The One Show shooting in the lab with Prof Andrew Jones

BBC's One Show interview with Prof Andrew Jones

One of our exercise laboratories was transformed into a film studio recently, when a crew from the BBC visited to film staff and students involved in ground-breaking research at Exeter. The piece will feature on the BBC’s One Show, to be aired on Thursday 6th May at 7 pm, BBC1.

Professor Andy Jones and Dr Anni Vanhatalo were interviewed by the production team, explaining the physiological effects of consuming nitrate-rich foods. A series of studies conducted by Andy’s research team have shown that a decrease in systolic blood pressure, a reduction in the oxygen cost of exercise, and increased tolerance to exercise, all result from this intervention.

These effects were demonstrated on a number of volunteers, who were filmed undergoing test procedures. This involved having their blood pressure measured while in the seated position, followed by an exercise test on a cycle ergometer, during which their respiratory gas exchange was measured in order to obtain values for oxygen consumption.

The volunteers supplemented their dietary nitrate (in the form of 500 ml beetroot juice per day for 3 days), and then returned to the laboratory to repeat the tests, with the inevitable effects observed. Familiar faces amongst the volunteers included staff and students from the school: Rosemary Davies, Brynmor Breese, Rebecca Willcocks, and James (Jimmy) Kelly. They were joined by the One Show current affairs correspondent Anita Rani, who subjected herself to the rigours of the experimental protocol.

Two of Andy’s PhD students, Stephen Bailey and Katherine Lansley, donned white coats and became the experimenters, as they have numerous times collecting data for their theses. Stephen is no stranger to the media, as he was the guinea pig breathing hyperoxic gas while cycling at maximal intensity, when the BBC filmed a piece for Inside Sport here in 2008!

This exposure is the latest of the media excitement that has erupted since the group’s initial paper was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology (Bailey et al. 2009). We think this demonstrates the academic appeal and world class standard of our research, as well as the positive implications of our findings to the broader population.

Date: 5 May 2010

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