The most recent US Track and Field Trials was hosted by a beautiful new facility on the campus of Oregon University in Eugene, famed as the setting which brought “jogging” to the country. The new stadium was built on the same grounds as historic Hayward Field, a venue that saw its own share of great athletic performances. Athletes from across the globe had descended yearly on its track to break records and shine amongst the best with perfect conditions and supportive crowds.
During these trials however, the Pacific Northwest of the country saw incredibly high temperatures, unprecedented and dangerous for an area that sees almost forty inches of rain and more comfortable temperatures throughout the year. The organizers had to take precautions and even postponed competition until late evening on the final day. The athletes also had to find ways to stay cool but remain physically prepared. Many wore cooling vests as well as wrapped towels soaked in ice water around their heads or torsos to keep their core body temperatures low helping avoid dehydration.
In this constant pursuit of excellence, athletes are known to train in harsh conditions, but the approach is measured acclimation1. Plenty of physiological research has been done to find an edge in performance such as with altitude training or cooling intervention2. I previously participated in a study to measure running strength and endurance using a cooling glove. I ran on a treadmill with a temperature probe logging my core body temperature several times. The expectation was that I could maximize my volume of oxygen by simply improving the efficiency my body cooled itself. It was no surprise that this simple device made for a much more pleasant experience during my own physical activity and recovery.
Later as a researcher, I learned that the concept for rate of cooling can also apply to how we wanted to cryopreserve cells. Mammalian cells can be equally robust and fickle to keep happy. At Thermo Fisher Scientific, our controlled-rate freezers can help reduce the stress on samples during the freezing and vitrification processes. Thermo Scientific™ CryoMed™ Controlled-Rate Freezers provide enhanced data traceability via a touchscreen user interface and offering customizable freezing profiles while supporting 21 CFR part 11 and GMP needs. For samples and therapies, CryoMed™ users can create a 1°C/minute cooling rate from nucleation to -45°C and a 10°C/minute cooling rate to a final temperature of -140°C. Having this reproducible, guided and optimized cooling can lead to better cell recovery and viability.
After all, the idea that a human body and its millions of cells may function better by minimizing stress in cooler conditions is enough to warrant more research. Certain degenerative diseases may even find benefit in using a cooling vest to improve exercise activities helping alleviate worsening symptoms3. In these cases, sometimes walking a bit further or a little longer hopefully feeling better to fight off disease progression is the win of a lifetime.
- Oliver R. Gibson, Carl A. James, Jessica A. Mee, Ashley G.B. Willmott, Gareth Turner, Mark Hayes & Neil S. Maxwell(2020) Heat alleviation strategies for athletic performance: A review and practitioner guidelines, Temperature, 7:1, 3-36, DOI: 1080/23328940.2019.1666624
- Coen C. W. G. Bongers, Maria T. E. Hopman & Thijs M. H. Eijsvogels(2017) Cooling interventions for athletes: An overview of effectiveness, physiological mechanisms, and practical considerations, Temperature, 4:1, 60-78, DOI: 1080/23328940.2016.1277003