Thomas Lowder, PhD, CSCS

HomeFaculty ResearchHuman Performance LabBiomechanics LabSport-Related Concussion Lab

Adam Bruenger, PhD, CSCSZack Damon, MBAMike Gallagher, PhDWill Hedderson, MS, ATC, CAT(C)Rock Lee, PhD, ATC Thomas Lowder, PhD, CSCS Steve Tucker, PhD, ATC

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) can occur sporadically (S-LAM) or as a manifestation of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC-LAM). LAM is a rare, multisystem disease that affects women of child-bearing age almost exclusively, with major declines seen in pulmonary function in particular. In severe cases LAM can lead to end-stage respiratory failure. Spontaneous pneumothoraces are common in LAM and are often the primary event leading to diagnosis. The number of women with LAM and TSC-LAM is not known. The mean age of symptom onset is approximately 39 years of age with a mean age of diagnosis of 41 years of age. In most cases clinical events existed prior to diagnosis. This lag time between onset of symptoms and clinical diagnosis is likely due to the rarity of LAM. One-third of patients exhibit normal spirometry with obstruction evident in 57% of patients. Despite great advances in diagnosis and patient management over the past two decades treatment options are limited.

My lab has been using moderate and high-intensity exercise to help treat women LAM. Though not a cure, our training has improved pulmonary function (FEV1) and gas exchange (DLCO), the two most clinically-relevant measures of lung function in women with LAM. As we continue to work with patients, we are also investigating other aspects of our intervention, such as the benefits of exercise training on sleep quality and how exercise training might enhance basic immunity (e.g. natural killer cell activity) in women with LAM.