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Intense exercise can give higher risk of mnd

Discussion in 'off topic' started by hifinutt, Jun 11, 2021.

  1. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    Astounding article on bbc saying that intense exercise can give rise to increased risk of mnd in those who are genetically vulnerable. Apparently 1 in 300 get the disease and athletes higher risk. Astonishing.

    Many may know this awful disease and any research that reduces it's risk has to be welcomed . Had a colleague aged 50 who self diagnosed this and flew off to switzerland.
  2. Joe Hutch

    Joe Hutch Mate of the bloke

    It's one risk I've managed to avoid completely from the age of 13 or so, which is when I decided that cross-country running was not really my thing. Several of us would run out of sight of the games field, hide behind a bush, and then re-join the poor sods who'd run the five miles or so. Then we got a new, younger, keener games master who decided to run the course as well, so we cut games completely and went round to Sean's house for a cup of tea and a read of the Daily Mirror and the Birkenhead News.
    darrenyeats, Jimin, matt j and 2 others like this.
  3. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    Science in action. Learning as we go along
    HIT, High Intensity training, previously a 'good thing' is due another, hard look
    More data required

    Pro cyclists a good place to look as they put themselves through all sorts of intense, prolonged exercise
  4. dweezil

    dweezil pfm Member

    Obvs a born athlete, we used to go round a mates house to chat, smoke and watch Batman. Fantastic rental service; one day the tv packed up and they replaced the tv before the end of episode.

    My 400m times used to be at their best at start of term, gradually declined as i sat in desks, socialised and suffered school food.
    Joe Hutch likes this.
  5. Joe Hutch

    Joe Hutch Mate of the bloke

    I could do the shorter running stuff OK, besides, that was in the summer, but cross-country? Miles of mud and shite to plough through, in all sorts of bad weather, with blokes from the building site lobbing half-bricks at you when you passed? No thanks.

    What's more, with the sort of sadism only schoolteachers possess, PE was the day after games, so you had to get your plimsolls cleaned and whitened the evening after cross-country. I sometimes just dabbed Meltonian over the mud, but it tended to flake off.
  6. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    As I was only just reflecting..whilst reading up on knee replacement surgery and wondering how long LVF will take to see me off.... Cross Country never did me any harm...:rolleyes:
  7. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    ..."And at school would you believe three hundred boys
    And no girls at all
    But you're a fool if you should leave
    Just think of the joys of rugby football
    And prep in the morning and Brylcreem and acne
    And cross-country running to kill evil thoughts
    I'm surprised that I survived
    I ran ten thousand miles with my back to the wall..."
    A Stewart
    Rana likes this.
  8. Bart

    Bart pfm Member

    He had 3 or 4 great albums in that period, listened to him and Melanie a lot then (and now).
    Rana and Bob McC like this.
  9. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Scanning the Wikipedia deaths, pro cyclists seem to reach reasonable ages if they survive the accidents. I was surprised at this, due to the notorious drug use.
    The longest lived sport seems to fencing, which makes some sense as it favours a healthy lifestyle. The worst seems to football.
  10. gustav_errata

    gustav_errata pfm Member

    OK I've had a read through the original article:

    Overall their genetic correlations look pretty weak to me (but note that genome-wide association studies are not my specialty). Most notably, their purported correlation between genetic variants that are linked to strenuous exercise and variants that are linked to ALS (Fig 2a) are dominated by the effect of a single variant (SNP = single nucleotide polymorphism = change at a single "letter" in the DNA). Remove that SNP from consideration and I'm skeptical that there would be a significant correlation, especially since their significance is already pretty weak. Now, that does, on the other hand, imply that perhaps at least this one SNP needs to be considered as possibly linking strenuous exercise to ALS. However, I would guess that that SNP is rare enough not to be a concern for most people. That is, carry on exercising unless you have a reason to suspect you might be genetically susceptible.

