Racket sports are typically not associated with doping. Despite the common characteristics of being non-contact and mostly individual, racket sports differ in their physiological demands, which might be reflected in substance use and misuse (SUM). The aim of this study was to investigate SUM among Slovenian Olympic racket sport players in the context of educational, sociodemographic and sport-specific factors.
Elite athletes (N = 187; mean age = 22 ± 2.3; 64% male) representing one of the three racket sports, table tennis, badminton, and tennis, completed a paper-and-pencil questionnaire on substance use habits. Athletes in this sample had participated in at least one of the two most recent competitions at the highest national level and had no significant difference in competitive achievement or status within their sport.
A significant proportion of athletes (46% for both sexes) reported using nutritional supplements. Between 10% and 24% of the studied males would use doping if the practice would help them achieve better results in competition and if it had no negative health consequences; a further 5% to 10% indicated potential doping behaviour regardless of potential health hazards. Females were generally less oriented toward SUM than their male counterparts with no significant differences between sports, except for badminton players. Substances that have no direct effect on sport performance (if timed carefully to avoid detrimental effects) are more commonly consumed (20% binge drink at least once a week and 18% report using opioids), whereas athletes avoid substances that can impair and threaten athletic achievement by decreasing physical capacities (e.g. cigarettes), violating anti-doping codes or potentially transgressing substance control laws (e.g. opiates and cannabinoids). Regarding doping issues, athletes' trust in their coaches and physicians is low.
SUM in sports spreads beyond doping-prone sports and drugs that enhance athletic performance. Current anti-doping education, focusing exclusively on rules and fair play, creates an increasingly widening gap between sports and the athletes' lives outside of sports. To avoid myopia, anti-doping programmes should adopt a holistic approach to prevent substance use in sports for the sake of the athletes' health as much as for the integrity of sports.
racket sport; anti-doping; drug; athlete; drinking; supplements
Background & objectives:
Intensive regular physical exercise training is associated with a physiological changes in left ventricular (LV) morphology and functions. This cardiac remodeling observed in the athletes is associated with the specific haemodynamic requirements of the exercise undertaken. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of endurance training on cardiac morphology, systolic and diastolic LV functions and haemodynamic parameters both in male and female athletes.
Seventy nine healthy athletes (age 20.0 ± 2.6 yr; 49% male) and 82 healthy sedentary adolescent (age 20.8 ± 2.2 yr, 49% male) volunteered to participate in this study. All subjects underwent transthoracic echocardiography and impedance cardiography.
Both female and male athletes had greater LV end-diastolic cavity sizes, LV mass and stroke volume (SV) values when compared with controls. Also, in male athletes, LV mass index was higher than in female athletes. While male athletes had lower resting heart rate compared to female athletes, they had higher mean arterial blood pressure. In male athletes, basal septal and mid septal strain values were higher compared to controls. There were no significant differences in strain and peak systolic strain rate values between female athletes and controls. In male athletes, there was a weak positive correlation between SV and LV mass, basal lateral and septal strain values. In female athletes, only a weak positive correlation was found between SV and basal septal strain values.
Interpretation & conclusions:
Endurance-trained male and female athletes had higher LV mass, LV cavity dimensions and SV compared to sedentary controls. Although there was no difference in diastolic cardiac functions between athletes and controls, local enhanced systolic function was found with increase of SV. Both morphologic and haemodynamic differences were more evident in male athletes.
Athlete's heart; endurance training; impedance cardiography; strain imaging; tissue Doppler
Olympic class sailing poses physiological challenges similar to other endurance sports such as cycling or running, with sport specific challenges of limited access to nutrition and hydration during competition. As changes in hydration status can impair sports performance, examining fluid consumption patterns and fluid/electrolyte requirements of Olympic class sailors is necessary to develop specific recommendations for these elite athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine if Olympic class sailors could maintain hydration status with self-regulated fluid consumption in cold conditions and the effect of fixed fluid intake on hydration status in warm conditions.
