Another year, another podium presentation. This year I want to redeem myself: last year I rocked my first presentation on hormonal contraception (woo hoo!), then was too exhausted to be remotely coherent for my second on diet composition and C-reactive protein (though to be fair, I was also chairing that session). This year I have just one presentation, which will allow me to concentrate on my talk, but also enjoy the meetings more.

A few highlights from the AAPAs this year include:

  • Building Babies get-together on Wednesday night (look for Julienne Rutherford and some obvious signage at the reception that evening)
  • A Physical Anthropology Women's Mentoring Network Happy Hour Thursday at 5:15pm in the Alexander's Room on the 23rd floor of the Hilton
  • A Biological Anthropology Developing Investigators Troop Happy Hour from 6-7pm on Friday, also in the Alexander's Room on the 23rd floor of the Hilton.

So if you were involved with our book, are looking to give or receive some lady mentoring, and/or are a junior bio anthro colleague, there are chances for you to meet up with others.

Then there are, you know, the talks. The stuff you do between the schmoozing and the drinking. The Building Babies Lady Editors are all in the same, late Friday session (Session 24 in the Galleria North, 2-6pm). Guess who has the 5:45 talk?

This girl.

The relationship between strenuous physical activity and C-reactive protein is cycle-phase dependent: results from rural Poland

Energetic and inflammatory variables impact ovarian functioning, but their mechanistic links to each other and the ovaries remain unclear. We hypothesize that inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP) is negatively correlated with strenuous physical activity in a population of rural Polish women. Because progesterone is suppressed by physical activity, yet progesterone administration can increase physical activity, we further hypothesized that their activity patterns would vary between the follicular and luteal phases, periods of low and high progesterone. Using standard epidemiological methods to collect daily records of minutes and exertion of physical activity over one menstrual cycle, we distinguished between light and strenuous activity, and activity variation through the cycle. Saliva was collected daily (progesterone), and urine seven times over the cycle (CRP).

Midluteal progesterone concentrations were inversely correlated with luteal CRP (p = 0.02), median CRP (p = 0.05), and were positively associated with strenuous activity in the luteal phase (p = 0.09). Median, luteal and follicular CRP were all negatively correlated with strenuous activity in the luteal phase (p = 0.03 for all three measures). And when women were grouped into those with high and low CRP concentrations, those with low CRP performed significantly more strenuous physical activity through the luteal phase. None of these associations were found with follicular phase physical activity. These results suggest physical activity influences systemic inflammation, which may additionally influence ovarian functioning. Therefore continued attention on systemic inflammation is crucial to determine mechanistic links between it and reproductive success in women.

Since writing this abstract my thinking on the topic has matured a bit (this is part of the problem with having an abstract deadline in September for a conference in April). We've also played around with the data a bit more, and have some more to report. I hope my presentation will get us thinking about subsistence versus recreational physical activity, as well as variation in strenuousness. I expect some of this will turn out to be pretty relevant to variation in reproductive function.