Endelig julaften – og kalenderens siste luke!

Christmas tree lit under a fresh blanket of snow in the pre-dawn light.Velkommen til veis ende i CERG’s julekalender 2013! Vi håper dere har satt pris på mange fine turer i skog og mark og rundt omkring i byen, til tross for mye dårlig vær i Trøndelag i desember. Men det stopper selvfølgelig ikke sporty kalenderdeltakere, som nå kan vente i spenning til hovedpremien – en tur til New York for to personer – trekkes i begynnelsen av januar. Det er også da dagsvinnerne får tilsendt sine premier.

Den siste luken i kalenderen trenger dere ikke gå så langt for å finne – vi har nemlig plassert den akkurat her:

Hva står forkortelsen CERG for og hvilket forskningsfokus har vi? 

Som vanlig sender du inn svaret her.

Med dette ønsker vi alle våre følgere en riktig god jul!

Hilsen oss i CERG.

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Julekalenderens siste vinnerbilder

Her er vinnerbildene fra den siste uka i CERG’s julekalender. Vi takker for alle kreative og fine innslag! Vinnerbildet fra julaften publiseres 1. juledag.

Generasjon 100 – en herlig gjeng!

Hver torsdag i hele høst har jeg trent to fantastiske grupper med deltakere i prosjektet Generasjon 100. Uansett vær og føre, har vi jobbet oss gjennom treningsøkta, som finner sted i naturskjønne omgivelser i Granåsen. Klokka halv ett marsjerer første gruppa, den såkalte høy-intensitetsgruppa, til den beryktede intervallbakken. Etter 10 minutters rask gange står vi ved foten av bakken og deltakerne har spredd seg utover; de som går fortest stiller seg lengst bak. For det skal jobbes intensivt i 4 minutter og bommen på toppen av bakken, er målet.

Jeg ber deltakerne gjøre seg klare og starter tiden. Sekundering skjer hvert minutt med oppmuntrende ord. Det står ikke på innsatsen hos deltakerne. Det pustes og peses, noen går med staver, og når tiden er ute henger flesteparten tungpustet over bommen.

For en gjeng! Hele fire ganger jobber de seg opp bakken. Etter endt treningsøkt samles vi i Granåsenhytta til en velfortjent kaffekopp.



Klokka halv to er gruppa som skal trene med moderat intensitet klare til dyst. Det dannes en fortropp og en baktropp. Fortroppen sendes av gårde på en litt lengre runde, for det skal jobbes i ca. 50 minutter. I fantastiske turomgivelser holder vi pratetempo og går «runden» vår. På turen løser vi verdensproblemer, deler matoppskrifter og erfaringer om alt mulig. Det er alltid råd å få.  

Det er fantastisk å se samholdet i gruppene, hvordan de tar vare på hverandre og smilene som sitter så løst. Det går ikke an å bli annet enn glad av å være med disse menneskene.

Fellestreningene i Granåsen på torsdager og på Dragvoll på tirsdager er et tilbud alle i treningsgruppene i Generasjon 100 kan delta på. Det er utrolig sosialt og sammen pusher vi oss gjennom treningsøkta. Nå tar vi to uker juleferie fra fellestreningene og starter opp igjen tirsdag 7.januar. Fra og med 7.januar flyttes fellestreningene på Dragvoll innendørs, mens vi fortsetter ute i Granåsen.

Gen7

Ønsker alle deltakere i Generasjon 100 en riktig god jul og et godt sprekt nyttår!

Trude Carlsen, avdelingsingeniør i CERG.
(Bildene publiseres med deltakernes samtykke – red. anm.)

Vinnerbilder i julekalenderen

Til tross for en værmessig utfordrende adventstid får vi masse bidrag og svar til julekalenderen – for en sporty gjeng dere er! Husk at vinnersjansene er gode for en tur til to personer til New York – ikke la denne sjansen gå fra deg, og hjelp oss å spre det glade budskap til familie og venner! Dette er de flotte bildene vi har fått inn den siste uken:

 

On the dark side of the year..

As an Australian moving to Trondheim, there were many things that I had to learn about and get used to. For example:

  • That white stuff falling from the sky is snow.
  • “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær – bare dårlige klær.”
  • Drive on the right side of the road. Change gears with right hand, and use of left and right indicator lights is optional.
  • Coffee coffee coffee coffee. Coffee. Wow, you Norwegians drink a lot of coffee.
  • Bacon and alcohol are only affordable if you drive to Sweden.
  • Apart from this, everything about Norway is better than Sweden.

With a little bit of effort, these facts of my new life are all quite easy to adapt to and even enjoy. The long days of summer weren’t a problem either after investing in some dark curtains. However, part of the way through my second Trondheim winter, it is still difficult to avoid or get used to the very long nights and dimly lit days.

Just wait, Nathan - it's getting better!

Just wait, Nathan – it’s getting better!

This comes as no surprise, as humans and most other mammals follow what is known as circadian rhythm; a roughly 24 hour cycle that influences body temperature, heart rate, behaviours such as activity and sleep, and many other biological processes. This rhythm will persist even if the environment changes (for example if you fly to Australia and experience jetlag), but is also constantly altered or “entrained” by external factors – the most important of these factors being daylight. Disruptions to the circadian rhythm cause poor sleep patterns and fatigue and can increase the likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome (symptoms such as obesity and insulin resistance), leading to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In extreme cases, such as in shift workers who must be active at night and sleep during the day, circadian disruption is very dangerous in the long run and has even been listed as a probable carcinogen by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer.

