BACKGROUND: Intensive endurance training has been associated with a high prevalence of symptoms compatible with asthma in elite athletes. It is not known, however, whether there is an association between the type of training for competitive events and the risk of asthma in highly trained athletes. METHODS: Two hundred and thirteen track and field athletes, mostly from Finnish national teams, and 124 controls of the same age completed a respiratory symptom questionnaire. Positive answers to physician diagnosed asthma were confirmed by personal interviews. The athletes were divided into two groups depending on whether they were speed and power athletes (n = 106) or long distance runners (n = 107). RESULTS: According to a logistic regression model the prevalence of physician diagnosed asthma was not associated with age, sex, or a family history of asthma. Long distance runners (OR 6.7; 95% CI 2.1 to 22.1) and speed and power athletes (OR 3.2; 95% CI 0.90 to 11.4) had a higher prevalence of physician diagnosed asthma than control subjects. Physician diagnosed asthma was found in 18 of 107 long distance runners (17%), in nine of 106 speed and power athletes (8%; p = 0.07 (chi 2 test)), and in four of 124 controls (3%; p < 0.0004 (chi 2 test for trend)). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of physician diagnosed asthma is high in elite athletes and an association with the competitive event is suggested with long distance runners having a greater risk of developing asthma than speed and power athletes. This may be due to prolonged hyperventilation and increased exposure to inhalant allergens and irritants during endurance training and competition.
Objectives—To study factors associated with passive hip rotation range of motion (ROM) in former elite male athletes.
Methods—Athletes were interviewed about hip pain, disability, lifetime occupational loading, and athletic training. The passive hip rotation was measured with a Myrin inclinometer in 117 former elite male long distance runners, soccer players, weight lifters, and shooters aged 45–68 years. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to detect hip osteoarthritis.
Results—There were no differences in passive hip rotation ROM between the four athlete groups nor between diverging lifetime loading patterns associated with occupational or athletic activities. Among the subjects without hip osteoarthritis, hip pain, and hip disability according to a stepwise linear regression analysis, the only factor that was associated with the passive hip rotation ROM was body mass index (BMI), explaining about 21% of its variation. Subjects with high BMI had lower passive hip rotation ROM than those with low BMI. There was no right-left difference in the mean passive hip rotation ROM in subjects either with or without hip osteoarthritis as determined by magnetic resonance imaging. Nevertheless, hip rotation ROM was clearly reduced in a few hips with severe caput deformity.
Conclusions—Long term loading appears to have no association with passive hip rotation ROM. On the other hand, the hip rotation value was lower in subjects with high BMI than in those with low BMI. A clear right-left difference in hip rotation was found only in those subjects who, according to our magnetic resonance imaging criteria, had severe hip osteoarthritis. These findings should be taken into account when hip rotation ROM is used in the clinical assessment of hip joints.
Key Words: hip joint rotation; range of motion; osteoarthritis; athletic training; body mass index
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the presence of abnormal illness behaviour in patients with a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. DESIGN--A cross sectional descriptive study using the illness behaviour questionnaire to compare illness behaviour scores and illness behaviour profiles of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and patients with multiple sclerosis. SETTING--A multidisciplinary fatigue clinic and a teaching hospital neurology outpatient clinic. SUBJECTS--98 patients satisfying the Oxford criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome and 78 patients with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Responses to the 62 item illness behaviour questionnaire. RESULTS--90 (92%) patients in the chronic fatigue syndrome group and 70 (90%) in the multiple sclerosis group completed the illness behaviour questionnaire. Both groups had significantly high scores on the general hypochondriasis and disease conviction subscales and significantly low scores on the psychological versus somatic concern subscale, as measured in relation to normative data. There were, however, no significant differences in the subscale scores between the two groups and the two groups had identical illness behaviour profiles. CONCLUSION--Scores on the illness behaviour questionnaire cannot be taken as evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome is a variety of abnormal illness behaviour, because the same profile occurs in multiple sclerosis. Neither can they be taken as evidence that chronic fatigue and multiple sclerosis share an aetiology. More needs to be known about the origins of illness beliefs in chronic fatigue syndrome, especially as they are important in determining outcome.
