Long-term physical exercise and somatosensory event-related potentials
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We have compared the occurrence patterns of somatosensory event-related potentials (ERPs) in athletes (soccer players) and non-athletes. ERPs were elicited by two oddball tasks following separate somatosensory stimulation at the median nerve (upper-limb task) and at the tibial nerve (lower-limb task). In the athlete group the N140 amplitudes were larger during upper- and lower-limb tasks and the P300 amplitude and latency were larger and shorter, respectively, during the lower-limb task compared with non-athletes. On the other hand, no significant differences in the P300 amplitude and latency during the upper-limb task were observed between the athlete and non-athlete groups. These results indicate that plastic changes in somatosensory processing might be induced by performing physical exercises that require attention and skilled movements.