Effect of discussion and deliberation on the public's views of priority setting in health care: focus group study.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the extent to which people change their views about priority setting in health care as a result of discussion and deliberation. DESIGN: A random sample of patients from two urban general practices was invited to attend two focus group meetings, a fortnight apart. SETTING: North Yorkshire Health Authority. SUBJECTS: 60 randomly chosen patients meeting in 10 groups of five to seven people. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Differences between people's views at the start of the first meeting and at the end of the second meeting, after they have had an opportunity for discussion and deliberation, measured by questionnaires at the start of the first meeting and the end of the second meeting. RESULTS: Respondents became more reticent about the role that their views should play in determining priorities and more sympathetic to the role that healthcare managers play. About a half of respondents initially wanted to give lower priority to smokers, heavy drinkers, and illegal drug users, but after discussion many no longer wished to discriminate against these people. CONCLUSION: The public's views about setting priorities in health care are systematically different when they have been given an opportunity to discuss the issues. If the considered opinions of the general public are required, surveys that do not allow respondents time or opportunity for reflection may be of doubtful value. (+info
Critical thinking: a central element in developing action competence in health and environmental education.
In the field of educational philosophy, health and environmental education share many common goals and challenges on the level of curriculum theorizing as well as the level of pedagogical practice. One of these challenges is to develop a radical philosophy of education which is critical and takes a controversial point of departure rather than the one of accommodation. It highlights, in other words, the socially critical role of education. From this point of view some key concepts are discussed in the paper in relation to health and environmental education: democracy as means and end, critical thinking, the critical orientation, and the action perspective. One of these concepts, critical thinking, is elaborated in particular as it is considered to be essential to pupils' development of action competence. A description is given how it can be seen from four perspectives: the epistemological, the transformative, the dialectical and the holistic. (+info
Sources of mathematical thinking: behavioral and brain-imaging evidence.
Does the human capacity for mathematical intuition depend on linguistic competence or on visuo-spatial representations? A series of behavioral and brain-imaging experiments provides evidence for both sources. Exact arithmetic is acquired in a language-specific format, transfers poorly to a different language or to novel facts, and recruits networks involved in word-association processes. In contrast, approximate arithmetic shows language independence, relies on a sense of numerical magnitudes, and recruits bilateral areas of the parietal lobes involved in visuo-spatial processing. Mathematical intuition may emerge from the interplay of these brain systems. (+info
Measurement of delusional ideation in the normal population: introducing the PDI (Peters et al. Delusions Inventory).
The Peters et al. Delusions Inventory (PDI) was designed to measure delusional ideation in the normal population, using the Present State Examination as a template. The multidimensionality of delusions was incorporated by assessing measures of distress, preoccupation, and conviction. Individual items were endorsed by one in four adults on average. No sex differences were found, and an inverse relationship with age was obtained. Good internal consistency was found, and its concurrent validity was confirmed by the percentages of common variance with three scales measuring schizotypy, magical ideation, and delusions. PDI scores up to 1 year later remained consistent, establishing its test-retest reliability. Psychotic inpatients had significantly higher scores, establishing its criterion validity. The ranges of scores between the normal and deluded groups overlapped considerably, consistent with the continuity view of psychosis. The two samples were differentiated by their ratings on the distress, preoccupation, and conviction scales, confirming the necessity for a multidimensional analysis of delusional thinking. Possible avenues of research using this scale and its clinical utility are highlighted. (+info
Mapping the network for planning: a correlational PET activation study with the Tower of London task.
We used the Tower of London task (TOL) and H(2)(15)O-PET to map the network of brain structures involved in planning. Six healthy right-handed subjects had 12 measurements of relative regional cerebral blood flow (rrCBF) during six conditions, each performed twice. There was one rest condition, and five sets of TOL problems at different complexity levels, performed on a touch-sensitive computer monitor with the right arm. Complexity was defined as the number of moves required to solve each problem. Activation was analysed in two ways: a category analysis comparing levels of rrCBF during rest and task was done to identify all structures involved in performance of the TOL; and a correlation analysis was carried out to delineate a subset of structures where the levels of rrCBF correlated with task complexity. Activated brain areas in which rrCBF increases did not correlate with complexity could be grouped into: (i) regions belonging to the dorsal stream of visual input processing, namely visual cortical areas 17, 18 and 19, and posterior parietal cortical areas 7 and 40; and (ii) regions involved in the execution and sequencing of arm movements (right cerebellum, left primary motor cortex and supplementary motor area). Brain regions where levels of rrCBF correlated with task complexity included lateral premotor cortex (area 6), rostral anterior cingulate cortex (areas 32 and 24), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (areas 9 and 46) bilaterally, and right dorsal caudate nucleus. We propose that dorsolateral prefrontal, lateral premotor, anterior cingulate and caudate areas form a network for the planning of movement that interacts with brain areas primarily involved in visual processing and movement execution. (+info
Brain structures related to active and passive finger movements in man.
A PET study was performed in six normal volunteers to elucidate the functional localization of the sensory afferent component during finger movement. Brain activation during the passive movement driven by a servo-motor was compared with that during an auditory-cued active movement which was controlled kinematically in the same way as the passive one. A newly developed device was used for selectively activating proprioception with a minimal contribution from tactile senses. Active movement was associated with activation of multiple areas, including the contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex, premotor cortex, supplementary motor area (SMA), bilateral secondary somatosensory areas and basal ganglia and ipsilateral cerebellum. In contrast, only the contralateral primary and secondary somatosensory areas were activated by the passive movement. It is likely that the contribution of proprioceptive input to the activation of the premotor cortex, SMA, cerebellum and basal ganglia, if any, is small. However, the present results do not rule out the possibility that the cutaneous afferent input or the combination of cutaneous and proprioceptive input participates in the activation of those areas during the active movement. (+info
Selective right parietal lobe activation during mental rotation: a parametric PET study.
Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured with PET in seven healthy subjects while they carried out a mental rotation task in which they decided whether alphanumeric characters presented in different orientations were in their canonical form or mirror-reversed. Consistent with previous findings, subjects took proportionally longer to respond as characters were rotated further from the upright, indicating that they were mentally rotating the characters to the upright position before making a decision. We used a parametric design in which we varied the mental rotation demands in an incremental fashion while keeping all other aspects of the task constant. In four different scanning conditions, 10, 40, 70 or 100% of the stimuli presented during the scan required mental rotation while the rest were upright. The statistical parametric mapping technique was used to identify areas where changes in rCBF were correlated with the rotational demands of the task. Significant activation was found in only one area located in the right posterior parietal lobe, centred on the intraparietal sulcus (Brodmann area 7). The experimental literature on monkeys and humans suggests that this area is involved in a variety of spatial transformations. Our results contribute evidence that such transformations are recruited during mental rotation and add to a body of evidence which suggests that the right posterior parietal lobe is important for carrying out visuospatial transformations. (+info
Teaching critical thinking skills in physiology.
This is a report of a workshop presented at Experimental Biology '99 on April 18, 1999, in Washington, DC. (+info