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Internal marijuana and runner's high

Internal marijuana and runner's high

Science always brings us new facts that challenge us and challenge our perceptions of the world. For example, over the past five years, we have begun to see research into a type of compound, produced by the body, that is probably responsible for what we know as the ‘runner’s high’. Most of us know that the ‘runner’s high’ is the euphoric feeling that occurs when you run, but it also occurs when you do any task that is physiologically difficult. Linked with the runner’s high are a wide a...
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Tragedy, lies, and deception

Tragedy, lies, and deception

I’ve purposively not touched the Lance Armstrong story because it is so tragic on so many levels. While there has always been a lot of ‘smoke’ (allegations), there never has been the amount of evidence that was released a week ago by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA – link to the report). If you are at all interested in this story, I would encourage you to read USADA’s report. If you had any reasonable doubt about Armstrong’s actions, this document will remove those doubts.
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Human Performance Goes to the Dogs

Human Performance Goes to the Dogs

As someone who studies human performance, from time to time I have people ask why scientists will test animals to understand human performance.  In most cases, it is because to continue to understand why humans can do what they do (and how we can train them to do ‘it’ better), we have to use models that allow us to do things that we can’t do in humans.  For example, my lab has a long-running set of experiments where we are looking at humans’ drive to be active.  Much of this drive probably o...
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Nazi horrors and carrying on

In doing research for this week’s Huffines Institute podcast with Sports Illustrated’s David Epstein (check out the podcast - it is on the hot stories for the coming Olympic Games), I ran across a story that David recently wrote about Ben Helfgott, a former British Olympic weightlifter (yes, it is tough when your research actually includes reading Sports Illustrated!).  David’s story is an incredibly moving story that is less about sports and more about the ...
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Sports Medicine Goes to the Circus!

The Bryan/College Station area has its share of Circuses that come to town on a yearly basis.  Just in the last few months we’ve had several here ranging from the traditional animal-based Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus, to the high-flying Cirque du Soleil Dralion.  While we watch in awe, we often forget that both the animal and human performers in these shows are also athletes and that their performances are quite demanding both physically and mentally.  
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Students or Athletes?

Students or Athletes?

I caught an interesting interview last week with Dr. Mark Emmert, the NCAA president. There were a variety of topics covered during this candid interview, including whether the NCAA Basketball tournament would ever be expanded beyond the current 68 teams, whether college athletes would ever become ‘more than amateurs’, the current web of regulations that college athletic programs have to work within, and whether there will ever be a playoff in the football bowl system division.
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Speed - Faster Than You Think

Speed - Faster Than You Think

If you didn’t see it, the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials were held this past Saturday morning in Houston (the TV replay was on Saturday afternoon).  Experts say that we may have the strongest overall Olympic marathon team that we’ve ever had – but there is no guarantee that we’ll win any medals in this event because the Kenyans and Ethiopians have truly dominated distance running over the past 10 years.  Before you shake your head and turn to the next article, hav...
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Losing our minds over sport

I normally consider myself a fairly rational and logical person – that’s part of my job description as a scientist – but when it comes to sports, it seems that my rational and logical side gets kicked to the curb. Mobs looting and burning in the wake of their favorite team losing, or mobs rushing the field and trampling others when their team wins seem to indicate that I’m not the only one that loses my rationality when ‘my’ team is involved. And certainly, with all of the machinations/anx...
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Talking to the masses

Talking to the masses

Everyone talks about 'reaching the masses', but rarely do you have a chance to do so. At the Huffines Institute, we are thrilled because our local newspaper - The Eagle - has agreed to start porting the content from our website to their website to a new Health section. They are starting with this blog, and will gradually port over the other content over the next couple of months. I'm noting this because it is important that 'we' all talk - I'm using the universal '...
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