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September 2017

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Background article – MEDICA 2017

MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE focusing on the future of individualized sports medicine

Professional and recreational sports, exercise programs in healthcare, prevention and rehabilitation: individualization is the future. Patients and people who are active and do sports are as varied as the general population – and everyone wants to be get the support according to their requirements, needs and ability. Individualization is also a central topic in the medical sector. Digitization and the increasing amount of individual data available and new methods of analysis are opening up new ways of personalizing sports medicine and consequently medical progress. The MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE – which will be held in English – will present the latest research findings. The event will be held on November 14 and 15 during MEDICA 2017, the world's leading medical trade fair which will take place in Düsseldorf, Germany from November 13 - 16, 2017. The conference will focus on future-oriented subjects such as “Latest Innovations in Monitoring Vital Data and Sports Performance”, “Tailored Exercise Programs” and “Digital Innovations in Recreational and Professional Sports”. The topic of individualization in sports medicine will be addressed during many of the conference talks.

Professor Yannis Pitsiladis, the founder of The SUB2 Marathon Project, for instance, will present his 360 monitoring approach that is designed to help top runners complete marathons in less than two hours. Marko Yrjövuori, star trainer of many U.S. top athletes will also present the digital tools and methods for comprehensive ‘life management’ that are already available today in top sports and which will soon also be available for recreational activities. adidas will introduce its ALL DAY fitness app in Session 1 on November 14. This app is designed to assist users around the clock – it does not only help them with individual exercise programs, but also with nutrition, rest periods and yoga, for example. The app thus complements popular fitness trackers and is aimed at providing individual support in a broad section of the population.

The focus of the conference in general will be on the future of sports and sports medicine – and specifically on the question: Will it be possible to run a marathon in less than two hours? “Yes!” is what Professor Yannis Pitsiladis of the University of Brighton thinks. And – as a “‘Member of the Medical and Scientific Commission” – he should know. The official record currently lies at 2:02:57. The new world record would have to be almost three minutes faster – and that in an age in which many experts are assuming that top sports have reached the limits of what is physically possible. It is becoming increasingly difficult to set new records.

A marathon in less than two hours is something that has to be done ‘clean’.

In Session 1 on November 14, the founder of the sub2hrs marathon project will give an insight into the progress that this mega project has made with the help of its modules that provide 360°multidisciplinary monitoring for athletes. A precise schedule for the achievement of the ambitious target has not yet been announced. But the declared goal since the project was launched in 2014 is to break the two-hour barrier within five years. And everything that promises success and is feasible is used to achieve this ambition. But doping is definitely off limits. On the contrary: The SUB2 project sees itself as a “clean running” project. All athletes are regularly tested for doping in compliance with the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). While those involved in the project are not able to guarantee that the objective can be achieved, they still think that it can be a model for future successes in sports. That's why many fine adjustments are being made to enable athletes to achieve individual performances with the hope to produce ground-breaking records.

The team that Prof. Pitsiladis focuses on modern equipment, intelligent training and individualization which, for example, use data management and bio-informatics. The individualization of training is facilitated by analyzing each athlete's genetic data, transcriptomes, metabolites, proteomes and epigenomes. Such projects could be called “tailored exercise programs” and Session No. 5 on November 15 will be dedicated to this theme. Exciting personal stories and the associated training programs and results will be on the agenda. Freestyle skiing star Pekka Hyysalo from Finland, for instance, will share his personal experiences. He suffered a serious skiing accident in 2010. He was 19 at the time and sustained serious head and brain injuries and fell into a coma. His battle to return to life resulted in the founding of the “FightBack” organization that supports him and other athletes who are living with the consequences of head and brain trauma. Pekka works actively in the organization and shares his training programs and findings with people going through similar difficulties. Laura Hottenrott, a top medium- to long-distance athlete, will talk about how she optimizes her endurance training and recovery periods by monitoring her heart rate variability.

