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Want to know how you can help advance science this year at the WSER?

We have a couple studies again this year and we need your help for these to succeed! Please read the information below so you are aware of the studies and opportunities to help advance science. Note that we would like to recruit study participants in advance of your arrival at Squaw Valley so please contact us if you are interested in participating in either of these studies. For more information about our research program please see the research section of our website.

Study 1. Bone Density and Energy Deficiency in Long Distance Running

This study will allow you to have your bone density assessed by a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) Scanner on one of the two days leading up to the race. The scanner will be located within walking distance of the race registration. You will learn whether your bone density is normal, osteopenic, or osteoporotic in your spine, hip, and forearm. You will receive the results within one month of the race (whether or not you finish the race). The DEXA scanner is very low risk and gives less radiation exposure than a single day's worth of of background environmental radiation. In order to participate in this study, we ask that you fill out one pre-race and two post-race questionnaires online. The aim of the study is to better understand risk factors for and associations with decreased bone mineral density and female athlete triad and the male equivalent in ultramarathon runners.

This study is under the direction of Tracy Beth Hoeg, MD, PhD; Michael Fredericson, MD; Emily Kraus, MD; and Marko Bodor, MD.

Study 2. Gastrointenstinal study

The microbiome is composed of all the bacteria that live on our skin and inside our digestive system. It is well known that the gut (gastrointestinal) microbiome plays an important role in gut health. Ultrarunners most common complaint during a race is gastrointestinal distress (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc...). We want to see if the microbiome of the gut actually changes during a 100 mile race and whether a certain type of bacteria might be protective and associated with lower amounts of gastrointestinal distress. We will not need you to do anything while racing. We will ask you to collect two fecal (poop) samples in order for us to determine your microbiota composition. One will be within 48 hours of race start and the other within 24 hours after the race. Someone will be available in Squaw Valley and Auburn to directly take the sample from you. You will be provided with all the necessary materials (gloves, stool collection containers) to collect the samples WITHOUT touching any fecal material. We will also ask you to complete a questionnaire after the race. 

This study will be under the direction of Matt Laye, PhD.

NEITHER OF THESE STUDIES REQUIRE ANYTHING DURING THE RACE OR ON RACE DAY. Please let us know if you are willing to participate in either or both of our studies by e-mailing us back at We can't do it without your help!
John N. Diana, MD, WSER Director of Research
PO Box 99
Auburn, CA 95604