Laird Harrison

May 23, 2017

DENVER — Best practice for concussion and the female athlete triad, a syndrome of three interrelated conditions — energy deficiency, menstrual disturbances, and bone loss — will be in the spotlight at the upcoming American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) 2017 Annual Meeting.

"The presenters are doing leading-edge research in that area," said Sandy Hoffmann, MD, from Idaho State University in Pocatello, who is on the program committee for the meeting.

Results will be presented from a randomized controlled trial of a treatment that focuses on increasing energy availability, conducted by Mary Jane De Souza, PhD, from Pennsylvania State University in State College, and her colleagues.

A separate study probing the role of psychological stress in the triad syndrome, also by Dr De Souza's team, looks at the effectiveness of calorie restriction and exercise regimens over three menstrual cycles.

We appreciate what's happening to the NFL, but it reaches down to the pediatric community.

The public attention focused on traumatic brain injury in sports led ACSM organizers to set aside time to update meeting attendees on concussion research.

"We appreciate what's happening to the NFL, but it reaches down to the pediatric community," Dr Thompson explained.

Among the key presentations during this session are a study on whether neck strength reduces concussion risk and the role that physical activity plays in concussion recovery. Physicians often recommend against vigorous activity in the aftermath of a concussion, but is that the best advice?

Opioids in the Pediatric Hospital

Pain management will figure prominently at the meeting as well. The prescription of opioid drugs will be examined in a study of patients 10 to 18 years of age treated at a pediatric hospital, conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Denver.

"Is it really the doctors' fault that they're prescribing opioids, or does some of the blame have to be shifted to the patients and insurance companies?" asked Walter Thompson, PhD, from Georgia State University in Atlanta, who is president-elect of the ACSM.

More studies at the meeting will be devoted to the topic of optimized exercise as medicine than anything else. "ACSM isn't just focused on what people think of as traditional sports medicine, but on the idea of physical activity for a lifetime," Dr Hoffman told Medscape Medical News.

Optimized Exercise

"In the arena of cardiovascular health, there will be a couple of sessions on the effect of extreme exercise on heart function," Dr Hoffman reported.

Another study, comparing high-intensity with moderate-intensity interval training in inactive adults to see which has the larger effect on metabolic syndrome, was conducted by Gina Paola Velasco-Orjuela, from the University of Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia, and colleagues.

High-intensity interval training remains a hot topic in general, said Dr Thompson. "Is it really that dangerous? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?"

For people with limited time for exercise, investigators from Galveston, Texas, assessed a 12-week "energy surge" protocol, in which people exercised just 2 minutes at a time, four times a day.

For years, researchers have tried to determine whether physical activity can delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. To that end, a team from the University of Connecticut, in Hartford, conducted a meta-analysis of 19 studies with 23 interventions and 1256 patients.

At the other end of the lifecycle, researchers from Children's Hospital Los Angeles explored the effects of exercise on children. Middle-school children completed a battery of neurocognitive tests after being randomly assigned to one of three groups: soccer, running, or no aerobic activity.

The role of exercise in academics will get its own symposium at the meeting, Dr Thompson reported. "It will look not only at the effects of impact sport, but also how the brain develops as a result of regular exercise programs and how cognitive skills change in children when they're exposed to regular physical activity."

Attendees will get some answers to these and many other pressing questions at the meeting, which is on track to top last year's record of 6800 attendees. "We're really excited," Dr Thompson said.

Dr Hoffmann and Dr Thompson have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Follow Medscape Orthopedics on Twitter @MedscapeOrtho and Laird Harrison @LairdH

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