Nicola Marzano

SDN Istituto di Ricerca Diagnostica e Nucleare, Napoli, Campania, Italy

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Publications (34)122.23 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Cortical sources of resting state electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms are abnormal in subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Here, we tested the hypothesis that these sources in amnesic MCI subjects further deteriorate over 1 year. To this aim, the resting state eyes-closed EEG data were recorded in 54 MCI subjects at baseline (Mini Mental State Examination I = 26.9; standard error [SE], 0.2) and at approximately 1-year follow-up (13.8 months; SE, 0.5; Mini Mental State Examination II = 25.8; SE, 0.2). As a control, EEG recordings were also performed in 45 normal elderly and in 50 mild Alzheimer's disease subjects. EEG rhythms of interest were delta (2-4 Hz), theta (4-8 Hz), alpha1 (8-10.5 Hz), alpha2 (10.5-13 Hz), beta1 (13-20 Hz), and beta2 (20-30 Hz). Cortical EEG sources were estimated using low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography. Compared with the normal elderly and mild Alzheimer's disease subjects, the MCI subjects were characterized by an intermediate power of posterior alpha1 sources. In the MCI subjects, the follow-up EEG recordings showed a decreased power of posterior alpha1 and alpha2 sources. These results suggest that the resting state EEG alpha sources were sensitive-at least at the group level-to the cognitive decline occurring in the amnesic MCI group over 1 year, and might represent cost-effective, noninvasive and widely available markers to follow amnesic MCI populations in large clinical trials.
    Neurobiology of aging 07/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the working hypothesis that the EEG activity associated to non-painful and painful stimuli in condition of waking state (no hypnotic procedure) was related to the hypnotizability level. METHODS: Hypnotizability level was measured in 16 healthy subjects through the Italian version of the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (SHSS, score: 0-12). EEG data (56 electrodes) were recorded during non-painful and painful electrical stimuli applied to the left index finger. Cortical activity (vertex N1-P2 complex) was compared in subjects with low hypnotizability level (N=8, SHSS:0-6) vs. subjects with high hypnotizability level (N=8, SHSS:7-12). RESULTS: The amplitude of the N1-P2 complex was lower in the High-hypnotizability compared to the Low-hypnotizability group over primary sensorimotor cortex (C3 and C4 electrodes) and centro-parietal midline areas (Cz and Pz electrodes) for non-painful and painful stimuli. The SHSS showed a statistically significant negative correlation with the vertex N1-P2 complex at C3 and Cz (r=-0.5, p<0.05) electrodes for non-painful stimuli. CONCLUSION: Compared to the Low-hypnotizability subjects, High-hypnotizability subjects showed a reduced cortical activity related to non-painful and painful stimuli. SIGNIFICANCE: The results suggest a relationship between hypnotizability and cortical activity related to non-painful and painful stimuli in the condition of waking state (no hypnotic effect).
    Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 04/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Obese subjects without eating disorders were characterised by poor electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha rhythms during resting-state eye-closed condition (Babiloni et al., 2011b). Is this true also for the desynchronisation of alpha rhythms during resting-state eyes opening? METHODS: EEG data were recorded in 15 underweight, 20 normal-weight, and 18 overweight/obese subjects during resting-state eyes-closed and -open conditions. EEG sources were estimated by LORETA for alpha 1 (8-10.5Hz) and alpha 2 (10.5-13Hz). The alpha desynchronisation was calculated as the difference eyes-open minus -closed condition. RESULTS: The occipital alpha 1 desynchronisation was lower in overweight/obese and underweight subjects compared with normal-weight subjects (p<0.000005). The same was true for parietal, occipital and temporal alpha 2 (10.5-13Hz) desynchronisation (p<0.000002). The parietal and temporal alpha 1 desynchronisation was lower in overweight/obese than in normal-weight subjects (p<0.00001). These effects spatially matched those observed in the resting-state eyes-closed condition. CONCLUSION: Subjects with abnormal weight and normal eating behaviour are characterised by poor alpha desynchronisation during resting-state eyes opening. SIGNIFICANCE: Obese subjects without eating disorders show abnormal mechanisms of cortical neural synchronisation and desynchronisation of alpha rhythms in the resting state condition.
    Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 02/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cortical sources of resting state electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms are abnormal in subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here we tested the hypothesis that these sources are also sensitive to the progression of early stage AD over the course of one year. The resting state eyes-closed EEG data were recorded in 88 mild AD patients at baseline (Mini Mental State Evaluation, MMSE I = 21.7 ± 0.2 standard error, SE) and at approximately one-year follow up (13.3 months ± 0.5 SE; MMSE II = 20 ± 0.4 SE). All patients received standard therapy with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. EEG recordings were also performed in 35 normal elderly (Nold) subjects as controls. EEG rhythms of interest were delta (2-4 Hz), theta (4-8 Hz), alpha 1 (8-10.5 Hz), alpha 2 (10.5-13 Hz), beta 1 (13-20 Hz), beta 2 (20-30 Hz), and gamma (30-40 Hz). Cortical EEG sources were estimated by low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA). Compared to the Nold subjects, the mild AD patients were characterized by a power increase of widespread delta sources and by a power decrease of posterior alpha sources. In the mild AD patients, the follow-up EEG recordings showed increased power of widespread delta sources as well as decreased power of widespread alpha and posterior beta 1 sources. These results suggest that the resting state EEG sources were sensitive, at least at group level, to the cognitive decline occurring in the mild AD group over a one-year period, and might represent cost-effective and non-invasive markers with which to enrich cohorts of AD patients that decline faster for clinical studies.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 01/2013; · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients suffering from prodromal (i.e., amnestic mild cognitive impairment, aMCI) and overt Alzheimer's disease (AD) show abnormal cortical sources of resting state electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms. Here we tested the hypothesis that these sources show extensive abnormalities in liver cirrhosis (LC) patients with a cognitive impairment due to covert and diffuse hepatic encephalopathy (CHE). EEG activity was recorded in 64 LC (including 21 CHE), 21 aMCI, 21 AD, and 21 cognitively intact (Nold) subjects. EEG rhythms of interest were delta (2-4 Hz), theta (4-8 Hz), alpha 1 (8-10.5 Hz), alpha 2 (10.5-13 Hz), beta 1 (13-20 Hz), and beta 2 (20-30 Hz). EEG cortical sources were estimated by LORETA. Widespread sources of theta (all but frontal), alpha 1 (all but occipital), and alpha 2 (parietal, temporal) rhythms were higher in amplitude in all LC patients than in the Nold subjects. In these LC patients, the activity of central, parietal, and temporal theta sources correlated negatively, and parietal and temporal alpha 2 sources correlated positively with an index of global cognitive status. Finally, widespread theta (all but frontal) and alpha 1 (all but occipital) sources showed higher activity in the sub-group of LC patients with CHE than in the patients with aMCI or AD. These results unveiled the larger spatial-frequency abnormalities of the resting state EEG sources in the CHE compared to the AD condition.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 12/2012; · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The IZOF-based probabilistic approach provides a methodology to study within-individual patterns of a performer’s states. So far, the time course of physiological data before performance have not been investigated within the probabilistic methodology framework. The purpose of this study was to examine the value of the probabilistic approach in the assessment of the time course of physiological indicators of arousal/activation and vigilance during the period preceding the shot, in comparison with the performance-based method. Design: Longitudinal assessment of psycho-physiological data and performance outcomes was conducted on eight elite pistol shooters in a controlled setting. Methods: Each participant performed 60 air-pistol shots in 2 sessions. Skin conductance level and cardiac activity were recorded. Affective states intensity was evaluated on a modified 11-point Borg scale. Affect, HR and SC level were evaluated with a Performance-based approach and a Probabilistic method, and results compared at an individual level. Results: Findings showed the higher effectiveness of the probabilistic method to analyse physiological parameters (skin conductance and heart rate) and to describe the physiological mechanisms associated with shooters’ performance. Conclusions: The probabilisticmethod betterdiscerned the contribution of arousal/activationand vigilance to optimal and non-optimal performance in elite shooters, thereby providing a sharper representation of the temporal pattern of performers’ states before shooting. From an applied perspective, we believe that the probabilistic approach can help athletes become aware of the subtle variations occurring in their psychophysical states during the preparatory period preceding the shot and not only at the moment of shot release
