Technology to Assess Muscle and Cerebral Oxygenation Non invasively

Project Title: Technology to Assess Muscle and Cerebral Oxygenation Non­-invasively

Project Lead's Name: Randal Claytor and Ronald Cox

Project Lead's Email:

Project Lead's Phone: 513-529-5815

Project Lead's Division: EHS

Primary Department: KNH

Other Team Members and their emails: Eric Slattery -

List Departments Benefiting or Affected by this proposal: KNH

Estimated Number of Under-Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 350

Estimated Number of Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 20

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem: The physiological response of the human body to exercise is commonly assessed in Miami University Department of Kinesiology and Health (KNH) courses and laboratories by measuring the cardiovascular (heart rate and blood pressure), pulmonary and metabolic responses to different types and intensities of acute exercise and chronic exercise training. However, we currently do not have the technology to assess hemodynamic (blood flow) responses, at the level of the muscle or the brain, to various bouts of acute and chronic exercise. This type of information is important and is taught in the lecture classes of KNH 188, 382, 468/568, 482/582, 668 and 683, but we are unable to perform the necessary measurements and reinforce the theoretical aspect of this information in the accompanying Lab classes: KNH 382L and 468/568L. Therefore, our objective is to obtain clinically relevant technology to non-invasively assess muscle and cerebral (brain) blood flow responses to exercise to enhance experiential learning for KNH students. The Portalite functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) system would allow us to non-invasively measure skeletal muscle and cerebral blood flow and oxygenation levels. Moreover, this non-invasive measurement technology will facilitate the measurement of skeletal muscle and brain oxy-hemoglobin, deoxy-hemoglobin, total hemoglobin, and 02 tissue saturation , allowing us to quantify changes in blood flow and oxygenation in response to various types and intensities of exercise and/or other types of physical and mental stressors. The Portalite system is ideally suited for non-invasive skeletal muscle and brain blood flow and oxygenation measurements during everyday activities, occurring both in the lab and in the field. Examples of the utility of this system are an evaluation of mental stress during exercise (Nieuwhof, 2016); muscle and brain blood flow and oxygenation during swimming (Jones and Cooper, 2018); performance and physiologic changes in a hypoxic environment (i.e., high altitude) (Willis, 2017); and cerebral blood flow and oxygenation responses to sensations of pain (Olbrecht, 2017).

How would you describe the innovation and/or the significance of your project: A significant portion of KNH majors will find careers in the clinical health professions and allied health activities including medicine, health-related research, clinical drug trials, nursing, and patient screening, etc. Acquisition of the technology described in our proposal will provide Miami students an opportunity to remain current with the types of progressive technology and health-screening tools they are likely to use when in post-graduate and professional programs in health and medicine. As large-scale data interpretation and analysis is essential in ours and many other fields, this technology will prepare our students well beyond most other universities, strengthening our presence and prestige to attract and retain more and higher-quality undergraduate and graduate students. This technology would allow our students to have a big advantage over students at other Universities, remaining at the cutting edge.

Other Universities traditionally focus on laboratory experience for Graduate students (Masters and/or Ph.D.) whereas Miami focuses on the undergraduate experience. Acquisition and usage of this equipment give our students a significant advantage over other applicants to positions in a variety of medically-related fields, as their learning and application of the equipment will be joined together, whereas other Universities only tend to focus on lecturing to students about the equipment (if covered at all), with no focus on application.

How will you assess the success of the project: Eric Slattery, a team member listed on this proposal, is the Exercise Science Lab Coordinator for the Department of Kinesiology and Health. His primary responsibility is to keep track of Lab Equipment usage in KNH Lab classes, and if other departments use KNH Lab Equipment. He also coordinates equipment usage for both KNH 382L, with Randal Claytor, KNH 468U568L, with Ron Cox, and KNH 6681 on what students will be evaluated on in those labs.

In KNH 382L and KNH 683, Randal and Eric plan to implement the device into 2 labs looking at Cardiorespiratory Fitness testing, a Graded Exercise Testing lab, and also muscular strength and endurance lab. In the Cardiorespiratory Fitness labs, students will look at how muscle and cerebral oxygenation change during submaximal aerobic exercise, and how that changes in relation to heart rate, blood pressure, and perceptual measures. The Graded Exercise Testing lab would use this new technology in conjunction with additional cardiovascular, pulmonary and metabolic measures such as ECG, V02, VC02, RER, Vi, and Ve, during clinically-oriented maximal exercise testing procedures. In the Muscular Strength and Endurance lab, students will undergo tests such as the YMCA submaximal Bench Press test, Paced Curl-up test, Hand Grip test, and Push-Up test to measure their fitness level vs population norms. We would use the Portalite fNIRS to assess the changes in muscle and cerebral oxygenation during these muscular fitness tests and correlate the changes in muscle and cerebral blood flow and oxygenation with fitness levels. To assess the use of the Portalite fNIRS system and student learning in KNH 382L, we will add questions to the Lab Reports specifically to gauge student learning using the device. Eric would then aggregate and report this information to Randal for the purposes of quantifying student learning outcomes using the device.

