Just before Christmas we arranged our 6th seminar on Exercise in Medicine in Trondheim. Over 100 scientists were gatered to present and discuss existing and future research projects within exercise in medicine. We want to thank all our guests for coming all the way to Trondheim to participate in the seminar. We had some interesting and inspiring days, and are looking forward to future collaborations.
«A Journey to Hell and Back» is the name of the unsupported expedition to the South Pole and back, carried out by Justin Jones and James Castrission. December 18th they told their breathtaking story during our event «Man in Extreme Environment» at Brukbar/Blæst in Trondheim. Who would believe that two guys from Australia would be the first persons ever managing this? It’s a saying that Norwegians are born with skis, but Australians for sure aren’t. They skied for the very first time 15 months before the expedition started.
In fact, a Norwegian, Aleksander Gamme, could have beaten the Justin Jones and James Castrission, but he waited for the Australians three kilometers before the finish line, so they all could cross it together. Great sportsmanship from our own Aleksander Gamme.
Emil Eide Erikssen was also on stage telling his story of rowing across the Atlantic Sea. An impressing story about two years of preparing, sore buttocks, courage, and battling the harsh sea.
Three fantastic men on stage with impressive, entertaining and inspiring stories to tell, made this a great night to remember. Thank you Cas, Jones and Emil!
Every once in a while we here about this magic medicine. What about a drug to make your muscles stronger, your heart healthier, power-up metabolism, reduce body weight, improve blood flow in your brain and many other benefits? Wouldn’t that be great?
Although many people would say yes, we commonly meet many that are against that idea for a number of reasons. For example, it’s well known that physical activity levels have decreased dramatically in the past 100 years in almost all countries, so it’s been thought that a drug to ”copy” exercise would be just one more reason NOT to go out for a workout. And how about elite sports? Doping is an increasing problem in the field, so another pill to enhance performance could lead to more abuse of such substances. Or perhaps more important: if exercising promotes so many benefits for health, would the world really need an expensive drug that does (part of) the same thing?
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.
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.
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.
Almost 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.
Is 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