Every two years, a small group of elite athletes captures the attention of the world at the Olympic Games. For two weeks, we marvel at their skill and wonder how they push past the boundaries of what ordinary human bodies can do.
For Stanford researcher Euan Ashley, MRCP, DPhil, super athletes are more than an ephemeral interest, they're part of his life's work. "We learn a lot of things by looking at extremes," Ashley said in a recent interview with Maria Konnikova for the California Sunday Magazine. He's researching "the fittest and the most failing in the world" (as he puts it) because understanding what makes super athletes so healthy may help researchers identify what's awry in people who are ill.
The article profiles Ashley, who is a cardiologist, systems biologist and geneticist at Stanford, and describes the details of his ELITE study to explore and understand the genetic determents of human athletic performance. It's worth a read.
Previously: Genes and super athletes: What we know, Euan Ashley discusses harnessing big data to drive innovation for a healthier world, and What role do genetics play in athletic performance?
Image by Steve Fisch