Sixty male distance athletes were divided into three equal groups according to their personal best time for the 10km run. The runners were measured anthropometrically and each runner completed a detailed questionnaire on his athletic status, training programme and performance. The runners in this study had similar anthropometric and training profiles to other distance runners of a similar standard. The most able runners were shorter and lighter than those in the other two groups and significantly smaller skinfold values (P less than 0.05). There were no significant differences between the groups for either bone widths or circumferences but the elite and good runners had significantly higher ponderal indices (P less than 0.05) than the average runners, indicating that they are more linear. Elite and good runners were also less endomorphic but more ectomorphic than the average runners. The elite runners trained more often, ran more miles per week and had been running longer (P less than 0.05) than good or average runners. A multiple regression and discriminant function analysis indicated that linearity, total skinfold, the type and frequency of training and the number of years running were the best predictors of running performance and success at the 10km distance.
To analyze and compare the vertical component of ground reaction forces and isokinetic muscle parameters for plantar flexion and dorsiflexion of the ankle between long-distance runners, triathletes, and non-athletes.
Seventy-five males with a mean age of 30.26 (±6.5) years were divided into three groups: a triathlete group (n = 26), a long-distance runner group (n = 23), and a non-athlete control group. The kinetic parameters were measured during running using a force platform, and the isokinetic parameters were measured using an isokinetic dynamometer.
The non-athlete control group and the triathlete group exhibited smaller vertical forces, a greater ground contact time, and a greater application of force during maximum vertical acceleration than the long-distance runner group. The total work (180°/s) was greater in eccentric dorsiflexion and concentric plantar flexion for the non-athlete control group and the triathlete group than the long-distance runner group. The peak torque (60°/s) was greater in eccentric plantar flexion and concentric dorsiflexion for the control group than the athlete groups.
The athlete groups exhibited less muscle strength and resistance than the control group, and the triathletes exhibited less impact and better endurance performance than the runners.
Stress Fracture; Tibia; Run; Triathlon
OBJECTIVE--To determine the effects of regular long distance running on the state of the hips in later life. DESIGN--Retrospective study of a cohort of elite athletes and a group of normal, healthy, untrained controls examined 15 years after initial testing. SETTING--Research project at school for physical education and sports. SUBJECTS--27 Former long distance runners (mean age 42), nine former bobsleigh riders (mean age 42), and 23 normal, healthy, untrained men (mean age 35) who had been examined in 1973 and who agreed to re-examination in 1988. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Radiological evidence of degenerative hip disease in 1988. RESULTS--Physiological and exercise characteristics of all subjects had been recorded in 1973, and in 1988 these measurements were repeated together with radiological examination of the hips. An additive radiological index of hip disease based on grades of subchondral sclerosis, osteophyte formation, and joint space narrowing was significantly increased among runners as compared with bobsleigh riders and untrained controls. After adjustment for age the significant effect of type of sports activity remained (p = 0.032). In multivariate analyses age and milage run in 1973 (97 km/week) emerged as independent, significant, and positive predictors of radiological signs of degenerative hip disease in 1988 (p = 0.017 and p = 0.024 respectively). Among runners alone running pace in 1973 rather than milage run was the stronger predictor of subsequent degenerative hip disease. The milage run in 1988 was not particularly predictive of the radiological index, but endurance in 1988 was inversely related to degenerative hip disease seen radiologically. CONCLUSION--Long term, high intensity, high milage running should not be dismissed as a potential risk factor for premature osteoarthritis of the hip.
Twelve cyclists and 12 long distance runners matched for age, height, and weight with two control groups of 12 non-athletes were studied echocardiographically to evaluate cardiac structure and function. Runners weighed 8 kg less than cyclists, but age and height were similar. Peak oxygen uptake per kg body weight was higher in athletes than in the control subjects but was similar in the cyclists and in the runners. The athletes' hearts had a larger end diastolic left ventricular internal diameter, mean wall thickness, and cross sectional area of the left ventricular wall than those of the respective control subjects. Nevertheless, whereas the left ventricular internal diameter was not different between the cyclists and runners, mean wall thickness and cross sectional area of the left ventricular wall were greater in the cyclists even after adjustment for weight. The ratio of wall thickness to left ventricular internal radius was significantly larger in cyclists than in their control group, but the ratio was similar in runners and their control group. The echocardiographic indices of left ventricular function were similar in the athletes and the control groups. Systolic left ventricular meridional wall stress was lower in the cyclists than in the runners. The data suggest that runners develop an increase in left ventricular wall thickness which is proportionate to the internal diameter but that in cyclists the increase is disproportionate because of the isometric work of the upper part of the body during cycling.
