A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting the University of New Brunswick to make a delivery to the Cardiometabolic Exercise & Lifestyle Laboratory (CELLAB). This lab is part of the Faculty of Kinesiology and studies physical activity, obesity, diabetes, and cardiometabolic health. I haven’t been out east since before Covid so I was also looking forward to seeing some old friends while in the area.
CELLAB was founded in 2015 by Dr. Martin Sénéchal and Dr. Danielle Bouchard. They moved into their current purpose-built facility in 2018 and have steadily increased the lab’s capabilities since that time. CELLAB has 2500 square feet of laboratory space, features a wet lab so they can do their own analysis of blood and other fluids, plus a large integrated workout room so they can easily work with their research participants without having to go to an external space.
I was intrigued to learn that CELLAB is one of the few places in the Atlantic provinces with a DEXA scanner dedicated only to research. Everything I’ve read about DEXA over the years has been impressive and it is now considered the “gold standard” of body composition analysis. This scanner uses two low-energy X-ray beams to measure body composition and bone density. How low is “low-energy”? If I had flown from Niagara to Fredericton I would have received a higher dose of radiation than through a DEXA scan. Very cool technology!
Another notable feature of CELLAB is their focus on finding ways to apply their research results into better health for New Brunswickers and by extension, everyone. Some things that work in a lab may not work when applied in a real-world environment. It’s often been said there’s a disconnect between what scientists learn and what people actually do so it’s impressive to see that CELLAB is designed to bridge this gap and create meaningful change in the world.
When I arrived at CELLAB I was greeted by Dawson Nancekievill who is the masters student working on the research project, funded by the Healthy Senior Pilot Project that required the KAATSU equipment. The focus of his research is to examine age and gender differences in response to blood flow restriction (BFR) training. CELLAB had a few KAATSU Cycle 2.0 units but for the purposes of Dawson’s study it was decided that it would be beneficial to use the KAATSU C3 as the standard BFR tool.
Dr. Martin Sénéchal joined Dawson and I for wide-ranging discussion about KAATSU, CELLAB, and potentials for future KAATSU research. I find it very exciting that CELLAB’s focus on obesity and diabetes and their community-based research creates lots of potential for future research into KAATSU. There are already some preliminary discussions taking place between CELLAB and KAATSU Global about a pilot project investigating KAATSU use and its potential effects on Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.
While few would characterize a drive from Ontario to New Brunswick as “short”, it was definitely worth the trip to visit Dawson and Dr. Martin Sénéchal at CELLAB. It seems I will be back in Fredericton this November for the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology conference. Perhaps Dawson’s research will be finished and published by then. We shall see!