Benefits of new ‘whirlpool’ training system for brain electrical activity and cognitive functions of adult males

Postgraduate E.A. Kochkin-Shtol1
Dr.Med., Professor A.E. Batueva1
Dr.Biol., Associate Professor V.V. Erlikh1
1South Ural State University, Chelyabinsk

 

Keywords: electroencephalography, tapping test, short-term memory test, dynamic suspension gear, mature-age males.

 

Introduction. Human brain is a unique organ, a neurophysiological tool for managing the functional states of the body, as well as the emotional-cognitive processes of an individual. The neurons in the human brain tie up into the local neuronal networks (LNN) that interact at the electrochemical level, and thereby form an electromagnetic interaction space [3]. To date, the synergies between LNN and adaptive capabilities of the body [8] have already been studied, and the neurophysiological correlates of the cognitive [1-3] and emotional [4] processes have been identified. Of particular interest is the study of the effects of physical loads on working capacity of the nerve cells and the logic of their interaction within LNN.

Objective of the study was to determine the effects of movements, coordinated at the level of mental-and-motor actions (level "E") and performed in accordance with the new "Whirlpool" training system of the authors’ design, on the brain electrical activity, nervous system functionality rates and short-term memorizing capacity rates.

Methods and structure of the study. The Experimental Group was made of 6 apparently healthy unsporting males (mean age - 38±4.5 years). The sample was trained 8 months twice a week as required by the "Whirlpool" training system that offers a combination of isokinetic and speed-strength exercises performed under the conditions of hypogravitation (application for Patent No 2016131163 by application No 048410 of July 27, 2016) using a dynamic suspension gear for stress mitigation – a rectangular frame with the portable crossover weights in each corner.

The subject was placed horizontally within the suspension gear frame and fastened by the cables attached to the previously suspended weights. When the weights fell, the cables began to move inside the frame, thus lifting and stretching the man horizontally. Moreover, such additional construction elements as two logs (diameter - 20 cm, length - 284 cm, mass - 35 kg each) were attached in parallel to the subject’s forearms and legs (along the axes connecting the shoulder and hip joints - frontal axis of the body). During the axial traction, carried out using the weights 8–12 times greater than the man’s weight, the subject started to twist the logs in opposite directions to the vertical axis of the body, thus creating a common rotating motion cycle of 140-160º in both directions of the horizontal plane, and "drawing" with his body a seven-turn labyrinth symbol.

Exercises of this level of complexity cause an individual bodily sensation of approaching the traction safety threshold. It becomes possible to perform isokinetic exercises when they are formed at the level of mental-and-motor actions aimed at motion synthesis according to N.A. Bernstein. This training system was proved beneficial in increasing the statokinetic resistance of males [7]. The subjects’ electroencephalography (EEG) was analyzed using the artifact-free epochs extracted from the EEG signal - 2.5 sec each. The electrodes were located according to the "10-20" system: O1, O2, T3, T4, C3, C4, F1 and F2. We analyzed α-, β-, and gamma waves. The recording was made with the eyes open (O-E) and closed (C-E): at rest before and after exercise, as well as directly during the performance of the movements. The tapping and short-term memory tests were accompanied by the EEG recording made directly during the tests.