Mechanical loading is thought to be a determinant of bone mass and geometry. Both ground reaction forces and tibial strains increase with running speed. This study investigates the hypothesis that surrogates of bone strength in male and female master sprinters, middle and long distance runners and race-walkers vary according to discipline-specific mechanical loading from sedentary controls.
Bone scans were obtained by peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT) from the tibia and from the radius in 106 sprinters, 52 middle distance runners, 93 long distance runners and 49 race-walkers who were competing at master championships, and who were aged between 35 and 94 years. Seventy-five age-matched, sedentary people served as control group.
Most athletes of this study had started to practice their athletic discipline after the age of 20, but the current training regime had typically been maintained for more than a decade. As hypothesised, tibia diaphyseal bone mineral content (vBMC), cortical area and polar moment of resistance were largest in sprinters, followed in descending order by middle and long distance runners, race-walkers and controls. When compared to control people, the differences in these measures were always > 13% in male and > 23% in female sprinters (p < 0.001). Similarly, the periosteal circumference in the tibia shaft was larger in male and female sprinters by 4% and 8%, respectively, compared to controls (p < 0.001). Epiphyseal group differences were predominantly found for trabecular vBMC in both male and female sprinters, who had 15% and 18% larger values, respectively, than controls (p < 0.001). In contrast, a reverse pattern was found for cortical vBMD in the tibia, and only few group differences of lower magnitude were found between athletes and control people for the radius.
In conclusion, tibial bone strength indicators seemed to be related to exercise-specific peak forces, whilst cortical density was inversely related to running distance. These results may be explained in two, non-exclusive ways. Firstly, greater skeletal size may allow larger muscle forces and power to be exerted, and thus bias towards engagement in athletics. Secondly, musculoskeletal forces related to running can induce skeletal adaptation and thus enhance bone strength.
Veteran athletes; Track and field runners; Race-walking; Bone strength; Volumetric bone mineral density; Exercise
Athletes participating in sport are exposed to a relatively high injury risk. Previous research has suggested that it could be possible to reduce sports injuries through psychological skills training. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which a cognitive behavioural biofeedback intervention could reduce the number of sports injuries in a sample of players in Swedish elite football high schools. Participants from four elite football high schools (16-19 years old) were divided into one experiment (n = 13) and one control group (n = 14). Participants were asked to complete three questionnaires to assess anxiety level (Sport Anxiety Scale), history of stressors (Life Event Scale for Collegiate Athletes) and coping skills (Athletic Coping Skills Inventory - 28) in a baseline measure. Mann-Whitney U-tests showed no significant differences in pre-intervention scores based on the questionnaires. The experimental group participated in a nine-week intervention period consisting of seven sessions, including: somatic relaxation, thought stopping, emotions/problem focused coping, goal setting, biofeedback training as well as keeping a critical incident diary. A Mann-Whitney U test showed no significant difference between the control and experimental group U (n1 = 13, n2 = 14) = 51.00, p = 0.054. However, considering the small sample, the statistical power (0.05 for present study), to detect effects was low. The results of the study are discussed from a psychological perspective and proposals for future research are given.
Key pointsCognitive-behavioral training together with biofeedback training seems to be an effective strategy to decrease the occurrence of injuries.More intervention studies should be conducted applying existing biofeedback methodology, especially in the injury preventive area.Future research should develop a bio-psychological injury model aimed at predicting injury occurrence which describes the physiological stress responses and how they can be measured in more detail.
Coping skills; elite sport; psychological injury prevention; psychological stress; soccer
The issue of the expectations of elite athletes, their coaches and non‐medically qualified athlete support staff of consultations with sports physicians has not been previously dealt with in the sports medicine literature. As fulfilment of expectations of the content of a consultation may influence patient's satisfaction and clinical outcome, it is important to assess the expectations of athletes and, most importantly, coaches.
To assess the expectations and beliefs about fatigue, particularly in relation to blood tests, of athletes, their coaches and support staff in the specific context of tiredness of <7 days' duration.
