We are better together

Jose Bianco MoreiraAs medical scientists, we work towards a major goal: to improve human health through prevention and treatment of disease. Given the size of this challenge, a key feature of the most successful projects is capacity to bring together collaborators with complementary expertise and common interests. We at CERG have established partnership with scientists from all over the world, and in recent years we have strengthened our collaborations with researchers from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). As a highlight of this collaboration, we are excited to join our colleagues in Sao Paulo this week for the first UTFORSK Seminar in Exercise Physiology.

The UTFORSK project (ExercisePhysiology.no) started in 2014 and is a joint initiative between our research group (CERG) and the University of Sao Paulo (School of Physical Education and Sport). We’ve had several activities in the past months, including joint courses, exchange of students and joint supervision. The upcoming seminar will provide an informal environment for discussing our most exciting projects.

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International Scholar Award to Linda Ernstsen

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Linda ErnstsenAmerican College of Sports Medicine’s 62nd Annual Meeting, 6th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® and World Congress on the Basic Science of Exercise Fatigue is held May 26-30, 2015 San Diego, California. This is the most comprehensive sports medicine and exercise science conference in the world with more than 6000 participants.

It is a great pleasure to announce that ACSM has selected Linda Ernstsen from K.G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine as the 2015 ACSM Oded Bar-Or International Scholar Award recipient.

The price allows Dr. Ernstsen to work with, and learn from, the world-leading expert in “Exercise Epidemiology” Professor Steven Blair at Departments of Exercise Science and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA, for 3 months. Currently she lives in South Carolina and have already started her work with Professor Blair and his research group where the aim is to learn new methodological approaches within epidemiological and clinical research on the association between physical fitness, mental health and cognitive function.

On Friday May 29, she will be recognized and receive the price at the ACSM Awards Banquet. K.G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine is proud of Ernstsen´s achievement, wish her all the best of luck working at University of South Carolina, and look forward to get her back home with new knowledge that will benefit our research group.

Ulrik Wisløff, professor and head of CERG

Trondheim as a smart, healthy and active city

Sunset from Keiservarden in BodøIs it possible to build a new part of Trondheim into a health and environmental friendly city for its inhabitants?

Trondheim health cluster and NTNU recently hosted a 2 day work shop discussing how to develop the Rotvoll area into a smart healthy city part. Through an interdisciplinary discussion, several key focus areas including health, mobility in town, road and housing structure, pollution, noise and new innovative technologies were presented and discussed.

Through interdisciplinary planning it is possible to develop a moving city, allowing for walking and biking as the main mode of transportation, availability of healthy food and environmentally sustainable choices. To achieve this, the smart choices need to be the easiest choice to make.

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Hva er optimal intensitet, mengde og type trening?

Foto: iStock“Optimal intensitet, mengde og type trening for optimal effekt?” Det var tema for paneldebatt under NIH sin årlige Fitness convention som ble arrangert 14.-16. november. Vår forsker Dorthe Stensvold satt i panelet sammen med  Anne Mette Rustaden, Jostein Hallén, Knut Jæger Hansen og Sigmund ApoldAasen.

Blant deltakerne på konferansen var det mange som jobbet med trening blant annet som instruktører og personlige trenere, i tillegg til andre som er interessert i trening.

“Vi var vel alle enige om høyintensitetstrening gir større helsegevinst enn trening av mer moderat karakter”, sier Stensvold i etterkant av debatten.

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Hvordan skape innovasjon av medisinsk forskning?

Det var tema for den årlige forskningssamlingen med alle 14 K.G. Jebsen – sentrene for medisinsk forskning. Årets samling var i flotte Holmsbu med et interessant program som i hovedsak dreide seg om innovasjon i forskning.

Gruppebilde

Vi i K.G. Jebsen – senter for hjertetrening er svært stolt og takknemlig over å ha fått to nye år som et K.G. Jebsen – forskningssenter, og har i løpet av de tre årene vi har vært en del av dette forskningsprogrammet lært mye, både på forskningssamlingene men også gjennom evalueringene og tilbakemeldingene vi har fått fra stiftelsen underveis.

Det er inspirerende å treffe andre forskere som jobber med translasjonsforskning på et høyt nivå, utveksle erfaringer og ideer og diskutere mulige samarbeid. Vi setter også stor pris på denne muligheten til å treffe alle som jobber i stiftelsen. Takk til K.G. Jebsen – Senter for betennelsesforskning som var årets arrangør. Vi gleder oss til neste års samling i Tromsø som skal arrangeres av det nye K.G. Jebsen – Senter for tromboseforskning (TREC).

Trine Karlsen, forsker ved CERG

Simulating the human condition in a digital age: Virtual Physiological Human 2014

VPH 2014Long before the availability of computers and technology, physiologists were using mathematical modelling to describe complex systems using physical and mathematical principles. Combining knowledge of physics with experimental observation, pioneering physiologists such as Poiseuille, Fick and Krogh were able to describe the physiological complexities of blood flow that were only confirmed through direct measurement decades after their initial description. As the digital age progresses and available computational power continues to increase, we now move towards a more detailed modelling approach aimed at using existing experimental data gathered from all around the world from both populations and individual patients to create a virtual representation of the human body. This concept, known as The Virtual Physiological Human, aims to lead to new, more predictive clinical technologies that allow for personalized medicine to be readily available. Continue reading

Hvordan jobber en hjerteforsker?

