The study investigates the feasibility of employing a commercially available mobile health application and social media-based health education intervention to improve breast cancer survivors’ physical activity and health. Observations indicate that the 10-week intervention designed to increase physical activity duration and steps per day decreases body weight and body fat percentage. Improvements in breast cancer survivors’ quality of life were also observed.
In an interdisciplinary collaboration with partners in veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota and the Michigan State University, researchers in the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory examined horses with shivers disease.
An earlier study identified the previously unknown neuropathology of the disease – a degeneration of neurons in the cerebellum. Because the cerebellum is involved in coordinating the control of muscles during movement, the researchers wanted to find out how the loss of cerebellar function affects the muscle recruitment in these horses. Like humans, horses activate more muscle fibers if they want to run faster. However, these horses recruited more muscles and more muscle fibers than necessary, which led to a loss of movement coordination and problems in their balance.
Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, gave a lecture on “Somatosensory training to overcome motor dysfunction in dystonia and Parkinson’s disease” to the University of Minnesota ataxia research group. The ataxia group is an interdisciplinary group of basic science and clinical researchers interested in understanding the neuropathology of ataxia and its treatment. Dr. Konczak spoke about how a sensory-based rehabilitation training can improve motor function in focal dystonia and Parkinson’s disease.
Maureen Weiss, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, was recognized with the Legacy Award, the highest honor given by Girls on the Run International at its annual Summit in Austin, TX, in January. Girls on the Run is a 501(c)(3) organization and physical activity-based positive youth development (PA-PYD) program designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological, and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program uses running and other physical activities as a platform for teaching life skills and promoting holistic health outcomes for girls in grades 3-8. The organization’s reach is national—in all 50 states with over 200 local community councils, 50,000 volunteer coaches, and over 1.5 million girls served since inception. The organization is committed to diversity—serving girls from all walks of life and backgrounds. Nearly 50% of girls receive subsidized registration fees to enable them to attain the psychosocial and behavioral benefits of participating in each season’s 10-week program.
Weiss’ Legacy Award was based on eight years and hundreds of hours devoted to serving this non-profit organization—as a board member, consultant, speaker, and contributor to curricular development and effective coach delivery—as well as conducting an independent longitudinal evaluation study that demonstrated strong and lasting positive impact of program participation on girls’ life skills learning and psychosocial and behavioral outcomes—confidence, competence, connection, caring, character, and contribution to community and society. The study received widespread attention in a press release last August and Weiss presented the study results at the Summit meeting in a presentation titled, “How and Why Girls on the Run is an Exemplary Positive Youth Development Program.”
First author of the publication is Leon’s former doctoral student Ulf G. Bronas, Ph.D., ATC, associate professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, College of Nursing, at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
The article titled “Virtual-reality headsets ‘make women sick,” is based on Stoffregen’s peer-published study that measured motion sickness using the VR headset Oculus Rift, which was originally published in Experimental Brain Research. The Independent piece quotes Stoffregen saying that motion sickness research reveals that “pretty much always women are more susceptible than men.”
The study finds an increased risk for depressive symptoms later in the postpartum phase if sleep problems with postpartum women worsen or show only minimal improvement over time. One conclusion recommends a six-week postpartum clinic visit to educate women about potential worsening of sleep patterns and to provide strategies for preventing sleep-related problems in order to decrease the risk of postpartum depression.
Lisa A. Kihl, Ph.D., associate professor of sport management in the School of Kinesiology has published an edited book titled Corruption in Sport: Causes, Consequences, and Reform. Published by Routledge, the book is a seminal text that explores the complexity of sport corruption in terms of its conceptualization, measurement, causes, consequences, reform, and future research. Corruption in sport is part of the “Routledge Research in Sport and Corruption” series.
Kihl wrote four of the chapters and was co-author on another. The book is available in print or as an
Zan Gao, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology associate professor, has published an article with colleagues in BioMed Research International. This study synthesized literature concerning casual evidence of effects of various physical activity programs on motor skills and cognitive development in typically developed preschool children. Of the five studies, four (80%) showed significant and positive changes in language learning, academic achievement, attention, and working memory.
Nan Zeng, lead author on the article, is a Ph.D. candidate in Kinesiology and is advised by Dr. Gao.
Connect, the magazine of the College of Education and Human Development, features two School of Kinesiology faculty/emeritus faculty in the December 2017 issue.
Beth Lewis, Ph.D., School director and professor, is featured in “Healthy Moms,” a story about her research in the areas of motivational interventions for physical activity and the relationship between exercise and mental health, and her pivotal studies focused on the role of exercise in preventing postpartum depression. She is also working on a new research project on postpartum depression prevention beginning during pregnancy and continuing through the postpartum phase.
Leo McAvoy, Ph.D., professor emeritus of recreation, park, and leisure studies in the School, was presented the Outstanding Achievement Award last July, the highest honor presented to a University alumnus. “Everybody outside!” recounts his many years as an inspiring, involved, and beloved professor and scholar, driven by deep commitment to and respect for the power of nature and his belief in the value of hands-on education.
In her presentation titled, “How Research Informs Everything We Do,” Weiss shared findings from four years of longitudinal research that provide evidence of effectiveness of life skills learning, and how executive directors, board members, and chapter volunteers can use the data for marketing and fundraising purposes for their program.
The First Tee is a youth development organization whose curriculum and coach training program are designed to teach life skills and core values using golf as the vehicle. The organization impacts the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like respect, integrity, confidence, and perseverance.
Kinesiology doctoral student Christiana Raymond-Pope is lead author on an article written with kinesiology professor Donald Dengel, Ph.D., and Tyler Bosch, Ph.D., and published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.