, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 925-930
Date: 21 Feb 2012

Volumetric Analysis of Cerebellum in Short-Track Speed Skating Players

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Abstract

The cerebellum is associated with balance control and coordination, which might be important for gliding on smooth ice at high speeds. A number of case studies have shown that cerebellar damage induces impaired balance and coordination. As a positive model, therefore, we investigated whether plastic changes in the volumes of cerebellar subregions occur in short-track speed skating players who must have extraordinary abilities of balance and coordination, using three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging volumetry. The manual tracing was performed and the volumes of cerebellar hemisphere and vermian lobules were compared between short-track speed skating players (n = 16) and matched healthy controls (n = 18). We found larger right cerebellar hemisphere volume and vermian lobules VI–VII (declive, folium, and tuber) in short-track speed skating players in comparison with the matched controls. The finding suggests that the specialized abilities of balance and coordination are associated with structural plasticity of the right hemisphere of cerebellum and vermian VI–VII and these regions play an essential role in balance and coordination.