Background An abundance of literature on the acute peripheral fatigue (APF)-injury-hypothesis exists without showing uniformity to support or refute this hypothesis. Previous research demonstrated that a decreased balance ability increases injury risk, and APF affects balance performance. Recently, reactive balance tasks were developed to assess balance performance in a more sport related context. However, it is unknown if APF induces changes in brain activity during predefined and reactive balance tasks and how it relates to injury occurrence.
Objective To study whether (1) APF fatigue alters brain activity during one predefined and one reactive balance task, and (2) performance on these balance tasks.
Design Cross-over design.
Setting Primary clinical setting.
Participant Twenty healthy participants (age = 24 ± 3 years; height = 1.8 ± 0.1 m; weight = 73.2 ± 11.3 kg).
Interventions APF was induced through a 30-second modified Wingate-protocol, while the control task encompassed sitting quietly on the stationary bike for 30s.
Main Outcome Measurements Brain activity was measured through electroencephalography during both balance tasks and computed by means of spectral power analysis. The predefined balance task was the Y-balance test (YBT), while the neurocognitive balance test encompassed the reactive balance test (RBT).
Results Decreased RBT accuracy was observed after APF (p < 0.05), yet YBT performance and RBT visuomotor reaction time were unaffected. APF induced α- and β-spectral power increments in the prefrontal, motor and posterior parietal cortex during YBT performance (p < 0.05). For the RBT, an α- spectral power increment in the posterior parietal cortex and a β-spectral power increment in the prefrontal cortex were observed due to APF (p < 0.05).
Conclusions APF induces different changes in brain activity during predefined and reactive balance tasks. It is likely that different central mechanisms are affected depending on the type of balance task. Further research is needed in an applied setting in order to gain insight in the possible interaction between APF and injury occurrence.
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