Helping athletes affected by sexual violence: my challenge to the sports and exercise medicine community

My childhood story

If you saw me in clinic as a young kid, you would almost certainly describe me as healthy, active, energetic and high achieving. I wore a smile as wide as my face and talked excitedly about my friends, sports and summer plans whenever asked. What you wouldn’t know about me was that in third grade, I was raped by a member of my extended family; and throughout middle and high school, I was sexually and emotionally abused by an alcoholic parent. You would not know this as a clinician because I always wore an impenetrable shield in order to get through my visit with you. My smile and kindness served as a mask to hide what I felt were the shameful, dark parts of me, and my costume always included some combination of athletic clothes and sports equipment.

Contrary to many recent high-profile cases,1 I was not subjected to sexual violence in sport. Yet sport was fully enmeshed in my experiences of sexual violence. Beyond the genuine joy and happiness I felt while playing sports, they provided me a necessary sense of safety and belonging outside my home and important safety from my unrelenting shame and fear. Simply put: sports saved my life.

My challenging experiences with clinicians

The summer before ninth grade, at a time when I was actively experiencing abuse, I visited my paediatrician for a preparticipation sports examination. My physician noted that I had lost a significant amount of weight since my last physical. I had never been preoccupied with my weight, but he accused me of restricting food and suggested treatment for anorexia. This was not the issue, but my truth was not important to him. He had convinced himself that he knew my struggle without even giving me the opportunity to speak my truth.

During my junior soccer season in college, after a bout with bronchitis, I found myself struggling to breathe during exercise. I met with multiple doctors and underwent numerous tests. The tests always came back negative and were often accompanied with ‘there is nothing I can do for you’ or ‘maybe it’s time to stop playing sports’. Still sidelined, my athletic trainer encouraged me to visit one more specialist who listened carefully to my symptoms and ultimately diagnosed me with exercise-induced asthma. It was a game-changer. Though grateful for that physician (and my athletic trainer), I never forgot the feeling of being unheard and not believed by those before him.

The impact of my healthcare experiences

Perhaps the most detrimental aspect of these healthcare encounters was that they reinforced my negative beliefs: that my experiences did not matter, that my voice did not matter. Trust is a central component to any clinician–patient relationship, and the ability to trust is also a major hurdle for those affected by sexual violence. To this day, I struggle seeing clinicians—not because I believe their intentions are not good or that they will harm me, but because I fear not being heard when I

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Lakers, Dodgers fans helping drive uptick in LA virus cases

The success of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers are bringing fans together in the LA area and that may be helping drive an uptick in coronavirus cases, Los Angeles County’s top health official said Monday,

The Lakers won the NBA championship two weeks ago and the Dodgers are one game away from winning the World Series. Their run through the playoffs has prompted watch parties and celebrations.

Los Angeles County is the nation’s largest, with 10 million residents, and positive cases there increased this month from an average of 940 per day to nearly 1,200 last week, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

She praised fans’ “incredible spirit,” but “the downside of this is that during a pandemic some of the things we’ve done in the past just don’t make sense.”

Health officials have warned of a second wave of virus cases and Ferrer said LA County’s increase wasn’t immediately apparent because of a backlog of cases due to technical issues with data collection systems.

“We’ve been seeing, first, very low case numbers a couple weeks ago and then in the last few days very high case numbers,” she said. “Now that we’ve processed the backlog of cases from the state, and analyzed the numbers by episode date, it is clear that our cases increased. This increase is not as steep as what we saw in July, but this is a cause of concern.”

Health officials rely on having accurate data to forecast surges in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, intensive care needs and deaths. California overall has reported steady numbers even as there have been surges in many other states.

State officials also use the data to determine whether counties can advance to less restrictive tiers in the state’s four-stage, color-coded system. Los Angeles County remains in the most restrictive tier while most San Francisco Bay Area counties have moved to fewer restrictions and San Francisco itself is in the most permissive category.

As a result of problems from the backlog, statewide reported cases jumped from 2,940 on Wednesday to 6,141 on Thursday and remained above 5,000 newly reported cases on Friday and Saturday before dipping back to 2,981 on Monday.

The state Department of Public Health, in a note on its tracking web page, said that the daily number of new cases included an estimated 2,000 backlog cases from Los Angeles County. State officials on Monday did not immediately provide more details, or explain what the county said were “processing issues in the state’s reporting system that resulted in a large volume of duplicate records being sent to LA County.”

Neighboring Orange and Riverside counties said they did not have a backlog, and none was reported by other major counties.

A much larger backlog problem involving up to 300,000 records overwhelmed California’s infectious diseases reporting system in August and forced it to hasten the creation of a new dedicated data collection system. The state’s public health director abruptly resigned days later.