In our cold condition study (CCS), 11 elite Olympic class sailors were provided ad libitum access to three different drinks. Crystal Light (control, C); Gatorade (experimental control, G); and customized sailing-specific Infinit (experimental, IN) (1.0:0.22 CHO:PRO), were provided on three separate training days in cold 7.1°C [4.2 – 11.3]. Our warm condition study (WCS) examined the effect of fixed fluid intake (11.5 mL.kg.-1.h-1) of C, G and heat-specific experimental Infinit (INW)(1.0:0.074 CHO:PRO) on the hydration status of eight elite Olympic Laser class sailors in 19.5°C [17.0 - 23.3]. Both studies used a completely random design.
In CCS, participants consumed 802 ± 91, 924 ± 137 and 707 ± 152 mL of fluid in each group respectively. This did not change urine specific gravity, but did lead to a main effect for time for body mass (p < 0.001), blood sodium, potassium and chloride with all groups lower post-training (p < 0.05). In WCS, fixed fluid intake increased participant’s body mass post-training in all groups (p < 0.01) and decreased urine specific gravity post-training (p < 0.01). There was a main effect for time for blood sodium, potassium and chloride concentration, with lower values observed post-training (p < 0.05). C blood sodium concentrations were lower than the INW group post-training (p = 0.031) with a trend towards significance in the G group (p = 0.069).
Ad libitum fluid consumption in cold conditions was insufficient in preventing a decrease in body mass and blood electrolyte concentration post-training. However, when a fixed volume of 11.5 mL.kg.-1.h-1 was consumed during warm condition training, hydration status was maintained by preventing changes in body mass and urine specific gravity.
Hydration; Sailing; Nutrition; Performance; Temperature
Increased myocardial mass due to regular high-volume intense exercise training (so-called athlete’s heart) is not uncommon. Although directly correlated with the extent of training loads, myocardial hypertrophy is not present exclusively in well-trained or elite athletes. Athlete’s heart is considered a physiological phenomenon with no known harmful consequences. However, extreme forms of myocardial hypertrophy due to endurance training resemble a structural heart disease such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition associated with substantially increased risk of cardiac event. Endurance sports such as rowing and road cycling, rather than strength/power training, are most commonly associated with left ventricular (LV) wall thickness compatible with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The differentiation between physiological and maladaptive cardiac hypertrophy in athletes is undoubtedly important, since untreated cardiac abnormality often possesses a real threat of premature death due to heart failure during intense physical exertion. Luckily, the distinction from pathological hypertrophy is usually straightforward using transthoracic echocardiography, as endurance athletes, in addition to moderately and proportionally thickened LV walls with normal acoustic density, tend to possess increased LV diameter. In more uncertain cases, a detailed evaluation of myocardial function using (tissue) Doppler and contrast echocardiography is effective. When a doubt still remains, knowledge of an athlete’s working capacity may be useful in evaluating whether the insidious cardiac pathology is absent. In such cases cardiopulmonary exercise testing typically resolves the dilemma: indices of aerobic capacity are markedly higher in healthy endurance athletes compared to patients. Other characteristics such as a decrease of LV mass due to training cessation are also discussed in the article.
Transthoracic echocardiography is still the most common relevant differentiation technique applied to distinguish athlete’s heart from the cardiomyopathy.
Conventional echocardiographic criteria such as left ventricular chamber size and diastolic function parameters are to be regarded first when making differential diagnosis between substantially increased wall thickness in athlete’s heart (i.e. physiological adaptation) versus a disease (usually hypertrophic cardiomyopathy).
When conventional echocardiographic parameters fail to diagnose the nature of myocardial hypertrophy, other differentiation criteria such as aerobic fitness, cardiac performance in response to physical exertion, and changes in echocardiographic parameters due to detraining, must be taken into consideration.
Tissue Doppler, contrast and three-dimensional imaging are state-of-the-art echocardiographic techniques which have recently appeared in the differential diagnostics.
Left ventricle; physical exercises; physiological adaptation
In order to perform at top levels, elite athletes have to both protect and risk their health at the same time. Adolescent elite athletes have the additional challenge of coping with substantial physical, psychological and social transformations. The contradictory phenomenon of protecting and risking the adolescent athletes' health in sports challenges the development of health promotion and protection strategies. The GOAL Study (German Young Olympic Athletes' Lifestyle and Health Management Study) analyzes the individual and organizational management of health in adolescent elite sports.