Results and discussion. The γ-frequency band: in the second control test with C-E, the average power increased (p<0.05) at rest after exercise in the following leads: FP1, FP2, C4, T3, T4, O2. An upward dynamics (p<0.05) was also observed during the same test performed with O-E – in the same leads, as well as in lead O2. Moreover, the γ-rhythm index increased in all leads during the C-E test, and in leads FP1, FP2, C3, C4, O1 during the O-E test (p<0.05). During exercise, the average γ-rhythm power in the C-E test increased (p<0.05) in all leads, with the exception of O1. In the O-E test, its power similarly increased (p<0.01) in all leads, except for O1 (p<0.05). In addition, during exercise, the positive linear correlation increased during the C-E test in the following leads: FP1, C3, T3, T4, O1; while in leads FP2 and O2 the correlation sign changed from "-" to "+". In the test with O-E, increased linear correlation was observed in the following leads: FP1, FP2, C4, T3, T4, O1, O2. At the same time, in leads FP1, FP2, C4, O2, the sign changed from "-" to "+". During the tapping test performed with the right (dominant) hand, the average γ-wave power increased significantly (p<0.05) in leads FP1, FP2, C3, O2; when performed with the left hand - in leads FP1, C3, T3, O2. The nervous system strength index (NSSI) increased with equal significance. At the same time, in two men out of six, NSSI changed its sign from "-" to "+". This suggests a curve change from concave, typical of the weak nervous system, to convex - strong nervous system. In addition, the average power of the brain electrical activity within the γ-range increased significantly in leads FP1, FP2, C3 during the short-term memory test. The increase in this parameter was accompanied by a decrease in the number of errors and a reduction in the test execution time (p<0.05). A special role in the formation of phase interactions is played by the γ-rhythms that contribute to the increase in the efficiency of synaptic inputs, which leads to an increase in the effectiveness of the functional neural network unification [3]. Probably, the increase in the short-term memorizing capacity rates and tapping test results was due to the effect of training conducted according to the author's method on the γ-activity of the brain. The β-frequency band: in the second control test with C-E, at rest after exercise, we obtained the statistically significant data on the increase in the average brain power within the range of high β-frequencies in the following leads: C4, T3, T4; with O-E - in leads C3, C4, T3, T4, O1, O2. We registered a simultaneous increase in the low β-frequency power during the C-E test in the following leads: C3, C4, T3, O1, O2 - during the second control test, and in O1 - during the first one. During the O-E test, there was a positive increase in power in the following leads: FP1, FP2, C3, T3, T4, O1, O2 - during the second control test and O1, O2 - during the first one. During exercise, we observed a significant growth dynamics in the brain electrical activity power during the C-E test only within the high β-frequency range - in leads C4, T3, O1, O2, respectively; the dynamics during the O-E test (p<0.01) was observed in the following leads: FP1, FP2, C4, T3, T4, at p<0.05 in O1, O2. At the same time, within the low β-frequency range, the average power increased in leads FP2, C4, T3, T4, O2. The tapping test results showed a significant increase in power within the range of high β-frequencies in leads FP1, C4, O1, O2 when performing the test with the right hand, and in leads FP2, O1, O2 - with the left hand. Accordingly, at low β-frequencies, a significant increase in power was registered in O1 when operating with the right hand, and in C4, T4, O2 - with the left one. We found an increase (p<0.05) of NSSI (nervous system strength index). During the short-term memory test, the brain electrical activity power increased in both β-frequency spectra in lead FP1. We assume that this is due to the stimulating effect of the author's training method on the frequencies associated with the motor, somatic, sensory and tactile cortical activity. The α-frequency band: there was an increase in its power at rest after exercise during the second control test. With C-E - in lead T3 (p<0.05), with O-E - in leads FP1, C3, T3, T4, O2 (p<0.01). The increase in the power of the brain electrical activity within this frequency range was also recorded under load. With C-E - in lead T4 (p<0.05), and with O-E - in all leads (p<0.05), as well as in leads O1 and O2 (p<0.01). We found a decrease in the linear correlation dependence between the average power and α-rhythm index during exercise in leads FP2, C3, and C4 with O-E. The C-E test revealed no such relations. An interesting fact is that, in this study, α-waves reached the anterior lobes of the brain both under load and after it at rest. This indicates the inclusion of the mechanism of conscious, voluntary self-regulation [5]. Numerous studies of α-activity have shown its correlation with the internal attention focusing ability, emotional activation and enhancement of cognitive activity at the moment of complication of the task being performed [6, 5, 9]. The data obtained demonstrate that the α-range power increases in both the eyes open and eyes closed tests. Some authors [10] regard this phenomenon as a sign of a highly adaptive type of resistance to adverse environmental conditions. In our case, this resistance increased throughout the training cycle. At the same time, during the C-E test, α-activity was found to synchronize with the formation of stable relations in various cerebral structures. It is believed that the formation of such stable relations contributes to the mobilization of the problem solving resource [9]. This manifestation of α-activity during exercise can be explained by the fact that males were to solve high-complexity motor problems. There were no significant changes in the α-rhythm power during the short-term memory and tapping tests due to the fact that, while taking these tests, the brain high-frequency activity increased in the compensatory manner.

Conclusions. The results of study of the brain electrical activity during the training cycle indicate the improvement of the adaptive capabilities of males, enhancement of their voluntary control over the self-regulation mechanisms. In this view, the "Whirlpool" training system of the authors’ design is recommended for training of combat athletes, shooters and athletes engaged in extreme sports. The author's training system "Whirlpool" contributes to the improvement of cognitive functions of the brain: nervous system functionality and strength, short-term memory capability.

 

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Corresponding author: berkutsla@mail.ru

 

Abstract

The study overviews and analyzes benefits of a new ‘Whirlpool’ training system of the authors’ design for the brain electrical activity and cognitive functions of adult males. The training system offers a combination of the isokinetic and speed-strength exercises using a dynamic suspension gear for stress mitigation. Sampled for the study purposes were healthy unsporting males aged 38±4.5 years on average. The sample was trained 8 months twice a week as required by the new ‘Whirlpool’ training system. The training system was found beneficial as verified by the growth of the g-frequency rhythm amplitudes and indices in the brain activity profiles, and amplitudes of the a- and b-frequencies; and the significant growth of the working capacity rates, nervous system functionality rates and the short-term memorizing capacity rates. It is important that the growth of the nervous system functionality rates is associated with a significant growth of the brain electrical activity amplitudes in the g- and b-frequency bands.