KIP Seminar with Dr. Patrick Mueller from Wayne State University’s School of Medicine

Please join us on Friday, December 8, from 3:00-4:00 pm in ATDC 101 for our last seminar of the fall 2023 semester. Our guest speaker is Dr. Patrick Mueller from the Department of Physiology at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine.

The title of Dr. Mueller’s presentation is “Mechanisms of Neuroplasticity Involved in Inactivity-Related Cardiovascular Disease.” More information about our speaker and his research can be found in the abstract or flyer below.

Abstract: The goal of the research in my laboratory is to learn more about how the brain controls the diameter of blood vessels in the peripheral circulation, which directly influence our resting blood pressure. In particular, I am interested in how the brain adapts in its control of the cardiovascular system under various physiological and pathophysiological states. Currently, the laboratory is to examining how sedentary versus physical active conditions change the brain (known as neuroplasticity) and is related to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals who do not exercise on a regularly basis. Using a variety of techniques, we examine blood pressure regulation at the level of the whole animal down to levels of gene expression in individual cells. More recently we have been focusing on the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the context of a sedentary lifestyle and renovascular hypertension.  Included in these studies, is the exploration of sex-based differences in blood pressure regulation by the brain since women of reproductive age have a far lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than men. Ultimately our goal is to target neural mechanisms in the brain which contribute to cardiovascular disease.

KIP Students Have Strong Showing at 2023 Upper Peninsula Medical Conference

Three from the Exercise Physiology Lab presented a poster at the conference. From left to right: Enioluwa Wright (undergraduate BioSci student), Abby Brooks (MS KIP student), Nathan Balok (MS KIP student)

The 2023 Upper Peninsula Medical Conference was held on the MTU’s campus on October 28, 2023. Several KIP students attended to learn more about their field of study and network with health care professionals.

Abby Brooks is a first-year master’s student in Kinesiology. She is part of the Exercise Physiology Lab and advised by Dr. Steve Elmer. Something she found really interesting about the conference was the talk that involved red light and blue light. She had heard about blue light before and how it affects how you sleep, but she didn’t know how bad the effects actually were, and it made her think about how she should put her phone down earlier. She didn’t know the ideas presented about red light and its benefits. She also presented a poster on her research, titled “Promoting Physical Activity in the Rural and Medically Underserved Upper Peninsula.”

Abby Brooks presents her poster to the public.

Lily Hart is a thesis-based master’s student in Kinesiology and a member of Dr. Carolyn Duncan’s Biomechanics Lab. Something she found interesting about the conference was the variety of professions that can be a part of the medical field other than being a physician. Also, it was her first time being a part of a conference and presenting, and she felt very grateful to be able to be there with the lab team.

From left to right: Lily Hart, Gracie VanLangevelde, and Lexi Little presenting their poster.

Gracie VanLangevelde is pursuing an accelerated master’s degree in Kinesiology. She works in Dr. Duncan’s lab and focuses on deep tendon reflexes. Something she learned was that the ticks in the Upper Peninsula carry diseases other than Lyme disease. People can collect the ticks they find and submit them to the local lab for testing. The title of her poster presentation was “Utilizing Surface Electromyography and Kinematic Analyses to Quantify Deep Tendon Reflexes.” Gracie said, “I hope to contribute to this ongoing study to help other researchers with their work.”

Xinqian (Sherry) Chen has been studying for four years under Dr. Zhiying (Jenny) Shan to earn her PhD in Integrative Physiology. Something she learned from the conference was new mechanism of diabetes is focusing on the loss of beta cell identity (dedifferentiation or trans-differentiation) instead of the loss of beta cell numbers. Her poster presentation was titled “Brain-derived Small Extracellular Vesicles from Dahl Salt Sensitive Rats with High Salt Diet Induce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress.”

Xinqian (Sherry) Chen with her poster.

