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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 2018, Article ID 8310975, 8 pages
Research Article

Functional and Structural Plasticity of Brain in Elite Karate Athletes

Faculty of Sports Science, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey

Correspondence should be addressed to Adil Deniz Duru; rt.ude.aramram@urud.zined

Received 29 June 2018; Revised 13 September 2018; Accepted 30 September 2018; Published 23 October 2018

Academic Editor: Loredana Zollo

Copyright © 2018 Adil Deniz Duru and Taylan Hayri Balcioglu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The structural and functional neural differences between the elite karate athletes and control group have been investigated in the concept of this study. 13 elite karate athletes and age-gender matched 13 volunteers who have not performed regular exercises participated in the study. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to acquire the anatomical and functional maps. T1-weighted anatomical images were segmented to form gray and white matter images. Voxel-based morphometry is used to elucidate the differences between the groups. Moreover, resting state functional measurements had been done, and group independent component analysis was implemented in order to exhibit the resting state networks. Then, second-level general linear models were used to compute the statistical maps. It has been revealed that increased GM volume values of inferior/superior temporal, occipital, premotor cortex, and temporal pole superior were present for the elite athletes. Additionally, WM values were found to be increased in caudate nucleus, hypothalamus, and mammilary region for the elite karate players. Similarly, for the elite karate players, the brain regions involved in the movement planning and visual perception are found to have higher connectivity values. The differences in these findings can be thought to be originated from the advances gained through the several years of training which is required to be an elite karate athlete.