Rehabilitation Science PhD Students Present Research at American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting

The Department of Rehabilitation Science had five PhD abstracts accepted by the American College of Sports Medicine for its Annual Meeting in May 2015. As one of the most comprehensive sports medicine and exercise science conference in the world, the conference accepts abstracts and presentations that share new clinical techniques, scientific advancements, and cutting-edge research in sports medicine, exercise science, physical activity, and public health. The research presented by the department’s students reflects the breadth of the content area and helped to inform the field.

Josh Woolstenhulme’s, the first PhD graduate from the department, research examined changes in peripheral muscle oxygen use after 10 weeks of vigorous aerobic exercise training (AET) in women with pulmonary arterial hypertension. He found that 10 weeks of AET improved physical performance; however, it did not improve cardiac output. Patients also had improved oxyhemoglobin levels, which imply more oxygen was available in the muscle. His results suggest that peripheral adaptions may have a larger role in cardiorespiratory improvements than central adaptations.  

Gino Panza and Jared Gollie’s research examined the effects of gender, fat mass distribution, and weight loss on a person’s free leptin index. This research is important because leptin is a hormone made by adipose cells that is associated with regulating appetite and metabolism. They found that changes in truncal fat had the greatest impact on the free leptin index, independent of gender or other fat tissues measures. 

Jillian Price’s research focused on the relationship between diastolic hypertension and prehypertension and lower performance and activity in people with chronic liver disease. People with chronic liver disease tend to have metabolic, inflammatory, and cardiovascular abnormalities. She found that elevated diastolic blood pressure was associated with poor exercise performance, physical inactivity, and lower physical health-related quality of life; however, mental components of health-related quality of life were not affected.  

Amanda Rounds examined the correlation between distance walked and physical activity following aerobic exercise training in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Her research found that distance walked may not predict physical activity after patients have participated in aerobic exercise training.