Nathan Balok is a first-year master’s student in Kinesiology. He is currently working in the Exercise Physiology Lab with Dr. Elmer. When he attended the UP Medical Conference, he found Dr. Jed Magen’s presentation about major depressive disorder in primary care settings particularly interesting. Since he hopes to enter the medical field as a physician, it will be crucial for him to be mindful of his patients’ health from a holistic point of view, including their mental health. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of major depressive disorder and taking the steps to treat it will help him be a better advocate for patients’ health in the future. 

KIP Students Tie for Third Place in Poster Competition at 2023 Upper Peninsula Medical Conference

From left to right: Lexi Little, Lily Hart, Gracie VanLangevelde, Dr. Carolyn Duncan at UP Medical Conference held at MTU on October 28, 2023.

The research group that works in Dr. Carolyn Duncan’s Biomechanics Lab tied for 3rd place in the student poster competition. “My personal highlight of the conference was seeing the students interact with the healthcare professionals. The networking experience was awesome, and they seemed so excited that the work they were doing was of interest to people in the profession,” remarked Dr. Duncan. Learn more about the students’ research and work in the abstract below.

Utilizing Surface Electromyography and Kinematic Analyses to Quantify Deep Tendon Reflexes

Alexandra Little (BioSci), Gracie VanLangevelde (KIP), Lily Hart (KIP), Cameron Williams (CMU), Todd Hall (KIP), Carolyn Duncan (KIP)

Michigan Technological University, Central Michigan University

Deep tendon reflexes (DTRs) are a fundamental part of neurological examinations. Clinical observations and past studies have suggested that abnormal DTRs are a sign of corticospinal tract abnormalities or dysfunction with other descending pathways that influence the reflex arc. However, there are challenges regarding the interpretation and understanding of reflex excitability in clinical settings. There have been some attempts at using alternative methods, such as electromyography, to mechanically quantify DTRs for interpretation. However, this research has been limited to smaller focused studies and has not been used to examine and characterize DTRs across larger populations.

The overarching goal of the research is to characterize and quantify DTR responses using surface EMG and kinematic analyses. To accomplish this, our research team is currently performing 2 studies that aim to 1) Quantifying and determining the repeatability of DTR in healthy varsity athletes 2) Evaluating the relationship between neuromuscular output and DTR rating and 3) Examining the influence of concussions and contact sports on DTR response. In all studies surface EMG electrodes and inertial measurement units (IMU) are utilized to help quantify responses during standard quadriceps, achilles, biceps and triceps DTR testing. While this research is currently ongoing, initial findings suggest that surface electromyography and kinematic analyses can provide more precise information about DTR responses. Moving forward, these initial findings provide the foundational basis for future research examining DTR responses. This research also demonstrates the potential for utilizing EMG and kinematic analyses in clinical settings to gain more information about DTR responses.

KIP Presents Research at Midwest American College of Sports Medicine Annual Conference

Kyle Wehmanen and Dr. Steven Elmer from the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Midwest American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Conference held on October 12-14, 2023. The conference brought together over 400 students, faculty, and professionals focused on kinesiology and sports medicine from across the Midwest states, including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

This year was the 50th Midwest ACSM Annual Conference, which included a keynote presentation on “The Learning Connection: how physical activity, nutrition, free play and nurturing grow a healthy kid” by Anastasia Fischer, MD from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College. There were also 18 faculty and professional-led symposia, over 100 student oral and poster presentations, professional development sessions, and networking opportunities. To celebrate the Midwest chapter’s 50th anniversary, there was a historical presentation that highlighted how the chapter was started and how it has grown over the years to become what it is today.

Kyle Wehmanen, “Metabolic Cost Of Human Locomotion On Soft Terrain”
Dr. Steve Elmer (pictured on right), “Single-leg Cycling for Improving Performance, Restoring Function, and Facilitating Research”

Kyle Wehmanen, a second-year PhD student, presented a poster highlighting his research conducted in the Exercise Physiology Laboratory titled “Metabolic Cost of Human Locomotion on Soft Terrain.”

