Kirti Gandhi, O.T.D.


Education: Bachelor of Science in nutritional sciences (December 2014)

Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Indiana Wesleyan University

McNair Project: Contribution of Dysanapsis to Exercise Expiratory Flow Limitation in Pre- vs. Post-Pubescent Children (2013)

Mentor: Craig Harms, Ph.D.

Expiratory flow limitation occurs due to the imbalance between the ventilatory demands of exercise and the capacity of the airways to meet these demands. A recent study from our lab (Swain et al 2010) surprisingly found an extremely high prevalence (95%) of EFL in both prepubescent boys and girls. Furthermore, dysanapsis has been reported to be a determinant of EFL. It is not known however how dysanapsis contributes to EFL in children from pre to post pubescence. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if the prevalence of EFL was attributed to dysanapsis in pre-pubescent compared to post-pubescent boys vs. girls. It was hypothesized that 1) the post-pubescent children would have a lower prevalence of EFL compared to pre-puberty, 2) dysanapsis ratios (DR) would be greater in post-compared to pre-pubescent children, and 3) post-puberty girls would demonstrate lower DR and greater prevalence of EFL compared to post-puberty boys.

Fourteen (8 boys, 6 girls) healthy post-pubescent children, (ages 12-16 years), who were previously tested while they were pre puberty were recruited and volunteered as subjects. Subjects completed standard pulmonary function tests (PFT) and a maximal aerobic exercise test (VO2max). VO2max and PFT significantly increased from pre to post puberty (~13-25%). Dysanapsis ratio also significantly increased from pre to post-pubescence. However, prevalence of expiratory flow limitation significantly decreased from pre-boys to post-boys and from pre-girls to post-girls. Both pre-pubescent boys and girls with a DR of approximately 0.14 all experienced expiratory flow limitation. In contrast, only 12.5% of post-pubescent boys with a DR of approximately 0.17 experienced EFL. In addition, only 33.3% of post-pubescent girls with a DR of approximately 0.19 experienced EFL.

This study determined that during maturation from pre to post pubescence, prevalence of EFL in both post-pubescent boys and girls decreased, whereas DR increased. Post-puberty boys showed a lower DR and lower prevalence of EFL than post-puberty girls.