28 senior sports science or non‐medically qualified sports medicine staff, 22 elite coaches and 62 elite athletes from the Australian Institute of Sport were included in this study.
A single questionnaire.
The expectation for a blood test at the initial consultation for short‐term fatigue was particularly high among athletes (81%) and coaches (91%). This expectation increased in athletes if their performance was worsening. All groups unanimously suggested that a blood test be performed in cases of more prolonged fatigue. Increase in total training load was perceived to be the most important cause of fatigue, but issues relating to sleep were also thought to be highly relevant. All groups suggested that blood tests provide some degree of reassurance, and all groups suggested that the most important blood tests that might be performed related to exclusion of iron deficiency, anaemia and infection.
Athletes and their coaches generally expect that blood tests will be performed even when fatigue has been present for <1 week. This is at odds with currently available evidence of the diagnostic utility of these tests. Despite the current evidence base, individual factors in the athletes, coaches and doctors need to be considered when deciding on whether such testing has to be performed.
Objectives—To identify physical activity that is beneficial for the maintenance of bone strength with increasing age by examining the relation between bone mineral density (BMD) and chronic endurance training in men. BMD at the proximal femur, its subregions, and the lumbar spine, and serum testosterone were compared between two groups of long distance runners with more than 20 years of training experience and non-athletic controls.
Methods—Runners (n = 12) were divided into (a) high volume runners (n = 7), running 64–80 km a week, and (b) very high volume runners (n = 5), running more than 95 km a week, and compared with non-athletic male controls, exercising in non-endurance oriented activities two to four times a week. BMD (g/cm2) at the total proximal femur, femoral neck, trochanteric region, and lumbar spine was measured by dual energy x ray absorptiometry. Total testosterone (nmol/l) and free testosterone (pmol/l) in serum were measured by radioimmunoassay from single fasting blood samples.
Results—Height, weight, and age (range = 40–55 years) were not significantly different between groups. The high volume runners had significantly higher BMD at the total proximal femur (1.09 (0.17) v 0.94 (0.056)), femoral neck (0.91 (0.16) v 0.78 (0.071)), and trochanteric region (0.85 (0.14) v 0.73 (0.053)) than controls (p<0.05). The differences in BMD for the proximal femur between the very high volume runners and the other two groups were not significant. There was no difference in lumbar spine BMD, total testosterone, or free testosterone between groups. However, there was a significant negative correlation between total testosterone (r = -0.73, p<0.01) and free testosterone (r = -0.79, p<0.005) and running volume in the distance runners.
Conclusions—Long term distance running with training volumes less than 80 km a week had a positive effect on BMD of the proximal femur. With running volumes greater than 64 km a week, training was inversely related to testosterone levels, but levels remained within the normal range.
Key Words: exercise; bone mineral density; male athletes; runners; endurance training; testosterone
OBJECTIVES: To study factors affecting the occurrence of exercise induced bronchospasm (EIB) in elite runners. METHODS: Fifty eight elite runners, 79% of them belonging to Finnish national teams, volunteered. The athletes answered a questionnaire on respiratory symptoms. Skin prick tests were used to investigate atopy, and spirometry to examine lung function at rest and after an exercise challenge test (ECT) at subzero temperature in the winter and after a similar ECT in the summer at the end of the birch pollen season. RESULTS: Definitive EIB (a post- exercise reduction of 10% or more in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was observed in five (9%) of the 58 runners. A subgroup consisting of 19 non-atopic symptom-free runners with no family history of asthma was used to establish a normal range for post-exercise reduction in FEV1. When this group's mean exercise induced change in FEV1 minus 2 SDs (a reduction of 6.5% or more in FEV1) was taken as the lower limit of the reference range, 15 (26%) of the runners had probable EIB in either the winter or the pollen season. The occurrence of probable EIB depended on atopy (odds ratio increased with number of positive skin prick test reactions, p < 0.05). Nine (22%) of the 41 runners, challenged in both the winter and the pollen season, had probable EIB only in the winter, and three (7%) had it only in the pollen season. Only one runner (2%) had EIB in both tests. CONCLUSIONS: Mild EIB is common in Finnish elite runners and is strongly associated with atopy. Seasonal variability affects the occurrence of EIB, and thus exercise testing should be performed in both cold winter air and the pollen season to detect EIB in elite runners.
