What lengths do top athletes go to in order to reach peak performances and which findings in the field of professional sports are relevant for the public at large? These are just two of the questions that are being asked at this year's 7th MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE (MMSC) on Wednesday, 20 November, and Thursday, 21 November 2019. The conference will take place in Düsseldorf as part of MEDICA 2019, the world’s leading medical trade fair with over 5,000 exhibitors. Here, interested parties can find out more about the progress being made in the field of sports medicine and experts from the fields of sports medicine, sports sciences and the health industry can benefit from the strong emphasis on networking. With the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo only a year away and only three years to go until the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Performance Medicine is of course on the agenda. One hot topic in this field is regeneration, for example.
Which is one reason why Sebastian Kienle, one of the world's best triathletes, will be speaking at the conference in November. He won the 2014 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and is a three-time Ironman European Championship winner, among other awards. Just recently Kienle told a lifestyle magazine, "If I had an identical twin and he pursued his career without the use of technology and data analysis, the poor guy wouldn't stand a chance." When it comes to training, he relies on state-of-the-art technologies by Polar, Cortex Medical, Runscribe and Quarq, to name a few. Kienle then aligns his training according to the data that is available in real time. He will address which data then plays a role in preparing, competing, regenerating and preventing accidents and illness in the afternoon of Wednesday, 20 November, when he will be the first keynote speaker at the MMSC.
Preparing for Tokyo 2020 and all kinds of "heated battles"This will be followed by a talk that deals quite concretely with the Olympic games, namely "Summer is coming! Preparation to Tokyo 2020 Olympics" held by Dr. Stéphane Bermon. The doctor is the Director of the Health and Science Department at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). And the anticipated heat presents a huge challenge to the athletes and their teams. Under normal ambient conditions, our body temperature increases to around 37 to 39 degrees Celsius under stress.
If the surrounding temperature is high, our core body temperature can increase to more than 39 degrees Celsius whilst running a marathon, which can lead to an impairment of basic bodily functions and consequential medical damages. Heat chambers, training locations with high temperatures, new biomedical devices such as pills that are taken to measure temperature, sweat analysers, thermal imaging cameras, specially developed clothes and wearable electrolyte and thermal analysers are used to research better preventive measures as well as to optimise the treatment of athletes with heatstroke. Global warming on the one hand and the increasing number of endurance athletes on the other are certain to put a stronger focus on heat-related illnesses and the prevention thereof. Bermon's talk will focus on how the IAAF is handling these challenges and thus gives visitors an idea of things to come.
Data and artificial intelligence debunk common mythsThe various technologies that are used to collect relevant values for athletes simultaneously create a huge and diverse amount of other data. Here, Prof. Dr. Dr. Dieter Leyk, Head of the Federal Armed Forces’ Institute for Preventive Medicine, and Prof. Dr. Jarek Krajewski, CEO of the Institute for Experimental Psychophysiology in Düsseldorf, are stepping up to merge this data and make it available for use in grassroots and rehabilitation sports on the basis of artificial intelligence (AI). The Federal Armed Forces' Institute for Preventive Medicine, for example, has collected more than one million data sets from marathon runners aged between 20 and 80 years of age. Findings gained from these data could offer new insight into marathons whilst at the same time debunking common myths surrounding rehabilitation sports.
Krajewski's topic at the 7th MMSC is "AI-based affective computing systems for health, prevention and sports applications". He will also address computer-based automated monitoring of psychological and physical health conditions (based on audio, video and bio signals).
Personalised training, regeneration and rehabilitationDr. med. David Niederseer, sports cardiologist at the University of Zurich, targets health sports quite concretely in his talk: Actively commuting to work can counter the disadvantages of a seated lifestyle as opposed to an inactive, "lazy" commute. And travel times do not necessarily increase. This is the preliminary result of a study during which some of the participants were advised to either commute by public transport, by bike, on foot or using a combination of the above, depending on the distance to their work place. Participants in the control group were told to continue using their current methods of commute. Whilst the active participants showed measurable improvement in their quality of life and their general and mental health, for example, no significant changes could be identified in the control group. Under the "Corporate fitness" heading, Dr. Niederseer will present opportunities for a healthier way of life such as these at MMSC in the afternoon of Thursday, 21 November.