    Psychology of Sport and Exercise 03/2012; 13(2):91-98. · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Playing music in ensemble represents a unique human condition/performance where musicians should rely on empathic relationships. Recent theories attribute to frontal Brodmann areas (BAs) 44/45 and 10/11 a neural basis for "emotional" and "cognitive" empathy. We hypothesized that activity of these structures reflects empathy trait in professional musicians playing in ensemble. Simultaneous electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha rhythms (8-12 Hz) were recorded in three saxophone quartets during music performance in ensemble (EXECUTION), video observation of their own performance (OBSERVATION), a control task (CONTROL), and resting state (RESTING). EEG source estimation was performed. Results showed that the higher the empathy quotient test score, the higher the alpha desynchronization in right BA 44/45 during the OBSERVATION referenced to RESTING condition. Empathy trait score and alpha desynchronization were not correlated in other control areas or in EXECUTION/CONTROL conditions. These results suggest that alpha rhythms in BA 44/45 reflect "emotional" empathy in musicians observing own performance.
    NeuroImage 12/2011; 60(1):105-16. · 6.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The IZOF-based probabilistic approach provides a methodology to study within-individual patterns of a performer’s states. So far, the time course of physiological data before performance have not been investigated within the probabilistic methodology framework. The purpose of this study was to examine the value of the probabilistic approach in the assessment of the time course of physiological indicators of arousal/activation and vigilance during the period preceding the shot, in comparison with the performance-based method. Design: Longitudinal assessment of psycho-physiological data and performance outcomes was conducted on eight elite pistol shooters in a controlled setting. Methods: Each participant performed 60 air-pistol shots in 2 sessions. Skin conductance level and cardiac activity were recorded. Affective states intensity was evaluated on a modified 11-point Borg scale. Affect, HR and SC level were evaluated with a Performance-based approach and a Probabilistic method, and results compared at an individual level. Results: Findings showed the higher effectiveness of the probabilistic method to analyse physiological parameters (skin conductance and heart rate) and to describe the physiological mechanisms associated with shooters’ performance. Conclusions: The probabilisticmethod betterdiscerned the contribution of arousal/activationand vigilance to optimal and non-optimal performance in elite shooters, thereby providing a sharper representation of the temporal pattern of performers’ states before shooting. From an applied perspective, we believe that the probabilistic approach can help athletes become aware of the subtle variations occurring in their psychophysical states during the preparatory period preceding the shot and not only at the moment of shot release.
    Psychology of Sport and Exercise 10/2011; 13:91-98. · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been shown that frontocentral electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha rhythms (about 10-12 Hz) were higher in amplitude in expert golfers in successful than unsuccessful putts, possibly reflecting the idea that amplitude regulation of frontocentral alpha rhythms is a physiological mechanism implied in motor control and golfer's performance (Babiloni et al., 2008). Here, we tested the ancillary hypothesis that golfer's performance is also associated to an improved coordination of cortical activity, as reflected by functional coupling of alpha rhythms across cortical regions. To this aim, between-electrodes spectral coherence was computed from spatially enhanced EEG data of the mentioned study (i.e. right handed 12 expert golfers; augmented 10-20 system; surface Laplacian estimation). Low- (about 8-10 Hz) and high-frequency (about 10-12 Hz) alpha sub-bands were considered with reference to individual alpha frequency peak. Statistical results showed that intra-hemispheric low-frequency alpha coherence in bilateral parietal-frontal (P3-F3 and P4-F4 electrodes) and parietal-central (P3-C3 and P4-C4 electrodes) was higher in amplitude in successful than unsuccessful putts (p<0.004). The same was true for intra-hemispheric high-frequency alpha coherence in bilateral parietal-frontal regions (p<0.004). These findings suggest that intra-hemispheric functional coupling of cortical alpha rhythms between "visuo-spatial" parietal area and other cortical areas is implicated in fine motor control of golfer's performance.
