ESSA Conference Summary

Here is a summary of the Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) conference Tom Cosgrove attended in April 2016. For more information on any of the topics, feel free to get in touch with our EP staff:

Sleep and Health
Increased quality of sleep (time and depth of sleep) allows for new memories to be consolidated better after learning or experiencing something new
Decreased sleep time is associated with an increased risk of obesity
Increased quality of sleep has a toxin-flushing effect throughout the body
Shift workers are 30% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease due to changed sleep patterns
A shift worker’s body clock does not adapt to a different sleeping pattern despite weeks or months in their routine
During an experiment where the subjects had their ‘sleep time’ delayed by 4 hours each day, by Day 3 the average blood glucose (sugar) reading was in the pre-diabetic state. The subjects recorded different appetite regulations and also showed a decrease glucose tolerance
Sleep deficiency and sleep clock disruption leads to decreased performance, health and safety
Being awake for 19 hours straight was the equivalent of having a blood alcohol reading of 0.05%, while being awake for 24 hours straight is the equivalent to a reading of 0.1%
One third of Australians have sleep complaints and/or a disrupted sleep pattern

Blood Flow Restriction Exercise
This study was done by applying a blood pressure cuff to the proximal part of each limb at 60% limb occlusion pressure. The 60+ year old subjects were then put through a 6 week exercise program and their result were compared to a control group. The subjects that had the pressure cuffs attached during the experiment showed an increase in walking speed, strength, endurance, balance and general mobility. Despite these good results, there is a risk of increasing the blood pressure excessively during exercise, so please don’t try this at home.

Balance and Falls Risk in the Older Population with Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)
50% of people over 60 years old with OA fall at least once per year, compared to 30% without OA
Subjects in this study were attached to a harness and lowered to a ‘falling angle’. Then they were dropped at random to initiate a fall and see how they reacted. The harness remained to catch them safely
Subjects with knee OA produced decreased knee and hip power when stepping forward to stop a fall
Subjects with knee OA also produced a slower step, a decreased ability to absorb impact forces, a decreased ability of the hip to generate enough power to control the upper half, reduced posture and postural control
Subjects with knee OA found that pain affected their ability to avoid a fall and also save themselves mid-fall

Exercise and Cancer Treatment
Cancer patients are less likely to die from condition both pre and post-diagnosis if they perform some form of regular exercise
Over a 4 week study, 78% of chemotherapy patients that performed exercise as well were able to finish their chemotherapy treatment. Alternatively, only 13% of patients that didn’t perform exercise in conjunction with treatment were able to complete their chemotherapy treatment
There is a 40-60% reduction in cancer-specific death post chemotherapy treatment with exercise
Cancer cells have been shown to grow slower post-exercise, as well as a reduction in tumour size when chemotherapy and exercise are combined
Overall, exercise as well as cancer treatment allowed increased treatment success, decreased treatment side effects and an increased survival rate