Cerebral Cortex Changes in Basketball Players

Ji Hyun Kim, Jin Woo Park, Woo Suk Tae, Im Joo Rhyu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Plastic changes to brain structure and function have been reported in elite athletes of various sports. Interestingly, different regions of the brain were engaged according to the type of sports analyzed. Our laboratory reported no difference in total cerebellar volume of basketball players compared to that in the control group using the manual segmentation method. Further detailed analyses showed that elite basketball players had increased volume of the striatum and vermian lobules VI–VII of the cerebellum. We analyzed the brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of basketball players to understand their cerebral cortical plasticity through automatic analysis tools for MRI. Methods: Brain MRI data were collected from 19 male university basketball players and 20 age-, sex-, and height-matched control groups. In order to understand the changes in the cerebral cortices of basketball players, we employed automated MRI brain analysis techniques, including voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and surface-based morphometry (SBM). Results: VBM showed increased gray and white matter volume in both precentral gyri, paracentral lobules and increased gray matter volume in the right anterior superior temporal gyrus. SBM revealed a left dominant increase in both pericentral gyri. Fractal dimensional analysis showed an increase in the area of both precentral gyri, the left subcallosal gyrus, and the right posterior cingulate gyrus. These results suggest a significant role not only for the primary motor cortex, but also for the cingulate gyrus during basketball. Conclusion: Plastic changes of both precentral gyri, the pericentral area, paracentral lobules, and the right superior temporal gyrus were observed in elite basketball players. There was a strong increase of fractal complexity in both precentral gyri and a weak increase in the right posterior cingulate gyrus and left collateral gyrus. In this study, plastic regions linked to functional neuroanatomy were related to the competence required to play basketball.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere86
JournalJournal of Korean medical science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 21

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Motor skill
  • Mri
  • Plasticity
  • Spatial perception
  • Sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cerebral Cortex Changes in Basketball Players'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this