In this episode of A Moment with Dalton, we talk with a researcher who has been with The Miami Project since the beginning. Mark S. Nash, Ph.D., FACSM, is Associate Scientific Director for Research, The Miami Project, Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Professor, Departments of Neurological Surgery, Physical Medicine & Medicine and Physical Therapy, and Co-Director, DHHS-NIDILRR South Florida SCI Model System. Dr. Nash, whose research interests include exercise, diet, electrical stimulation, and bionics for movement and health, talks about his research, and the field of SCI studies, throughout the years. Dr. Nash also discusses with Dr. Dietrich about the impact of the opening of the new Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center for The Miami Project, among other SCI research-related topics. Watch the entire interview with Dr. Nash below.
One of the enduring goals of The Miami Project has been to test and implement treatment strategies that optimize the long-term health of persons with SCI. One strategy employed Dr. Nash, and others, to attain this goal has been to investigate physical activity as a means of preventing medical complications that arise from physical deconditioning. In past years these studies have examined how electrically-stimulated cycling and ambulation exercise affect fitness levels in persons with tetraplegia and paraplegia. The findings of these studies support our belief that physical activity can improve fitness, heart function, and peripheral circulation, and that exercise training programs benefit the structure and function of muscle. Both direct and indirect evidence obtained from these studies suggests that exercise lowers physical and emotional stress by reducing the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands, or altering the way in which target tissues respond to stress challenges.