We combine quantitative and qualitative approaches in a mixed-method study. This allows us to gather a broad range of representative information on squad athletes from all Olympic disciplines as well as in-depth information on four selected Olympic disciplines (artistic gymnastics, biathlon, handball and wrestling). Within the quantitative section we attempt to identify the young athletes' health and nutrition behavior, their subjective health state and their lay health representations, health-related social networks, and structures of medical attendance. 1138 national team level athletes born between 1992 and 1995 from 51 Olympic disciplines responded to the questionnaire (response rate: 61,75%). The qualitative section investigates the meaning and relevance of health and nutrition within the athletes' sports specific surroundings, the impact of biographic backgrounds on individual health behavior, and sports specific cultures of health, nutrition and risk. We interviewed 24 athletes and 28 coaching and medical experts, and carried out 14 multi-day participant observations at training sessions and competitions.
The studies' results will serve as the basis for developing tailored health promotion strategies to be in cooperation with German elite sports associations.
health management; elite sports; adolescent athletes; health promotion; health behavior; lay health representations; attitude to health; subjective health state; health cultures; risk behavior; risk-taking; eating disorders; self-medication; mixed-method; social networks
Echocardiograms were recorded in 154 active athletes (from various sports) and 21 ex-athletes and compared with those in 40 normal control subjects (non-athletes). Diastolic cavity dimension and posterior wall and septal thickness were measured and left ventricular mass and the ratio of posterior wall thickness to cavity radius and of septum to posterior wall thickness calculated. As a group athletes had a significantly increased diastolic cavity dimension, posterior wall and septal thickness, and left ventricular mass. The ratio of posterior wall thickness to cavity radius was distributed as a single continuous variable with a significantly increased mean, and there was no separate subgroup of shot putters or weight lifters with inappropriate hypertrophy. The mean ratio of septum to posterior wall thickness was normal, but there was a wide range of values up to 2.1:1. Ex-athletes had entirely normal left ventricular dimensions and wall thickness. When athletes are categorised by their standard of competition national standard competitors had a significantly increased posterior wall and septal thickness and left ventricular mass compared with university and non-competitive sportsmen. In conclusion, strenuous activity results in left ventricular hypertrophy which is appropriate to the body size of the athlete and the degree of activity but not to its type.
BACKGROUND--Clinical distinction between athlete's heart and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in a trained athlete is often difficult. In an effort to identify variables that may aid in this differential diagnosis, the effects of deconditioning on left ventricular wall thickness were assessed in six highly trained elite athletes who had competed in rowing or canoeing at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Each of these athletes showed substantial ventricular septal thickening associated with training (13-15 mm) which resembled that of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. METHODS--The athletes voluntarily reduced their training substantially for 6-34 weeks (mean 13) after the Olympic competition. Echocardiography was performed at peak training and also after deconditioning, and cardiac dimensions were assessed blindly. RESULTS--Maximum ventricular septal thickness was 13.8 (0.9) mm in the trained state and 10.5 (0.5) in the deconditioned state (p < 0.005) (change 15-33%). CONCLUSIONS--The finding that deconditioning may be associated with a considerable reduction in ventricular septal thickness in elite athletes over short periods strongly suggests that these athletes had a physiological form of left ventricular hypertrophy induced by training. Such a reduction in wall thickness with deconditioning may help to distinguish between the physiological hypertrophy of athlete's heart and primary pathological hypertrophy (for example, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) in selected athletes with increased left ventricular wall thickness.
Oral health is important both for well-being and successful elite sporting performance. Reports from Olympic Games have found significant treatment needs; however, few studies have examined oral health directly. The aim of this study was to evaluate oral health, the determinants of oral health and the effect of oral health on well-being, training and performance of athletes participating in the London 2012 Games.
Cross-sectional study at the dental clinic within the Polyclinic in the athletes’ village. Following informed consent, a standardised history, clinical examination and brief questionnaire were conducted.