The LA County backlog that resulted in the

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Fitness Volt’s New Protein Calculator Helping Users To Calculate Daily Protein Intake

October 23, 2020 – Good news for fitness and health enthusiasts, the team at FitnessVolt has launched a protein calculator to help users accurately measure their daily ration of protein. This was developed in a bid to eliminate the common confusion that comes with the dosage of protein intake. The new protein calculator is proving useful to sportspersons, fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders, and health-conscious people.

With an influx of businesses and consumers, the fitness industry has recorded tremendous growth in recent times. More and more people are opting for healthy lifestyles to stay free from diseases. Weight loss is also a major issue in most countries, with a growing number of people turning to exercise and improved diets to fight obesity. However, to meet the goals of fitness, there is one important macronutrient that none can do without, even for sedentary people and that is protein.

Protein is present throughout the body and consists of 20 amino acids that contribute to various physiological functions, the most important being muscle building. Protein increases muscle growth through protein synthesis and provides the body energy when needed. Protein also contributes to healthy skin and weight management. But in this growing need of protein arises an important question: How much protein does one need daily?

According to science, the common average requirement of protein requirement for men is 56 grams per day and 46 grams for women. However, these values increase with age, gender, and physical activity. This increases even more so when it includes exercise and sports. Professionals and sportspersons with access to personal fitness tools may not have a problem but for those who don’t, calculating the protein intake is not an easy task. This is where a protein calculator like the one offered by comes as a boon to simplify one’s nutrition and diet according to a fitness routine. protein calculator is an easy tool to use. All one needs to do is choose the desired measurement such as pounds or Kg, select a gender, and enter data such as age, weight, and height. After determining the activity level, the protein calculator provides the required amount of protein necessary daily. It’s as simple as that. is a comprehensive sports and fitness portal covering every important aspect of healthy activity, bodybuilding, sports, exercise, weight management, and nutrition. It features well-curated content ranging from tips to exercise programs, diet plans, and nutrition researched and compiled by professionals in the fitness industry. Some of the trending topics on the portal include sports news, IFBB Events, Workouts, Nutrition, Powerlifting, CrossFit, and Strongman. also provides tools like a calorie counter, TDEE Calculator, Macronutrient Calculator,  Keto Calculator, Bench Press Calculator, and Creatine Calculator to name a few. 

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Schenectady practice helping to eliminate nerve pain

SCHENECTADY — Cyndie Powell loves to cook.

But her lower back pain and sciatica were so bad that she had to sit on a stool in her kitchen in order to cook. She couldn’t stand the pain from standing after just five minutes.

Powell, a resident of Schuylerville who works as a program manager and financial consultant for 1st Scotia Wealth Management, tried everything to dull the pain.

She tried over-the-counter pain relievers and massage. She visited a chiropractor. And she didn’t want to get surgery.

“Nothing really ever made the pain go away,” Powell said.

Until she met Laura Brown, a physical therapist and massage therapist in Schenectady who earlier this year invested in buying and getting trained to operate a electrical stimulation, or eSTIM, medical device made by a company called Calmare.

The machine has the ability to target five separate parts of the body by sending electronic pulses that “reset” the nerves, making them essentially forget the pain. The device can help with fibromyalgia, migraines, sciatica, neuropathy and what is known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Brown’s business is known as Capital Region Calmare. She operates the only licensed Calmare facility in the local area. Until now, patients who wanted to try the technology would have to travel to Stony Brook on Long Island. Brown has continued to operate her massage business as well.

“I’ve seen firsthand the extraordinary pain relief it’s provided to individuals who have tried traditional treatments, sometimes for years, without success,” Brown said, “There is no better feeling than giving someone his or her life back by re-introducing them to a world without pain, and to do so without any side effects, drugs or surgical procedures is a huge benefit.”

The treatment by the device is not covered by insurance, although some of the physical therapy done as part of the treatment is. The initial session when Brown evaluates a patient costs $100, while each subsequent session costs $250, although Brown offers 10 treatments at a discount for $2,000.

Powell, who has been working from home during the pandemic but travels an hour for treatments, said she got relief after each treatment. The pain would come back to a degree after each one.

But after four sessions, Powell said the pain went away for good. And there was no pain or side effects. She says the electronic therapy is a great alternative to opioids that are often prescribed for back pain. Patients often need more than four sessions.

“It was like a miracle,” Powell said.

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How technology is helping to reshape fitness and outdoor recreation

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people increasingly have turned to exercise as a way to relax and recharge—often in droves. Yellowstone National Park, one of the crown jewels of the National Park Service, recorded its second busiest August ever as nearly 900,000 visitors passed through its gates.