Shock absorbing insoles are effective in reducing the magnitude and rate of loading of peak impact forces generated at foot strike during running, whereas the foot impact force during running has been considered to be an important cause of intravascular hemolysis in long distance runners. Objective of this study was to evaluate the intravascular hemolysis during running and compare the effect of two different types of insoles (Soft and Firm) on hemolysis.
Twenty male long and middle distance runners volunteered to participate in this study. We selected two insoles (Soft and Firm) according to their hardness level (SHORE 'A' scale). Participants were randomly assigned to the soft insole (group 1) and firm insole (group 2) group with ten athletes in each group. Each athlete completed one hour of running at the calculated target heart rate (60-70%). Venous blood samples were collected before and immediately after running. We measured unconjucated bilirubin (mg/dl), lactate dehydrogenase (μ/ml), hemoglobin (g/l) and serum ferritin (ng/ml) as indicators of hemolysis.
Our study revealed a significant increase in the mean values of unconjucated bilirubin (P < 0.05) while running with soft insoles indicating the occurrence of hemolysis in this group of athletes. Graphical analysis revealed an inverse relationship between hardness of insoles and hemolysis for the observed values.
Our results indicate that intravascular hemolysis occurs in athletes during long distance running and we conclude that addition of firm insoles effectively reduces the amount of hemolysis in runners compared to soft insoles.
Impact forces; intravascular hemolysis; insole hardness; footstrike
Social support has been identified repeatedly in the literature as being beneficial to individuals suffering from injury or illness. Because of the frequent interaction between athletic trainers and student athletes, the athletic trainer is in a unique position to provide a variety of social support to the athlete. The purpose of the study was (1) to identify the degree to which athletes actually receive each of eight types of social support; (2) to identify the types of social support athletes need or expect to receive from staff and student athletic trainers; and (3) to compare the athletes' satisfaction with the quality of the support received from athletic training staff and students.
Design and Setting:
A questionnaire was used to collect data for this study. It was administered at a Division I university.
Eighty-five student-athletes at a Division I university.
The survey consisted of 24 questions that used a five-point Likert rating scale.
There was no significant difference in the amount of social support received by athletes from staff and student athletic trainers, in athletes' expectations of staff and student athletic trainers with regard to provision of social support, or in the athletes' level of satisfaction with staff and student athletic trainers' provision of social support.
Examined collectively, the findings indicate that athletes do not differentiate between staff and student athletic trainers with regard to the provision of social support. However, finding that athletes do not differentiate between staff and student athletic trainers in this area is significant in itself and has implications for athletic training education programs.
sport psychology; psychology of injury
The cardiac characteristics of various types of athletes have been defined by echocardiography. Athletes involved in predominately static exercise, such as bodybuilders, have been found to have more concentric hypertrophy, whereas those involved in dynamic exercise, such as long distance runners, have more eccentric hypertrophy. Tennis at the elite level is a sport that is a combination of static and dynamic exercise.
To characterise left ventricular geometry including left ventricular hypertrophy by echocardiography in male professional tennis players.
Retrospective study of screening echocardiograms that were performed on male professional tennis players.
All echocardiograms were performed at the Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville, Florida, USA) between 1998–2000.
A total of 41 male professional tennis players, with a mean age of 23.
Left ventricular hypertrophy was present in 30 of 41 subjects (73%, 95% CI: 57%–86%). The majority of players manifested eccentric hypertrophy (n = 22, 54%). Concentric hypertrophy (n = 9, 22%) and normal geometry (n = 7, 17%) were encountered with similar frequency. Only 7% (n = 3) manifested concentric remodelling. The mean thickness of both the interventricular septum and the posterior wall was 11.0 mm. The mean LVEDd was 55 mm. The mean RWT was 0.41. The mean LVMI was 130 gm/m2 and the mean EF was 64%. Five of the 41 subjects had an abnormal septal thickness of 13 mm.
This was the first study to specifically describe the full range of echocardiographically‐determined left ventricular geometry in professional male tennis players. The majority of subjects exhibited abnormal geometry, predominantly eccentric hypertrophy.
To examine features of posttraumatic distress related to sport injury among healthy and injured adolescent athletes.
Design and Setting:
Healthy athletes with and without a prior injury history were screened before their competitive season, and injured and matched control athletes were surveyed at 1 week postinjury.
