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1.  The role of exercise capacity in the health and longevity of centenarians 
Maturitas  2012;73(2):115-120.
Ageing is a continuum of biological processes characterized by progressive adaptations which can be influenced by both genetic and physiological factors. In terms of human maturation, physically and cognitively functional centenarians certainly represent an impressive example of successful healthy ageing. However, even in these unique individuals, with the passage of time, declining lung function and sarcopenia lead to a progressive fall in maximal strength, maximal oxygen uptake, and therefore reduced exercise capacity. The subsequent mobility limitation can initiate a viscous downward spiral of reduced physical function and health. Emerging literature has shed some light on this multi-factorial decline in function associated with aging and the positive role that exercise and physical capacity can play in the elderly. Recognizing the multiple factors that influence ageing, the aim of this review is to highlight the recently elucidated limitations to physical function of the extremely old and therefore evaluate the role of exercise capacity in the health and longevity of centenarians.
PMCID: PMC3618983  PMID: 22883374
Mechanical efficiency; VO2max; Independence; Lifestyle; Mobility
2.  Alterations of Neuromuscular Function after the World's Most Challenging Mountain Ultra-Marathon 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65596.
We investigated the physiological consequences of the most challenging mountain ultra-marathon (MUM) in the world: a 330-km trail run with 24000 m of positive and negative elevation change. Neuromuscular fatigue (NMF) was assessed before (Pre-), during (Mid-) and after (Post-) the MUM in experienced ultra-marathon runners (n = 15; finish time  = 122.43 hours ±17.21 hours) and in Pre- and Post- in a control group with a similar level of sleep deprivation (n = 8). Blood markers of muscle inflammation and damage were analyzed at Pre- and Post-. Mean ± SD maximal voluntary contraction force declined significantly at Mid- (−13±17% and −10±16%, P<0.05 for knee extensor, KE, and plantar flexor muscles, PF, respectively), and further decreased at Post- (−24±13% and −26±19%, P<0.01) with alteration of the central activation ratio (−24±24% and −28±34% between Pre- and Post-, P<0.05) in runners whereas these parameters did not change in the control group. Peripheral NMF markers such as 100 Hz doublet (KE: −18±18% and PF: −20±15%, P<0.01) and peak twitch (KE: −33±12%, P<0.001 and PF: −19±14%, P<0.01) were also altered in runners but not in controls. Post-MUM blood concentrations of creatine kinase (3719±3045 Ul·1), lactate dehydrogenase (1145±511 UI·L−1), C-Reactive Protein (13.1±7.5 mg·L−1) and myoglobin (449.3±338.2 µg·L−1) were higher (P<0.001) than at Pre- in runners but not in controls. Our findings revealed less neuromuscular fatigue, muscle damage and inflammation than in shorter MUMs. In conclusion, paradoxically, such extreme exercise seems to induce a relative muscle preservation process due likely to a protective anticipatory pacing strategy during the first half of MUM and sleep deprivation in the second half.
PMCID: PMC3694082  PMID: 23840345
3.  Heart Rate and Arterial Pressure Changes during Whole-Body Deep Hypothermia 
ISRN Pediatrics  2013;2013:140213.
Whole-body deep hypothermia (DH) could be a new therapeutic strategy for asphyxiated newborn. This retrospective study describes how DH modified the heart rate and arterial blood pressure if compared to mild hypothermia (MH). Fourteen in DH and 17 in MH were cooled within the first six hours of life and for the following 72 hours. Hypothermia criteria were gestational age ≥36 weeks; birth weight ≥1800 g; clinical signs of moderate/severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Rewarming was obtained in the following 6–12 hours (0.5°C/h) after cooling. Heart rates were the same between the two groups; there was statistically significant difference at the beginning of hypothermia and during rewarming. Three babies in the DH group and 2 in the MH group showed HR < 80 bpm and QTc > 520 ms. Infant submitted to deep hypothermia had not bradycardia or Qtc elongation before cooling and after rewarming. Blood pressure was significantly lower in DH compared to MH during the cooling, and peculiar was the hypotension during rewarming in DH group. Conclusion. The deeper hypothermia is a safe and feasible, only if it is performed by a well-trained team. DH should only be associated with a clinical trial and prospective randomized trials to validate its use.
