Physical Activity and the Endocrine System: Oral communication prize winners

A Society Meeting Support Grant was used to fund a focused scientific meeting on physical activity and the endocrine system at Nottingham Trent University in July 2022. John Hough and Jessica Piasecki, Senior Lecturers in Exercise Physiology, Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Group at Nottingham Trent University organised the one-day meeting and three oral presentations were selected to win prizes at the event. Read on to learn about the prize winners and their research.

Clair Prior

The overall aim of this study, presented by self-funded PhD candidate Clair Prior, is to understand the conduct and implementation of a dietary intervention that restricts time of eating and drinking in people at risk of type 2 diabetes. Outside of Clair’s research hours, she also work for the NHS Manchester Royal Infirmary for the Major Trauma Signposting Partnership. She has previous experience in sports injuries and rehabilitation, and cardiovascular health. The project is part funded by Abbott Laboratories and Manchester Metropolitan University in collaboration with Northern Care Alliance, Newcastle University and Salford Hospital.

A protocol for time restricted eating in adults with pre-diabetes: the OFFSET study

Clair Prior1*, Christopher I Morse1, William Ollier2, Adrian H Heald3, Kelly A Bowden Davies1
1 Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Musculoskeletal Science and Sports Medicine Research Centre, Institute of Sport, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.
2 School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.
3 Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford, UK.
*Presenting Author

Introduction: Nutritional interventions play a key therapeutic role in preventing, managing, and more recently reversing Type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, over half of the people referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme do not engage. Additionally, demographics such as age, sex, ethnicity, and socio-economic status are associated with a differential response and success (Valabhji et al., 2020). More acceptable and inclusive interventions need to be developed.

Aim: To investigate the effect of a dietary intervention that restricts time of eating (time restricted eating; TRE) and drinking in people at risk of T2D.

Methods: Recruitment is inclusive based on the NIHR INCLUDE ethnicity framework (2022) and will target 34 participants, aged 18-65 years, male or female, classed as pre-diabetic (HbA1c 42-47 mmol/mol). A randomised control trial design will be used to study the effects of 12 weeks TRE (limited to a maximum 10 hrs per day; n=17) versus control (usual eating/drinking; n=17). Participants will be required to record their dietary intake as baseline, week 1, 6 and 12. Two weeks of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and physical activity (GENEActiv) will be obtained pre and post (i.e., study weeks -2 to 0 and 10-12). Pre and post laboratory assessments include: anthropometrics, body composition, blood pressure, fasting blood biochemistry (e,g, HbA1c, HOMA-IR) and a 2-hr oral glucose tolerance test. The primary outcome is change in mean post-prandial glycaemia (AUC) from CGM. Analysis will meet the requirements set out by international consensus (Danne et al., 2017) for 70-80% of possible CGM readings over a 2-week period.

Results: The study has been funded by Abbott Laboratories (medical device company) who supply the CGMs FreeStyle Libre 2™. Currently under ethical review. The conference provides the invaluable opportunity for peer-review comment prior to full registration of the trial and submission of the protocol manuscript.

Conclusion: A dietary intervention that specifically targets people with pre-diabetes in diverse communities is warranted. The findings may assist the development of future larger scale interventions that adopt an inclusive approach.

Reece Scott

Reece Scott is an Academic Associate at Nottingham Trent University and undertaking a part-time PhD alongside that role. His research is looking at quantifying load and how this can be used to optimise exercise regimes for an osteogenic response. The present study aimed to determine how resting periods can be used to enhance the activity of osteoblasts, which are fundamental to the bone formation process.

Intermittent loading induces an increased bone formation marker response in mice compared to continuous loading in vitro

Reece Scott1* , Cleveland Barnett1, Ruth James1, Craig Sale2, Livia Do Santos1, Ian Varley1
1 Department of Sport Science, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham UK
2 Institute of Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
*Presenting Author

Weight-bearing exercise has proven effective at inducing bone formation. Rest periods between exercise bouts may have a role in optimising bone mechanosensitivity and could be an important consideration when designing exercise regimes for osteogenic effects. It is not clear how pre-osteoblast/osteoblast activity reacts when loading intensity and duration are matched, but the mode of load application is altered.