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 09/2011; 82(3):260-8. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that compared with non-athletes, elite athletes are characterized by a reduction of reactivity of electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha rhythms (about 8-12 Hz) to eyes opening in the condition of resting state, as a possible index of spatially selective cortical activation (i.e. "neural efficiency"). EEG data (56 channels; Eb-Neuro©) were recorded in 18 elite karate athletes and 28 non-athletes during resting state eyes-closed and eyes-open conditions. The EEG data were spatially enhanced by surface Laplacian estimation. Cortical activity was indexed by task-related power decrease (TRPD), namely the alpha power during the eyes-open referenced to the eyes-closed resting condition. Low-frequency alpha TRPD (about 8-10 Hz) was lower in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes in frontal (p<0.00002), central (p<0.008) and right occipital (p<0.02) areas. Similarly, high-frequency alpha TRPD (about 10-12 Hz) was lower in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes in frontal (p<0.00009) and central (p<0.01) areas. These results suggest that athletes' brain is characterized by reduced cortical reactivity to eyes opening in the condition of resting state, in line with the "neural efficiency" hypothesis. The present study motivates future research evaluating the extent to which this general functional brain feature is related to heritable trait or intensive visuo-motor training of elite athletes.
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 09/2011; 82(3):240-7. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we tested the hypothesis that compared with normal weight non dieting (control) subjects, normal weight successful dieters submitted to a rigorous and continuous monitoring of body weight (i.e. karate athletes) are characterized by an increase of cortical responses to oddball visual stimuli depicting the enlargement of faces or foods, as neural underpinning of attention processes related to the control of weight and eating. Electroencephalographic (EEG) data were recorded in 18 successful dieters (5 females) and 24 non dieting subjects (9 females). The subjects were given frequent (70%) and rare (30%) stimuli depicting faces (FACE), food (FOOD), and landscapes (CONTROL). The task was to click the mouse after the rare stimuli. The rare stimuli depicted the frequent stimuli graphically dilated by 25% along the horizontal axis. Cortical responses accompanying attention processes were probed by the difference between positive event-related potentials peaking around 400-500ms post-stimulus for the rare minus frequent stimuli (P300). The popular freeware LORETA estimated P300 cortical sources. The results showed that in the FACE condition, the amplitude of left frontal (BA 6) and medial parietal (BA 5) P300 sources was higher in the successful dieters (karate athletes) than non dieting subjects. These results disclose that frontal-parietal responses to "oddball" stimuli depicting enlarged faces (i.e. representing face fattening) are enhanced in successful dieters (karate athletes). Future studies should evaluate this effect in other populations of successful dieters (i.e. boxers, top models etc.).
