Natural sporting ability and predisposition to cardiovascular disorders.
We tested the hypothesis that people with a natural ability in 'power sports' (a presumed marker for predominance of type 2, glycolytic muscle fibres) might have increased risks of coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those with a natural ability in 'endurance sports' (as a marker for predominance of type 1, oxidative muscle fibres). We examined subsequent cardiovascular disorders retrospectively in 231 male former soldiers, aged 34-87 years, who had undergone a course in physical training in the Army School of Physical Training, Aldershot, UK, who assessed themselves as having natural ability in either power (n = 107) or endurance (n = 124) sports. The proportion with CHD, defined as angina and/or coronary angioplasty and/or coronary artery bypass graft and/or heart attack was 18.7% in the 'power group' vs. 9.7% in the 'endurance group' (difference: chi 2 = 3.9, p = 0.05). The proportions with CHD and/or risk factors rose to 39.3% in the 'power group' vs. 25.8% in the 'endurance group' (difference: chi 2 = 4.8, p = 0.03). Under logistic regression analysis, compared to the 'endurance group', the 'power group' had 2.2 (95% CI: 1.00-4.63) the risk of developing CHD, and 1.86 (95% confidence interval: 1.06 to 3.25) the risk of developing CHD and/or risk factors. Men with a natural ability in 'power sports' are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disorders, compared to men with a natural ability in 'endurance sports'. A predominance of type 2, glycolytic muscle fibres, presumably of genetic origin, may predispose to cardiovascular disorders. (+info
Correlating fibreoptic nasotracheal endoscopy performance and psychomotor aptitude.
We have investigated the correlation between the scores attained on computerized psychometric tests, measuring psychomotor and information processing aptitudes, and learning fibreoptic endoscopy with the videoendoscope. Sixteen anaesthetic trainees performed two adaptive tracking tasks (ADTRACK 2 and ADTRACK 3) and one information management task (MAZE) from the MICROPAT testing system. They then embarked on a standardized fibreoptic training programme during which they performed 15 supervised fibreoptic nasotracheal intubations on anaesthetized oral surgery patients. There was a significant correlation between the means of the 15 endoscopy times and both ADTRACK 2 (r = -0.599, P = 0.014) and ADTRACK 3 (r = -0.589, P = 0.016) scores. The correlation between the means of the 15 endoscopy times and MAZE scores was not significant. The ratios of the mean endoscopy time for the last seven endoscopies to the mean endoscopy time for the first seven endoscopies were not significantly correlated with ADTRACK 2, ADTRACK 3 or MAZE scores. Psychomotor abilities appeared to be determinants of trainees' initial proficiency in endoscopy, but did not appear to be determinants of trainees' rates of progress during early fibreoptic training. (+info
Effect of training on the ability of dual-task coordination.
Within the framework of the working memory model proposed by A. Baddeley and G. Hitch, a dual-task paradigm has been suggested to evaluate the capacity to perform simultaneously two concurrent tasks. This capacity is assumed to reflect the functioning of the central executive component, which appears to be impaired in patients with dysexecutive syndrome. The present study extends the investigation of an index ("mu"), which is supposed to indicate the capacity of coordination of concurrent auditory digit span and tracking tasks, by testing the influence of training on the performance in the dual task. The presentation of the same digit sequence lists or always-different lists did not differently affect the performance. The span length affected the mu values. The improved performance in the tasks under the dual condition closely resembled the improvement in the single-task performance. So, although training improved performance in the single and dual conditions, especially for the tracking component, the mu values remained stable throughout the sessions when the single tasks were performed first. Conversely, training improved the capacity of dual-task coordination throughout the sessions when dual task was performed first, addressing the issue of the contribution of the within-session practice to the mu index. (+info
Functional correlates of musical and visual ability in frontotemporal dementia.
