Dr. Darlene Reid, a Senior Scientist at UHN's KITE Research Institute, aims to understand how breathlessness, known as dyspnea, affects patients cognitively and impacts their physical coordination. (Photo: UHN)

Rifling a wrist shot over the goalie's shoulder. Grabbing a cup of coffee.

Both require brain power to activate the muscles and limbs to move and coordinate.

But for an individual with acute or chronic respiratory conditions experiencing breathlessness, picking up that coffee mug can use similar focus and energy as an athlete perfecting their skill.

It takes brain power to optimize physical activity. It takes brain power for coordination.

This is something that fascinates Dr. W. Darlene Reid, a Senior Scientist at UHN's KITE Research Institute. With years of experience as a physical therapist, her long history of studying limb muscles led her to focus on understanding respiratory muscles and conditions, and how patients are impacted physically and cognitively.

"I see a lot of parallels between the physiology of athletes and the altered physiology of patients with chronic respiratory conditions," Dr. Reid says. "When patients are doing daily activities that we take for granted, they're actually working to maximal capacity."

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