We screened 283 athletes during the preseason and categorized them by injury history (n = 43) and no injury history (n = 240) groups. Twenty-four athletes (12 injured, 12 matched uninjured controls) were included in the postinjury analysis.
The Impact of Events Scale, a 15-item self-report questionnaire, was used to measure athletes' frequency of experiencing intrusive thoughts and engaging in avoidance behavior regarding athletic injury.
Athletes with a recent injury history exhibited a greater frequency of intrusive thoughts and avoidance behavior than did those without a recent injury history. Although postinjury findings did not reach statistical significance, injured athletes' scores increased by 35% to 49% from preinjury to postinjury, whereas only minimal changes (<1%) occurred in the control group.
Younger athletes may be particularly sensitive to injury-related stimuli, which may result in heightened injury-related distress.
intrusive thought; avoidance behavior; sport psychology
OBJECTIVES--To assess the psychological impact of first episode of genital herpes, and to determine whether this changes over time. SETTING AND SUBJECTS--The Departments of Genitourinary Medicine (GUM), and Dermatology, Middlesex Hospital London. The study group consisted of patients attending the department of GUM with a clinically proven first episode of genital herpes. Two control groups were recruited; firstly patients without herpes attending the GUM Department and secondly patients attending the Dermatology Department out patients with chronic dermatoses. METHODS--Patients and controls completed an 87 item, self-administered psychological questionnaire at 3 monthly intervals for a year. The questionnaire consisted of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ); the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Questionnaire (HADQ); Illness Attitude Scales and Illness Concern. Patients were also asked questions about their sexual behaviour. RESULTS--Ninety one patients (68 women, 23 men) with genital herpes, 61 GUM controls (42 women, 19 men) and 56 dermatology controls (36 women, 20 men) participated. There were no statistically significant demographic differences between patients and controls. At first visit the proportion of patients classified as "cases" by the GHQ (GHQ cases) were similar for primary herpes patients 62% (56/91) and Dermatology controls 52% (29/56) while a significantly smaller proportion of GUM controls 34% (21/61) were classified as GHQ cases. The primary herpes group were significantly more concerned about their illness than either the GUM controls or the Dermatology controls (p < 0.002). The proportion of primary herpes patients classified as "cases" by the GHQ reduced significantly over the initial three month period with 67% of patients classified as "cases" at their first visit becoming "noncases" after three months (p < 0.0001). Also 50% of those classified as "cases" at first visit by the HADQ become "noncases" after the initial three months (p = 0.007). The illness concern scores also decreased significantly from visit one to visit two (means 14.7 vs. 12.3; p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION--The diagnosis of a first episode of genital herpes has a profound emotional effect on patients. If they do not have recurrent episodes, their emotional state improves. For those who do have recurrences, the level of anxiety and concern remains as high as at the time of their first diagnosis. Clinicians must be sensitive to the emotional impact such a diagnosis may bring.
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.
Many studies have shown an increased risk of developing exercise-induced bronchoconstriction among the athletic population, particularly at the elite level. Subjective methods for assessing exercise-induced bronchoconstriction such as surveys and questionnaires have been used but have resulted in an underestimation of the prevalence of airway dysfunction when compared with objective measurements. The aim of the present study was to compare the prevalence of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction among Tunisian elite athletes obtained using an objective method with that using a subjective method, and to discuss the possible causes and implications of the observed discrepancy. As the objective method we used spirometry before and after exercise and for the subjective approach we used a medical history questionnaire. All of the recruited 107 elite athletes responded to the questionnaire about respiratory symptoms and medical history and underwent a resting spirometry testing before and after exercise. Post-exercise spirometry revealed the presence of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in 14 (13%) of the elite athletes, while only 1.8% reported having previously been diagnosed with asthma. In conclusion, our findings indicate that medical history-based diagnoses of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction lead to underestimations of true sufferers.