PMCID: PMC3649319  PMID: 23691350
4.  Metabolic Effects of Aerobic Training and Resistance Training in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(4):676-682.
To assess differences between the effects of aerobic and resistance training on HbA1c (primary outcome) and several metabolic risk factors in subjects with type 2 diabetes, and to identify predictors of exercise-induced metabolic improvement.
Type 2 diabetic patients (n = 40) were randomly assigned to aerobic training or resistance training. Before and after 4 months of intervention, metabolic phenotypes (including HbA1c, glucose clamp–measured insulin sensitivity, and oral glucose tolerance test–assessed β-cell function), body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous (SAT) adipose tissue by magnetic resonance imaging, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscular strength were measured.
After training, increase in peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) was greater in the aerobic group (time-by-group interaction P = 0.045), whereas increase in strength was greater in the resistance group (time-by-group interaction P < 0.0001). HbA1c was similarly reduced in both groups (−0.40% [95% CI −0.61 to −0.18] vs. −0.35% [−0.59 to −0.10], respectively). Total and truncal fat, VAT, and SAT were also similarly reduced in both groups, whereas insulin sensitivity and lean limb mass were similarly increased. β-Cell function showed no significant changes. In multivariate analyses, improvement in HbA1c after training was independently predicted by baseline HbA1c and by changes in VO2peak and truncal fat.
Resistance training, similarly to aerobic training, improves metabolic features and insulin sensitivity and reduces abdominal fat in type 2 diabetic patients. Changes after training in VO2peak and truncal fat may be primary determinants of exercise-induced metabolic improvement.
PMCID: PMC3308269  PMID: 22344613
5.  Foot-strike haemolysis after a 60-km ultramarathon 
Blood Transfusion  2012;10(3):377-383.
The various contributors to sport-related anaemia include increased plasma volume, exercise-induced oxidative stress, increased body temperature, acidosis, gastrointestinal bleeding, acute and chronic inflammation as well as compression and damage of red blood cells (RBC) in the capillaries within the contracting muscles. The effective contribution of foot-strike haemolysis is unclear.
Materials and methods.
We studied 18 Caucasian male athletes (mean age, 42 years; range, 34–52 years) before and immediately after a 60-km ultramarathon. Laboratory investigations included the haematological profile along with haptoglobin, potassium, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and albumin concentrations and a haemolysis index (HI).
No significant variations were found in post-exercise values of haemoglobin, RBC count and haematocrit. Mean corpuscular volume and haptoglobin were significantly decreased, whereas RBC distribution width was increased. The concentration of haptoglobin was reduced by approximately 50%, whereas enzyme concentrations were all remarkably increased. The HI remained below 0.5 g/L. After adjusting for plasma volume change, the increases were 1.7% for potassium (P=0.17), 30% for AST (P<0.01), 49% for LDH (P<0.01) and 2.39-fold for CK (P<0.01). A statistically significant association was found between haemoconcentration-adjusted variations of CK and those of AST (r=0.803; P<0.01) and LDH (r=0.551; P=0.02).
This is the first study demonstrating that long-distance running does not induce clinically significant changes in haemoglobin, haematocrit, RBC count or potassium concentration. The significant post-exercise decrease of haptoglobin reflects a certain degree of haemolysis, but the concentration of cell-free haemoglobin remaining below 0.5 g/L and the non-significant variation in RBC count both indicate that the foot-strike haemolysis is very modest or even clinically negligible.
PMCID: PMC3417738  PMID: 22682343
sport; physical exercise; marathon; haemolysis
6.  Health benefits of physical activity 
PMCID: PMC1569919  PMID: 17001065

Results 1-6 (6)