But since we can’t control the rising and setting of the sun, and we can’t always be in brightly lit rooms while we are awake, what else can be done to cope with the lack of daylight to reinforce circadian rhythms during winter? Given that you are reading the CERG blog, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that exercise is one very good approach.

A generally active lifestyle is one way to strengthen circadian rhythms. In aged mice that were subjected to an 8 hour shift in their light-dark cycle (similar to jetlag), those mice able to exercise with free access to a running wheel were able to adapt to their new light dark cycle faster than mice without a wheel. In addition, the suprachiasmatic nuclei of the brain (the centre that regulates circadian rhythms) was found to be more active in the exercising mice. In human subjects, a dip in blood pressure at night is considered to be a healthy circadian event and is associated with a lower cardiovascular risk. This dip is most common in people who expend more energy per day and spend less time performing sedentary activities.

And could we use the timing of exercise to specifically alter our circadian rhythm? It does seem that exercise alone is powerful enough alone to cause a shift in circadian rhythm. In mice with a set light-dark cycle, scheduled exercise alone is able to shift behavioural patterns and change the timing of circadian gene expression. However, it isn’t yet clear how exactly how exercise should be timed or performed to get specific results.

So, if you struggle to wake up in the mornings or feel lethargic at this time of the year, perhaps you could try exercise to help keep your circadian clock on time while there is little sunlight. However, it is not a perfect replacement for regular sun – and you can exercise all you want, but it still won’t get you a sun-kissed Australian tan!

Nathan Scrimgeour, post doc at CERG.

Man in Extreme Environments

We have no words. Besides, it is pretty late in the evening. Therefore we just say TUSEN TAKK to Paul, Børge and Christopher for sharing their fantastic experiences from extreme environments with us this evening. Keeping in mind the words of Christopher (“Born To Run” author), when claiming that the most extreme environment of all for men is being inside, in a warm house: Get out there, move your body, and use it the way it was intended as a human animal! 

Thanks to all our speakers, guests and public and sponsors during this seminar – we hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have!

You also find pictures from the evening at our facebook page.

Summary – day 2 of the seminar

IMGP4782

Erich Gnaiger visiting the mitochondrial lab

Thursday evening involved a refreshing expedition in extreme weather followed by a delicious dinner in traditional surroundings. Luckily, everybody survived the storm and were ready for a new day full of scientific input. Day 2 started with a session focusing on mitochondrial function. First speaker was professor Erich Gnaiger from Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria – with the most suitable tie of the day:) His scientific contribution to the field of mitochondrial physiology and pathology is quite impressive, including significant contribution to more than 200 publications. Gnaiger is also the initiator and chairman of the International Mitochondrial Physiology Society. His lesson gave insight into mitochondrial respiratory control and early defects of oxidative phosphorylation in hearts affected by heart failure. Several studies have also shown the negative effects of an inactive lifestyle on the mitochondrial function in the heart. We even learned that human beings have very much in common with pigs – although there are some differences.

Dr. Boyett and CERG's Morten A. Høydal

Dr. Boyett and CERG’s Morten A. Høydal

The next session addressed basic mechanisms of cardiac function. Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology Mark Boyett from the University of Manchester has been investigating the “ion channels” of the heart for several years, and held the presentation “Exercise training reduces the resting heart rate via downregulation of the funny channel, HCN4, and the funny current, If”. Further, Dr. Daniele Catalucci from Humanitas Clinical and Research Center and National Research Counsil (CNR) in Italy presented “Novel insights and new corrective strategies for the recovery of cardiac perfomance”.The calcium handling in the myocytes represents a very central part of the research activity in CERG, for instance as shown in this blog post. Several of our researchers therefore listened extra carefully when dr. Luigi Venetucci from the University of Manchester spoke about inherited calcium channelopathies in the pathophysiology of arrhytmias. This research plays an important role in the development of new drugs. However, as shown in our group, exercise training also affects the calcium handling in the myocytes, for instance with reduced phosphorylation of cytosolic CaMKII, which again is associated with improved contractile function.

IMGP4791Almost 40 % of heart failure patients have atrial fibrillation. Dr. Anthony J. Workman, University of Glasgow, gave us a very useful introduction to basic mechanisms of this disease, with insights from human atrial cells and cells from rabbits with heart failure. Workman and his colleagues have demonstrated that electric currents and voltage signals generated by single heart cells obtained from patients with AF are disturbed in a way that may exacerbate the disease, by so-called “electrical remodelling”. For example, the atrial cell’s refractory period is reduced, which may promote a rapid and chaotic rhythm. He also investigates the effects of beta-blockers, as well as the effect of heart failure, on electric currents, calcium movements and the proteins which regulate these, in human atrial cells and tissues.

IMGP4796Is cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) more than VO2max? Definitely yes, according to dr. Sandy Jack, from the University of Southampton. She is a routined teacher of several CPET courses, with many of the CERG researchers as satisfied students. Her lesson highlighted the use of exercise testing in preoperative assessment and perioperative management, including prehabilitation in cancer patients undergoing major surgery. Further, research suggests that exercise enhances the effect of chemotherapy in cancer patients.

The scientific program was followed by the arrangement “Man in Extreme Environments” at Samfundet. More about that in the next blog post!

Maria Henningsen, CERG