[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 16
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]

Hidden behind imposing laboratory doors, a militia of rats are lifting weights on miniaturized bench presses and running on mini treadmills. Scientists are scribbling notes and analyzing the rats’ tissue samples.

This is the scientific frontier for two California State University, Northridge professors who are one step closer to understanding the benefits of exercise for humans. Kinesiology professor Ben Yaspelkis and biology professor Randy Cohen have been examining how exercise affects two different areas when it comes to the health of mammals as a whole — including humans.

CSUN kinesiology professor Ben Yaspelkis explains how a three-lane rat treadmill works on various inclines. Rats for his most recent project, which studied the effects of exercise on rats with Type 2 diabetes, were put on a treadmill for various amounts of time each week. Photo by David Hawkins/CSUN

CSUN kinesiology professor Ben Yaspelkis explains how a three-lane rat treadmill works on various inclines. Photo by David Hawkins/CSUN

Yaspelkis’ rat study, which has been ongoing for more than 15 years, focuses on the impact of exercise on insulin resistance, also known as diabetes development and determent.

“We’ve been interested in trying to understand a Type 2 diabetic (rat) model,” Yaspelkis said. “We are looking at a high fat-fed rat, which is an environmental model.”

An environmental model focuses on the lifestyle “choices” of the rat or other mammals — which for humans translates to food consumption and sedentary versus active habits, he said.

“We are looking at an environmental model, since most humans develop insulin resistance for the most part because of the environment they are in,” Yaspelkis said. “It’s what they’re eating, and couple that with a lack of physical activity — it causes insulin to have less of an effect.”

Cohen, who has been researching biology for more than 25 years, is studying the neurological effects of exercise in rats with ataxia, to understand how it could benefit human ataxic patients.

“Ataxia is the destruction of brain or spinal cord cells in the back of the brain, in the cerebellum,” Cohen said. “It causes an inability to walk. By the time these animals hit adulthood, they have the inability to move their hind legs. They can’t move, just like human patients with ataxia.”

While the two professors are not working on their current research together as they have with past papers co-authored, their rodent studies — which share some similarities — yield revealing results for humans as they consider the benefits of exercise.

Biology professor Randy Cohen (left) and kinesiology professor Ben Yaspelkis. Photo by David Hawkins/CSUN

Biology professor Randy Cohen (left) and kinesiology professor Ben Yaspelkis. Photo by David Hawkins/CSUN

In Cohen’s rat model, he placed the animals on treadmills for 30 minutes, five times a week and monitored the growth of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which protect Purkinje cells. Purkinje cells are responsible for proper motor function in the cerebellum.

“In synaptic connections and in adult mammals, BDNF seems to promote neural protection,” Cohen said. “We showed that acute exercise leads to a doubling of BDNF levels in the brain. It greatly prolonged [the rats’ lives] by about 20 percent.”

What shocked Cohen, however, was that if a rat was fed a high-fat diet and still exercised, the BDNF levels did not change in ataxic patients, leaving the Purkinje cells to further deteriorate in the brain.

“Fat negates exercise,” Cohen said, slamming his hand on his desk. “I just find it amazing. It was against my basic instinct, which is a high-fat diet is needed to survive — and these animals are going to gain more weight and survive longer. But, high-fat diet in this experimental paradigm leads to a decrease of life.”

Yaspelkis discovered in his study that no matter what exercise the rats performed — be it lifting weights or running on a treadmill — both were equally effective in improving insulin function in the rats.

“Our initial hypothesis was that aerobic exercise would have a greater effect,” he said. “At the end of the day, as long as the muscle is recruited and active in something, we are going to get an improvement in how insulin will do the job it’s supposed to do.”

When Yaspelkis’ diabetic rats were put on a high-fat diet, the result was in stark contrast to Cohen’s rats’, which showed there was no change in the ataxic rats if they ate a high-fat diet and exercised.

“When we took the animals off the high-fat diet, it was concurrent to the control,” Yaspelkis said. “Exercise was so powerful that it essentially reversed the effect of the high-fat diet.”

Cohen highlighted the benefits of exercise in an article he released with CSUN biology graduate student Brooke Van Kummer in 2014.

“Exercise has been shown to be an inexpensive and practical treatment for a myriad of neuromotor disorders,” the article noted.

Yaspelkis said he has marveled at the tremendous benefits that exercise provided in these studies.

“It is remarkable,” he said. “The only single change you are making in these animals is asking them to be active. I think that is a huge crossover when you look at the human population. Exercise is medicine.”


Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


  1. how do we still need to study this. of course exercise and eating health benefit you

  2. Jessica says:

    I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on May 21st, 2014. I started the ADA diet, using it as directed 100% for weeks – still my blood glucose did not get below 140. I questioned my doctor about my options and he said I would be on metformin the rest of my life – until moving to insulin. Meds were the only option he gave me. Then, I found the Diabetes Destroyer book ( review: http://steamspoils.com/diabetes-destroyer-review/ ) It made sense and opened my eyes to the possibility of natural diabetes treatment. I started to implement David Andrew’s methods the very next day. I’ve lost over 40 pounds and 7 inches on my waist in a month. I have more than enough energy to workout twice daily and still power through. I almost fell for the trap the pharms have set up for people like us, but I got lucky. Open your minds people and try alternative methods, these corporations are making their money from us being sick. Why would they want that to end?

  3. davinder says:

    The way to beat diabetes naturally is covered extremely well in the Diabetes Destroyer book (It’s better explained here: https://diabetesdestroyerreviewed.wordpress.com ). Essentially, the book guided me towards improvements in my health that were so easy to understand that I read it from cover to cover in the same night I discovered it. Today, a few months later, I’ve dropped 30 pounds. My blood sugar is down from 140 to 70-80 (fasted). I feel better than ever and I’m never going to have to deal with insulin injections. It did more for me than Metformin and the ADA diet ever could.

  4. Amelia says:

    This study evaluated the effect of 3-week detraining after 10 weeks of training in STZ-diabetic rats. http://www.leahsfitness.com/

