Bruce Gladden Presents Distinguished Lecture

May 19, 2015

Bruce Gladden
Bruce Gladden

Bruce Gladden selected to present at Texas A&M 2015 Distinguished Lecture Series

Dr. Bruce Gladden, Humana-Germany-Sherman Distinguished Professor of Exercise Physiology in the College of Education’s School of Kinesiology, was selected to represent Auburn University at the Texas A&M Department of Health and Kinesiology’s 6th Annual Distinguished Lecture Series. This year’s theme was Health, Kinesiology and Sport Management in the SEC, featuring one speaker from each of the 14 SEC schools.

The lecture series took place April 7 and 8 on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas. Over 3,500 people, primarily students, attended the lectures. As many as 325 people have viewed the talks online. Each year, the Department of Health & Kinesiology at Texas A&M invites leaders in the fields of health education, kinesiology, sport management, and physical activity to present their research to faculty and current students.

“It was a great honor,” Gladden stated. “We had leading scholars from every SEC school, and I had the honor of representing Auburn.”

Dr. Gladden’s lecture, “Lactate in Health and Disease,” focused on four major points: (1) Lactate is always the end product of glycolysis, (2) Lactate response to exercise, (3) Lactate accumulation is often not caused by a lack of oxygen, and (4) Lactate metabolism in cancer.

Although it is often misunderstood, blood lactate is not simply a “bad” dead-end waste product.  Although lactate likely plays a role in muscle fatigue during high intensity exercise, it does not cause muscle soreness and muscle damage. Also, while a lack of oxygen will cause muscle and blood lactate levels to rise, rising levels is most often the result of causes other than oxygen. Lactate is a product of glucose (blood sugar) and glycogen (muscle sugar) breakdown.  Once formed, however, lactate is a fuel that is distributed throughout the body and utilized for energy by most tissues.  Recently, there has been a surge in interest in the role of lactate in tumor metabolism.  Interestingly, cancer researchers have turned to exercise physiology and biochemistry for insights into the basics of lactate metabolism.

Dr. Gladden has also studied the role of lactate in predicting sport performance. “At high exertion, you arrive at a work rate where levels of lactate in the blood rise rapidly,” said Gladden. “This is the lactate threshold, and it correlates with endurance performance.”

Dr. Gladden has evaluated distance runners, sprinters, and regular students. He was cited by USA Swimming in 2009 on lactate clearance testing. With Gladden’s insight, USA Swimming determined that using lactate clearance testing to guide cool-downs was not beneficial, because blood lactate will peak within ten minutes post-exercise and decline naturally, reaching baseline within an hour in most athletes, regardless of whether there is a cool-down exercise or not.

Dr. Gladden is also the current Editor-in-Chief of the American College of Sports Medicine’s flagship journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. He has an international reputation in the field of exercise physiology with more than 100 cited publications, an H-index of 34, and more than 4,000 citations to those publications, according to Google Scholar. For his work, he was selected as one of the distinguished lecturer speakers this year.