“Attending and presenting the MWACSM conference is a highlight for me every year. It always provides an inviting environment to share your research while gaining valuable feedback. It also provides a great opportunity to meet new like-minded individuals and have personal conversations with esteemed researchers in your areas of interest,” said Wehmanen.

Dr. Elmer presented as part of symposium that focused on “Single-Leg Cycling for Improving Performance, Restoring Function, and Facilitating Research” on day one of the conference and on “Science Communication and Advocacy: Current Topics and Integration with Your Career” on day two. The questions and feedback that Wehmanen and Elmer received will strengthen their projects and move their work forward. Overall, it was an excellent conference and professional development opportunity. A special thank you to the Michigan Space Grant Consortium and American Physiological Society for supporting the research and scholarly work that was presented by Wehmanen and Elmer. Also, thank you to members of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory and the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology for their continued support.

KIP Faculty Featured at MTU-MSU Symposium on Michigan Tech’s Campus

On Friday, October 27, 2023, Dr. Steve Elmer, Dr. William Cooke, and Dr. Jenny Shan from the KIP department presented at the Engineering The Future of Human Health II: Collaborative Research Symposium held on the MTU campus in the Memorial Union Building. This is the second symposium being held in conjunction with Michigan State University. The inaugural symposium was held at MSU in March of 2022. Michigan Tech hosted this symposium with Dr. Cooke as a co-sponsor. “This is an important collaborative opportunity,” he commented.

Dr. Elmer and Dr. Cooke presented in the “Kinesiology and Physiology” session, and Dr. Shan presented in the “Metabolic Disease” session. Dr. Cooke also served as a moderator for the “Neural Control and Disease” session.

The symposium made the local TV6 news. More information and highlights about the event can be found on the station’s website.

Dr. Steve Elmer’s presentation, “Beyond the Weight Room: The Importance of Exercise in Health and Disease”
Dr. William Cooke’s presentation, “Inspiratory Resistance and Hemorrhage Control”
Dr. Jenny Shan’s presentation, “Exploring the Involvement of Extracellular Vesicles in Regulating Blood Pressure”

Answering the Call: 6 Pillars of Health and Well-Being Presented by KIP Graduate Students

6 Pillars of Health and Well-Being

Background

Mental health and well-being is a well-documented concern in many settings, including school, work, and at home. Many individuals face depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more. As graduate students in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, we believe that well-being is multifaceted and includes physical, mental, and emotional components. During his time in office, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has raised several concerns related to mental health and well-being. Many of these relate to mental health. However, the U.S. Surgeon General seeks to remedy other concerns related to physical inactivity, health literacy, social media usage, and many other topics. A recent KIP blog post highlighted how the Surgeon General addresses the effects of loneliness and social isolation in individuals affecting overall health. Increased risk of dementia, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and mental illnesses are linked to increases in loneliness and social isolation. With guidance from the Surgeon General, these concerns will be addressed in this next series of blog posts. Our team read these advisory statements as a call to action, inspiring us to create a platform where our campus and community members can learn more about how to better their health and well-being. 

Answering “The Call”

This series of blog posts will expand on the overarching theme of creating healthier habits and improving overall well-being, while also trying to promote health literacy by producing clear and concise information for all to view. The series will be broken down into six different posts that explore different aspects of health. These subsections will be defined as physical activity, mental health, social health, diet, sleep, and aging. Each segment will include an introduction to the topic, present relevant information and evidence, and provide simple recommendations that you can apply to your everyday life to improve your health and well-being. Our team is very passionate toward rural areas and rural health. This blog will aim to provide creative ways to improve the quality of life without the need for extensive resources. This blog will serve as a platform to share these ideas to improve our health and well-being in a comprehensive and accessible way. To complement this blog, information will be shared on the Michigan Tech KIP department’s social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube). 

