Active Voice: Can Exercise Treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?
By Robert W. Grange, Ph.D. Share
Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.
Robert W. Grange, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise at Virginia Tech. His research focus includes exercise and nutrition interventions as potential treatments for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. See the Jan. 2007 issue of ACSM's Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews (ESSR) for a related research review he coauthored, titled "Recommendations to Define Exercise Prescription for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.”
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal skeletal-muscle-wasting disease that affects males from birth. It’s reasonable to believe that properly prescribed exercise could counter the “muscle wasting” effect by initiating positive muscle-building pathways. However, a logical argument against this line of thinking states that exercise could be more detrimental than beneficial, as the dystrophic muscles are susceptible to physical-activity-induced damage. From both practical and ethical perspectives, the foremost consideration is that we must do no harm to patients suffering from DMD. I have a deep appreciation for physicians, physical therapists and parents who strive to take the best care of their boys each day. It is easy, as a laboratory exercise physiologist who studies dystrophic mice and dogs, to overlook the serious responsibilities of these caregivers and the emotional connection they have with their boys. But I believe it is our role as exercise physiologists to be objective and to ask: Do we know whether exercise is or is not beneficial? More
ACSM, Members Respond to Troubling USPSTF Draft Recommendations
After the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued draft guidelines that seriously undervalue the role of physical activity counseling in enhancing patient health, ACSM and many of its members provided guidance during a public comment period that ended last week. The final recommendations, intended to provide guidance to primary care clinicians, will have significant influence for several years. The USPSTF Draft Recommendation Statement, “Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Promote a Healthful Diet and Physical Activity for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Adults,” found that:
What ACSM and many scientists, educators and physicians find troubling is the likelihood that the recommendation, as stated, could discourage any health care provider assessment or even mention of the importance of physical activity to health. Also, the methodology caused data from studies that documented effective interventions to be combined with those that failed to produce significant results – weakening the significance of the effective interventions. Some commenters pointed out that the statement does not reflect all relevant studies, especially in regard to the effectiveness of behavioral counseling when done in combination with referral to community resources and allied health professionals. ACSM and our members encouraged the USPSTF to reconsider behavioral interventions in clinical settings and to include more positive comments about the importance of physical activity to health.
SMB will continue to alert readers about opportunities for review and comment of significant federal documents in relevant subject areas.
Attend Free Worksite Wellness Summit April 13 in Anaheim
In service to the Southern California business community, the International Association for Worksite Health Promotion (IAWHP), an ACSM affiliate society, invites you to a free, half-day executive summit on “The Total Value of Worksite Wellness.” The summit will be held April 13, 2011, from 8:15 a.m. to noon at the Hilton Anaheim.
Our panel of leading experts will review practices discussed in the Dec. 2010 Harvard Business Review and highlight key strategies for creating a healthy, high-performance workforce in all organizations.
There is no cost to attend this summit; however, space is limited. Please register online by Friday, April 8. View the event flyer for complete session details and speaker information.
Policy Corner: Update on Youth Sports Concussion Laws
Youth athletes can play sports more safely in states across the U.S., thanks to laws governing concussion education, removal from play and return to play. Effective concussion laws embody the three core principles of the Zackery Lystedt Law, enacted in Washington State in 2009. Legislation is advancing in numerous other states, thanks to the efforts of many organizations and individual advocates. Here are some highlights:
Coalition in Action
Many of these organizations have begun working together as the National Coalition on Youth Sports Concussion. This will allow:
ACSM Past-President Shares Proceedings Journal from India Delegation
Last December, ACSM Past-President Larry Durstine, Ph.D., FACSM, led a delegation of seven sports medicine professionals to India. Dr. Durstine recorded all the details – from the one-of-a-kind educational opportunities to the unique cultural experiences – in his Journal of Professional Proceedings.
One excerpt from Dr. Durstine’s journal reads, “We learned from Sumaya that her country is just now beginning to realize the significance of sports medicine and the advantages someone from this field can bring to an organization. Because of the lack of job prospects in India, Sumaya started her own company designing workout facilities for corporations, and she owns a fitness club...Our group was inspired to see how much she values her trainers and invests in their education by paying for Continuing Education Credits and connecting them with the American College of Sports Medicine.” Read more. You can also view photos online.
Interested in joining an upcoming delegation? Past-President Angela Smith, M.D., FACSM, and People to People Ambassador Programs are coordinating an Exercise is Medicine Delegation, which will travel to Russia from Sept. 15-23, 2011. Visit www.peopletopeople.com/angelasmith to learn more and register.
Taking Inclusive Fitness to Capitol Hill
Following up on a Feb. 15 briefing for Congressional staff and a meeting with the Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, ACSM and other leaders of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition were on Capitol Hill yesterday to brief White House staff and to meet with the education department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). One particularly timely topic was the role sports participation can play in preventing obesity in youth with disabilities.
An Inside Look: April 2011 Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®
Check out the April issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® (MSSE), available online now. ACSM members can access the journal for free – simply log in at the ACSM website and click “My ACSM.”
MSSE Editor-in-Chief Andrew J. Young, Ph.D., FACSM offers his insights into the April issue: More
Headlines include recent stories in the media on sports medicine and exercise science topics and do not reflect ACSM statements, views or endorsements. Headlines are meant to inform members on what the public is reading and hearing about the field.
How Sports May Focus the Brain
The New York Times Share
Who can cross a busy road better, a varsity wrestler or a psychology major? That question, which seems to beg for a punch line, actually provided the motivation for an unusual and rather beguiling new experiment in which student athletes were pitted against regular collegians in a test of traffic-dodging skill. The results were revelatory.
For the study, published last week in The Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recruited 36 male and female students, ages 18 to 22. Half were varsity athletes at the university, a Division I school, and they represented a wide variety of sports, including cross-country running, baseball, swimming, tennis, wrestling, soccer and gymnastics. Some possessed notable endurance; others, strength and power; and still others, precision and grace. More
Our Opinion: Concussion Guidelines Worthy of a State Law
Yankton Press & Dakotan Share
A lot of people across South Dakota have found a lot to criticize about the recent legislative session, and a lot of that is arguably being done for a lot of good reasons.
But let’s pause here briefly to look at one good thing that emerged from the session.
Gov. Daugaard late last week signed a bill that sets up new state guidelines for how schools must go about handling concussions suffered by student athletes. By enacting this legislation, lawmakers in Pierre are responding to the growing concerns that are sweeping the nation the past several months about the dangers of brain injuries such as concussions to athletes. More