Metabolic Research

A while ago we saw a request for children to volunteer for research in an attempt to establish a metabolic baseline. It took a while to negotiate dates which would work for an overnight stay for all four children but finally settled on two different dates, one in October and one in November. J and K went first, going in on Tuesday and staying overnight. Since it was WedEd on Wednesday we asked to have as much as possible done on Tuesday and the research team almost managed it – they were thwarted by some compulsory training which meant they had to finish early, leaving a couple of tests for Wednesday morning. We were still away not long after ten, and at HH’s not long after ten thirty, so it wasn’t disastrous!

It was really interesting. J bottled the MRI (he had thought he might) and decided he couldn’t cope with being sealed into the Bod Pod (which measures body volume by air displacement) or the calorimeter room (totally sealed bedroom unit so gas exchange can be measured) but managed the hood to measure rested morning gases, heavy water drink and subsequent saliva samples (chewing on cotton wool every two hours, then every hour until supper time), urine samples, bloods, two DEXA scans (they’re comparing a new machine with the old one), ecg, Actiheart calibration (8 minutes of step exercise), fitness test (20 minutes on the treadmill with a gas mask thing on and a heart rate monitor), ultrasound scan (to assess abdominal fat – they both have less than 1cm, which the researchers are assuming is a good thing, but we don’t know where they fit in terms of centiles because there aren’t any yet!). K sailed through everything like a pro 🙂 and they both now have Actiheart monitors attached for the next three days which we then have to post back to the unit, cool pictures of their skeletons and body fat distribution, lots of data about themselves – and £20 of amazon vouchers for taking part, plus another £20 for K for the MRI.

The girls are booked in for a similar stay in a couple of weeks time 🙂

The whole idea is to gather data on the metabolism and measurements of normal healthy children (aged 6 – 16) so that they have something to compare against when children with e.g. thyroid problems present – there is currently no reliable baseline to measure against.