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 08/2011; 82(2):153-66. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is well known that resting state regional cerebral blood flow is abnormal in obese when compared to normal-weight subjects but the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms are poorly known. To address this issue, we tested the hypothesis that amplitude of resting state cortical electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms differ among underweight, normal-weight, and overweight/obese subjects as a reflection of the relationship between cortical neural synchronization and regulation of body weight. Eyes-closed resting state EEG data were recorded in 16 underweight subjects, 25 normal-weight subjects, and 18 overweight/obese subjects. All subjects were psychophysically healthy (no eating disorders or major psychopathologies). EEG rhythms of interest were delta (2-4Hz), theta (4-8Hz), alpha 1 (8-10.5Hz), alpha 2 (10.5-13Hz), beta 1 (13-20Hz), beta 2 (20-30Hz), and gamma (30-40Hz). EEG cortical sources were estimated by low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA). Statistical results showed that parietal and temporal alpha 1 sources fitted the pattern underweight>normal-weight>overweight/obese (p<0.004), whereas occipital alpha 1 sources fitted the pattern normal-weight>underweight>overweight/obese (p<0.00003). Furthermore, amplitude of the parietal, occipital, and temporal alpha 2 sources was stronger in the normal-weight subjects than in the underweight and overweight/obese subjects (p<0.0007). These results suggest that abnormal weight in healthy overweight/obese subjects is related to abnormal cortical neural synchronization at the basis of resting state alpha rhythms and fluctuation of global brain arousal.
    NeuroImage 06/2011; 58(2):698-707. · 6.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we describe a methodological approach for the simultaneous electroencephalographic (EEG) recording in musicians playing in ensemble. Four professional saxophonists wore pre-wired EEG caps (30 electrodes placed according to an augmented 10-20 system; cephalic reference and ground). Each cap was connected to a single multi-channel amplifier box [Brain Explorer (BE), EB-Neuro(©)]. The four boxes converged to a single workstation equipped with a software (GALILEO NT, EB-Neuro(©)) allowing the simultaneous recording of sounds, digital trigger, and EEG-electrooculographic (EOG)-electromyographic (EMG) data, and providing a separate output file for each individual. Noteworthy, the subjects were electrically decoupled to satisfy international safety guidelines. The quality of the EEG data was confirmed by the rate of artifact-free EEG epochs (about 80%) and by EEG spectral features. During the resting state, dominant EEG power density values were observed at alpha band (8-12Hz) in posterior cortex. The quality of EMG can be used to identify "on" and "off" states of the musicians' motor performance, thus potentially allowing the investigation of the relationships between EEG dynamics and different characteristics of the specific performance. During the music performance, alpha power density values decreased in amplitude in several cortical regions, whereas power density values enhanced within narrow high-frequency bands. In conclusion, the present methodological approach appeared to be suitable for simultaneous EEG recordings in musicians playing in ensemble.
    Cortex 05/2011; 47(9):1082-90. · 6.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A previous electroencephalographic (EEG) study has shown that obese subjects are characterized by reduced attention frontal responses to food images, thus raising the hypothesis of attention deficits associated with abnormal body weight (Babiloni et al., 2009a,b). In this line, here we tested the hypothesis of reduced attention cortical responses in underweight subjects. EEG data were recorded in 16 normal-weight and 16 underweight subjects during an "oddball" paradigm. The subjects were given frequent (70%) and rare (30%) stimuli depicting faces (FACE), food (FOOD), and landscapes (CONTROL), and clicked the mouse after the rare stimuli. These stimuli depicted the same frequent stimuli graphically dilated by 25% along the horizontal axis. Cortical attention responses were probed by the difference between positive event-related potentials peaking around 400-500 ms post-stimulus for the rare minus frequent stimuli (P300). Low resolution electromagnetic source tomography (LORETA) estimated P300 sources. In the FACE condition, the amplitude of prefrontal (Brodmann area: BA10 and BA11) and tempo-parietal (BA19, BA20, BA21, BA22, BA36, BA37, BA39, BA40) sources was lower in the underweight than normal-weight subjects. These results suggest that anterior-posterior cortical attention processes to face images declined in underweight subjects. The present study motivates future research evaluating if this mechanism is related to a poor judgment about body shape.
    Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 03/2011; 122(7):1348-59. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been shown that elite pistol shooters are characterized by a power increase of wide cortical electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha (about 8-12 Hz) and beta (about 14-35 Hz) rhythms during the preparation of air pistol shots, possibly related to selective attentional and "neural efficiency" processes [Del Percio C, Babiloni C, Bertollo M, Marzano N, Iacoboni M, Infarinato F, Lizio R, Stocchi M, Robazza C, Cibelli G, Comani S, Eusebi F (2009a) Hum Brain Mapp 30(11):3527-3540; Del Percio C, Babiloni C, Marzano N, Iacoboni M, Infarinato F, Vecchio F, Lizio R, Aschieri P, Fiore A, Toràn G, Gallamini M, Baratto M, Eusebi F (2009b) Brain Res Bull 79(3-4):193-200]. Here, we tested the hypothesis that such processes are associated with an enhanced functional coupling of posterior cortical regions involved in task-relevant attentional processes and visuo-motor transformations. To this aim, between-electrodes spectral coherence was computed from spatially enhanced EEG data collected during a previous study (i.e. right handed 18 elite air pistol shooters and 10 matched non-athletes; augmented 10-20 system; surface Laplacian estimation). Theta (about 4-6 Hz), low-frequency alpha (about 8-10 Hz), high-frequency alpha (about 10-12 Hz), low-frequency beta (14-22 Hz), high-frequency beta (23-35 Hz), and gamma (36-44 Hz) bands were considered. Statistical results showed that intra-hemispheric low-frequency alpha (parietal-temporal and parietal-occipital regions), high-frequency alpha (parietal-temporal and parietal-occipital regions), high-frequency beta, and gamma (parietal-temporal regions) coherence values were stable in amplitude in the elite athletes but not in the non-athletes during the preparation of pistol shots. The same applies to inter-hemispheric low-frequency alpha (parietal regions), high-frequency alpha (parietal regions), high-frequency beta and gamma coherence values. These findings suggest that under the present experimental conditions, elite athletes are characterized by the stabilization of functional coupling of preparatory EEG rhythms between "visuo-spatial" parietal area and other posterior cortical areas.
    Neuroscience 02/2011; 175:198-211. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Physiological brain aging is characterized by a combination of synaptic pruning, loss of cortico-cortical connections and neuronal apoptosis that provoke age-dependent decline of cognitive functions. Neural/synaptic redundancy and plastic remodeling of brain networking, also secondary to mental and physical training, promotes maintenance of brain activity in healthy elderly for everyday life and fully productive affective and intellectual capabilities. Unfortunately, in pathological situations, aging triggers neurodegenerative processes that impact on cognition, like Alzheimer's disease (AD). Oscillatory electromagnetic brain activity is a hallmark of neuronal network function in various brain regions. Modern neurophysiological techniques including digital electroencephalography (EEG) allow non-invasive analysis of cortico-cortical connectivity and neuronal synchronization of firing, and coherence of brain rhythmic oscillations at various frequencies. The present review of field EEG literature suggests that discrimination between physiological and pathological brain aging clearly emerges at the group level, with some promising result on the informative value of EEG markers at the individual level. Integrated approaches utilizing neurophysiological techniques together with biological markers and structural and functional imaging are promising for large-scale, low-cost, widely available on the territory and non-invasive screening of at-risk populations.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 01/2011; 26 Suppl 3:201-14. · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The "neural efficiency" hypothesis posits that neural activity is reduced in experts. Here we tested the hypothesis that compared with non-athletes, elite athletes are characterized by a reduced cortical activation during simple voluntary movement and that this is reflected by the modulation of dominant alpha rhythms (8-12 Hz). EEG data (56 channels; EB-Neuro) were continuously recorded in the following right-handed subjects: 10 elite karate athletes and 12 non-athletes. During the EEG recordings, they performed brisk voluntary wrist extensions of the right or left hand (right movement and left movement). The EEG cortical sources were estimated by standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) freeware. With reference to a baseline period, the power decrease of alpha rhythms during the motor preparation and execution indexed the cortical activation (event-related desynchronization, ERD). During both preparation and execution of the right movements, the low- (about 8-10 Hz) and high-frequency alpha ERD (about 10-12 Hz) was lower in amplitude in primary motor area, in lateral and medial premotor areas in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes. For the left movement, only the high-frequency alpha ERD during the motor execution was lower in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes. These results confirmed that compared with non-athletes, elite athletes are characterized by a reduced cortical activation during simple voluntary movement. Cortical alpha rhythms are implicated in the "neural efficiency" of athletes' motor systems.
    Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 04/2010; 121(4):482-91. · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • International Journal of Psychophysiology - INT J PSYCHOPHYSIOL. 01/2010; 77(3):214-215.
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    ABSTRACT: Here we tested two working hypotheses on spatially selective cortical activation ("neural efficiency") in experts: (i) compared to non-athletes, elite karate athletes are characterized by a reduced cortical activation during the judgment of karate actions; (ii) compared to non-athletes and elite karate athletes, amateur karate athletes are characterized by an intermediate cortical activation during the judgment of karate actions. Electroencephalographic (EEG) data were recorded in 16 elite karate athletes, 15 amateur athletes and 17 non-athletes. They observed a series of 120 karate videos. At the end of each video, the subjects had to judge the technical/athletic level of the exercise by a scale from 0 to 10. The mismatch between their judgment and that of the coach indexed the degree of action judgment. The EEG cortical sources were estimated by sLORETA. With reference to a pre-stimulus period, the power decrease of alpha (8-12 Hz) rhythms during the video indexed the cortical activation (event-related desynchronization, ERD). Regarding the hypothesis of reduced activity in elite karate athletes, low- and high-frequency alpha ERD was less pronounced in dorsal and "mirror" pathways in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes. Regarding the hypothesis of intermediate cortical activity in amateur karate athletes, low- and high-frequency alpha ERD was less pronounced in dorsal pathways across the non-athletes, the amateur karate athletes, and the elite karate athletes. In conclusion, athletes' judgment of observed sporting actions is related to less pronounced alpha ERD, as a possible index of "neural efficiency" in experts engaged in social cognition.
    Behavioural brain research 11/2009; 207(2):466-75. · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present electroencephalographic (EEG) study tested the working hypothesis that the amplitude of resting state cortical EEG rhythms (especially alpha, 8-12 Hz) was higher in elite athletes compared with amateur athletes and non-athletes, as a reflection of the efficiency of underlying back-ground neural synchronization mechanisms. Eyes closed resting state EEG data were recorded in 16 elite karate athletes, 20 amateur karate athletes, and 25 non-athletes. The EEG rhythms of interest were delta (2-4 Hz), theta (4-8 Hz), alpha 1 (8-10.5 Hz), alpha 2 (10.5-13 Hz), beta 1 (13-20 Hz), and beta 2 (20-30 Hz). EEG cortical sources were estimated by low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA). Statistical results showed that the amplitude of parietal and occipital alpha 1 sources was significantly higher in the elite karate athletes than in the non-athletes and karate amateur athletes. Similar results were observed in parietal and occipital delta sources as well as in occipital theta sources. Finally, a control confirmatory experiment showed that the amplitude of parietal and occipital delta and alpha 1 sources was stronger in 8 elite rhythmic gymnasts compared with 14 non-athletes. These results supported the hypothesis that cortical neural synchronization at the basis of eyes-closed resting state EEG rhythms is enhanced in elite athletes than in control subjects.
    Brain research bulletin 10/2009; 81(1):149-56. · 2.18 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

319 Citations
122.23 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2013
    • SDN Istituto di Ricerca Diagnostica e Nucleare
      Napoli, Campania, Italy
    • IRCCS Centro San Giovanni di Dio, Fatebenefratelli, Brescia
      Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2007–2013
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • Department of Physiology and Pharmacology "Vittorio Erspamer"
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2009–2011
    • Università degli studi di Foggia
      • Department of Biomedical Science
      Foggia, Apulia, Italy