302 athletes from 25 sports were recruited with data available for 278. The majority of athletes were from Africa, the Americas and Europe. Overall, the results demonstrated high levels of poor oral health including dental caries (55% athletes), dental erosion (45% athletes) and periodontal disease (gingivitis 76% athletes, periodontitis 15% athletes). More than 40% of athletes were ‘bothered’ by their oral health with 28% reporting an impact on quality of life and 18% on training and performance. Nearly half of the participants had not undergone a dental examination or hygiene care in the previous year.
The oral health of athletes attending the dental clinic of the London 2012 Games was poor with a resulting substantial negative impact on well-being, training and performance. As oral health is an important element of overall health and well-being, health promotion and disease prevention interventions are urgently required to optimise athletic performance.
Elite Performance; Dentistry; Epidemiology; Olympics
Two dimensionally guided M mode and Doppler echocardiographic data for 578 male subjects (106 non-athletic and 472 athletes) were analysed from two aspects: (a) in the young adult category (19–30 years of age), competitors in different groups of sports were studied; (b) in the different age groups (children, 10–14 years; adolescent juniors, 15–18 years; young adults, 19–30 years; adults, 31–44 years; older adults 45–60 years), data for athletes and non-athletes were compared. Morphological variables were related to body size by indices in which the exponents of the numerator and denominator were matched. Morphological signs of athletic heart were most consistently evident in the left ventricular muscle mass: in the young adult group, the highest values were seen in the endurance athletes, followed by the ball game players, sprinters/jumpers, and power athletes. A thicker muscular wall was the main reason for this hypertrophy. Internal diameter was only increased in the endurance athletes, and this increase was more evident in the younger groups. The E/A quotient (ratio of peak velocity during early and late diastole) indicated more effective diastolic function in the endurance athletes. The values for E/A quotient also suggested that regular physical activity at an older age may protect against age dependent impairment of diastolic function.
Key Words: echocardiography; heart; athletic heart; age; male athletes
Objective—In some athletes with a substantial increase in left ventricular wall thickness, it may be difficult to distinguish with certainty physiological hypertrophy due to athletic training from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether assessment of left ventricular filling could differentiate between these two conditions.
Design—Doppler echocardiography was used to obtain transmitral flow velocity waveforms from which indices of left ventricular diastolic filling were measured. Normal values were from 35 previously studied control subjects.
Setting—Athletes were selected mostly from the Institute of Sports Science (Rome, Italy), and patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy were studied at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland).
Participants—The athlete group comprised 16 young competitive athletes with an increase in left ventricular wall thickness (range 13–16 mm; mean 14). For comparison, 12 symptom free patients with non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy were selected because their ages and degree of hypertrophy were similar to those of the athletes.
Results—In the athlete group, values for deceleration of flow velocity in early diastole, peak early and late diastolic flow velocities, and their ratio were not significantly different from those obtained in untrained normal subjects; furthermore, Doppler diastolic indices were normal in each of the 16 athletes. Conversely, in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, mean values for Doppler diastolic indices were significantly different from both normal subjects and athletics (p = 0·01 to 0·003), and one or more indices were abnormal in 10 (83%) of the 12 patients.
Conclusions—Doppler echocardiographic indices of left ventricular filling may aid in distinguishing between pronounced physiological hypertrophy due to athletic training and pathological hypertrophy associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Differentiating physiological cardiac hypertrophy from pathology is challenging when the athlete presents with extreme anthropometry. While upper normal limits exist for maximal left ventricular (LV) wall thickness (14 mm) and LV internal diameter in diastole (LVIDd, 65 mm), it is unknown if these limits are applicable to athletes with a body surface area (BSA) >2.3 m2.
To investigate cardiac structure in professional male athletes with a BSA>2.3 m2, and to assess the validity of established upper normal limits for physiological cardiac hypertrophy.
836 asymptomatic athletes without a family history of sudden death underwent ECG and echocardiographic screening. Athletes were grouped according to BSA (Group 1, BSA>2.3 m2, n=100; Group 2, 2–2.29 m2, n=244; Group 3, <1.99 m2, n=492).