BACKGROUND: The emergence of new skills in the setting of dementia suggests that loss of function in one brain area can release new functions elsewhere. AIMS: To characterise 12 patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) who acquired, or sustained, new musical or visual abilities despite progression of their dementia. METHOD: Twelve patients with FTD who acquired or maintained musical or artistic ability were compared with 46 patients with FTD in whom new or sustained ability was absent. RESULTS: The group with musical or visual ability performed better on visual, but worse on verbal tasks than did the other patients with FTD. Nine had asymmetrical left anterior dysfunction. Nine showed the temporal lobe variant of FTD. CONCLUSION: Loss of function in the left anterior temporal lobe may lead to facilitation of artistic or musical skills. Patients with the left-sided temporal lobe variant of FTD offer an unexpected window into the neurological mediation of visual and musical talents. (+info
Phonological awareness in children with Down syndrome.
Research in the area of phonological awareness has mainly focused on the nature of the relationship between reading ability and awareness of phonemes. However, a recent study of phonological awareness in children with Down syndrome questioned the existence of any necessary relationship (Cossu, Rossini & Marshall, 1993). This paper describes a study of phonological awareness in children with Down syndrome with varying levels of reading ability. The sample consisted of 10 male and 7 female children with Down syndrome (aged 9 years 2 months to 14 years 5 months). All children received a battery of tests which consisted of assessments of: 1) phonological awareness, 2) reading and spelling competence, 3) non-word reading and spelling ability, and 4) non-verbal measures. Children with Down syndrome demonstrated measurable levels of phonological awareness. Significant positive correlations were found between phonological awareness and: reading and spelling competence, ability to spell non-words and non-verbal measures. (+info
Well- and ill-defined measures of everyday cognition: relationship to older adults' intellectual ability and functional status.
The present study examined 2 approaches to the measurement of everyday cognition in older adults. Measures differing in the degree of structure offered for solving problems in the domains of medication use, financial management, and food preparation and nutrition were administered to a sample of 130 community-dwelling older adults ranging in age from 60 to 90 (M = 73 years, SD = 7.02 years). Well-defined and ill-defined everyday problem-solving measures, which varied in the amount of means-end-related information provided to participants, were used. The study found that (a) well- and ill-defined measures were moderately interrelated, (b) the 2 approaches were differentially related to basic cognitive abilities, and (c) together the 2 approaches explained over half of the variance in older adults' everyday instrumental functioning and were in fact better predictors of everyday functioning than traditional psychometric cognitive measures. Discussion focuses on the differential importance of both methods for assessing older adults' everyday cognitive functioning. (+info
Predicting student performance in preclinical technique courses using the theory of ability determinants of skilled performance.
The purpose of this research was to validate Ackerman's theory of ability determinants of skilled performance using sub-test scores of the Dental Admission Test (DAT) in predicting student performance in preclinical technique courses. The Ackerman theory is a valid, reliable schema in the applied psychology literature used to predict complex skill acquisition. Inconsistent stimulus-response skill acquisition depends primarily on determinants of cognitive ability. The cognitive phase of skill acquisition is associated with demands on general abilities. Task accomplishment requires attentional resources, and inconsistent tasks do not improve with practice. It is theorized that the Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) is a valid cognitive determinant for spatial ability in this schema. Each new procedure learned in the preclinical technique courses is novel, includes a spatial relations component, and reflects inconsistent skill acquisition. The PAT scores of four classes were compared to the final grades in eight preclinical technique courses. Results showed that PAT scores account for a significantly high proportion, approximately 25 percent, of the variance of the final grades in the preclinical technique courses. Based on this strong correlation, dental school admissions committees may consider re-evaluating the weight of the DAT scores in the admissions process. (+info
A longitudinal study of mathematical competencies in children with specific mathematics difficulties versus children with comorbid mathematics and reading difficulties.
Mathematical competencies of 180 children were examined at 4 points between 2nd and 3rd grades (age range between 7 and 9 years). Children were initially classified into one of 4 groups: math difficulties but normal reading (MD only), math and reading difficulties (MD-RD), reading difficulties but normal math (RD only), and normal achievement in math and reading (NA). The groups did not differ significantly in rate of development. However, at the end of 3rd grade the MD only group performed better than the MD-RD group in problem solving but not in calculation. The NA and RD only groups performed better than the MD-RD group in most areas. Deficiencies in fact mastery and calculation fluency, in particular, are defining features of MD, with or without RD. (+info