But as with most everything in the COVID era, the usual rules don’t apply when it comes to staying active, whether hiking to Old Faithful or just working up a sweat at home. At this year’s Fast Company Innovation Festival, a panel discussion presented by Booz Allen Hamilton explored how digital innovations are helping to reshape recreation today, and in the years to come. Here are five key takeaways from the event:

1. Trip-planning goes digital

Forget poring over guidebooks and asking friends for their favorite hiking trails. Julie McPherson, executive vice president of digital solutions at Booz Allen Hamilton, says planning an outdoor adventure often starts with pulling out a smartphone. Booz Allen serves as innovative partner and main contractor to the federal government’s service, which helps people find outdoor activities ranging from backcountry camping to ranger-led tours. The site’s mobile app was downloaded nearly 500,000 times during a three-month span this spring—more than the total downloads in all of 2019. “We’re all used to doing mobile,” McPherson said, “but we’re seeing so much more volume…whether it’s actually making reservations or just getting access to information.”

2. Slowing down, tuning in

As COVID-19 ground regular routines to a near-halt, many people found themselves with much more free time. Kristen Holmes, vice president of performance at WHOOP, which makes a wearable device that tracks fitness, sleep, and other physiological data, decided to embrace it. She has spent more time with family and has a renewed focus on her physical health. “I’ve just been trying to be more aware of the signals that my body is giving me,” Holmes said. “I want to make sure I create space for that during the day.”

Holmes is not alone. While the consensus assumed that COVID lockdowns would lead to less-than-savory habits, WHOOP collected data that showed the opposite: users were sleeping better, exercising more, and improving their cardiovascular fitness. “These are really crazy times,” she said. “We actually saw our cohort get healthier during this time of uncertainty and unrest.”

3. Outdoor retailers have had to adapt

These days, many people are embracing outdoor activities for the first time. Doing that is a process—from looking for inspiration and planning trips to getting kitted out with the necessary gear. Outdoor retailer REI has worked to make the purchasing process easier and safer for customers, from contactless pick-up at stores to more bespoke offerings, such as virtual outfitting and scheduled consultations with gear experts. “They can get the time they need with an expert to talk them through [the process],” said Christine Putur, REI’s executive vice president of technology and operations. “We’re very obsessed about removing friction from that cycle.”

4. Tech tools will help

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Helping Alzheimer’s Patients Bring Back Memories

People of all ages have moments when it feels like we’re on the edge of recalling something but can’t quite do it—where we parked our car or left our phone, for example, or what name goes with that familiar face. It’s extremely frustrating in the moment, but for most of us, we can usually remember if we try. For patients with Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and many other dementia-causing diseases, however, memory loss is much more profound.

Given the steady rise in the numbers of Alzheimer’s patients, in particular, the research community and pharmaceutical companies agree that the development of treatment strategies is critical, now more than ever. Yet despite decades of research, we are still trying to understand why these patients can’t remember—and trying to find some way we might be able to help.

But we may be closer to an answer.

A well-known feature of early Alzheimer’s is a difficulty remembering recent events. We’ve always assumed that there are two possible explanations: one is that these patients can’t store new information properly in the brain; the other is that their ability to recall stored information has been weakened. But maybe there’s another way to think about it. Consider a public library in which each book represents a memory. If the library doesn’t have the book you want, you’re out of luck. This would be like asking Alzheimer’s patients to remember something that hasn’t been stored in their brain in the first place.

Even if the library has the book, though, you still need several pieces of information to locate it—what floor it’s on, what rack, what row on the rack. If you were missing some of that information, you wouldn’t find it either. That corresponds to the second assumption about why people with Alzheimer’s can’t remember. Although most research has focused on ways of improving memory storage in Alzheimer’s, this has not led to led to treatments capable of improving recall.

On the other hand, scientific evidence in support of the “weakened memory recall” idea in Alzheimer’s has been difficult to obtain, which is why this possibility has received considerably less attention. But in a Nature paper published in 2016, our team investigated both memory storage and memory recall processes in an animal model of early Alzheimer’s disease. In clinical research, there is no simple method to distinguish between memory storage versus recall deficits in Alzheimer’s patients, because standard cognitive tests rely on the patient’s ability to verbally describe previous events.

To circumvent this issue, I developed an approach that allowed us to activate the neurons that store memory information, referred to as memory engrams, through optogenetics—that is, introducing a gene that is light sensitive into the memory engram cells of “Alzheimer’s” mice, then delivering blue light pulses to activate them—and measuring memory recall strength directly. To our surprise, we found comparable numbers of engram cells in normal healthy animals and Alzheimer’s animals, suggesting that the initial memory storage process is intact. Targeting the recall process in Alzheimer’s animals led

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