News & Views from the Editor-in-Chief - L. Bruce Gladden
I am highlighting three papers of particular interest in this month's journal with the first involving blood flow–restricted resistance exercise (BFRRE). Low-load BFRRE can elicit robust increases in satellite cell and myonuclei numbers, along with gains in muscle size and strength. However, most of the research to date on the mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy with BFRRE has involved untrained individuals. In the present issue, Bjørnsen et al. demonstrate that incorporating two 1-week blocks of high-frequency BFRRE into a 6.5-week strength training period in elite-level powerlifters resulted in preferential myonuclear addition and hypertrophy in type I fibers and increases in whole muscle size. Intriguingly, these responses are in contrast to heavy-load strength training, which typically induces a greater type II fiber hypertrophy. Consequently, BFRRE appears to have complementary effects to heavy-resistance training and the combination of these two methods may optimize adaptations of both fiber types in highly strength-trained individuals.
While napping has been proposed as a good recovery strategy for athletes, research on the impacts of napping on athletic performance is scarce. In this context, Daaloul et al. examined the effects of a postlunch short nap, after a full night sleep or partial sleep deprivation, on subjective alertness and fatigue, and cognitive and physical outcomes. Notably, the participants were national-level karate athletes. From a general standpoint, the work elegantly demonstrates the utility of short naps. After a full sleep night, the nap improved alertness and cognitive outcomes such as simple reaction time and a mental rotation test. After partial sleep deprivation, the nap restored subjective alertness and most of the performance decrements that occur after sleep deprivation, including a karate specific test. These findings are particularly important in the context of highly professional athletes, especially since napping is a natural activity that does not violate any doping regulations.
There is no consensus about the effect of arthroscopic repair on small to medium partial-thickness rotator cuff tears (PTRCTs), such as repair failure and postsurgical retearing. Some clinicians tend to adopt nonoperative treatments, often with unsatisfactory results. Clinical studies and animal experiments have proved the ability of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to enhance rotator cuff repairs but insufficient evidence exists for the efficacy of PRP injections in treating small to medium PTRCTs. Using subacromial injection, Cai et al. demonstrated that sodium hyaluronate (SH) combined with PRP injection had an additive effect in alleviating pain and improving joint function compared to SH or PRP injection alone in the treatment of small to medium PTRCTs (AP tear size <10 mm).
L. Bruce Gladden
School of Kinesiology