Urine Reagent Strips for Assessing Hypohydration — Do They Work?

Hydrated or not?

Hydration status is an important issue in sports medicine.  Both ends of the spectrum — hypo and hyperhydration — increase risk for morbidity and mortality in the athlete.  As we all know, maintaining euvolemia is an important step in the prevention of heat illness, as the evaporative effect of sweating is one of the body’s mechanisms for heat dissipation.  Conversely, as my colleague and CJSM author Dr. Tamara Hew-Butler has argued on different platforms, a zeal to overhydrate can lead to hyperhydration, hyponatremia, and in extreme cases, death.

There is another way we concern ourselves with hydration status in sports medicine, and that is when assessing athletes who compete in weight classes, or when doing urine drug testing as a screen at a doping control station in competition.  Typically, such assessments are done using different testing modalities on urine specimens.

I am a Medical Delegate for the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) and am involved in doping control at long-distance swimming events.  Urine drug screens cannot reliably be done on dilute urine specimens.  In most settings we use refractometry but in some more remote or less developed venues, we may need to use urine reagent strips [WADA has different standards of specific gravity (SG) suitable for urine testing depending on whether refractometry or urine reagent strips are used].

More commonly, here in central Ohio, is the need to assess for hypohydration in the popular sport of wrestling [wrestlers — and other athletes competing in weight classes — will frequently sweat and minimize fluid intake prior to a competitive weigh-in to ‘make weight’ in the class in which they want to compete].  In Ohio high school wrestling, urine reagent strips only are used, and the standard is any sample with SG >1.025 results in a disqualification, with a minimum time period of 48 hours before reassessment.

Having an interest in all these dimensions of testing an athlete’s hydration status, I read with great interest the Brief Report that was published in the November 2019 CJSM: Urine Reagent Strips Are Inaccurate for Assessing Hypohydration: A Brief Report. Read more of this post

Marijuana and Athletic Performance: Help or Hindrance? The CJSM Podcast

In our newest CJSM podcast we tackle the controversial issue of marijuana in sports.

The September 2018 thematic issue, on the management of pain in athletes, includes many unique contributions to this important body of literature.  Indeed, it almost goes without saying that almost all patients I see in my clinic on a daily basis have, as part of their presenting condition, a complaint of pain.  I suspect this is true for you, too. Pain management is one of the most common issues we deal with as sports medicine clinicians.

One of those newly published studies is Cannabis and the health and performance of the elite athlete — it is an excellent discussion about many dimensions of this drug and its varied uses among elite athletes.  Among the conclusions the authors make: “The potential beneficial effects of cannabis as part of a pain management protocol, including reducing concussion-related symptoms, deserve further attention.”

A logical question, when considering use of this drug in the athlete, might be:  what are the potential negative side effects?  Or, for that matter, are there ergogenic effects with which we must be concerned?

In our July 2018 journal, a group of authors tackled these issues in a systematic review on marijuana and its effects on athletic performance.

Mr. Dion Diep, McMaster University

The corresponding author of the study, Dion Diep, is a medical student at McMaster University in Hamilton University.  He was able to join us for a podcast discussion of what his team found.  Mr. Diep is our first medical student guest on the podcast, and based on his erudite performance I would say he has a stellar career ahead, as a clinician and a researcher.

We cover a lot of ground in a short time in this podcast.  Can marijuana enhance athletic performance?  What negative effects does it have?  May it show promise as a targeted treatment of various athletic maladies, such as anxiety?  What is the rational for having marijuana on the WADA banned substances list?

As ever you can find this podcast, and all our podcasts, on our journal website as well as iTunes, where you are invited to subscribe to the podcast and ensure you get direct delivery of every new edition of this growing audio library.

When you’re done listening to the podcast and reading the studies, take the time to take the poll and consider leaving a comment here on the blog or on the iTunes link. We’re always looking to hear from you — your contribution to the global conversation on clinical sports medicine is invaluable, and your feedback will help us continuously improve what we share with you.

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Marijuana and Its Effects on Athletic Performance: A Systematic Review

Cannabis and the Health and Performance of the Elite Athlete

 

A Sharapova Moment

The world of sports medicine is never boring, but who knew things could get this interesting?

In the first weeks of March, there have been at least two major stories that have transcended the borders of ‘sports medicine’ and become topics of debate for the world at large — I speak of the proposed ban on tackling in schoolboy rugby (and the continued debate on tackling in American football) and Maria Sharapova’s admission that she failed a drug test at the recent Australian Open.  For both stories, the boundaries of the discussion have gone well beyond the lines of the playing fields and the walls of the academy.

Social media has seen these topics trending. The mainstream media have been profiling the issues as well.  The Economist weighed in on the debate about tackling. And this morning I found the New York Times prominently featuring Ms. Sharapova’s story, including articles on the drug meldonium [for which Sharapova tested positive] and on the issue of the World Anti-doping Agency’s (WADA) use of emails to notify individuals about changes on WADA’s banned substance list.

Many people have an opinion on the subjects.   We’ve been running a poll on this blog regarding the issue of tackling, while our friends at the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) have been running a Twitter poll on the Sharapova issue: who is responsible, the player or her support staff [currently the poll is 74%/26% stating it’s the athlete’s responsibility].

In the New York Times article and in the BBC, former WADA-president Dick Pound has stated his opinion that Sharapova’s failed drug test was ‘reckless beyond description.’

I must say I take issue with this and empathize with Ms. Sharapova, who stated that she received in December the WADA email noting that meldonium was now on the banned substance list, but “…I did not look at that list.”  Meldonium was a PED legal until 2016, when it was placed on the ‘banned substances list.’ As a professional inundated with emails, alerts, pronouncements, and more, I confess to a certain degree of information overload even when it comes even to items vital to my licensure and ability to practice.  Have I ever received an email from the Medical Board that I have deleted?  Have I ever received notification from my hospital staff office of some new change in policy which I glossed over?  Yes and yes.

Regarding the WADA emails, other athletes in the NY Times article have offered this opinion: “Some dismissed the messages as irrelevant to their own regimens or too complicated to be useful.”  That certainly resonates with me and my professional world.

I am not writing this to absolve Ms. Sharapova, and I applaud her for her prompt and open admission of personal responsibility. That stance is right and proper.  But I would hardly deem her action “reckless beyond description.”

In CJSM we have published over the years several studies on banned substances. One of the pieces of original research just published in our March CJSM sheds some further light on this issue, I think: Dietary Supplements: Knowledge and Adverse Event Reporting Among American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Physicians.  Read more of this post

Team Physician Consensus Statement: 2013 Update

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Nationwide Children’s Hospital Staff Physicians and ATCs
in “the Horseshoe” at the Ohio State University, prior to game.

Earlier this week, several sports medicine organizations released a statement with which all sports medicine clinicians should familiarize themselves:  the “Team Physician Consensus Statement:  2013 Update.”

The Statement represents, in its own words, “…an ongoing project-based alliance” of the major professional associations associated with sports medicine  in the United States.  These include the American Academy of FamilyPhysicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgons (AAOS), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM), and this journal’s affiliated professional group, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM).

This is an update of a statement first published in 2000.  It includes sections which define the role of ‘team physician’;  describe the requisite education and qualifications; enumerate the medical and adminstrative duties and responsibilities; and explore the relevant ethical and medicolegal issues.

The entire statement is worth a read, but I find the ‘ethical issues’ section most interesting.  Read more of this post

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