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Barbara Burke

Health Options

By Joannie Dobbs & Alan Titchenal

Wednesday, June 21, 2000



Participation in
research has benefits

WHAT do women who pump iron have in common with male runners who drink alcoholic beverages? Both groups are needed for ongoing nutrition research at the Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Research conducted on humans can be incredibly difficult to do. Most human research requires reviewing hundreds of other published research studies, meticulous planning of a research design and considerable organizing of research equipment and people. Human studies require the research plan to be evaluated and approved by a committee on human subjects research. In addition, most studies require the skilled use of complicated equipment to measure what is being studied.

But the greatest obstacle to doing human research is often getting and keeping research subjects who meet the specific criteria of the research design. In fact it may take more time to find participants than to conduct the research itself.

Typically, a single study yields only a tiny part of the answer to a larger research question. And to produce the clearest picture requires that study participants have similar characteristics to each other. Even for a simple noninvasive study, researchers generally interview more than 10 times the number of participants needed.

Two research projects being conducted in Hawaii are in need of participants. The first study is investigating creatine supplements promoted to enhance strength performance. A significant amount of research has been conducted in male athletes, but little is known of how creatine affects women.

Measurements have been made on six women, however more participants are needed. Women ages 18 to35 who have been weight-lifting for at least 3 months can contact Tate Yoshimura who is conducting the research. Reach him at 941-3170 (home), 580-7975 (pager), or email tatey@juno.com.

PARTICIPANTS in the creatine study receive a free evaluation of upper and lower body strength and endurance, body composition analysis and some sports clothing and nutritional supplements.

The second project is studying the effects of regular alcohol consumption on energy use of male runners. It is possible that regular alcohol consumption affects how much fat versus carbohydrate the body burns during exercise. This could have positive or negative effects on endurance performance, as well as lead to information on the effect of alcohol consumption on body composition and weight loss.

This research is conducted by first taking a VO2max test. This test measures an athlete's maximal capacity to consume and use oxygen and is a commonly used index of fitness level. Following the test, the men run at a comfortable pace for an hour while oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production are measured. This test assesses how much fat and carbohydrate they are burning. Men in this study must be between 18 and 35 years old and run at least 15 miles a week. Both drinkers and nondrinkers are needed. Contact Marina Nogues, email nogues@hawaii.edu or call 524-9327.

The VO2max is a relatively expensive test if you can find someone to do it right. Many serious runners are curious to get their VO2max measured. So if you fit the criteria, these test results could help you to improve your running.

Health Events


Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S., is a food and nutrition consultant
and owner of Exploring New Concepts, a nutritional consulting firm.
She is also responsible for the nutritional analyses
indicated by an asterisk in this section.

Alan Titchenal, Ph.D., C.N.S., is a sports nutritionist in the
Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Science,
University of Hawaii-Manoa.





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