Cool And Interesting Stuff This Week (5/12)

STATS – As regular readers of my blog will know, I love numbers and stats. Nate Silver’s book The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction was one of my most enjoyable reads of this year, and he runs a really good website called fivethirtyeight.com. They hosted this post on whether playing with something to prove in the NBA improves the results of your tam (it doesn’t).

VEGF –Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) plays a role in how well athletes can adapt from endurance biased training by determining the rate of new blood vessels (amongst other things). This then has a knock-on effect on VO2 max. I came across this study recently, showing that the C allele occurs in a much greater frequency in a population of endurance athletes vs controls. This paper is part of a growing body of research to illustrate that the VEGF C allele is associated with increases in VO2 max with exercise. The next step would be to run intervention studies within a randomised control trial to see if this association holds up further.

LOW CARB – The idea that carrying out endurance training in a low-carbohydrate state has been around for a while. This useful infographic discusses some of the recent findings on the subject.

mTOR – Related to the above post, I came across this article regarding double day training, and the effects of different enzyme pathways within that. The article suggests that any endurance or energy system training sessions should occur earlier in the day, when energy stores are lower (and also have an increased chance of replenishment later). Strength training would then take place after a longish (6h+) break – maximising the time mTOR (the enzyme that improves muscle protein synthesis) is elevated.

MANHUNT! – What’re the chances of you being able to outrun a manhunt?

ASYLUM IMMIGRANTS – One of the dangers of a democratically elected country is that it depends on a well educated democracy that can robustly examine claims. Popular perception within the UK is that we are swamped with illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. This data graphic from the guardian says otherwise.

DRUGS! IN SPORT! – Surely not, I hear you cry! Again, fivethirtyeight.com have done a great job at writing an interesting article looking at what the statistics say regarding the improvement that drugs cause in Powerlifting.

READING – This week I have been reading The Geek Manifesto: Why science matters. It’s a really enjoyable book, looking at the need for geeks to get more involved in politics etc. It examines how and why an evidence based approach is required in areas such as education and the justice system. It makes me feel all political!

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