Active Voice: Genetic Testing for Sport Talent Identification Ready for Young Athletes?
By Stephen M. Roth, Ph.D., FACSM Share
Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.
Stephen M. Roth, Ph.D., FACSM, is Associate Professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland. His research is focused broadly on the interaction of DNA and exercise, including studies examining the genetic influences on exercise-related traits and also the role of chronic exercise on DNA structure. He is a co-author of the regularly published “Advances in Exercise Genomics” articles in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®.
Several businesses are now offering genetic tests that purport to predict one’s ability to perform in certain sports. The companies claim that the tests will show customers which sports they are most genetically suited for, or that the test results will inform training decisions for maximizing performance. Do these tests do what they claim? Is the science underlying these tests sound and ready for public consumption?
We know that genetic factors contribute to sport performance, but researchers are just at the beginning stages of identifying the specific genes and gene sequence variations that explain that genetic contribution. Over the past decade, researchers have begun this process, but at present only a handful of genes have been found that appear to contribute to such traits, and none have been shown to have a clear, strong contribution. In effect, these businesses are taking preliminary findings and marketing the genes as more concrete contributors to sport-related traits than the science justifies. In some cases, genes included in these tests have been examined in only a handful of studies, while in other cases inconsistencies in the research findings are ignored and only select findings are used to justify the inclusion of a gene in the test. In both cases, consumers are not getting a product they can rely upon. More
Policy Corner: Congressional Leaders Lend Strong Support to New ACSM/Sanford Youth Sports Institute
South Dakota Senator John Thune lent his enthusiastic support to the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute (NYSHSI), launched Sept. 15 in an historic Senate committee room. Thune, a longtime proponent of sports and health, welcomed his constituents from Sanford Health, ACSM’s partner in the new institute and a major employer in the plains states.
North Carolina Congressman Mike McIntyre was equally enthusiastic. Co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports, McIntyre announced he had accepted an honorary position on the institute’s leadership board. The caucus plans to tap the NYSHSI for guidance and expertise, building on the close relationship between the caucus and ACSM. More
Historic Success: U.N. Approves Global Campaign Against NCDs, Puts Strong Focus on Physical Activity
Yesterday, in action that was called a hallmark in the U.N., the General Assembly approved and launched an all-out attack on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The effort is devoted to curbing the risk factors, especially physical inactivity, behind the often preventable scourge that causes 63 percent of all deaths. The overall annual toll of NCDs is estimated at 36 million out of a total of 57 million deaths. More
Headlines include recent stories in the media on sports medicine and exercise science topics and do not reflect ACSM statements, views or endorsements. Headlines are meant to inform members on what the public is reading and hearing about the field.
Launching the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute
FOX News Share
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Sanford Health are launching the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute this week.
Congressman Mike McIntyre (North Carolina), chairman of the Congressional Youth Sports Caucus, and Senator John Thun (South Dakota), Gary Hall, Jr. (Olympic swimmer with Type 1 diabetes and gold medalist) will be attendance. Even though there have been tremendous strides to increase youth participation in sports in the U.S., there has been an alarming rate of injuries, despite gains in research to prevent such problems. More
Exercise Can Curb Hunger, New Research Finds
Maybe you've heard the recent downer reports that exercise won't make us thin because it makes us hungry, particularly for junk food. Or could be, you've noticed firsthand that you eat a lot more on gym days than on days off. Either way, it raises the question: If working out only sets us up to blow our diet, what's the point?
For starters, some research suggests exercise doesn't always cause hunger but can curb it. "Exercise may lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite in the short term, while raising levels of peptide YY, a hormone that suppresses appetite," says study author David Stensel, Ph.D., reader in exercise metabolism at Loughborough University. That's only if the workout is intense (if you can chat, forget it), but the more intense it is, the longer the benefit seems to last. "It may be that your body needs to circulate more blood to prevent overheating," Stensel explains. Because eating would cause blood to flow to the stomach instead to aid digestion, your body dampens your appetite to prevent that. More