The biological consequences of mechanical whole body vibration (WBV) on the brain are not well documented. The aim of the current study was to further investigate the effects of a 5-week WBV intervention on brain functions. Mice (C57Bl/6J males, age 15 weeks) were exposed to 30 Hz WBV sessions (10 minutes per day, 5 days per week, for a period of 5 weeks; n = 10). Controls received the same intervention without the actual vibration (n = 10). Humans (both genders, age ranging from 44-99 years) were also exposed to daily sessions of 30 Hz WBV (4 minutes per day, 4 days per week, for a period of 5 weeks; n = 18). Controls received the same protocol using a 1 Hz protocol (n = 16). Positron emission tomography imaging was performed in the mice, and revealed that glucose uptake was not changed as a consequence of the 5-week WBV intervention. Whole body vibration did, however, improve motor performance and reduced arousal-induced home cage activity. Cognitive tests in humans revealed a selective improvement in the Stroop Color-Word test. Taken together, it is concluded that WBV is a safe intervention to improve brain functioning, although the subtle effects suggest that the protocol is as yet suboptimal.
Keywords: behavioral arousal; brain glucose metabolism; executive functions; motor performance.