How the German Soccer League team’s medic helps decision-making

Another topic that the event will focus on is the utilization of specific monitoring procedures directly at the point of care (POC) to optimize training for individual athletes. What are the procedures that accompany a “return to activity” decision in the German Soccer League? Götz Welsch, Team Doctor at Hamburger SV, will share his methods on the right timing of “return to activity”, “return to play” and “return to competition”.

The question of whether players are fit to play is also a subject that will be discussed in Session 4 on November 15 where the latest innovations for monitoring vital and performance data will be presented. The risk of head injuries still remains an underestimated risk in many types of sports – and the severity of the injury often only becomes evident a day after the injury. “Profound awareness for this issue is lacking in athletes, trainers and doctors and there is currently no standard definition for ‘”concussion”’,” says Prof. Claus Reinsberger of Paderborn University describing some of the issues associated with the treatment of head and brain injuries. It is clear that standardized diagnostics and treatment procedures that have been adapted to the situation at hand, are required for assessing possible brain injuries. The effects on long-term consequences must also be kept in mind. Rapid diagnosis on the sidelines still depends largely on an assessment of the pupil reflex. Prof. Reinsberger intends to introduce a new safer method of diagnosis in his presentation: ‘”Assessing Concussed Brains Between Clinic And Technology”. The future of not only professional but also recreational sports may depend on such innovative approaches to precision medicine. Prof. Wilhelm Bloch, for instance, will explain the importance of real-time analytics at the point of care – and, based on it, the specific rapid adaptation of how much exercise and medical care is required for the individual. Sleep also has an effect on individual performance. Raija Laukkanen, Director of Science Collaborations at Polar, will discuss the importance of sleep in regard to regeneration, injury prevention and sports performance as well as methods for analyzing sleep behavior during Session 4 on November 15.

Digital innovations for sports medicine, professional and recreational sports

Digital innovations for sports medicine in professional and recreational sports will be presented in Session 6 on November 15 in the afternoon. This session will be open to all MEDICA visitors for the first time. A selection of innovations will be highlighted here: a “smart running coach” based on biomechanical data, innovative gaming technologies for ball sports, wearables for regeneration and back training, new methods for the real-time analysis of cardiac arrhythmias, stretchable electronics for the highly precise measuring of strength and performance as well as solutions for corporate fitness management.

Exercise is medicine. Well-dosed activities have been recognized as an important factor for prevention, recovery and rehabilitation. And sports is often better than medicine. This does not only apply to mental illness or dementia but also even to cardiovascular disease and many types of cancer. “Exercise Prescription for Health in Practice – a Common European Project” is the title of the presentation by Prof. Petra Zupet, President of the Sports Medicine Association in Slovenia.

The 5th MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE will bring internationally renowned sports medical experts, physiotherapists, sport techies, industry and other experts together for an interdisciplinary dialogue about innovative approaches for prevention, regeneration and rehabilitation.

Guided Innovation Tour takes conference participants to innovations

This interdisciplinary exchange can also be experienced on the trade show floor during the Guided Innovation Tour and at the new MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE stand in hall 4, F25. Here, the world´s largest sports medicine associations Exercise is Medicine (American College of Sports Medicine), DGSP, FIMS, EFSMA, DVS and partners like Polar, HUR and Movesense will be present. Movesense, for example, will show a programmable sensor for motion tracking for all sports disciplines that will unlock a new level of sports experience for athletes. The Guided Innovation Tour will take conference participants to see the latest developments of MEDICA 2017 exhibitors. The computer-based movement programs of HUR will also be on this tour. Its devices adapt the height, the performance level and the program according to the user ID that has been entered. It can carry out the initial tests when no information is available about the user. Personalized strength training for diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and fall prevention as well as for recovery after knee and hip operations are on the agenda. The Guided Innovation Tour will also stop at Hocoma from Switzerland, which will show solutions and state-of-the-art technologies for functional movement therapy in rehabilitation. Participants will also be able to test the latest solutions for vital data and performance monitoring and movement analysis at the WT Wearable Technologies Show.

For more information about the MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE:

Author: Dr. Lutz Retzlaff, freelance medical journalist (Germany)

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