Leave a Comment

Friday, Jul 13, 2018
College of the Canyons will accept an additional 500 students to its First-Year Promise program for the fall 2018 semester, an expansion made possible by funding from a new state program called California College Promise.
Wednesday, Jul 11, 2018
Through CSU Fully Online, California State University undergraduate students have the opportunity to take one free fully-online course offered at another CSU campus every term, moving them one step closer to earning a high-quality degree.
Tuesday, Jul 10, 2018
In response to the ever-growing need for skilled workers to meet industry-specific demands, the College of the Canyons Employee Training Institute (ETI) has hired Justin Wallace as Director of Educational Partnerships, a new position at the college.
Monday, Jul 9, 2018
CSUN Central American studies professor Beatriz Cortez's latest pieces, “Tzolk’in” and “Piercing Garden,” are being showcased in the Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A.” biennial exhibition.
Monday, Jul 9, 2018
The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Board of Trustees will hold its next business meeting at College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus on Wednesday, July 11, starting at 4 p.m.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of July 16-22, 2018.
‘Mayans,’ ‘Santa Clarita Diet,’ Spots, Student Films Now Shooting in SCV
The city of Santa Clarita's Community Preservation Division sent a notice of violation Monday to the owners of the Canyon View Mobile Home Estates property in Canyon Country, ordering the removal of multiple solar panels installed on the hillside just north of the park.
Canyon Country Mobile Home Park Cited for Hillside Solar Panels
Air quality is very unhealthy for all residents of the Santa Clarita Valley Monday, according to an alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
AQMD: Air Quality Very Unhealthy Monday for SCV Residents
Golden Valley High School grad U.S. Air Force Airman Victoria A. Arguello has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Santa Clarita USAF Airman Victoria Arguello Graduates Basic Training
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]
1891 - R.E. Nickel publishes area's first newspaper, The Acton Rooster [story]
Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out
1769 - Portolá party sets out from San Diego; first Europeans to "discover" Santa Clarita Valley 3½ weeks later [story]
The CTG Stars teenage summer workshop production of "Shrek: The Musical, Jr." takes the stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall for two final performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
July 14-15: CTG Stars Teen Workshop Stages ‘Shrek: The Musical Jr.’
The William S. Hart Museum will host an open house and summer fun event for kids on Thursday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 19: Open House, Summer Fun Event for Kids at Hart Museum
College of the Canyons will accept an additional 500 students to its First-Year Promise program for the fall 2018 semester, an expansion made possible by funding from a new state program called California College Promise.
COC to Accept 500 More First-Year Promise Students
The city of Santa Clarita invites residents to explore the newest exhibit at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Art Space -- “Urban Objects” by artist Aaron Kramer, on display now through October 2.
‘Urban Objects’ by Aaron Kramer on Display at Town Center Art Space
Bank of Santa Clarita announced Friday that for the second quarter of 2018, earnings again reached record levels, as net earnings totaled $867,000, a 91 percent growth over its earnings for the second quarter of 2017.
Bank of Santa Clarita’s Earnings Continue to Grow Significantly
Los Angeles County voters may soon be asked to vote on a new "parcel" tax to be levied on private property owners' "impenetrable areas" -- everything from rooftops to driveways -- to help pay for the capture of recyclable stormwater runoff.
Supes Float New Tax on Roofs, Driveways, Patios
In an effort to keep property crime in the Santa Clarita Valley low and help residents protect their valuables, the city of Santa Clarita and the SCV Sheriff’s Station have partnered to bring a new public safety campaign to the city called 'The Stolen Collection.'
Don’t Let Your Items Become Part of ‘The Stolen Collection’
The California Air Resources Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have approved emissions modifications for the last remaining Volkswagen vehicles containing undisclosed software which deliberately shut down emission control equipment.
CARB, EPA OK Final VW Diesel Modification to Kill Illegal ‘Defeat Devices’
Vince Fernandez cranked a three-run homer to give the Lancaster JetHawks a lead, but the bullpen and defense couldn’t hold on in an 8-4 loss to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Thursday night at LoanMart Field.
Series Finale Slips Away from JetHawks
A coalition of 13 Attorneys General including California's, along with the California Air Resources Board and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, submitted a letter to the U.S. EPA Friday demanding the immediate reinstatement of the Glider Rule for high-polluting trucks.
AG’s Demand EPA Reinstate ‘Glider Rule’ for High-Polluting Trucks
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, July 17, starting at 9:30 a.m.
July 17: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Santa Clarita Valley International, a free public charter school serving learners in grades TK through 12, has welcomed veteran educator Farnaz Kaufman as its new School Director, and she will welcome visitors on SCVi’s Prospective Family Night on Thursday, July 19.
July 19: SCVi Open House, Meetup with New Director
1884 - Hardison & Stewart start drilling Star No. 1 oil well in Pico Canyon; later form Union Oil Co. [story]
The Valencia Jazz & Blues Summer Concert Series continues Friday, July 13, with Jim Gibson.
July 13: Jim Gibson Takes Stage at Valencia Jazz & Blues Series
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation presents its latest Recreation After Dark at William S. Hart Regional Park in Newhall with an evening showcase of music and dance featuring the Sue Rey and the Runarounds.
July 28: Sue Rey & the Runarounds at Hart Park
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – The JetHawks turned Rancho Cucamonga’s historic 15-game win streak into history with a 6-2 win over the Quakes on Wednesday night at LoanMart Field. The streak was the longest in the franchise’s history.
JetHawks End Quakes 15-Game Winning Streak
The city of Santa Clarita has been, and continues to be, committed to helping those experiencing homelessness in our community.
City Invites Community to Review Draft of Plan to Address Homelessness
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Saturday, July 14, in the city of Santa Clarita in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.
July 14: LASD Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation
A Light of Hope is excited to announce a new partner with New Global Adventures, who will bring their event expertise to organize and host the 5th annual Be The Light 5K/10K fundraiser on Sept. 29.
Sept. 29: Be the Light 5K, 10K Night Run/Walk
Two notable judges were selected for the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) Art Classic Gala to be held on Sept. 29, from 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. in Hart Hall at the historic Hart Park in Newhall. A free public viewing is on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Santa Clarita Artists Association Selects Judges for September Gala
The Valley Industry Association will be holding a luncheon, Tuesday, July 17, at 11:45 a.m. at the Valencia Country Club, located at 27330 No. Tourney Road, 91355.
July 17: VIA Luncheon to Discuss Whittaker-Bermite
The Dodgers' versatile home run leader Max Muncy has powered his way into the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday, July 16 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Dodgers’ Muncy Powers Way into Home Run Derby; Stripling Named NL All-Star
Their gift is their song and this one's for you, when Kenny Metcalf as Elton & The Early Years Band presents the ultimate Elton John tribute show as part of Santa Clarita’s Concerts in the Park series, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union.
July 14: Concerts in the Park Continue with Elton John Tribute Band
Local restaurant Le Chène French Cuisine has announced they will be hosting Murder Mystery Dinner in their alluring banquet room this summer.
Aug. 25: Le Chène Murder Mystery Dinner
CHICAGO - The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the city of Santa Clarita by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).
City Recognized for Governmental Accounting
On a daily basis, law enforcement personnel are the first to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency. Many of these patients are suffering from opioid overdose emergencies and require immediate assistance.
McDonnell Addresses Opioid Epidemic
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station conducted saturation patrol around the SCV Wednesday.
Deputies Make Felony, Misdemeanor Arrests During Patrol
1900 - Pacific Telephone & Telegraph establishes Newhall exchange; SCV gets first phone [story]