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The Bifurcational Complexities of Exercise in Health and Disease

18:30 to 20:30
Belfast campus

Conor Lecture Theatre
Corporate Events Office
Contact details
+44 (0) 28 7012 4166

Gareth Davison, Professor of Exercise Biochemistry and Physiology, will present as part of the Inaugural Professorial Lecture series.

Modern society has witnessed an increased prevalence of many disease states due to rapid urbanisation, as well as reduced occupational work demands. Despite this, strong evidence, comprising both observational and experimental research, indicates that regular participation in physical activity is one of the best strategies for enhancing quality of life and lengthening life expectancy. We now have irrefutable evidence that engaging in 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 5 days per week prevents over 17 non-communicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, cancer, and coronary heart disease. However, the prevailing logic held is that exercise is clearly good for health and that, if some is good, more must be better. It was in 1975, that Dr Thomas Bassler, a physician, boldly proclaimed that, if you could run a marathon, you were immune to death from coronary heart disease. This urban myth has since been disproven; indeed an emerging body of evidence suggests the opposite: extreme forms of exercise may be detrimental to cardiovascular health.

Deciphering the pathophysiological and biochemical mechanisms responsible for cell and organ deterioration is critical to our understanding of why certain forms of exercise may be counterproductive. It is now known that oxygen; widely regarded as the molecule of life and central to our existence as humans, can be modified within cells as a result of exercise and disease, thus creating reactive oxygen compounds that damage important macromolecules such as DNA. The consequence of these metabolic perturbations to cells is not fully understood, but if left untreated, could be the basis of compromised cell function and genomic instability.

This lecture will examine exercise using a bifurcational approach. The lecture will open with a brief overview of the benefits of moderate intensity exercise. The main emphasis of the lecture will be two-fold; firstly, the evidence base demonstrating that extreme endurance exercise leads to cardiovascular disease will be reviewed, and secondly; the contribution made by Gareth Davison to the area of exercise-induced oxidative stress will be highlighted, with a particular emphasis on cell damage and the strategies designed to minimise cell damage in health and disease.

The response will be given by Professor Colin Boreham, Director of the UCD Institute for Sport and Health.

This lecture is open to everyone.

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