Neural correlates of attentional and executive processing in middle-age fencers

Purpose: Open-skill sports require high levels of visual attention and fast and flexible decision making and action execution. We evaluated whether these sports may counteract the well-known age-related declines in executive processing. Methods: Young and middle-age fencers and nonathletes were studied. Participants (N = 40) performed visual motor tasks while reaction times (RTs) and event-related potentials were recorded. Results: RTs were slower for the older subjects, but accuracy was not impaired. At event-related potential level, the late P3 component was delayed in older subjects, but those who participated in sports showed less delay. The RTs of middle-age and young fencers were comparable; the P1 latency of middle-age fencers was similar to that of the younger subjects; the N1 was enhanced in older, as well as younger, fencers; the N2 component of fencers had shorter latencies and larger amplitudes than nonathletes; and in no-go trials, the P3 component was enhanced in fencers independent of age. Conclusions: Overall, the practice of open-skill sports was associated with improvement of the executive functions that are already degraded at middle age.
© Copyright 2012 Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.

Subjects: neurophysiology fencing concentration action ability decision behavior age
Notations: combat sports social sciences
Tagging: Aufmerksamkeit
DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824529c2
Published in: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Published: 2012
Volume: 44
Issue: 6
Pages: 1057-1066
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced