Saturday, May 31, 2008

Post ACSM conference

5-31-08: Here's an update on my last conference for this month! Now I can relax a bit (till Dec., when I speak at the Medical Fitness Assoc. conf.). This was the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting, one of the biggies. It's the most prestigious sports medicine org. in the world, with 20,000 members world-wide. This year, the conf. was held in Indianapolis, the site of the ACSM headquarters.

With hundreds of sessions to choose from, attendees have a bewildering variety of topics, spread across the convention center.

Here are some highlights of my 3 days there.

Poster sessions: During the conf. posters of unpublished research are on display in part of the expo hall. Every morning and afternoon, I did a quick perusal through the boards and came across some exergaming research.

Lisa Leininger, of CSU Fresno, presented this poster comparing RPE and enjoyment between exergaming and treadmill exercise. She found no sig. diff. in RPE between the two, but did find a much higher enjoyment doing DDR. When I asked her on her RPE results, she thought that maybe it could be due to the fact that the subjects only played it twice before getting tested on it, and they were all newbies at it. She's interested in doing more exergaming research so we should be seeing her e-mail in our online discussions. Welcome Lisa!
Viki Penpraze is a researcher from the Univ. of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Interestingly, did not know of exergaming researcher Alasdair Thin, also from Scotland. (They have since been introduced in cyberspace and plan to meet in person when she returns to Scotland). Her research was on the physiological cost of exergaming in children. She found that the Eye Toy Boxing and DDR had higher heart rates, VO2, and greataer ActiGraph activity counts compared to traditional video game play. I also invited her to join our exergame advisory network so we welcome her as well.
Here were a couple of posters (but no live person that I could find) featuring a new game that I had never seen before: Lasersquash! It's a Dutch product, out in 2004. Looks very interesting and would be interested in trying it out.

One of the sessions featured the President of ACSM, Dr. Robert Sallis. He happens to work at Kaiser Permanente here in SoCal, not too far from us! One of his main initiatives that he's spearheaded was the creation of "Exercise is Medicine", a collab between ACSM and the AMA. I had spoken to him last year, so I went up and re-introduced myself and told him more about exergaming and invited him to come by and visit us sometime. He seemed interested so will keep in touch with him via e-mail.
The acting US Surgeon General Steven Galson, also spoke on "Exercise is Medicine". I wanted to talk to him more about exergaming (since both mentioned the "evils" of video games in their presentations) but his aide was rushing him off to another appointment so all I could do was give my business cards to him and told him to check it out. I hope he does!
In case he doesn't check it out, maybe Melissa Johnson, the Executive Director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness, will mention it to him. ;-) Here am I with her, and we always get a chance to chat at these conferences. I told her more about my idea for hosting xrgaming tournaments and hopefully we can figure some way to collaborate on this idea.
On Friday, I and Bryan Haddock (CSU San Bernardino) presented for our session, "Games for Health: PA Tools for the Digital Generation". I had to go first since right after my Q & A, I had to leave during Bryan's talk to catch a taxi to the airport! I basically presented a background on exergaming, gave a case study on XRTZ, the various clinical applications, and research opportunities.
Bryan, who is the main PI on the majority of our exergame research, talked about the research that is out there and what he's done. I wish I could've stayed to hear him present it!
While the crowd is sparse, it's one of the largest rooms there and given the tough time slot of 3:15 PM on a Friday afternoon (the 3rd day of meetings), we were happy to have the 50+ people there to hear us. That means that many more people have had the exergaming seed planted in their brain! I especially made an appeal to the grad students in the audience to consider doing research in the exergaming arena, so hopefully we'll have more presentations at prestigious conf. like ACSM in years to come.
Speaking of planting seeds, just before our presentation, I got a chance to meet 2-time Olympian, Sheila Taormina. Here I'm wearing her gold medal that she got in swimming at the 1996 Olympics @ Atlanta. She also competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics in triathlon. And this year, she is going to Bejing to compete in the Pentathalon. She will be the first person to compete in 3 different events in the Olympics! She was very friendly and down-to-earth, and I told her all about exergaming so maybe after she's done with this Olympics (she plans to "retire" from competitive sports after that), we can get her involved with exergaming! She lives in Detroit, MI, so we'll have to get an exergaming facility set up near her. Follow her quest on her blog.

And so ends this conf. Lots of good sessions and contacts were made. Met researchers interested in doing exergaming research, like on the Wii Fit with seniors. I'm planning on submitting something for the 2009 annual meeting (deadline is June 20) so that we can continue to have an exergaming presence within ACSM. One of my ideas is to submit something where we have people who rec'd this first round of funding from the RWJF--there are 12 of them so we can certainly get some of them to present at next year's annual meeting in Seattle. Stay tuned!

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