Dr. Gail Dechman

Dr. Gail Dechman
Assistant Professor

BSc (PT) (Queens), PhD (McGill)

Office: Room 430, Forrest Building

Tel: (902) 494-2734

Email: gail.dechman@dal.ca

Research interests: Dr. Dechman's research focuses on using exercise to improve function in people with chronic diseases. This includes assessing the role that aerobic and resistance exercise play in enhancing functional activity in people with chronic pulmonary disease, cancer and obesity. Dr. Dechman is also involved in developing functional outcome measures to objectively assess changes in activities of daily living for community-dwelling individuals with disabilities.

Recovery of the Ability to Perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Following an Acute Exacerbation of COPD
Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive lung disease (AECOPD) result in weakness and a decline in aerobic fitness. These changes make it difficult for people to manage their daily activities. The goal of Dr. Gail Dechman's research is to use an objectively scored test of activities of daily living to help us understand the course of recovery of functional abilities following hospitalization for an AECOPD. Ultimately this research will help with the development of more effective rehabilitation programs for individuals with COPD.
Read a Research Snapshot of this project. [PDF - 298kB]

Lung Function Following Weight Loss Surgery
Obesity is a complex disease that occurs as a result of interactions between genetic, biochemical, neural and psychological factors as well as environmental, social and economic influences. It is associated with many chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dr. Gail Dechman's research involves a collaborative team from biomedical engineering, medicine and physiotherapy. The prospective study assesses lung function prior to, 5 weeks and 6 months after weight loss surgery using a sleeve gastrectomy.

Explaining Exercise Differences During and After Pulmonary Rehabilitation Using a Mixed-Methods Social Ecological Approach
Although pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has been shown to be beneficial for both males and females, unfortunately, exercise levels in such programs are low. Furthermore, females with COPD have been shown to engage in less exercise than their male counterparts, which may be placing them at increased risk of mortality. Because of this, it is imperative that theoretical research be conducted to help explain the gender disparity in exercise during and after completing PR so that a gender-specific PR exercise interventions can be developed.
This project is a collaboration between Chris Blanchard, psychologist, Paul Hernandez, respirologist, and Gail Dechman at Dalhousie University and Ryan Rhodes (University of Victoria), John Spence (University of Alberta) and Kerry McGannon (University of Iowa).

Physiologic and Psychosocial Effects of Aerobic and Resistance Exercise in Men Undergoing Androgen Deprivation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
Androgen deprivation therapy, used to treat prostate cancer, is associated with a number of adverse effects including weight gain, muscle wasting, fatigue, hypertension, and osteoporosis. Dr. Gail Dechman's research used a prospective, randomized controlled trial design to assess whether a 16 week combined aerobic and resistance exercise program alleviates symptoms and improves quality of life for men receiving ADT.
Read a Research Snapshot of this project. [PDF - 298kB]

The Validity and Reliability of the Incremental Shuttle Walk Test for Predicting VO2 in Obese Individuals
Exercise is an important part of weight loss management. However, if exercise is not prescribed properly its benefits may not be realized. Dr. Gail Dechman's study intends to assess the validity and reliability of the Incremental Shuttle Walk Test to predict directly measured VO2 (Oxycon mobile) in obese individuals by comparing test results to those from a Bruce ramp protocol treadmill test.

Comparison of NORDIC WALKING (NW) during treadmill and over-ground walking
Nordic Walking (NW)is known to increase energy expenditure compared to standard walking at the same speed. NW is also proving to be a valuable tool in rehabilitation for people with neurologic and cardiovascular diseases, as well as in weight loss management.
The purpose of Dr. Gail Dechman's study was to compare the physiologic responses of NW on a specially designed treadmill and NW on a level over-ground surface.

Development of a tool to assess the skills needed to practice evidence-based decision making (EBDM)
Dr. Gail Dechman is part of an interdisciplinary team of health professionals interested in improving the use of evidence-based decision making (EBDM) in the clinical setting. The first step in this process is to develop a tool to assess baseline skills and changes that might occur as a result of an intervention. The tool will be piloted using registered nurses, physiotherapists, and respiratory therapists across the Atlantic provinces.