There was strong linear relationship between BSA and LV dimensions; yet no athlete with a normal ECG presented a maximal wall thickness and LVIDd greater than 13 and 65 mm, respectively. In Group 3 athletes, Black African ethnicity was associated with larger cardiac dimensions than either Caucasian or West Asian ethnicity. Three athletes were diagnosed with a cardiomyopathy (0.4% prevalence); with two athletes presenting a maximal wall thickness >13 mm, but in combination with an abnormal ECG suspicious of an inherited cardiac disease.
Regardless of extreme anthropometry, established upper limits for physiological cardiac hypertrophy of 14 mm for maximal wall thickness and 65 mm for LVIDd are clinically appropriate for all athletes. However, the abnormal ECG is key to diagnosis and guides follow-up, particularly when cardiac dimensions are within accepted limits.
We examined the incidence of health problems in elite-level amateur boxing athletes who sparred, trained, or competed at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado from January 1, 1977 through June 30, 1992. We think this is the first study to examine both injuries and illnesses in a population of elite-level athletes. We collected data on 1,776 reported problems (1219 injuries, 557 illnesses) from standard medical report forms completed by the permanent and volunteer sports medicine staff. We classified the information based on type, body region, location, description, and occurrence. There were significant differences between the frequency of injuries and illnesses and between the classifications and regions for each type of problem. Collectively, serious injuries represented only a relatively small percentage (6.1%) of all problems. We concluded that illnesses comprised a small but important portion of problems, that most illnesses involved respiratory tract infections (71%), that there is only a small risk for serious injury, and that injuries occur in a hierarchy of upper extremity (441, 25%), head/face (344, 19%), lower extremity (267, 15%), and spinal column (167, 9%) for amateur boxers.
One of the diagnostic criteria in order to differentiate between physiological and pathological left ventricular hypertrophy is the wall thickness reduction after at least 3-month detraining period, which is considered a marker of the athlete’s heart. This report describes detraining-related regression of LV hypertrophy and improvement in myocardial deformation in a junior athlete likely to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in adolescent athletes can be discovered by 12-lead ECG
Physical training is an important trigger for the clinical presentation of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Reverse LV remodeling (wall thickness reduction) with detraining is a common echocardiographic finding in athletes with physiological hypertrophy
This report demonstrates that reverse remodeling can also be found in adolescent athletes likely to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Athlete’s heart; detraining; echocardiography; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; left ventricular hypertrophy; myocardial function; strain echocardiography.
The question of whether altitude training can enhance subsequent sea-level performance has been well investigated over many decades. However, research on this topic has focused on athletes from individual or endurance sports, with scant number of studies on team-sport athletes. Questions that need to be answered include whether this type of training may enhance team-sport athlete performance, when success in team-sport is often more based on technical and tactical ability rather than physical capacity per se.
This review will contrast and compare athletes from two sports representative of endurance (cycling) and team-sports (soccer). Specifically, we draw on the respective competition schedules, physiological capacities, activity profiles and energetics of each sport to compare the similarities between athletes from these sports and discuss the relative merits of altitude training for these athletes. The application of conventional live-high, train-high; live-high, train-low; and intermittent hypoxic training for team-sport athletes in the context of the above will be presented. When the above points are considered, we will conclude that dependent on resources and training objectives, altitude training can be seen as an attractive proposition to enhance the physical performance of team-sport athletes without the need for an obvious increase in training load.
Altitude; Soccer; Cycling
Cardiac remodelling is commonly defined as a physiological or pathological state that may occur after conditions such as myocardial infarction, pressure overload, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy or volume overload. When training excessively, the heart develops several myocardial adaptations causing a physiological state of cardiac remodelling. These morphological changes depend on the kind of training and are clinically characterised by modifications in cardiac size and shape due to increased load. Several studies have investigated morphological differences in the athlete’s heart between athletes performing strength training and athletes performing endurance training. Endurance training is associated with an increased cardiac output and volume load on the left and right ventricles, causing the endurance-trained heart to generate a mild to moderate dilatation of the left ventricle combined with a mild to moderate increase in left ventricular wall thickness. Strength training is characterised by an elevation of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This pressure overload causes an increase in left ventricular wall thickness. This may or may not be accompanied by a slight raise in the left ventricular volume. However, the development of an endurancetrained heart and a strength-trained heart should not be considered an absolute concept. Both forms of training cause specific morphological changes in the heart, dependent on the type of sport. (Neth Heart J 2008;16:129-33.)
