Austral Integrative Neurophysiology Group

About the lab

Fomentar el desarrollo regional de la neurofisiología, integrando áreas que van desde lo molecular a la investigación aplicada, a través de un grupo de investigación interdiciplinario formado por profesionales y estudiantes del área.

Ser un referente tanto a nivel regional como nivel nacional en el campo de la investigación y desarrollo de las neurofisiología.

Featured research (14)

Objective: To evaluate the impact of a functional power threshold test (FTP) on cardiac autonomic regulation indicators in high performance cyclists. Methods: A total of 12 male elite cyclists (mean age 36.1 ± 11.2 years) were recruited. Body composition parameters were measured using bioimpedancemetry and heart rate variability (HRV) before and after the application of the FTP assessment. Results: We observed that a greater sympathetic nervous system (SNS) index and Stress index on baseline were correlated with a smaller decrease in the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activity in response to the FTP test (ρ= 0.69, p = 0.013). Concerning morphological parameters, the skeletal muscle index (SMI) was the only one that was inversely correlated with ∆PNS (ρ=-0.69, p = 0.02) whereas the muscle-bone index (MBI) displayed a positive correlation with ∆SNS (ρ = 0.82, p = 0.001). In fully adjusted models we found that waist-to-hip ratio (β= 7.90, CI95%[4.16, 11.63], t(8) = 4.88, p = 0.001) and SMI significantly influenced ∆PNS (β =-1.38, CI95%[-1.84,-0.92], t(8) =-6.94, p < 0.001), whereas MBI (β= 10.26, CI95%[8.10, 12.42], t(8) = 10.96, p < 0.001) and the interaction between the latter and Power achieved during FTP influenced ∆SNS (β =-0.05, CI95%[-0.09,-4.99e-03], t(8) =-2.56, p = 0.033). Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the SMI had a negative effect on the ∆PNS, while the MBI was positively correlated with the ∆SNS in cyclists. These findings suggest that a higher SMI and MBI could have a detrimental impact on the cardiac autonomic response to maximal aerobic exercise in high-performance cyclists, such as FTP.
Background: Currently, and to the best of our knowledge, there is no standardized protocol to measure the effect of low- to moderate-intensity physical exercise on autonomic modulation focused in older people. Aim: Validate a test-retest short-term exercise protocol for measuring the autonomic response through HRV in older people. Methods: A test-retest study design was used. The participants were selected through intentional non-probabilistic sampling. A total of 105 older people (male: 21.9%; female: 78.1%) were recruited from a local community. The assessment protocol evaluated HRV before and immediately after the 2-min step test. It was performed twice on the same day, considering a time of three chronological hours between the two measurements. Results: The posterior distribution of estimated responses in the Bayesian framework suggests moderate to strong evidence favoring a null effect between measurements. In addition, there was moderate to robust agreement between heart rate variability (HRV) indices and assessments, except for low frequency and very low frequency, which showed weak agreement. Conclusions: Our results provide moderate to strong evidence for using HRV to measure cardiac autonomic response to moderate exercise, suggesting that it is sufficiently reliable to show similar results to those shown in this test-retest protocol.
Physical activity can prevent many organic and mental pathologies. For people living in extreme southern high-latitude environments, weather conditions can affect these activities, altering their psychological well-being and favoring the prevalence of seasonal sensitivity (SS). This study aims to determine the relationships between the practice of physical activity, seasonal sensitivity and well-being in people living in high southern latitudes. A cross-sectional study was conducted , using the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ), applying a psychological well-being scale, and determining sports practice according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the 370 male (n = 209; 55%) and female (n = 173; 45%) participants. The main results indicated that 194 people (52 ± 7.7 years) reported physical activity. High-intensity physical activity practitioners recorded a significantly lower proportion of SS. In terms of psychological well-being, an adverse effect was found between the Seasonal Score Index (SSI) and five subcategories of the Ryff well-being scale. In conclusion, those who perform high-intensity physical activity have a lower SS, and those who have a higher SS have a lower psychological well-being.
Data from the anxiety and confinement study from Alvarado- Aravena et al. (2022).
Confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted lifestyles worldwide. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of confinement on anxiety symptoms and sleep quality in people living in extreme southern latitudes. The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) were administered to 617 people, 74.2% of whom were women. The sample was grouped according to confinement: the zone of confinement (CZ) (46.5%) and the zone of partial confinement (PZ) (53.5%). In addition, the sample was further categorized into four age subgroups (18-25 years; 26-40 years; 41-50 years; over 50 years). Higher levels of anxiety and worse sleep quality were found in the CZ group than in the PZ group. Women had higher levels of anxiety and worse sleep quality than men. A significant bidirectional relationship between anxiety and sleep quality was observed, even after controlling for sex. This study demonstrated that women and young adults were more vulnerable to the effects of confinement on anxiety symptoms and sleep quality in populations at southern latitudes.

Lab head

Cristian Núñez Espinosa
  • School of Medicine
About Cristian Núñez Espinosa
  • I´m professor at the School of Medicine, University of Magallanes. My research interest focuses on issues in physical activity and health, especially in relation to autonomic modulation and psychophysiology

Members (7)

Claudia Estrada Goic
  • University of Magallanes
Matías Castillo-Aguilar
  • University of Magallanes
Caren Alvarado-Aravena
  • University of Magallanes
Matías Riquelme Ortega
  • University of Magallanes
Katherine Harris
  • University of Magallanes
Diego A. Mabe Castro
  • University of Magallanes
Matías Mabe
  • University of Magallanes