Create Account | Sign In: Author or Forum

 
News  |  Journals  |  Conferences  |  Opinion  |  Articles  |  Forums  |  Twitter    
 
Category: Neurology | Pediatrics | Sports Medicine | Medical Students | News

Back to Health News

Black Belts’ Punching Power Linked to Their Brain Structure

Last Updated: August 20, 2012.

 

Brain scans show how coordinated movements can boost strength of martial arts experts

Share |

Comments: (0)

Tell-a-Friend

 

  Related
 
Brain scans show how coordinated movements can boost strength of martial arts experts.

MONDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The mind may be mightier than the fist, according to a new study that found that people's ability to throw a powerful punch may be linked to the control of muscle movement by the brain, not muscle strength itself.

After examining the brains of karate experts, researchers in London found that differences in the structure of their brains' "white matter" were associated with their ability to generate extremely powerful punches. White matter refers to the connections between different brain regions.

"Most research on how the brain controls movement has been based on examining how diseases can impair motor skills," study leader Dr. Ed Roberts, from the Imperial College London department of medicine, said in a college news release. "We took a different approach, by looking at what enables experts to perform better than novices in tests of physical skill."

In conducting the study, the investigators compared the brain structures of 12 people with black belts in karate who had an average of nearly 14 years of experience in the sport, with 12 people of a similar age who were physically active but didn't have any martial arts expertise.

The researchers tested how forcefully the participants could punch at short range. Infrared markers worn on their arms and bodies measured the speed of their movements.

The study showed the karate black belts punched harder because they were better able to time the movements of their wrists and shoulders.

Brain scans also revealed differences between the two groups in the microscopic structure in certain regions of their brains. The structural differences were seen in the white matter of parts of the brain called the cerebellum and the primary motor cortex. These areas of the brain are known to be involved in controlling movement, the researchers explained.

The brain differences measured by the scans correlated to the participants' wrist and shoulder movements when punching, as well as their level of karate experience. The study authors suggested the structural differences in the brain are associated with the black belts' punching ability.

"The karate black belts were able to repeatedly coordinate their punching action with a level of coordination that novices can't produce," Roberts said. "We think that ability might be related to fine tuning of neural connections in the cerebellum, allowing them to synchronize their arm and trunk movements very accurately."

"We're only just beginning to understand the relationship between brain structure and behavior, but our findings are consistent with earlier research showing that the cerebellum plays a critical role in our ability to produce complex, coordinated movements," he added.

The study was published online Aug. 14 in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about the brain.

SOURCE: Imperial College London, news release, Aug. 15, 2012

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Previous: College Students Who Binge Drink Say They're Happier Next: Dense Breasts Not Linked to Cancer Deaths

Reader comments on this article are listed below. Review our comments policy.


Submit your opinion:

Name:

Email:

Location:

URL:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)
 

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

 
     

 advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)

 

 

Useful Sites
MediLexicon
  Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us
Copyright © 2001-2014
Doctors Lounge.
All rights reserved.

Medical Reference:
Diseases | Symptoms
Drugs | Labs | Procedures
Software | Tutorials

Advertising
Links | Humor
Forum Archive
CME | Conferences

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions
Editorial Board
About us | Email

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.