BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A study happening right now in Baton Rouge will eventually help United States soldiers all around the world. It's an intense two months, but there are some pretty big benefits for those who finish.
The OPS 2 study at Pennington Biomedical Research Center simulates life on the battlefield through intense physical activity combined with sleep deprivation and limited food. Researchers want to learn the best ways to keep up testosterone levels under extreme conditions. The study is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Our goal is to improve performance in our warfighter and to bring more of those young men and young women safely home,” said lead researcher, Dr. Jennifer Rood. “Our findings will be conveyed back to the Department of Defense, and they will make decisions about what happens to our next groups of young men who go out into the field.”
The 50-day study includes 20 consecutive days at Pennington’s in-patient unit. That means participants must sleep at the clinic and endure several long days of intense exercise and little sleep. Food consists of military MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat). The payoff is up to $7,500 in compensation upon completion of the study.
Cameron Pollard and Antonio Peters are currently enrolled. Pollard says the physical demands are more grueling than anything he’s experienced so far as a Marine.
“It’s been pretty difficult, more strenuous than I thought,” he said. “We never had to do that in boot camp or infantry training. Ten hours a day working out and such a calorie deficit.”
Peters considers it a good way to give back to his country.
“I’m not joining the military, so this is probably the most I can do to support, help out for the military, so I’m proud of that,” he said.
To qualify for this research study, participants must:
- Be a male 18 to 35-years-old
- Be physically active (specific activity requirements to be assessed during screening)
- Be willing to live at Pennington Biomedical for 21 consecutive days
- Be willing to refrain from alcohol, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or use of any nicotine product, caffeine, or dietary supplement throughout the entire study period