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Brain-mind-body practice and health

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The brain is the source of behavior, but in turn it is modified by various behavioral practice such as physical exercise (aerobic fitness and motor skill training) or movement-based mental training (tai chi chuan, Yoga and others). Recently, considerable efforts are devoted to the field “behavioral practice ...

The brain is the source of behavior, but in turn it is modified by various behavioral practice such as physical exercise (aerobic fitness and motor skill training) or movement-based mental training (tai chi chuan, Yoga and others). Recently, considerable efforts are devoted to the field “behavioral practice and brain plasticity” to unraveling the significance of human various practice during the human evolvement as well as establish the knowledge about the role of physical/mindful exercise in health. In previous studies, hands of researchers are interested in the effect of physical behavior on brain structure and function by adopting brain imaging techniques (fMRI, ERP or NIRS), which had great impact on the circles of brain plasticity in neuroscience and psychology. For instance, a large number of studies observed that high aerobic fitness was associated with better cognitive performance as well as optimized brain structures such as brain volume, cortical thickness and white matter in some specific brain regions such as hippocampal, prefrontal and parietal cortex. Further, aerobic fitness also proved to offset declines in cognitive performance and showed increased functioning of key aspects of one or more brain regions. However, cross-sectional studies based on the small sample size could not rule out the existence of natural prerequisite on brain structures and functions. In recent years, longitudinal studies have been emerged to track the change of brain following a period of exercise regimen to explore the causality of physical exercise and brain reorganization in forms of regional brain activity or brain tissues. For example, 12-month aerobic exercise training improved resting functional connectivity in higher-level cognitive networks. And even shorter intervention trials altered the activity of brain networks in resting state. In addition, a great many of studies demonstrated the effect of movement-based mental training on brain tissues or brain activity in task-evoked fMRI and resting-fMRI. Although the findings on the role of various practices on health have been sparsely reported in all kinds of journals, the neural correlates underlying the effect of various practices on health has still remained largely unknown.

This Research Topic calls for contributions on physical training induced brain structure and function plasticity in normal population or the population with special training like athletes or dancers. The studies are expected to be based on neuroimaging techniques including but not limited to functional magnetic resonance imaging, Electroencephalography, near infrared reflectance spectroscopy, and diffusion tensor imaging, and contributions on the influence of interventions to brain are highly encouraged. In this Research Topic, we proposed two types of practice, one is physical exercise, the other is movement-based mental training. All these studies would enrich our understanding of neural mechanisms underlying healthy behaviors as well as the association between mind, body and brain, and offer new insights for developing possible behavioral practice interventions in subjects with neurological or mental dysfunction.


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