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Home   Join/Renew   Certification   Member Services   Education   Research   Foundation Nov. 23, 2010

In this issue:

Active Voice: Metformin Improves Metabolism in Huntington’s Disease
CDC Seeks Applicants for Chief of the Physical Activity and Health Branch
ACSM Launches New Group Exercise Certification
Policy Corner: Guiding Governors Toward Healthier Citizens and Budgets
Make the Move: National Physical Activity Plan Implementation Update
Sports Medicine & Exercise Science Headlines

Active Voice: Metformin Improves Metabolism in Huntington's Disease
By Peter J. Adhihetty, Ph.D.    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Peter Adhihetty, Ph.D. is a member of ACSM and Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. His research addresses cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial function, with emphasis on apoptosis within skeletal muscle and neural tissue and the implications of loss of muscle mass (aging, physical inactivity) and loss of neurons in neurodegenerative disorders (Huntington’s disease), respectively. Dr. Adhihetty presented research related to this commentary at the ACSM Conference on Integrative Physiology of Exercise (IPE) held in Miami last September.

Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene that triggers degeneration of neurons, resulting in behavioral and cognitive impairments. Currently, there is no known cure for HD and efficacious treatment paradigms are limited. Research utilizing transgenic animal models of HD have illustrated that numerous dysfunctional cellular mechanisms likely contribute to HD pathogenesis.

Although HD is typically thought to only affect neural tissue, HD progression also leads to metabolic abnormalities in other energetically demanding tissues, such as skeletal muscle and metabolically active brown adipose tissue (BAT; exclusively found in rodents). Mitochondria are often referred to as the “powerhouse of the cell” since they convert food into cell-friendly energy, or ATP, within the body. Paradoxically, mitochondria can also initiate a cell-death program following stressful cellular conditions. Thus, mitochondria are capable of providing both life and death for cells. Mitochondrial content and regulation can be influenced by various signaling mechanisms but a transcriptional coactivator, PGC-1α, has recently emerged as being integral to this process. Interestingly, mutant huntingtin has been shown to suppress PGC-1α expression and/or function in a variety of tissues and this leads to reduced mitochondrial content and/or mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, we believe that the primary underlying mechanism contributing to the metabolic abnormalities in HD is linked to dysregulation of mitochondria, and is specifically a result of impaired PGC-1α. We hypothesized that improvement in overall mitochondrial function and content in these tissues with a pharmacological intervention might delay and/or suppress HD pathogenesis.

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CDC Seeks Applicants for Chief of the Physical Activity and Health Branch
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ACSM is pleased to share the following announcement of a key opening at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with whom we have a cooperative agreement.

The Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) is seeking candidates to serve as Chief of the Physical Activity and Health Branch. The field of physical activity in public health is at a key transition point. CDC’s first efforts were to establish physical activity as a key strategy for reducing the risks of chronic diseases. The publication of the first Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans by HHS in 2008 indicated that recognition of the critical role for physical activity had been accomplished. The development and release of the National Physical Activity Plan earlier this year provides a roadmap for how to achieve the goals outlined in the Physical Activity Guidelines. The emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion in the health reform legislation offers an unparalleled opportunity for the Physical Activity Branch Chief to lead the nation’s efforts to identify and implement the policy and environmental changes needed to improve levels of physical activity and reduce the risks of chronic diseases in the United States.

ACSM Launches New Group Exercise Certification
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ACSM has recently launched a new certification – ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor (GEI). The GEI exam is now available through our exam provider, Pearson VUE.

The ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor (GEI) works in a group exercise setting with apparently healthy individuals, and individuals with health challenges who have been cleared by their physicians for independent exercise, to enhance quality of life, improve physical fitness, manage health risk and promote lasting health behavior change. The GEI leads safe and effective exercise using a variety of leadership techniques to foster group camaraderie, support and motivation as well as to enhance muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, body composition and any of the motor skills related to the domains of physical fitness.

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Policy Corner: Guiding Governors Toward Healthier Citizens and Budgets
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As chief executives for their states, governors wield significant influence. They can propose agendas from what Teddy Roosevelt called “the bully pulpit.” They can wrangle with lawmakers over legislative proposals, often with veto power. For ACSM and the National Association for Health & Fitness (NAHF, the network of governor’s councils on physical fitness), governors are allies in the quest for a healthier citizenry.

Every governor, veteran or newly elected, faces the specter of health care costs in a troubled economy. Armed with incontrovertible evidence that healthier lifestyles lower costs for individuals, employers and society, ACSM and NAHF are making governors aware of two specific avenues toward better health. In letters being prepared for each of the nation’s 50 governors, the two organizations highlight the National Physical Activity Plan and governor’s councils. The strategy of the letter is rooted in the abundant evidence that increasing people’s levels of physical activity can decrease health care costs, increase workers’ productivity, and improve overall well-being and quality of life.

Make the Move: National Physical Activity Plan Implementation Update
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Hatched at a multi-organizational roundtable convened by ACSM, the National Physical Activity Plan is spreading its wings and taking flight. ACSM members and staff are working on implementation teams in multiple sectors of the Plan, acting on strategies identified for first-round focus.

The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity is coordinating implementation. NCPPA has produced a document with measurable outcomes and objectives for change, valuable resources and stories of success to advance physical activity related to the Plan. Make the Move 2010-11 – Implementation of the U.S. Physical Activity Plan is a digital publication that provides added value through the following navigational and research efficiencies:
  • Turn pages with the click of a mouse.
  • View pages in a variety of sizes and formats.
  • Access resources and websites through live embedded hyperlinks.
  • Quickly locate what you are looking for through a word search feature.
  • Save material for future reference through the bookmark and sticky note features.
  • Forward pages or the entire publication to colleagues.
  • Share information through Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
  • Print the entire publication. More

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Exercise and Science Headlines

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.


Neurocognitive Tests Key to Assessing Concussions
The Associated Press via Sports Illustrated    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than a month after sustaining a concussion, Luke Kusler was having trouble focusing in class, getting irritated easily, and feeling his body veer to one side when he walked down crowded school hallways.

The 13-year-old right tackle was sidelined by a big shot early in the season and doctors looking at his results on a post-concussion test were wondering if those crushing hits might have ended his playing days.

Even so, the 6-foot, 200-pound eighth-grader was itching to get back into the game. "I'm a lineman,'' he said. "That's what we do."

Land On Your Toes, Save Your Knees
Science Daily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are a common and debilitating problem, especially for female athletes. A new study from UC Davis shows that changes in training can reduce shear forces on knee joints and could help cut the risk of developing ACL tears. The research was published online Aug. 3 in the Journal of Biomechanics.

"We focused on an easy intervention, and we were amazed that we could reduce shear load in 100 percent of the volunteers," said David Hawkins, professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior at UC Davis. Hawkins conducted the study at the UC Davis Human Performance Laboratory with graduate student Casey Myers.
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