Dyremodeller brukes flittig i hjerteforskning for å gjøre ting man ikke har mulighet til på mennesker. Studier hvor man trenger hjerteceller er for eksempel vanskelig å gjøre fordi man behøver en vevsbit fra hjertet, noe som er problematisk å få fra mennesker.

doktorgradskurs

Aorta-banding er en populær metode for å indusere hjertesvikt i rotter og mus. Dette gjøres ved at man binder en tynn tråd rundt aortaen, den store åren som leder blodet ut av hjertet, slik at diameteren blir mindre. Da må hjertet pumpe hardere for å få ut nok blod og hjertet vil vokse. Dette imiterer hvordan hjertet kan vokse som følge av for høyt blodtrykk. Modellen kan for eksempel bli brukt for å studere hvordan trening påvirker veksten til hjertet hos rotter med hjertesvikt.

LES OGSÅ: Lab animals – what can they tell us about human health?

Dette fikk vi, to staute karer fra CERG, demonstrert på kurset «Methods in Cardiac Research 2014» i regi av Norheart – Norwegian PhD School of Heart Researchved Oslo universitetssykehus. Som navnet tilsier er det et nasjonalt utdanningsnettverk hovedsakelig rettet mot doktorgradsstipendiater innen kardiovaskulær forskning i Norge, men også for andre som har forskningsinteresser innenfor dette fagfeltet.

Denne gangen var det Institutt for eksperimentell medisinsk forskning som var vertskap for rundt 20 studenter fra ulike universiteter. Kurset var organisert slik at forskjellige eksperter innen ulike metoder holdt korte foredrag og gjennomførte praktiske presentasjoner.

Vi ble blant annet vist hvordan man kan måle hjertefunksjonen i dyret mens det enda lever. Her brukes mange teknikker som i utgangspunktet ble utviklet for mennesker, slik som ultralyd av hjertet og MR. Her kan man for eksempel se hvor mye hjertet vokser etter en aorta-banding, og følge med på hvor lang tid det tar før dyret utvikler hjertesvikt. Kanskje det tar lengre tid i de dyrene som trener? Her kan man også isolere celler og gjøre «path-clamp» målinger for å se om treningen minker sannsynligheten for hjerteflimmer.

«Patch-clamp» er en teknikk som gjør det mulig å måle hvordan nervesignalet brer seg i hjertecellen og fører til kontraksjon. I tillegg kan man føre stoffer inn gjennom cellemembranen uten at cellen dør, og dermed studere hvordan forskjellige medisiner påvirker cellen.

Høydepunktet den første dagen var når vi fikk delta på operasjon av en gris. Vi fikk en innføring i hvordan de opererer og overvåker underveis, og det ble demonstrert hjertestans ved hjelp av et ni volts batteri og gjenoppliving med hjertestarter.

Alle disse metodene er viktige verktøy for forskere som ønsker å studere hjertefunksjon. Dyremodeller og hjertecelleforsøk kan virke langt fra virkeligheten, men for å avdekke de molekylære mekanismene bak sykdommer og behandlingsmetoder må man bruke de. Mekanismene man finner kan videre brukes for å forske på nye medisiner til behandling av alvorlige sykdommer.

Kurset tjente sitt formål i å gi oss en innføring i mange av de mest sentrale metodene innen hjerteforskning.

 Fredrik Hjulstad Bækkerud & Henning Ofstad Ness, stipendiater ved CERG

What is the energy cost of falling into cold water?

At ”Enjoy the cold 2014” at Ny-Ålesund we challenge the participants to test themself in different ways in different situations. One of the days we tested survival suits in cold water (2 degrees Celsius). In addition to that Henning Kaspersen from the Norwegian school of winter warfare wanted to demonstrate for us how it is to fall into such cold water in regular outdoor clothing.

In arctic waters with normal clothing

We tested his resting metabolism (resting oxygen uptake) and his maximal metabolism (maximal oxygen uptake) in order to compare the metabolic response of laying into the water for some time.

Standing metabolism measurements Testing maximal oxygen uptake

His maximal oxygen uptake was 49 ml/kg/min and resting oxygen uptake 4 ml/kg/min. Standing by the water just before jumping into the water his oxygen uptake was 7 ml/kg/min followed by 13 ml/kg/min after being 1 minute in the water. The increase in oxygen uptake while staying in the water is due to the need of heat production in order to keep a normal body temperature. This “heating process” requires oxygen.

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After 10 minutes in the cold water the oxygen uptake was again 7 ml/kg/min. How is that possible? Henning stayed completely still in the water and the water inside his clothes got warmed-up by heat production and less oxygen is needed to produce heat in such conditions. Every time he moved his arms or feet oxygen uptake increased because the “warm water” became exchanged with cold water that cools down his body temperature whereupon the body responds with increased heat production. After 20 minutes in the water the oxygen uptake was 15 ml/kg/min reflecting that the isolation of the clothing’s was substantially reduced making his body continuously exposed to cold water that send the signal to the body to start to produce heat.

Getting out of the water

After 20 minutes we took him out of the water – he was not able to get up him self. He did not want to go out and he thinks that he could have stayed 20 more minutes but in a less “comfortable” way than the first 20 minutes. 15 minutes (inside) after getting up from the 2 degrees Celsius water we had him to stand completely still. He was shivering a lot and his oxygen uptake was 30 ml/kg/min – just to produce heat to increase his body temperature! 

The cold heart

The good thing for Henning is that he is fit and therefore had an “oxygen capacity buffer” that enabled him to relatively quickly produce the heat necessary to increase the body temperature back to normal. If he had a maximal oxygen uptake lower than 30 ml/kg/min he could have had a problem! So fitness may be important also for surviving in cold water….

 

Ulrik Wisløff, Professor and head of 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

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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