Study at MCG aiming to improve quality and span of life for Cystic Fibrosis patients


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– The Medical College of Georgia is conducting a new study to see how exercise improves the quality and span of life for patients with Cystic Fibrosis.

“Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease. It’s autosomal recessive. And we have about 30,000 people in the US with CF,” pulmonologist Dr. Caralee Forseen said.

People like Chase Thompson, who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at just two weeks old. Now at 28, he hopes to be approved for MCG’s study, focusing on why CF patients struggle with exercise intolerance.

Thompson says the death of a close friend four years ago inspired him to participate.

“She was always big into doing studies,” Thompson said. “I was pretty selfish about my health for a long time. I didn’t really care about everybody else’s future and stuff like that. But when she passed away, I figured I’d pick up where she left off.”

To be approved, Thompson underwent a physical exam and test to determine lung function. Cystic Fibrosis affects the lungs, making exercise difficult.

Vascular physiologist, Dr. Ryan Harris, says they are looking for patients with moderate lung disease.

“Once he gets approved, we’re going to do extensive testing on his exercise capacity, his vascular health, and his skeletal muscle health,” Dr. Harris said.

The study should help researchers better understand how diet and exercise improve quality of life and reduce the risk for Cystic Fibrosis related diabetes.

“Having a lot of physical activity helped me,” Thompson said. “Because even when I was sick, I was still able to go and do it and I feel like that helped me keep my bottom line where I needed it to be.”

Thompson says he used to see Cystic Fibrosis as a burden, but now he sees it as a blessing.

“The older I get, the more I appreciate it. Because I don’t feel like I look at life the same as I do now,” Thompson said. “I get more out of life than most people do. I seem to appreciate it more.”

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