkwijk , F J , Trinka , E & Höller , Y 2023 , ' Influence of sports on cortical connectivity in patients with spinal cord injury-A high-density EEG study ' , Applied Sciences (Switzerland) , vol. 13 , no. 16 , 9469 . https://doi.org/10.3390/app13169469


Background: Minutes after an injury to the spinal cord, structural and functional reorganization of the connected brain areas may be initiated. Exercise enhances this neuroplasticity in the further course of the condition, which might modulate the connectivity patterns in brain regions responsible for movement execution and imagination. However, connectivity patterns have not been analyzed as a correlate for activity effects on neuroplasticity after spinal cord injury (SCI). We hypothesize that wheelchair sport has a modulating effect on the cortical connectivity in patients with SCI, such that distinguished activity patterns can be observed between sportive and non-sportive individuals with SCI and healthy participants. Methods: Sportive (n = 16) and non-sportive (n = 7) patients with SCI as well as sportive (n = 16) and non-sportive (n = 14) healthy participants were instructed to either observe, imagine, or conduct an observed movement while high-density EEG (HD-EEG) was recorded. Functional connectivity was computed from the recorded signals, and the coefficients were compared between groups and conditions using a non-parametric repeated measures analysis. Results: We found that depending on being sportive or not, patients with SCI and controls would react differently to the conditions, but the effects depended on the location in the brain as well as the analyzed frequency range (p < 0.05). Further analysis indicates that non-sportive patients showed higher connectivity received by the right posterior parietal cortex and a lower connectivity received by the left M1 compared to sportive patients. These effects were mainly observed during movement imagination, not during movement. Sportive and non-sportive participants in the healthy control group showed smaller differences than the patients. Conclusions: The results suggest a modulative effect of sports on connectivity patterns during movement imagination and to some extent during movement. This effect was predominantly found in patients with SCI, and to a lesser extent in healthy participants with opposing connectivity patterns. We suggest that this might be due to increased cortical excitability and the elevated brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) level in patients with SCI that is enhanced by exercise.


Funding Information: The study was financially supported by SCI-TReCS (Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg). Funding Information: Eugen Trinka has received consultancy fees from Arvelle Therapeutics, Argenx, Clexio, Celegene, UCB Pharma, Eisai, Epilog, Bial, Medtronic, Everpharma, Biogen, Takeda, Liva-Nova, Newbridge, Sunovion, GW Pharmaceuticals, and Marinus; speaker fees from Arvelle Therapeutics, Bial, Biogen, Böhringer Ingelheim, Eisai, Everpharma, GSK, GW Pharmaceuticals, Hikma, Liva-Nova, Newbridge, Novartis, Sanofi, Sandoz and UCB Pharma; research funding (directly, or to his institution) from GSK, Biogen, Eisai, Novartis, Red Bull, Bayer, and UCB Pharma outside the submitted work. Eugen Trinka receives Grants from Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Österreichische Nationalbank, and the European Union. Eugen Trinka is the CEO of Neuroconsult Ges.m.b.H. All other authors of the study declare that they have no competing interests. Publisher Copyright: © 2023 by the authors.

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