Research

The FASTR Program research topics include a nutrition intervention to improve bone health, the identification of risk factors for bone stress injuries, a clinical validation of a RED-S and Triad assessment tool, and a Pilot study to translate female athlete research.

“It’s about doing the research, but it’s also about how we frame it, talk about it, and empower female athletes through that research.” – Megan Roche in Outside Magazine, A New Program Aims to Close the Gender Gap in Sports Science Research

View our published research


Current Research Projects

FASTR Pilot Study & Education Study

The Female Athlete Science and Translational Research (FASTR) Pilot study aims to deliver a series of five educational videos with content from experts in the field and stories from top athletes to female athletes to reduce incidence of the Female Athlete Triad and bone stress injuries. In this pilot study we will measure engagement of female high school runners with the content as well as changes in their Triad knowledge, body image, self-compassion, and perspective on longevity in sport.

In a second round of recruitment, the FASTR Education Study will include a larger pool of participants across the US. Half of participants will receive the five educational videos and the other half will receive written handouts covering similar female athlete specific topics. We will continue to measure engagement of female high school runners with the content as well as changes in their Triad knowledge, body image, self-compassion, and perspective on longevity in sport.

Interested in having your High School Girls XC team participate in this education study? We’re currently recruiting teams for Fall 2022! Learn more HERE or email our study team at fastrprogram@stanford.edu.

Pac-12: Healthy Runner Project

In 2016, co-PI’s Dr. Michael Fredericson at Stanford and Dr. Aurelia Nattiv at UCLA received funding by the Pac-12 and AMSSM for the “Healthy Runner Project,” a prospective study at Stanford and UCLA in varsity distance runners to evaluate whether a nutritional intervention to increase energy availability could help improve bone mineral density and decrease the incidence and severity of bone stress injuries. Following promising results from the Healthy Runner Project, Stanford and UCLA received additional funding through a Pac-12 Student Athlete Health and Well-Being Grant to expand the program to other Pac-12 schools beginning Fall 2021. The two-year prospective study with a nutrition intervention is underway for this 2021 academic school year. Participating Pac-12 institutions include Stanford, UCLA, University of Washington, University of Utah, and Oregon State University. 

Western States Ultramarathon Study

This study explores risk factors for low bone mineral density and prior bone stress injury in male and female ultramarathon runners participating in the Western States Endurance Run. This cross-sectional study incorporated a saliva genetic test, a DXA scan to measure bone mineral density of the lumbar spine, femoral neck, and total hip; lab draws to measure ferritin, vitamin D, estradiol, and total and free testosterone; and a pre-race survey to assess disordered eating traits, bone stress injuries, menstrual dysfunction in women, and training volume. Based on data from 2019 and 2021, the study showed that the genetic risk score in men was significantly correlated with BMD z-scores, but not in females. This suggests that other factors, including sex hormone levels and low energy availability, could be affecting bone health in female ultramarathon runners.

This study was featured in an Outside Magazine article about developing a “grand theory injury prevention” and looking beyond simple risk factors for injury.

Read the full scientific journal article in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. 

Assessing Female Athlete Triad/RED-S Return to Play Tools

This study, in collaboration with the Female Athlete Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, will assess the use of two screening tools designed to identify female and male athletes as at risk for the Female Athlete Triad or RED-S and the efficacy of their use in a clinical setting. Our survey was designed to address these measures and take the first steps in determining how to apply them in a clinical setting. Both sites are currently in the stages of data collection and are collecting survey responses from female and male athletes, ages 15-30 within Stanford and Boston Children’s clinics.

 

Female Athlete Voice Project

The aim of the study is to utilize athlete voice and perspective to inform sports medicine, sports science research, and translational practice for female athletes. To hear directly from athletes, the study will use a 3-round Delphi survey of approximately 40 female USOPC athlete participants, ages 18 years of age or older, across a range of sports and demographics. This is a first step in developing a research agenda and translational processes that are co-constructed with elite female athletes with the goal of guiding future research projects and translational practices for female athletes at any age. This work is in collaboration with Julie McCleery, PhD out of the University of Washington and the Female Athlete Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. 

Work with Our Team

We welcome faculty, staff, alumni, and external organizations to collaborate with the FASTR Program, please contact us via email if you are interested! If you are a student interested in doing research with our team, fill our the interest form below and go to the Students page of our website for more information.

CONTACT US Student Interest form