ventricular remodelling; heart; sports; hypertrophy; Prinzmetal angina; acetylcholine; multifocal spasm
OBJECTIVE: To assess cardiac structure and function in elite cross- trained male and female athletes (Alpine skiers). METHODS: Sixteen athletes (10 male, six female) and 19 healthy sedentary control subjects (12 male, seven female) volunteered to take part in the study. Basic anthropometry determined height, body mass, body surface area, and fat free mass. Cardiac dimensions and function were determined by two dimensional, M mode, and Doppler echocardiography. Absolute data and data corrected for body size (allometrically determined) were compared by two way analysis of variance and post hoc Scheffe tests. RESULTS: Absolute left ventricular internal dimension in diastole (LVIDd), septal and posterior wall thickness and left ventricular mass were larger in athletes than controls (p < 0.05) and also increased in the men (p < 0.05) compared with women (except for septal thickness in controls). An increased LVIDd, septal thickness, posterior wall thickness, and left ventricular mass in athletes persisted after correction for body size except when LVIDd was scaled by fat free mass. Cardiac dimensions did not differ between the sexes after correction for body size. All functional indices were similar between groups. CONCLUSION: There is evidence of both left ventricular chamber dilatation and wall enlargement in cross trained athletes compared with controls. Differences in absolute cardiac dimensions between the sexes were primarily due to greater body dimensions in the men.
Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) abuse for improving physical appearance and performance in body builders is common and has been considered responsible for serious cardiovascular effects. Due to disagreement about cardiovascular side effects of these drugs in published articles, this case control study was designed to evaluate the echocardiographic findings in body builder athletes who are current and chronic abusers of these drugs.
Body builder athletes with continuous practice for the preceding two years and were training at least twice weekly were selected and divided into AAS abuser and non user and compared with age and BMI matched non athletic healthy volunteers (15 cases in each group).
There was no significant difference in left ventricular size or function either systolic or diastolic in comparison to cases and control groups. The only difference was in diastolic size of septum and free wall but observed differences were only significant (P = 0.05) between first (athletic with AAS abuser) and third group (non athletic and nonuser). The difference between the above-mentioned indexes were not significant between two groups of athletes.
Observed differences in diastolic size of septum and free wall is in favor of that long term abuse of anabolic steroid results in accentuation of physiologic hypertrophy due to long term sport most probably due to higher rate pressure product. Furthermore long term abuse and supra pharmacologic doses do not have significant effect in size and left ventricular function.
Androgenic Anabolic Agent; Body Builder; Left Ventricular Hypertrophy; Echocardiography
Adaptations to left ventricular (LV) structure and function appear to be dependent on the type, intensity and duration of exercise training. We therefore studied two clearly defined groups of elite athletes, by M-mode and Doppler echocardiography, with a group of inactive individuals as controls. All groups were age matched. Group 1 comprised ten elite endurance athletes with maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) of 74.7 +/- 1.43 (mean +/- SEM). Group 2 consisted of ten elite weightlifters with VO2 max 45.3 +/- 2.00. Group 3 comprised of ten inactive individuals with VO2 max 44.5 +/- 2.13. Left ventricular end diastolic dimension was significantly higher in group 1 (5.72 +/- 0.07) than in groups 2 or 3 (5.29 +/- 0.09 and 5.19 +/- 0.09 respectively, p less than 0.001). Left ventricular mass index was significantly higher in groups 1 and 2 (156.4 +/- 5.97 and 138.6 +/- 7.27 respectively) than in group 3 (104.1 +/- 3.16 p less than 0.001). Percentage fractional shortening was used as an index of systolic function and no significant difference was found between groups. Doppler E:A ratio was taken as an index of diastolic function and was found to be significantly elevated in group 1 at rest (3.37 +/- 0.24) compared with 2.38 +/- 0.16 and 1.99 +/- 0.10 in groups 2 and 3 respectively (p less than 0.003). On exercise, the E:A ratio in group 1 was significantly higher than in group 3 (1.95 +/- 0.14 and 1.23 +/- 0.05 respectively p less than 0.001), and tended to be higher than group 2 (1.68 +/- 0.15 p = ns). These data show that both modes of intense training produce left ventricular hypertrophy. Diastolic function is not impaired in the athletes and may be augmented in the endurance athletes.
