Motor Learning Induces Plasticity in the Resting Brain—Drumming Up a Connection


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Abstract

Neuroimaging methods have recently been used to investigate plasticity-induced changes in brain structure. However, little is known about the dynamic interactions between different brain regions after extensive coordinated motor learning such as drumming. In this article, we have compared the resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FC) in 15 novice healthy participants before and after a course of drumming (30-min drumming sessions, 3 days a week for 8 weeks) and 16 age-matched novice comparison participants. To identify brain regions showing significant FC differences before and after drumming, without a priori regions of interest, a multivariate pattern analysis was performed. Drum training was associated with an increased FC between the posterior part of bilateral superior temporal gyri (pSTG) and the rest of the brain (i.e., all other voxels). These regions were then used to perform seed-to-voxel analysis. The pSTG presented an increased FC with the premotor and motor regions, the right parietal lobe and a decreased FC with the cerebellum. Perspectives and the potential for rehabilitation treatments with exercise-based intervention to overcome impairments due to brain diseases are also discussed.

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