A Bit About Us and How We Want to Help You

From left to right: Alex Rondorf, Blake Hewitt, Kate Meister, Michael Bates

Our team consists of 4 Michigan Tech KIP Graduate Students. Kate Meister and Alex Rondorf are members of the Michigan Tech Women’s Basketball Team. Michael Bates and Blake Hewitt are members of the Tech Football Team. All of us are committed to ensuring a brighter future for a community we’ve been privileged to be a part of for the last several years. We all plan to pursue careers in healthcare/applied sports science and feel passionate about bringing you the latest and greatest information to ensure your overall well-being. We feel it’s important to advocate for a healthy lifestyle and want to present small steps that lead to big changes over time. This blog series will also help us refine our skills in science communication, which we are working on in Dr. Elmer’s KIP 5000 Advanced Exercise Physiology class this semester. Thank you for spending your time with us and we are excited to share our ideas and findings, as we embark on this journey to improve our health and well-being together.

Next Up

For the next post to be presented in this series, our first installment will provide an outlook on physical activity. We’ll talk about why physical activity is a necessary part of our daily lives, how much physical activity we really need, and how getting up and moving may actually save your life…

October is Exercise is Medicine® On Campus Month!

October is Exercise is Medicine® On Campus Month. As a Silver Level ACSM Exercise is a Medicine® recognized campus we want to engage our students, staff, and faculty this month. Below are 4 ways to participate, promote, and advocate for the importance of physical activity on our campus during October.

1. Sit less – take a short break from sitting which can be a lunchtime standing break activity from your desk, office, library, etc. This short 20 min low-intensity movement break will help everyone take a break from prolonged sitting.

2. Move a little more – get in your physical activity for the day Join us for a virtual physical activity workout on our UP & Moving website. These 30-45 min moderate intensity workouts offer a great way to work towards achieving the recommended amount of weekly physical activity of 150 minutes/week.

3. Encourage others to stay active; new research highlights the protective role physical activity has against COVID-19.

Here is a short blog post written by former graduate student Isaac Lennox highlighting the benefits of staying physical active to help reduce risk for COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, severe illness, and death.

4. Advocate for physical activity.

Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Proclamation

WHEREAS, October 2023 is Exercise is Medicine® On Campus Month; and WHEREAS, all Students, Staff, and Faculty are encouraged to speak with their health care provider about how physical activity and exercise may improve their personal health or help treat or prevent numerous chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, cardiac disease and diabetes; and

WHEREAS, all health care providers are encouraged to talk to their patients about the health benefits of regular physical activity and to strongly recommend that their patients engage in appropriate exercise; and

WHEREAS, regular, moderate-intensity exercise has curative and protective health benefits; and WHEREAS, the health benefits of physical activity and exercise have the power to improve the quality of life for everyone; and

WHEREAS, a healthier populace means cost savings, greater participation in the workforce and other benefits to society at large; and

WHEREAS, regular physical activity and exercise is indeed a powerful prescription, with great potential to improve the health of all people everywhere; and

WHEREAS, the American College of Sports Medicine and Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology at Michigan Tech University call on health care organizations, health care professionals, regardless of specialty, to assess, to advocate for, and to review every patient’s physical activity program during every comprehensive visit;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, William Cooke, PhD, Professor and Chair in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, hereby proclaim October 2023 as EXERCISE IS MEDICINE® ON CAMPUS MONTH

The Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology encourages all STUDENTS/STAFF/FACULTY to participate in activities and observances relating to Exercise is Medicine® On Campus Month in the interests of better health and quality of life for all.

William Cooke, PhD, Chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology DATED THIS 5th DAY OF OCTOBER, 2023

©2023 Exercise is Medicine®. All rights reserved.

KIP Student named All-American Scholar by American Hockey Coaches Association

Kash Rasmussen , an Exercise Science student and a forward for the Michigan Tech hockey team, was named an All-American Scholar by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) for the 2022-23 academic year. Kash, who is a sophomore, had a 4.0 GPA in the fall and 3.78 in the spring to qualify for this recognition.

Read the complete press release on Michigan Tech Athletics’ website.