The aim of this study was to assess the pre-osteoblast response to a loading regime with and without periods of unloading.
Mouse pre-osteoblasts were cultured under cyclic loading conditions (non-loaded, continuous, intermittent) using a Flexcell bioreactor for tension (n=3). Loading conditions were matched for duration under strain (5 hrs) and intensity of strain (5000 μS at 1 Hz). The mode of applying continuous load was 5 hrs of strain followed by 19 hrs of rest whereas intermittent loading was 1 hr of strain followed by 3 hrs 48 mins of rest every 24 hrs for 1, 3 and 12 days. ARS, ALP and P1NP analyses were performed. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA compared differences between loading conditions for ARS, ALP and P1NP for each timepoint.

There were no differences between loading conditions in ARS (p>0.235). ALP activity was greater following intermittent loading on days 1, 3 and 12 (non-loaded 0.258 ± 0.028; continuous 0.313 ± 0.031; intermittent 0.440 ± 0.054 umol/min/mL; p<0.05). P1NP was greater in the intermittent condition at day 12 (ctrl 151 ± 39; conex 121 ± 61; intex 279 ± 116 ng/ml; p<0.05) but lower at 3 day (ctrl 46 ± 12; conex 66 ± 9; intex 32 ± 9 ng/ml; p<0.05) than in the non-loaded and continuous conditions.

Intermittent loading resulted in higher ALP and P1NP activity on days 1, 3 and 12. This may be due to rest periods between the bouts of loading restoring the mechanosensitivity of the pre-osteoblasts, and thus speculatively enhancing the activation of bone formation. Our findings suggest that intermittent loading is important for re-sensitising pre-osteoblast cells and should be considered when attempting to maximise the osteogenic effects from loading.

Esther Goldsmith

Esther is a sport and exercise physiologist, working for sport and data science company, Orreco, whilst doing her professional doctorate in human performance and innovation at the University of Limerick. Esther has a particular focus in both her research and professional practice on the female athlete. Her work with USA Volleyball prior to Tokyo 2020 as part of Orreco’s Female Athlete Programme led to the project she presented at the meeting.

Ameliorating menstrual cycles symptoms – an education intervention in elite volleyball players

Esther Goldsmith1* and Georgie Bruinvels1,2
1Orreco Ltd
2University College London, London, UK
*Presenting Author

Physiological and psychological symptoms that occur as a result of hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle may negatively affect the performance of elite female athletes. The extent to which this occurs is highly variable, and may be influenced by genetics, nutrition, sleep, travel, psychological stress, and exercise training modality and load. Furthermore, dietary and lifestyle interventions have been found to be effective in reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, athletes are rarely educated on changes that can occur during the cycle or how they can implement changes to their diet and lifestyle to mitigate against any potentially associated negative symptoms.

Aim: To evaluate the effect that menstrual-cycle specific education and minor dietary interventions can have on elite female athletes over four months of intense competition.

Twenty elite volleyball athletes, all representing the United States internationally, were given a 60 minute education presentation regarding the menstrual cycle and sports performance. Athletes were also provided with fish oil supplements and optional dietary support. Prior to the education, all athletes completed a bespoke online questionnaire to evaluate menstrual cycle history and characteristics, experience of menstrual cycle symptoms, and key aspects of their diet and lifestyle including perceived psychological stress and sleep quality, average daily fruit and vegetable intake, average weekly fish consumption and fish oil supplementation. Menstrual symptom index (MSi) was calculated in the menstrual, late follicular (mid cycle) and premenstrual phases. After 4 months, athletes repeated the questionnaire and MSi was re-calculated.

There was a significant reduction in MSi in the menstrual phase pre- and post-between time points (p <0.05); average MSi decreased by 7.1 ± 11.5. However, there was no significant change in MSi in the mid-cycle or premenstrual phases (p=0.4041 and p=0.1827 respectively). The most frequently cited symptoms pre-education were changes in mood, cravings/increased appetite, stomach cramps, and bloating; post-education the most common symptoms were changes in mood, stomach cramps, lower back pain and breast pain/tenderness.

Targeted menstrual cycle education may be beneficial in reducing female athletes’ experience of menstrual cycle symptoms during menstruation. However, symptoms are multifactorial in nature and a more longitudinal, multi-disciplinary education approach, with targeted intervention may be necessary to create behaviour change and subsequently significantly ameliorate menstrual cycle symptoms.

Organisers, John Hough and Jessica Piasecki, have written an article reflecting on its success of the Physical activity and the endocrine system 2022 meeting and the value of the Society Meeting Support Grant. Read it in the winter 2022 issue of The Endocrinologist.

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