    Their methods are frustratingly vague for the part that I could provide better comment on (were I asked to review the paper I would have taken them to task on that), which is looking at whether genes whose expression changes after exercise are also linked to ALS. They look at "pathways", which are groups of proteins that work together to accomplish some task. After reading this paper as well as a previous one that they refer to, I'm still not clear on how exactly they choose the pathways, but it's based on the genes that they observe significantly different levels of expression following exercise. Anyway, they then check whether these pathways have more ALS-related genes encoding the proteins than expected, and indeed a few interesting ones pop out. They also separately ask whether genes that are related to ALS tend to be expressed differently following exercise, and yes they find that more than half of them are and by sort of "shuffling the deck" of their data, the confirm that this is more than you would expect by chance. My problems here are two-fold. 1) These are indeed interesting results but I see no reason to link change in expression of ALS-related genes to the development of the disease, i.e. this is very much correlation and not causation. 2) Their gene expression data is weird (Fig 3c)'s bizarre to see so many genes with exactly the same change in expression and nobody rounds this kind of data to the nearest nice number. I am extremely suspicious of that data. It looks like an accidental MS Excel mistake or a rookie programming error. It's unfortunate that they don't provide more detail to maybe justify it.

    Anyway, as mentioned, my takeaway is, unless you have reason to suspect that you're susceptible, I wouldn't take this as reason to stop exercising. If in doubt, contact your doctor.
    brumjam, hifinutt, sean99 and 3 others like this.
  11. eternumviti

    eternumviti Bloviating Brexiter

    I was hoping I'd find the answer in the thread, but now, as well as MND, I've got to google LVF, HIT, PE, BBC and OK as well. Oh, and 400m and someone called A Stewart, and someone else called Melanie.
    Whaleblue and cutting42 like this.
  12. gustav_errata

    gustav_errata pfm Member

    This study had nothing to do with HIIT.
  13. gustav_errata

    gustav_errata pfm Member

    MND = motor neurone disease
    ALS = Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis = Lou Gehrig's Disease
    HIIT (two I's) = high intensity interval training
    hifinutt likes this.
  14. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Pro cyclists who avoid excessive drug use seem to live quite long lives. I am always wary of such studies as a lot of high intensity sports involve significant contact, e.g. Rugby League.
  15. gustav_errata

    gustav_errata pfm Member

    This study was not on elite athletes. It is based on the UK Biobank which consists of a mountain of data from average British people. To quote the research article:

    Individuals completing the physical activity questionnaire were also asked “In the last 4 weeks did you spend any time doing the following?” with the potential answers were: ‘walking for pleasure’, ‘other exercises’, ‘strenuous sports’, ‘light DIY’, ‘heavy DIY’, ‘none of the above’, and ‘prefer not to answer’.
    The researchers looked at genetic correlations to people saying they've done "strenuous sports" or "other exercises" at least 2-3 times for 15-30 minutes or more versus those who reported no such activity for the prior 4 weeks.

    Edit: Ugh...I misread your original message. The authors rule out, e.g., head injury as a possible factor:

    Finally, although risk of head trauma is linked to physical exercise, the SSOE measure we utilised gives equal weighting for heterogenous activities including some with minimal risk of head trauma (e.g. aerobics). We propose therefore that head trauma is unlikely to be a significant confounder of our data.​
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  16. narabdela

    narabdela who?

    Rowed at school, (got a national trophy), played Rugby, (2nd XV), but since leaving school when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I've done sweet fa in the way of exercise other than gone for the occasional walk. Knees are starting to go now, but I'll be 74 this year.

    Is there a moral to all this? Answers on a postcard please.
  17. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    It's nonsense then, 'other exercises' could have been a walk
  18. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    It suugests that anyone would need to see and understand the statistics, far more than it means that it is nonsense.
  19. hifilover1979

    hifilover1979 Bigger than you...

    Read this, this morning

    I train/lift very heavy weights & stones like a loon and we do a lot of walking too...

    I'm full of 'niggles' as I like to call them; the main one being issues with my C5/C6 and ulna nerve impingement that'll never improve...

    Bloody hope nothing else as serious as MND crops up!
  20. eternumviti

    eternumviti Bloviating Brexiter

    Ah, right. I have an aunt who has it, but she was never one for vigorous exercise.

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