School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Kasha Pyka

M.Sc. D candidate, Rehabilitation Science

Kasha Pyka

Kasha Pyka

Exercise is such a simple preventative measure

by Amelia Hamfelt
​September 2014

What if a doctor handed you a sheet from her prescription pad that simply said “exercise”? What if the cure for many common diseases in North America were something as simple as a commitment to move our bodies and remain active?

These questions are exactly what initiated Kasha Pyka’s academic career as a Master’s student in Rehabilitation Science. Her research focuses on investigating the effects of therapeutic exercise – in a multi-disciplinary clinic - on those living with chronic kidney disease. Her hope is that her findings will provide evidence that exercise can reduce the progression of the disease and be used as a preventive treatment option that will ultimately reduce mortality and improve quality of life.

“Exercise is such a simple preventative measure,” says Kasha, “And as a prescription, has no adverse side effects. The patients don’t need to take countless pharmaceuticals to improve their condition; instead, they are given the skills and knowledge to be able to manage their own disease.”

Kasha envisions a very different future for the medical system. Instead of a one-on-one consultation with a general physician that leads to a pharmaceutical prescription, a patient will have access to multiple health care practitioners, including physiotherapists, dietitians, nurses, and education specialists. The result will be a holistic understanding of a person’s state of health that can be managed through the integration of self-management and rehabilitation exercises.

“The interdisciplinary approach recognizes that a medical condition is not linked to a single source of causation,” says Kasha. “One disease often predisposes an individual to developing another. We see this with kidney disease and other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To combat this ripple effect a broader perspective must be taken – a perspective that incorporates this understanding of the interconnections between bodily systems.”

While Kasha’s vision may seem radical to some, her predictions are in-line with current practice used to treat other medical conditions. Kasha will be incorporating her research into an already existing multi-disciplinary program at Hotel Dieu hospital within the Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre. As a new scientist, she will be able to gain multiple perspectives from experienced medical staff and researchers who can provide her with the information she needs to determine the impact of her thesis.

“Graduate school at Queen’s is so much more than working in a lab,” says Kasha. “I’m part of a team of researchers with diverse backgrounds in health care and academia that strive towards reaching the same goal. At the end of the day, the result of everyone’s efforts is so much more comprehensive than what I ever could have accomplished in isolation. “

Kasha’s optimism and clear-sighted vision of what health care could be is inspiring. Her dedication to the implementation of this vision is enough to motivate even the most slovenly of us to think about our health. In the not too distant future, you or I may find ourselves looking down at that sheet of prescription paper and recognizing that one all too familiar word… Exercise!

 

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