Of course, individually tailored training programmes are also important in competitive sports. The conference day on Thursday, 21 November, will start at 10 a.m. with tailored exercise programmes. Dr. med. Lutz Graumann, doctor to the German ice-hockey team, will offer insight into the new possibilities in regeneration and what findings can be transferred to grassroots sports. Francesco Cuzzolin, Technogym Scientific Department Director , will explain the options for personalising training and movement programmes that weight training equipment offers.
Cannabis in sports? Not a no go during regeneration!A similarly hot topic is the use of cannabis in sports. Cannabis is indeed on the WADA’s (World Anti-Doping Agency) Probibited In-Competition list, which means athletes are not permitted to take these substances during competition. However, they are not explicitly forbidden during the training phase, provided national regulations allow their use. Since May 2017, doctors in Germany are only allowed to prescribe patients cannabis in exceptional and justifiable cases. However, special permission to do so is not required. Under certain conditions, the drug’s anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsive, anxiolytic and anti-emetic effects can actually make sense in connection with regeneration after intensive sports. In the morning of Thursday, 21 November, Prof. Dr. Jeff Konin, Chair of the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Rhode Island, will explain in more detail how cannabis could be used during the regeneration phase.
Using evidence-based diagnostics for performance and healthIn future, evidence-based diagnostics could help bring visibility to the true potential of sport. Thursday afternoon kicks off at 1:45 p.m. with a talk by Prof. Dr. med. Wilhelm Bloch, head of the Department for Molecular and Cellular Sports Medicine at the German Sport University Cologne. Under the heading "Epigenetic screening for performance and health - reality or future?", he will take a closer look at how genes and gene modifications can predict a person’s athletic performance and how we can influence this.
No matter how careful we are, it is impossible to prevent sports injuries. The same applies to head and skull injuries. From 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, 21 November, MMSC will not just focus on severe injuries. We will also be taking a look at minor, sports-related traumatic brain or head injuries, which can have severe consequences. Prof. med. Sam Browd, neurosurgeon at the University of Washington, will take a look at how these can be prevented in his talk titled „Innovations in head injury protection for athletes“. Prof. Dr. Dr. med. Claus Reinsberger, head of the Sports Medicine department at Paderborn University, recently called for changes in diagnostics on the sidelines. As soon as a concussion is suspected, the athletes need to be immediately taken out of the game, examined and observed, as continuing to play can potentially have life-threatening results. Reinsberger presents “Sports neurophysiology as a tool to optimize performance and assess concussion” in the same session. The diagnostics suggested by Dr. John Falston, founder and CEO at Protxx Inc., are effective while the game is still on. A tool that is placed inside the ear allows doctors to recognise strain in real time and helps them decide whether a player needs to be taken out of play.
Fit for the future topics in sports medicineA new addition to the MMSC programme is this year's integration of the "Sports medical lactate performance diagnostics" course. On Thursday, 21 November, this theoretical module will be held under the supervision of Prof. Dr. med. Dr. sportwiss. Christine Graf at the MMSC, followed by the practical module, which takes place at the German Sport University Cologne on the following Saturday and Sunday.
The agenda of the 7th MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE thereby takes up the future topics as defined by the science council at the German Association for Sports Medicine and Prevention (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sportmedizin und Prävention, DGSP). This year, it once again offers broad insights into relevant innovations for sports medicine and the adjacent disciplines as well as the opportunity for networking with international makers, shakers and drivers of innovation. The list of renowned partners practically guarantees this. Among them are the German Association for Sports Medicine and Prevention (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sportmedizin und Prävention, DGSP), the German Society of Sport Science (dvs), the Federation Internationale du Medicine du Sport (FIMS), the European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations (EFSMA), Exercise is Medicine (American College of Sports Medicine), FESI (Federation of European Sporting Goods Industry), epsi (European Platform of Sports Innovations) and WT Wearable Technologies. The conference is sponsored by Polar, Garmin, Orthogen Lab Services and Technogym.
The 7th MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE will take place in the Congress Center Düsseldorf (CCD Süd) at the exhibition centre in Düsseldorf as part of MEDICA 2019.
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