The opening session was great!

File:Two seiza kids watching TV NHK-kohaku by Note PC 1seg.jpg

By Tatsuo Yamashita (Flickr: ワンセグで紅白をみます 2012/12/31) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Eric Hoffman (Children’s National Medical Center) presented work on chronic inflammatory diseases in children. He mentioned that while diets high in fats and carbohydrates (i.e. Western diets), obesity and sedentary lifestyles are associated with inflammation and related diseases (ex: asthma, type 2 diabetes), another contributor could be hormones. Kids who stay indoors more often have reduced exposure to sunlight and exercise less. This may alter the normal biological clock of these kids because their stress hormone levels stay high all day as opposed to peaking at certain times. This constant exposure to elevated stress hormones may then in turn contribute to the development of inflammation and its associated diseases.

Monika Fleshner (University of Colorado, Boulder) presented research on the relationship between exercise, microbes within the gut, and stress. Not surprisingly, her team found that exercise reduced inflammation and depression. What was interesting was that exercise was also associated with a conversion to populations of gut microbes that are associated with health. Who knew exercise could benefit our gut microbes?

David James (University of Sydney, Australia) presented his work that explored how proteins in the body are affected by exercise.