The impact of the research by Professor Gleeson on immune responses to
exercise and predictors
of infection risk in athletes has altered practice of sport science
support personnel, coaches and
athletes in several areas including: immunoendocrine monitoring
procedures, training prescription
and the use of nutritional interventions to reduce exercise stress
responses and minimize risk of
infection. In this way, the research conducted during 2008-2013 at
Loughborough University has
impacted internationally upon the ways in which sports scientists operate,
and athletes and games
players are prepared for competition.
In this case study we describe an interrelated collection of impacts
on healthcare in the NHS; these are summarised in the Table below.
It is important that valid outcome measures are used to assess clinical
services and interventions to demonstrate that services are effective.
Additionally, outcomes of interventions need to be meaningful to the
patients reporting them, as this adds value to the outcome of trials over
and above the statistically significant difference derived mathematically.
Singh and colleagues explored the minimum clinically important
difference of the incremental shuttle walking test for individuals with
chronic respiratory disease. As a result of Singh's research, this
threshold is now included in international guidelines for pulmonary
rehabilitation and has also been introduced into research and practice
among people attending cardiac rehabilitation over the last 5 years.
Prof Doherty's research is themed around `safe and effective exercise for
patients with complex cardiac disease' where, until his leading research
had been carried out, thousands of patients were denied access to such
services. Prof Doherty implemented the first prospective randomised
control trial (RCT) in this population which has: benefitted patients
directly by enabling more programmes to offer rehabilitation to this group
of patients; impacted on clinical guidance nationally and internationally;
contributed to Department of Health policy; and influenced the public and
clinical populations through the NHS, British Heart Foundation, Arrhythmia
Alliance and professional clinical groups.
The Physical Activity in Ageing, Rehabilitation and Health Research Group
at Aberystwyth University has designed, implemented and evaluated rural
Community Exercise Schemes (CESs), including GP referral of sub-clinical
populations, and more specialised schemes, such as cardiac rehabilitation
and falls prevention. This research has made a distinct and material
contribution to the provision of CESs in the region by providing evidence
to inform service planning and delivery, increase access to and engagement
with services, improve health and influence professional standards,
guidelines and training.
High intensity training: Impact can be evidenced on multiple levels
ranging from adding to the
public debate on exercise duration and providing information to the sports
industry. This includes
publication of the findings/applied recommendations of this research in
lay magazines (e.g. Men's
Health), books (e.g. The High Intensity Workout Dundee University Press
2012) and television
shows (e.g. Horizon). In addition, the research has informed coaches (ice
hockey and rugby union)
and people working in the fitness industry (personnel trainers), and has
contributed to the debate
on exercise for health (Scottish Government).
The modified shuttle test (MST), developed at the University of Ulster by
Professor Bradley and
colleagues, is an evidence-based exercise test that is having the