Catching my breath

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Part of the large contingent coming to #ACSM16 from South Africa. Photo courtesy of Phatho Zondi, current SASMA president.

I am just coming up for air after three days here in Boston, where I (and thousands of other sports medicine professionals) are attending the 2016 annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Every year at this time I will make the pilgrimage to San Diego or Orlando or other spots in these big United States to attend this big, big conference.  Each year I leave with my brain chock full of new ideas and my bag chock full of business cards; as I step back to gain some perspective on the experience I am overwhelmed by the size and scope of the conference.  I am not complaining when I declare that it is simply not possible to attend every session one would want.  I am, rather, merely making a statement of fact!

So, like the proverbial dog trying to drink out of a gushing fire hydrant, I am doing targeted nipping at the flow of information rushing before me, and I want to share, in a most definitely non-comprehensive way, a few of the impressions I am left with as the conference heads into its penultimate day.

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Slide photo courtesy of Martin Schwellnus

First, it’s been great to catch up with a host of South African colleagues, ranging from Martin Schwellnus, Wayne Derman and Jon Patricios, to current South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) president Phatho Zondi, Pierre Viviers and Christa Janse vanRensburg.  It’s tremendous to see these folks and realize the great distance they have come to contribute to the ACSM proceedings.  In terms of contribution, they most definitely ‘punch about their weight’:  one of the sessions I attended was Dr. Schwellnus’ lecture on Exercise Associated Muscle Cramping (EAMC), a subject about which we publish quite frequently at CJSM.  I learned a tremendous amount from that talk, and I am sharing one of the slides from his talk for which he gave permission to be photographed.

There are many other international attendees at ACSM.  I have seen my friend and fellow CJSM editor Hamish Osborne, who arrived from Dunedin, New Zealand (bringing to my mind the very real possibility that ACSM should start betting operation taking propositions on who will win the “Conference attendee who has travelled the furthest” award).  I have heard Chinese, Italian and French spoken. Read more of this post

The power of exercise + the power of the internet = #PEPA16

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Ann Gates a.k.a. @exerciseworks

I have a lot to share this morning, but I am writing an intro to a guest blog post…and so I shall be brief.

I’ve got ‘exercise on the brain’ of late.  We’re only three weeks away from the beginning of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting and the coincident 7th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine taking place in Boston, which I’ll be attending.  Here at CJSM, we just released our May issue which features a couple of highly discussed research studies:  a meta-analysis on physical activity and the risk of lung cancer and an RCT on the effect of rock climbing on low back pain.

And to top it off, I’ve ‘met’ Ann Gates, founder and CEO of Exercise Works, aka @exerciseworks for those of you, like me, who have followed that Twitter handle for years. Last week I noticed on that feed an announcement that Exercise Works would hold a MOOC this summer — ‘Physiotherapy, Exercise and Physical Activity’ #PEPA16. And it starts July 4 2016.

What is a MOOC you say? What exactly will go on in #PEPA16?

Let’s hear from Ann.

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#PEPA16? It sounds like a rock group… but it’s a mission.

It’s a passion. It’s an opportunity to support health care professionals interested in exercise medicine and disease: from Africa to Afghanistan, doctors to community outreach workers, and to embed physical activity into making every contact count, every consult.

So what’s a MOOC, and what’s happening this summer? A MOOC is a massive, open online, course run by expert educational organizations (in this case Physiopedia). It’s also a unique opportunity to learn, participate, contribute, engage, and share on a global scale! The excitement of it all is that the course has been designed and evaluated to deliver high quality learning outcomes on the role of physical activity in health. It provides a global, level playing field, to gain knowledge on the health benefits of exercise and chronic disease prevention and treatment. It’s also the final part (phew!) of my three year project to change the way we educate health care professionals in prevention medicine (in this case using exercise as a medicine).

I set out in 2014, to disrupt the way in which physical activity medical education is delivered. I wanted most of all to open up the opportunities to all, and to deliver learning and implementation science of physical activity opportunities, into everyday patient care. We’ve achieved this for doctors and health care professionals in the UK- but I wanted to take this global, and provide educational support for all, in any country, for any health care professional interested in learning more about the benefits of physical activity in health.

So, #PEPA16 is the result. A global, online, “rocking”, opportunity to care and share the knowledge, that indeed, exercise is best medicine! Join us, this summer, and please register here.

What’s in the #PEPA16 MOOC Resources? Read more of this post

May Day

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CJSM: bringing you clinical sports and exercise medicine research, from around the globe

Whether you are celebrating today as International Workers’ Day, running around a May pole, or watching Leicester City try to complete the 5000:1 shot of winning the Premiership, we are sure that today, May 1, can only be a good day:  our third issue of the year has just published.  And this May Day CJSM is full of offerings we’re sure will be of  interest to you.

Two of the articles have a special focus on physical activity as an intervention for medical conditions — one is a meta-analysis from Chinese colleagues finding a protective effect for physical activity against lung cancer, and the other is a prospective, single-blinded, randomized clinical trial looking at rock climbing as an intervention in the treatment of low back pain. This study is from Austria, and had positive findings for dependent measures of disability (the Oswestry Disability Index), a physical examination maneuver, and even the extent of disc protrusion on MRI.  We’re proud to publish these high quality studies from across the globe.

We are also proud to contribute to the growing body of literature on the effectiveness of “Exercise is Medicine.” Read more of this post

November…….already

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Transitions: November in the USA.

Really?  Can it be that November is here?

I just covered my last high school football game of the fall, a loss in the playoffs. A season which began in the heat and humidity of August [with its attendant muscle cramps and concerns of exertional heat illness & exercise-associated hyponatremia] is now over, and injuries sustained on wrestling mats and in basketball gymnasia are beginning to show up in my clinic.  Before you know it, the skiiers and snowboarders will be filling out the waiting room.

November also brings with it the publication of our last CJSM of 2015, and it is a good one.  We have profiled two offerings in particular, both of which currently are freely available on line:  original research looking at potential limitations of American Heart Association recommendations for pre-participation cardiac screening in youth athletes; and a provocative editorial [and just right for the change of seasons] arguing for adult autonomy in deciding whether or not to wear helmets when skiing.

Both subjects are among the more controversial in sports medicine.  Whether or not to consider pre-participation screening with ECG when taking care of our younger athletes–well, that’s a question whose answer can vary depending on what side of the Atlantic one is on, or what part of the United States you may live in.  It’s a question whose answers may lie in much of the research we publish in our journal, with luminaries such as Jonathan Drezner and William Roberts weighing in.

Whenever we publish research or commentary on the question of mandatory personal protective equipment, I sometimes feel as if we have entered the ‘blood sport’ arena of sports medicine.  This issue’s editorial  on the ‘Ethics of Head Protection While Skiing’ has already generated some buzz on our twitter feed. Two years ago, we published the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM) Position Statement on the Mandatory Use of Bicycle Helmets, and our social media feeds erupted.  I have never seen so much discussion on the blog site.

There is much more to be read carefully in this November 2015 issue.  A very interesting piece of original research, from one of our more prolific authors (Dr. Irfan Asif), looks at the potential psychological stressors of undergoing pre-participation cardiovascular screening.  As a pediatric sports medicine specialist, I’ll be reading with great interest a study on the potential prognostic implications of post-injury amnesia in pediatric and adolescent concussed athletes–lead author Johna Register-Mihalik continues to make major contributions to our understanding of that injury in that population.

So, enjoy this issue.  And brace yourself–2016 is on its way.  It will be here before you know it!

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