exercise-induced bronchoconstriction; elite athletes; self-reported asthma
Competitive athletics is often associated with moderate left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, and it has been hypothesized that training mode and type of exercise modulates long-term cardiac adaptation. The purpose of the study was to compare cardiac structure and function among athletes of various sports and sedentary controls. Standard transthoracic two-dimensional M-mode and Doppler echocardiography was performed at rest in Caucasian male canoe/kayak paddlers (n = 9), long distance runners (LDR, n = 18), middle distance runners (MDR, n = 17), basketball players (BP, n = 31), road cyclists (n = 8), swimmers (n = 10), strength/power athletes (n = 9) of similar age (range, 15 to 31 yrs), training experience (4 to 9 years), and age-matched healthy male sedentary controls (n = 15). Absolute interventricular septum (IVS) thickness and LV wall thickness, but not LV diameter, were greater in athletes than sedentary controls. Left ventricular mass of all athletes but relative wall thickness of only BP, swimmers, cyclists, and strength/power athletes were higher as compared with controls (p < 0.05). Among athletes, smaller IVS thickness was observed in MDR than BP, cyclists, swimmers or strength/power athletes, while LDR had higher body size-adjusted LV diameter as compared to BP, cyclists and strength/power athletes. In conclusion, relative LV diameter was increased in long distance runners as compared with basketball players, cyclists, and strength/power athletes. Basketball, road cycling, strength/power, and swimming training were associated with increased LV concentricity as compared with paddling or distance running.
Key pointsThe type of cardiac hypertrophy seems to be only moderately exercise-specific.Long-distance runners develop larger left ventricular dilation as compared with basketball players, cyclists, and strength/power athletes.Myocardial wall thickening is triggered by different sporting activities that involve large muscle groups.
Myocardial hypertrophy; left ventricle; echocardiography; athlete
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of asthma is rising and there are recent reports of increasing asthma rates among top level skiers and runners in the Nordic countries. METHODS: The lifetime occurrence of pulmonary diseases (asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema) and current bronchitis symptoms was compared in former elite male athletes (n = 1282) who represented Finland between 1920 and 1965 at least once in international competitions and controls (n = 777) who, at the age of 20, were classified as healthy and who responded to a questionnaire in 1985. The presence of disease and symptoms was identified from the questionnaire and, in the case of asthma, also from a nationwide reimbursable medication register. The death certificates of the subjects of our original cohort who died between 1936 and 1985 were also investigated to determine the cause of death. RESULTS: The occurrence of the pulmonary diseases was associated with age, smoking habits, occupational group, and a history of exposure to chemicals. After adjusting for these variables, athletes who participated in mixed sports (odds ratio (OR) 0.46, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.23 to 0.92) and power sports (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.87) had lower odds ratios for emphysema, and endurance sports athletes had a lower odds ratio for the presence of at least one pulmonary disease (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.98) when compared with controls. Athletes also tended to have fewer reimbursable medications for asthma and fewer current symptoms for chronic bronchitis. Between 1936 and 1985 two controls but none of the athletes died of asthma. CONCLUSIONS: The lifetime occurrence of asthma or other pulmonary diseases is not increased in former elite athletes, and exercise alone, even in a cold environment, did not appear to increase the prevalence of asthma, at least up to the mid 1980s.
To investigate whether runners displayed any of the abnormalities characteristic of patients with anorexia nervosa, we conducted a cross sectional study of 31 high mileage, 18 low mileage runners and 18 non-running controls. Subjects completed a personal data questionnaire, the Jackson Personality Inventory (JPI) and the Eating Attitudes Questionnaire (EAT), underwent a body image test and a blood sample was obtained for measurement of reproductive, thyroid and adrenal hormones. High mileage runners scored significantly higher infrequency scores on the JPI than sedentary controls but there was no evidence of psychopathology. The high mileage runners also significantly overestimated waist width and there were small but statistically significant differences in EAT scores between controls and the runner groups. Ten of 49 runners had EAT scores beyond two standard deviations above the mean of non-running controls. Serum total, free and non-specifically bound testosterone and prolactin levels were significantly lower in high mileage runners than controls. LH, FSH, cortisol and thyroid hormones were not significantly different. There were no significant differences in any hormone between low mileage runners and controls. displayed no clear abnormalities characteristic of patients with anorexia The results suggested that running may have a chronic effect on serum testosterone and prolactin levels in high mileage but not low mileage runners. Although there was no significant evidence of anorexia nervosa on testing the runners with EAT, the overestimation of waist size provided some evidence of a distortion of body image in the high mileage runners. Runners displayed no clear abnormalities characteristic of patients with anorexia nervosa.
