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Edward Gregg and W. Jack Rejeski

This article reviews both human and nonhuman primate research dealing with the social psychobiologic effects of anabolic/androgenic steroids (AS). Descriptive research and anecdotal reports within the realm of sport suggest that AS may have a variety of psychological and behavioral effects including psychotic episodes and increased aggression. Recent investigations with a nonhuman primate model confirm that the effects of AS on psychological states and overt behavior can be quite varied, ranging from those that can be characterized as active (e.g., mania and aggression) to more passive states (e.g., depression and social withdrawal). There are also profound physiological effects of a biobehavioral origin that constitute a risk for cardiovascular disease. The most striking aspect of AS is that the effects of this drug are due to an interaction between its pharmacologic properties and the social milieu.

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W. Jack Rejeski, Edward Gregg, Amy Thompson and Michael Berry

In this investigation, we examined the role of acute aerobic exercise (AE) in buffering physiological responses to mental stress. Twelve trained cyclists participated in three counterbalanced treatment conditions on separate days: attention control, light exercise (50% of VO2max for 30 min), and heavy exercise (80% of VO2max for 60 min). After a 30-min rest period following each condition, subjects completed a modified Stroop task. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were monitored for (a) baseline responses, (b) task reactivity, and (c), 5 min of recovery following the stressor. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) revealed that reactivity was attenuated by both heavy- and light-exercise conditions as compared to responses in the control condition. Moreover, heavy exercise was more effective in reducing MAP reactivity than light exercise. Systolic BP during the task was significantly higher in the control and light-exercise conditions than following heavy exercise; diastolic BP was significantly higher in the control condition than in either exercise condition. There were no significant effects for HR. These results suggest that there is a dose-response relationship between acute AE and the attenuation of psychophysiological reactivity during stress.

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Edward W. Gregg, Andrea M. Kriska, Kathleen M. Fox and Jane A. Cauley

Self-rated health has been related to functional status, disability, and mortality in a variety of populations. This study examined whether self-rated health was related to physical activity levels independent of functional status in a population of older women. For this study, 9,704 women aged 65-99 rated their health on a scale ranging from excellent to very poor. Physical activity and functional status questionnaires and physical function tests were administered to evaluate levels of physical activity, strength, and function. Comparisons between women in three groups of self-rated health (good and excellent; fair; poor and very poor) indicated that higher self-rated health was strongly related to physical activity independent of physical strength, functional status, and co-morbidity. These findings suggest that physical activity is an important determinant of self-rated health in older women regardless of functional status.

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Jennifer L Kuk, Shahnaz Davachi, Andrea M. Kriska, Michael C. Riddell and Edward W. Gregg

This article briefly summarizes the “Pre-Diabetes Detection and Intervention Symposium” that described ongoing and past pre-diabetes interventions, and outlined some considerations when deciding to target specific populations with pre-diabetes. The success of type 2 diabetes (T2D) prevention clinical trials provides clear evidence that healthy lifestyle change can prevent the development of T2D in a cost effective manner in high risk individuals. However, who to target and what cut-points should be used to identify individuals who would qualify for these T2D prevention programs are not simple questions. More stringent cut-offs are more efficient in preventing T2D, but less equitable. Interventions will likely need to be adapted and made more economical for local communities and health care centers if they are to be adopted universally. Further, they may need to be adapted to meet the specific needs of certain high-risk populations such as ethnic minorities. The Chronic Disease Management & Prevention Program for Diverse Populations in Alberta and the Pre-diabetes Detection and Physical Activity Intervention Delivery project in Toronto represent 2 examples of specialized interventions that are targeted at certain high risk populations. To reverse the current T2D trends will require continued efforts to develop and refine T2D prevention interventions.