Dietary supplement (DS) intake is high in elite level athletes, however few studies have investigated the impact that the performance level of the athletes has on supplementation intake in individual and team sports. The purpose of the study was to determine and compare the DS intake among individual and team sport athletes of various performance levels. A total of 2845 participants (athletes: 2783, controls: 62) between the ages of 11 and 44 years old participated in the study. A 3-page questionnaire was developed to assess the intake of DS. Athletes were categorized based on participation in individual (n = 775) and team sports (n = 2008). To assess the effect of performance level in supplementation intake, athletes were categorized based on training volume, participation in the national team, and winning at least one medal in provincial, national, international or Olympic games. Overall, 37% of all athletes of various performance levels reported taking at least one DS in the last month. A higher prevalence of DS intake was reported in individual (44%) compared to team sport athletes (35%) (p < 0.001). Athletes of high performance level reported greater DS intake compared to lower performance athletes. Males reported a significantly greater prevalence of DS intake compared to females. The most popular supplement reported was amino acid preparation with the main reason of supplementation being endurance improvements. In conclusion, performance level and type of sport appear to impact the DS practices of male and female athletes. These findings should be validated in other populations.
37% of Mediterranean athletes of various sports and levels have reported taking dietary supplements.
The performance level of the athletes affects the dietary supplementation intake.
Athletes in individual sports appear to have a higher DS intake compared to team sport athletes.
Male athletes appear to take more dietary supplements compared to female athletes.
Nutritional aids; sports; team sports; performance
The differentiation between physiological cardiac enlargement and cardiomyopathy is crucial, considering that most young non‐traumatic deaths in sport are due to cardiomyopathy. Currently, there are few data relating to cardiac dimensions in junior elite tennis players. The aim of this study was to define the upper limits of left ventricular dimensions in a large cohort of national adolescent tennis players.
Between 1996 and 2003, 259 adolescent tennis players (152 males), mean (SD) age 14.8 (1.4) years (range 13–19) and 86 healthy age, gender and body surface matched sedentary controls underwent 12‐lead ECG and 2D‐transthoracic echocardiography.
Inter‐ventricular septal end diastolic dimension (IVSd), left ventricular end diastolic dimension (LVEDd) and left ventricular end diastolic posterior wall dimension (LVPWd) in tennis players were significantly higher than in controls (8.9 mm vs 8.3 mm p<0.001, 48.9 mm vs 47.9 mm p<0.05 and 9 mm vs 8.3 mm p<0.001 respectively), however in absolute terms, the difference did not exceed 7%. None of the tennis players had a wall thickness exceeding 12 mm or a left ventricular cavity size exceeding 60 mm.
Tennis players exhibit modest increases in cardiac dimensions, which do not resemble those seen in individuals with cardiomyopathy affecting the left ventricle.
Inspired by the Games held in ancient Greece, modern Olympics represent the world’s largest pageant of athletic skill and competitive spirit. Performances of athletes at the Olympic Games mirror, since 1896, human potentialities in sports, and thus provide an optimal source of information for studying the evolution of sport achievements and predicting the limits that athletes can reach. Unfortunately, the models introduced so far for the description of athlete performances at the Olympics are either sophisticated or unrealistic, and more importantly, do not provide a unified theory for sport performances. Here, we address this issue by showing that relative performance improvements of medal winners at the Olympics are normally distributed, implying that the evolution of performance values can be described in good approximation as an exponential approach to an a priori unknown limiting performance value. This law holds for all specialties in athletics–including running, jumping, and throwing–and swimming. We present a self-consistent method, based on normality hypothesis testing, able to predict limiting performance values in all specialties. We further quantify the most likely years in which athletes will breach challenging performance walls in running, jumping, throwing, and swimming events, as well as the probability that new world records will be established at the next edition of the Olympic Games.
