News & Views from the Editor-in-Chief: Andrew M. Jones
The September issue of MSSE is particularly strong and I found it hard to select three papers to highlight! But here goes…
The influence of biological sex on the physiology of breathing is an area of ongoing investigation. It has been proposed that females are more likely to experience expiratory flow limitation (EFL) during exercise than males due to morphological differences in the lungs, rib cage, and airways. In 'Predictors of Expiratory Flow Limitation during Exercise in Healthy Males and Females', Molgat-Seon et al. assessed the frequency and predictors of EFL during exercise in a large group of healthy young males (n=60) and females (n=66). Their findings indicate that despite respiratory system morphological differences, the frequency and predictors of EFL are similar between sexes. These data further our understanding of the influence of biological sex on the pulmonary physiology of exercise in healthy adults.
Physical activity is associated with lower cardiometabolic risk, but whether only the amount of activity accrued is important or whether the intensity of the activity also matters is less clear. This can be difficult to tease apart as they are inherently related. To circumvent this, Dawkins et al. ('Importance of Overall Activity and Intensity of Activity for Cardiometabolic Risk in those with and Without a Chronic Disease') used accelerometers to capture the distribution of activity intensity (the intensity gradient), which is relatively independent from the total amount of accelerometer-assessed activity. In ~1100 people with chronic disease, only the amount of activity was associated with lower cardiometabolic risk, supporting 'every minute counts' messaging. However, in ~400 healthy people, both intensity and amount were important, with lower risk in those whose activity profile included at least 10 minutes of brisk walking. This study provides new insight into the importance of the type of physical activity in relation to cardiometabolic risk.
Finally, in 'Hepcidin and Erythroferrone Complement the Athlete Biological Passport in the Detection of Autologous Blood Transfusion', Breenfeldt Andersen et al. report that the iron-regulatory hormones hepcidin and erythroferrone (ERFE) aid in indirect detection of small-volume blood transfusion (n=48). Reinfusion of 130 ml of stored red blood cells also improved time-trial performance by ~6% (n=13). After reinfusion of stored blood, ~29% of doped participants were detected within 6 days by combining existing parameters (OFF-hr; [Hb]; RET%; ABPS) in the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) with no sex-specific differences observed. Adding information from hepcidin and ERFE analyses increased sensitivity to 83% detection within 6 days. The current findings demonstrate that low-volume blood-transfusion is of concern in elite sport. Importantly, it is also demonstrated that addition of novel biomarkers can increase the sensitivity of existing approaches to reveal doped athletes.
Andrew M. Jones
University of Exeter