In KNH 468U/568L, Ron and Eric plan to implement the device into the Maximal Aerobic Capacity Lab, 02 Deficit and Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) Lab, Mechanical Efficiency and Substrate Utilization Lab, Metabolics of Resistance Exercise Lab, Maximal Anaerobic Capacity Lab, and Create Your Own Exercise Physiology Lab. In the Maximal Aerobic Capacity Lab, students measure the response of muscle and cerebral oxygenation to progressive maximal aerobic exercise, on both a  cycle ergometer and running; both will produce different responses due to their different biomechanical efficiencies, muscle requirement, and local fatigability; all of which can be captured by muscle oxygenation. In the 02 Deficit and EPOC lab, students will examine how a bout of exercise, at 2 different intensities, affects how much of an oxygen deficit occurs from the start of exercise to complete the exercise. While this deficit is occurring, students observe how muscle and cerebral tissue oxygenation changes over the exercise period. After completing the exercise, students will then examine how EPOC and tissue re-oxygenation progress during recovery from exercise. In the Mechanical Efficiency and Substrate Utilization lab, students will examine how Work, Power, Mechanical Efficiency, Oxygen Utilization, Fat & Carbohydrate Utilization, and muscle & cerebral oxygenation change during submaximal aerobic exercise on both a cycle ergometer and walking on a treadmill.

In the Metabolics of Resistance Exercise Lab, students will measure the response of muscle and cerebral oxygenation to anaerobic exercise using the isokinetic dynamometer to measure work and power, and also measuring the metabolic response of V02, VC02, and RER during exercise and in recovery from anaerobic exercise. In the Maximal Anaerobic Capacity lab, students will perform a Wingate test, which measures their ability to produce energy via anaerobic processes such as stored ATP, Phosphocreatine, and Glycolysis. During this short exercise, readily available muscle and blood oxygen are also used. Students would have the Portalite fNIRS attached to measure those changes in muscle oxygenation, and also measure changes at the cerebral level during exercise, and the rest oxygenation during recovery from exercise.

Lastly, the Portalite fNIRS will be used by students in their final lab: Create Your Own Exercise Physiology  Lab. In this lab, students design and create their own lab to answer questions that they have not previously covered. Approximately 3 labs are created per section, with 7 sections per semester. Students, guided by their instructor, will carefully plan their experiment out and collect data to answer a question approved by the Lab Instructor. Clearly, the use of this equipment provides an order of magnitude increase in the sophistication available to the students. To assess the use of the Portalite fNIRS and student learning in KNH 468L, we would ask questions related to using the device in these labs, that students would have to demonstrate by writing about, in detail, in their lab reports. These lab reports are no simple one or two sentence answers, but can be a single paragraph (5-7 sentences) and sometimes multiple paragraphs.

Eric will work closely with the instructor of KNH 668 on how to use and implement the Portalite fNIRS device into labs they have the students perform. Because the instructor changes each semester, the labs are not always the same. Students mostly perform similar labs to that of KNH 468 U568 L1, however, Graduate students are expected to go into much further detail about metabolic pathways and demonstrate an understanding greater than that of an Undergraduate. They will be expected to examine the literature on the temporal changes that occur in relation to various exercise modalities and intensities in relation to parameters of muscle fatigue, in terms of muscle and cerebral tissue oxygenation. Also, students will examine the relationship between acute exercise and cognitive performance by measuring changes in cerebral and muscle blood flow and oxygenation during a cognitively challenging task. Again, Eric will work closely with the KNH 668 instructors to make sure students use the Portalite fNIRS and also to develop questions to gauge student learning outcomes, either in the form of a quiz/test or lab report.

Eric will take all the information about student assessment of learning in these labs using the Portalite fNIRS, aggregate it into a report, and give it to Randal each semester to evaluate our effectiveness in teaching and student learning, as reflected by the usage of the equipment. We will then re-evaluate where they can improve our delivery of the material and maximize our effectiveness in using the Portalite fNIRS to optimize student-learning outcomes each semester.

Financial Information

Total Amount Requested: $19,068.50

Is this a multi-year request: No

Please address how, if at all, this project aligns with University,  Divisional, Departmental or Center strategic goals: This request is part of the KNH Department's 5-year plan to enhance laboratory-based technology.