Left ventricle dimensions and wall stress were measured echocardiographically before and immediately after exercise in 14 athletes and 7 control subjects. Our findings suggest that afterload is an important determinant of cardiac performance and wall hypertrophy in athletes. In spite of major changes in heart rate and blood pressure, left ventricular wall stress remains unchanged following submaximal exercise, in trained and untrained hearts. It would appear that the changes in heart size during exercise are to a large extent limited in untrained ventricles, as smaller left ventricular dimensions are required, to "normalise" wall stress. This results in a lower stroke volume for a given stroke dimensional change. Consequently cardiac output is a function of heart rate rather than stroke volume in untrained subjects. The effect of increased muscle mass in athletes, is to permit larger left ventricular dimensions for a given afterload, thus stroke volume can be augmented. The increase h/R ratio suggests that afterload is more important than preload in the development of left ventricular hypertrophy in rowers and swimmers.
The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of use of dietary supplements (DS) among large sample of elite Finnish athletes and to describe possible changes in dietary supplement use between the years 2002 and 2009.
A prospective follow-up study was conducted on Olympic athletes. The first survey was conducted on Olympic athletes in 2002 (N = 446) and the follow-up study was conducted between May 2008 and June 2009 (N = 372).
In 2002, a total of 81% of the athletes used dietary supplements (a mean of 3.37 ± 3.06 DS per user) and in 2009, a total of 73% of the athletes (a mean of 2.60 ± 2.69 per DS user) used them. After adjusting for age-, sex- and sport type, the OR (95% confidence interval, CI) for use of any dietary supplement was significantly less in 2009 as compared with 2002 results (OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.43-0.90). Decrease in DS use was observed in all supplement subgroups (vitamins, minerals, nutritional supplements). Athletes in speed and power events and endurance events reported use of any dietary supplement significantly more often than team sport athletes both in 2002 and 2009. In year 2009, the frequency of all dietary supplement use increased when athlete's age increased and the increase was significant in older age groups: of the athletes under 21 years 63%, 21-24 years 83% and over 24 years 90% consumed nutritional supplements.
Based in our study, there seems to be a lowering trend of dietary supplement use among elite Finnish athletes although differences between sport subgroups and age groups are considerable.
Most echocardiographic data on the athletic heart syndrome originate from the United States and Western Europe. There are no published data on echocardiographically documented left ventricular hypertrophy in Asian athletes. We investigated the echocardiographic changes which take place with endurance training by studying eight Hong Kong national cyclists. This study confirms that left ventricular hypertrophy and increased left ventricular end-diastolic dimensions are common findings in Chinese endurance athletes as in their Caucasian counterparts. Calculated left ventricular muscle mass exceeded the 95th percentile in seven of eight subjects.
The FTO A/T polymorphism (rs9939609) is a strong candidate to influence obesity-related traits. Elite athletes from many different sporting disciplines are characterized by low body fat. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess whether athletic status is associated with the FTO A/T polymorphism.
Subjects and Methods
A large cohort of European Caucasians from Poland, Russia and Spain were tested to examine the association between FTO A/T polymorphism (rs9939609) and athletic status. A total of 551 athletes were divided by type of sport (endurance athletes, n = 266 vs. sprint/power athletes, n = 285) as well as by level of competition (elite-level vs. national-level). The control group consisted of 1,416 ethnically-matched, non-athletic participants, all Europeans. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the association between FTO A/T genotypes and athletic status/competition level.
There were no significantly greater/lesser odds of harbouring any type of genotype when comparing across athletic status (endurance athletes, sprint/power athletes or control participants). These effects were observed after controlling for sex and nationality. Furthermore, no significantly greater/lesser odds ratios were observed for any of the genotypes in respect to the level of competition (elite-level vs. national-level).
The FTO A/T polymorphism is not associated with elite athletic status in the largest group of elite athletes studied to date. Large collaborations and data sharing between researchers, as presented here, are strongly recommended to enhance the research in the field of exercise genomics.