Dr. Kathy Keiver

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Research Interests

  • Prenatal alcohol exposure and the stress system (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function)
  • Physical activity intervention programs for children with FASD

Biography

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

BSc: University of British Columbia (Zoology)
MSc: University of Guelph (Zoology – physiology)
PhD: University of Guelph (Zoology – physiology/nutrition/toxicology)
Post-doctoral fellowship: University of British Columbia (Zoology – biochemistry/physiology)
Post-doctoral fellowship: University of British Columbia (Anatomy – toxicology/physiology)

TEACHING INTERESTS

Nutrition
Research Methods and Statistics


RESEARCH AND OTHER INTERESTS

My research interests have been focused mainly in the area of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). My initial research examined the effects of maternal alcohol consumption on maternal and fetal calcium regulation, bone metabolism and bone development using a rat model. In 2006, I began collaborating with Alison Pritchard Orr and Chris Bertram to develop and evaluate intervention programs for children with FASD.

Neuropsychological deficits, resulting from damage to the developing brain, are the most devastating effects of prenatal alcohol exposure for individuals with FASD. Intervention programs have the potential to improve the neuropsychological deficits and thus reduce the burden on affected individuals, families and society. One intervention strategy that appears promising for improving multiple areas of the lives of individuals with FASD is exercise or physical activity. Physical activity improves both physical and mental health, and studies using animal models indicate that it can improve some of the neuropsychological deficits induced by prenatal alcohol exposure. We developed a physical activity program, FAST Club, for children with FASD and have been examining its effects on motor skills, executive function, adaptive and maladaptive behaviours, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function, and, in collaboration with researchers from Sunnyhill Health Centre for Children, sleep disturbances.

More recently, Alison Pritchard Orr and I have been collaborating with researchers from the University of Victoria to investigate if exercise (FAST Club) can enhance the effects of a cognitive training intervention for children with FASD. We are also collaborating with researchers from Queen’s University to investigate the effects of exergames on neuropsychological function and fitness. In collaboration with Central Elementary Community School and the Chilliwack School District we are also determining the feasibility of embedding FAST Club into the public school curriculum to increase accessibility for affected children.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Member of the Research Society on Alcoholism
Member of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Study Group
Member of the Canadian Nutrition Society
Provide nutrition advice to UFV athletes

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