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Funded in part by the VCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

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October 2019


Metabolic chambers are powerful tools for assessing human energy expenditure, providing flexibility and comfort for the subjects in a near free-living environment. However, the flexibility offered by the large living room size creates challenges in the assessment of dynamic human metabolic signals—such as those generated during high-intensity interval training and short-term involuntary physical activities—with sufficient temporal accuracy. Therefore, this paper presents methods to improve the temporal accuracy of metabolic chambers. The proposed methods include 1) adopting a shortest possible step size, here one minute, to compute the finite derivative terms for the metabolic rate calculation, and 2) applying a robust noise reduction method—total variation denoising—to minimize the large noise generated by the short derivative term whilst preserving the transient edges of the dynamic metabolic signals. Validated against 24-hour gas infusion tests, the proposed method reconstructs dynamic metabolic signals with the best temporal accuracy among state-of-the-art approaches, achieving a root mean square error of 0.27 kcal/min (18.8 J/s), while maintaining a low cumulative error in 24-hour total energy expenditure of less than 45 kcal/day (188280 J/day). When applied to a human exercise session, the proposed methods also show the best performance in terms of recovering the dynamics of exercise energy expenditure. Overall, the proposed methods improve the temporal resolution of the chamber system, enabling metabolic studies involving dynamic signals such as short interval exercises to carry out the metabolic chambers.


© 2018 Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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VCU Biostatistics Publications