PhD Student Wins Recognition at US ConferenceGeneral

Mr Kibwe Mwewa preparing trace element analysis.Mr Kibwe Mwewa preparing trace element analysis.

A Physiology doctoral student in the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, Mr Kibwe Mwewa, was awarded a certificate of recognition by the International Clinical and Experimental Cardiology Association at their Conference in Florida in the United States.

The Conference brought together international professors, scientists and cardiologists to discuss strategies for heart disease remedies. The Conference also aimed to provide diverse and current education that will keep medical professionals abreast on issues affecting prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases under the theme: “The Science of Heart Discovery”.

Mwewa’s certificate of recognition was awarded for his oral presentation titled: “The Effects of Moderate Treadmill Activity on Cardiovascular Factors in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats”. The paper has also been accepted and will be published in the Journal of Cardiology.

Mwewa says hypertension is a major health problem throughout the world because of its high prevalence and its association with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.  ‘Free radical generating oxidative stress has been strongly implicated as one of the many etiological factors. Despite the beneficial effect of aerobic exercise, it can potentially induce oxidative stress especially in condition of a compromised antioxidant status. Trace elements have a role to play in the regulation of blood pressure as well.  Imbalances or deficiencies of these trace elements can lead to the development of high blood pressure.

‘The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of moderate treadmill activity on the pathogenesis of hypertension using a well-established animal model of genetic hypertension, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR). The objectives were therefore to assess total antioxidants status, antioxidant associated trace element status in blood and skeletal muscle and inflammatory markers during pre- and post-treadmill physical activity in this model of hypertension,’ said Mwewa.

‘The results show that during physical activity the antioxidant status trace elements were compromised and C-reactive protein was increased. Also shown was that the pathological changes associated with oxidative stress are exacerbated when coupled with exercise in this model of hypertension and that using an antioxidant supplement will be beneficial, especially to people with heart conditions with compromised antioxidant levels before engaging in physical activity.

‘The experience at the Conference taught me to be confident and attentive.  I am highly grateful to my supervisors, Dr A Nadar and Professor ML Channa, for mentorship and for the support shown through my entire project’, added Mwewa.

Lihle Sosibo