MoveLab uses the following techniques:
Whole body metabolism:
Looking at how sugars and fat are burnt at rest tells us a huge amount about how efficiently the body is using fuel. In particular we are interested in looking at how fat and sugar are burnt in the fasted state. To do this we us indirect calorimetery to accurately measure the amount of carbon dioxide produce and oxygen used.
Changes in autonomic regulation, e.g. how quickly our heart responds to changes in our posture, are routinely seen in chronic disease and are associated with clinical presentations, including fatigue.
We measure how well the body automatically regulates itself (autonomic regulation) using a Taskforce bioimpedence device. This device allows monitoring of autonomic tone non-invasively using pads placed on the chest and neck, and blood pressure cuffs on the arms.
Understanding the effects of disease and physical activity on heart function is difficult. We use two main techniques to measure cardiac function non-invasively:
magnetic resonance imaging (cine / tagging); magnetic resonance spectroscopy and bioreactance/impedance. These techniques allow us to evaluate cardiac function at rest and during exercise.
Loss of muscle strength is associated with chronic disease and with ageing. We use a Cybex isokinetic dynamometer to accurately assess muscle function.
This technique allows us to look at muscle strength across the range of motion and also during static, eccentric and concentric contractions.
Physical activity and exercise have a significant effect on muscle metabolism. We are able to look directly at the short and long term molecular changes in muscle by collecting muscle biopsies. We are also able to look non-invasively at muscle metabolism using magnetic resonance spectroscopy and by performing progressive exercise tests.
Changes to the amount and distribution of muscle and fat throughout the body are important to disease risk and for maintaining physical function.
We use air displacement plethesmography (BodPod) and DEXA to look at the amount of fat and muscle in the body as a whole. We use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at the distribution of fat in the abdomen, in and around specific organs, and inside muscles.
We have a growing theme of work around how physical activity and exercise effect the liver. We use blood samples to look at circulating levels of liver enzymes in people with liver disease. We also use magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H & 13C) and ultrasound to look more directly at what is happening to the liver, and by combining these techniques with stable isotopes we can also evaluate metabolic changes in the liver as they are happening.