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LSU's Pennington Biomedical Partners with U.S. Dept. of Defense to Improve Soldier Endurance and Resilience

Released: Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Baton Rouge, LA - LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center is building on its long standing relationship with the U.S. Department of Defense to collaborate on a groundbreaking new research study aimed at improving the health, performance, and recovery for U.S. soldiers on the battlefield. The Optimizing Performance for Soldiers Study (or OPS) explores how maintaining normal testosterone levels can preserve endurance during physically demanding, low calorie missions.

Because soldiers are often unable to consume an adequate number of calories to maintain body weight during intense field work and military missions, many experience a drop in testosterone levels. This drop in testosterone can lead to a loss of muscle and problems with memory, mood and concentration, which can put soldiers' safety at risk. Through the OPS study, researchers are examining whether injections that maintain testosterone at normal levels can help prevent these negative side effects during times of calorie deficit.

"This study is the first of its kind, and the goal is to use what we learn here to help better equip our warfighters to perform at their best," said Dr. Jennifer Rood, primary investigator on the OPS study and Pennington Biomedical's associate executive director of cores and resources.

Kyle Landry, from Walker, Louisiana, recently completed his participation in the OPS study.

"I've learned so much about my personal health through the OPS study," said Landry. "I've gained great insight about my metabolism, about nutrition, and I'm in better shape than I've ever been in, thanks to the focus on physical activity. Not only that, but it feels great to be able to give back to my country."

Pennington Biomedical has been the leading provider of nutritional information to the U.S. military for the past 28 years. Our research has helped shape nutrition and health programs throughout the military. Pennington Biomedical's contributions have helped to develop First Strike Ration Bars, created the Army H.E.A.L.T.H. Program and the Army H.E.A.L.T.H. Program Intensive, and many other programs to improve soldier nutrition.

Interested in participating in the OPS research study? Pennington Biomedical is currently looking for men between the ages of 18-39 to join this study. Participants may earn up to $6,000 in compensation for completion of the study. For more information on the OPS study, including how to enroll, visit www.pbrc.edu/OPS or call 225-763-3000.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.