Sports Medicine Bulletin
March 1, 2011

Active Voice: Amenorrhea Not Only Negatively Impacts Bones — It Can Also Decrease Exercise Performance
By Gretchen A. Casazza, Ph.D.
Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Gretchen A. Casazza, Ph.D., is an ACSM member and assistant adjunct professor in the College of Biological Sciences and research director for the sports medicine program at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests relate to cardiovascular and metabolic adaptations to exercise, as well as the effects of ovarian hormones on exercise performance and bone health. This commentary presents Dr. Casazza’s views associated with the research article she and her colleagues published in the Jan. 2011 Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®.

Female endurance athletes often come to our clinic for training advice to optimize performance. Many of these women strive to be as lean as possible, as their coaches have emphasized leanness as a factor to successful performance. These women also typically have very high volumes of training and little understanding of sports nutrition and the importance of energy balance. As a result, there is high prevalence of female athletes with chronically low energy availability due to high rates of energy expenditure, insufficient food intake or both. As it is one of the most expensive metabolic processes, reproductive function is sensitive to overall energy status. The activity of the hypothalamus – a portion of the brain that links the nervous system to the hormonal system – is suppressed in response to caloric deprivation, resulting in the reduction of many hormones including reproductive and metabolic hormones. While some of these women still have menstrual cycles, their cycles are often prolonged and may not result in ovulation. Often, these athletes end up losing their menstrual cycle altogether, a condition called “amenorrhea.”More

Call for Nominations — 2012 ACSM Officer and Trustee Election

The ACSM Nominating Committee is calling for nominations for the 2012 officer and trustee election. In accordance with ACSM’s policy of rotating leadership among the three areas of interest, please remember that nominees should be ACSM Fellows and represent only the interest areas indicated on the nomination form.

All nominations are due March 14, 2011. To submit a nomination, please download the nomination form and either e-mail it to Chris Sawyer at or mail it to ACSM at: Nominations 2012, ACSM, P.O. Box 1440, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1440. More

Policy Corner: Can Sports Safety Kill Thrills?

Could efforts to control the dangers of motorsports act perversely to dampen interest? If so, what does that say about human nature? Does bloodlust trump the desire for fair and safe competition?

A provocative cover article in USA Today noted that, ten years after the death of NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt, changes called for by ACSM have contributed to a much safer series – no fatalities in the ensuing decade. That’s a favorable outcome by any reasonable measure. Improved head and neck restraints and other safety measures protected drivers amid a crash-strewn Daytona 500 Feb. 19. No lack of action; no loss of life or limb. Where’s the downside?

Some allege safety comes at the cost of thrills. Absent a sufficient level of danger, they contend, fans are less likely to attend or tune in. Statistics may support that argument: NASCAR attendance and TV ratings are down significantly compared to a peak in 2005, according to USA Today.

Whether the venue is asphalt or Astroturf, ACSM will continue to support the health and safety of athletes. True competition pits individuals or teams against one another, against records and against conditions. Our goal should be to enhance competition while reducing the dangers inherent in any activity.More

Science & Research Update: Salivary Glands May Offer New Route to Immunity

New research suggests that vaccinations delivered through salivary glands may provide protection against a wide array of diseases, according to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) who announced these findings last month in their FASEB Journal. ACSM is a member organization of FASEB.

Researchers studied two groups of mice – one that received live cytomegalovirus directly into their salivary glands and one that received an inactive virus. The former demonstrated an immune response while the latter did not. When both groups were later exposed to the virus, only the group immunized with the active virus was protected from future infection. Researchers believe salivary glands may become the first line of defense in active and passive immunization, and they hope, in the future, salivary gland inoculation becomes a clinically acceptable method in which to vaccinate individuals against diseases ranging from influenza to cholera. Learn more about the study.More

Charitable IRA Rollover — A Limited-Time Opportunity to Reduce Taxes, Support ACSM

Congress has granted a one-year opportunity for you to save taxes – and make a donation – using cash from your retirement account. If you are 70.5 years or older and own an individual retirement account (IRA), or other type of qualified retirement plan, you may make a tax-free rollover gift to ACSM before Dec. 31, 2011. As you may know, a withdrawal from a qualified plan is normally taxed on your income tax return. However, the U.S. Congress has granted a limited-time opportunity to make tax-free rollovers to charities like ACSM.

Your gift must be donated to ACSM directly from a qualified traditional or Roth IRA. If you have a different type of qualified retirement plan, your gift must be transferred (tax-free) to a traditional or Roth IRA before donating to ACSM. You cannot personally withdraw the gift. Rather, you should use a wire transfer to send the gift directly to ACSM from the IRA or have your IRA administrator cut a check payable to ACSM. Your gift will be tax-free, but it will not qualify for an additional income tax deduction.

You may designate your gift to any specific purpose at ACSM, including an endowment. With questions or to learn more about this tax-saving way to support ACSM, please click here. More

Register Now for March 8 Webinar on "Building a Culture of Health"

On Tuesday, March 8, 2011, the International Association of Worksite Health Promotion (IAWHP), an ACSM affiliate society, will host a webinar on “Building a Culture of Health – Moving to Human Capital Performance Best Practice.” The webinar runs from 12-1 p.m. ET, and registration is $25 for IAWHP members and $40 for non-IAWHP members.

Join speaker Raymond Fabius, M.D., chief medical officer for Thomson Reuters, to learn how you can help reduce wasteful health care spending and apply all the potential levers of medical management. Dr. Fabius will also share excerpts from his recent Thomson Reuters white paper, "A Path to Eliminating $3.6 Trillion in Wasteful Health Care Spending," and his recent book, Population Health: Creating a Culture of Wellness. View complete session and registration information. More

A Case Against Helmets in Lacrosse
The New York Times
Camille Richardson has heard all the arguments, read all the comments, and sees the logic. But as a freshman midfielder for the Columbia women’s lacrosse team who is fully aware of the dangers of head trauma, Richardson makes one thing clear: She has no interest in wearing a helmet, as the men must.

“Wearing a helmet,” Richardson said, “would just bring us closer to football and hockey.” Although some safety advocates call for head protection in women’s lacrosse, almost everyone involved in the sport has said that its current ban on helmets for everyone but goaltenders is actually the safest approach. Hockey safety experts question if helmets foster more physical play. Football looks back and wonders whether big face masks encouraged a recklessness that can lead to long-term brain damage. More

Seniors Can Still Bulk Up on Muscle by Pressing Iron
As we age, our muscle mass decreases at surprising rates. According to Dr. David Heber, director of UCLA's Center for Human Nutrition, an average male who weights 180 pounds might after age 60 lose as much as 10 pounds of muscle mass over a decade.

But can we turn that around?

Heber says absolutely. More

Phys Ed: What Really Causes Runner's High
The New York Times
For decades, endorphins have hogged the credit for producing “runner’s high,” that fleeting sense of euphoria and calm that many people report experiencing after prolonged exercise. Who among us, after an especially satisfying workout, hasn’t thought, “ah, my endorphins are kicking in.” Endorphins are the world’s sole celebrity peptide. More