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The Effects of Long-term Abacus Training on Topological Properties of Brain Functional Networks

Previous studies in the field of abacus-based mental calculation (AMC) training have shown that this training has the potential to enhance a wide variety of cognitive abilities. It can also generate specific changes in brain structure and function. However, there is lack of studies investigating the impact of AMC training on the characteristics of brain networks. In this study, utilizing graph-based network analysis, we compared topological properties of brain functional networks between an AMC group and a matched control group. Relative to the control group, the AMC group exhibited higher nodal degrees in bilateral calcarine sulcus and increased local efficiency in bilateral superior occipital gyrus and right cuneus. The AMC group also showed higher nodal local efficiency in right fusiform gyrus, which was associated with better math ability. However, no relationship was significant in the control group. These findings provide evidence that long-term AMC training may improve information processing efficiency in visual-spatial related regions, which extend our understanding of training plasticity at the brain network level.

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