Chance » Reflections » Hamaoka

Muscle Studies with BC

Takafumi Hamaoka / Ritsumeikan University

11 April 2011

We have collaborated with BC for muscle studies using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) from 1990. The review article will publish in Journal of Innovative Optical Health Sciences entitled Muscle research work with Britton Chance from in vivo Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to Near-Infrared Spectroscopy.

I have worked as a research associate in BC’s lab in 1990-1991. My research area just before coming to BC’s lab was something like “Physiology of Triathletes”. It would be difficult to imagine an association of my current expertise and “Physiology of Triathletes” without knowing my experience as an Ironman in 1985 in Hawaii.

The first point of contact between BC and our research group was in late 1980’s in Hawaii Triathlon Race (Hawaii is a good place to visit as a vacation, but not as a field research, HOT!!). I have heard that Prof. Iwane, my former supervisor in cardiology, had met one (presumably Dr. Pamela Douglas) of the cardiologists travelled from U of Penn to Hawaii, who had told BC a phenomenon of myoglobinemia (>103 fold post-race) after triathlon race lasting over 10 hours. In other words, muscle loses a certain amount of myoglobin after the race. Then, BC invited Iwane, who did not conducted basic science, but rather inclined to clinical science, to his lab and had him talk about long-distance race and myoglobinemia. Inviting Iwane was puzzling to us (and also himself) at that time.

But, I have understood why BC had contacted Iwane, later at a table over a dinner with BC. We have already chased and tested exhaustive triathletes immediately after the race for changes in near-infrared myoglobin and hemoglobin signals using off-line mini-RunMan with a battery for a field study which Chris Albani had built. (I have even heard that BC wanted to ship a magnet from Japan to Philadelphia and temporarily install the magnet in Hawaii for testing exhaustive muscle of triathletes!!) BC was trying to calculate on a napkin how much intramuscular myoglobin was released to the blood stream and urine over the race based on Iwane’s research data. The amount of Mb, which has been released to extramuscular space, would correspond to the decrease in muscle NIR signal post-race. In a melting human muscle model, BC wanted to differentiate Mb signal from overall NIR signals which, I believe, still remains to be solved.

I have learned the SCIENCE from BC.

Thank you for your time for us!

Takafumi and BC in the airport

– Takafumi Hamaoka, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University