The paper addresses the degree to which the attainment of the status as an elite athlete in different sports ameliorates the known age-related losses in skeletal muscle structure and function.
The retrospective design, based on comparisons of published data on former elite and masters athletes and data on control subjects, assessed the degree to which the attainment of ‘elite and masters athlete status’ ameliorated the known age-related changes in skeletal muscle structure and function.
Elite male athletes.
Participation in selected individual and team sports.
Main Outcome Measurements
Strength, power, VO2 max and performance.
For elite athletes in all sports, as for the general population, age-related muscle atrophy begins at about 50 years of age. Despite the loss of muscle mass, elite athletes who maintain an active life style age gracefully with few health problems. Conversely, those who lapse into inactivity regress toward general population norms for fitness, weight control, and health problems. Elite athletes in the dual and team sports have careers that rarely extend into the thirties.
Life long physical activity does not appear to have any impact on the loss in fiber number. The loss of fibers can be buffered to some degree by hypertrophy of fibers that remain. Surprisingly, the performance of elite athletes in all sports appears to be impaired before the onset of the fiber loss. Even with major losses in physical capacity and muscle mass, the performance of elite and masters athletes is remarkable.
Previous studies have associated angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) D allele with variability in the skeletal muscle baseline strength, though conclusions have been inconsistent across investigations. The purpose of this study was to examine the possible association between ACE genotype and skeletal muscle baseline strength in elite male and female athletes involved in different event expertise. A group of 58 elite athletes, designated as Olympic candidates, were studied: 35 swimmers (19 males and 16 females, 18.8 ± 3.2 years) and 23 triathletes (15 males and 8 females, 18.7 ± 3.0 years). The athletes were classified as: short (≤ 200m) and middle (400m to 1500m) distance athletes, respectively. For each subject the grip strength in both hands was measure using an adjustable mechanical hand dynamometer. The maximum height in both squat jump (SJ) and counter movement jump (CMJ) were also assessed, using a trigonometric carpet (Ergojump Digitime 1000; Digitest, Jyvaskyla, Finland). DNA extraction was obtained with Chelex 100® and genotype determination by PCR-RFLP methods. Both males and females showed significantly higher right grip strength in D allele carriers compared to II homozygote’s. We found that allelic frequency differs significantly by event distance specialization in both genders (p < 0.05). In fact, sprinter D allele carriers showed the superior scores in nearly all strength measurements (p < 0.05), in both genders. Among endurance athletes, the results also demonstrated that female D allele carriers exhibited the higher performance right grip and CMJ scores (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the ACE D allele seems associated with skeletal muscle baseline strength in elite athletes, being easily identified in females.
Key pointsDD homozygote’s and D allele carriers from both genders shows significantly higher right grip strength.Right grip strength remains significantly higher in the D allele carrier’s female endurance group.Female’s D allele carriers exhibited the higher performance counter-movement jump scores.ACE genotype effects in skeletal-muscle strength are diverse by gender, being easily identified in females.
Swimming; triathlon; genetic polymorphism; sport performance
Studies have shown cardiac changes induced by intense and regular physical activity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate cardiac structures and function in soccer players, cyclists and long-distance runners, and compare them with non-athlete controls.
Cardiac structural, systolic, and diastolic function parameters in 53 athletes and 36 non-athlete controls were evaluated by Doppler echocardiography.
Athletes presented higher left atrial volume, left ventricular (LV) thickness, and LV and right ventricular (RV) diastolic diameters (LVDD and RVDD, respectively) compared to non-athletes. Left atrium and LVDD were higher in cyclists than runners, and RVDD was higher in cyclists than soccer players. LV mass index was higher in athletes, and cyclists had higher values than runners and soccer players. LV systolic function did not differ significantly between groups. The only altered index of LV diastolic function was a higher E/A ratio in cyclists compared to controls. There was no difference in LV E/E’ ratio. RV systolic function evaluated by tissue Doppler imaging was higher in cyclists and soccer players than runners. There were no conclusive differences in RV diastolic function.
Soccer players, runners and cyclists had remodeling of left and right ventricular structures compared to controls. Cardiac remodeling was more intense in cyclists than runners and soccer players.
athlete’s heart; athlete’s Doppler echocardiography; ventricular remodeling; cycling; soccer; long-distance running