Socioeconomic status and blood pressure reactivity in healthy black adolescents.
Adolescents in low-socioeconomic-status environments are more susceptible to illnesses, such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. This study examined the influence of both neighborhood- and family-level socioeconomic status (SES) on blood pressure (BP) reactivity in a healthy sample of 76 black adolescents. It was hypothesized that a higher level of parental education and/or income would reduce the elevated BP reactivity associated with living in poorer neighborhoods. Census-derived data were obtained using each participant's address. Neighborhood level of SES was based on percentage of households below the poverty line, female-headed households, owner-occupied housing, percentage vacant housing, and average number of persons per household. Family level of SES was based on self-reported level of parental education and annual family income. Adolescents participated in a competitive video game to establish their BP reactivity scores. As predicted, adolescents who lived in poorer neighborhoods had lower diastolic BPs if their parents were more (versus less) educated (P<0.05; 7+/-8 versus 13+/-6 mm Hg). Adolescents who lived in poorer neighborhoods also had significantly lower diastolic BP reactivity (P<0.05) if their family had a higher (versus lower) annual income (7+/-7 versus 12+/-8 mm Hg). These data are the first to demonstrate the buffering effect of family SES on the negative health consequences of living in low-SES neighborhoods in healthy black adolescents. (+info)
Racial differences in endothelin-1 at rest and in response to acute stress in adolescent males.
Blacks exhibit greater vasoconstriction-mediated blood pressure (BP) increases in response to stress than do whites. Endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictive peptide, has been proposed as having a role in racial differences in stress reactivity. We evaluated the hemodynamic and plasma ET-1 levels of 41 (23 whites, 18 blacks, mean age 18.6 years) normotensive adolescent males at rest and in response to a video game challenge and forehead cold stimulation. Measurements were performed at catheter insertion and before and immediately after the 2 stressors, which were separated by 20-minute rest periods. Blacks exhibited higher absolute levels of diastolic blood pressure, total peripheral resistance index, or both in response to catheter insertion and to the video game challenge and during recovery from video game challenge and cold stimulation (P<0. 05 for all). Blacks exhibited higher absolute levels of ET-1 at every evaluation point (P<0.05 for all) and greater increases in ET-1 in response to both stressors (ps<0.05). These findings suggest that altered endothelial function may be involved in racial differences in hemodynamic reactivity to stress and possibly in the development of essential hypertension. (+info)
Subjective daytime sleepiness in schoolchildren.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to find out how the occurrence of subjective daytime sleepiness (SDS) in schoolchildren had changed after 2 years follow-up and which were the predictors associated with persistence and appearance of SDS. METHODS: A total of 107 schoolchildren with SDS (Group 1) and an equal number without SDS (Group 2) were chosen to take part in the questionnaire study (age range 12-20 years). The questions concerned sleeping habits, sleep disorders and daytime sleepiness of the child and the family, progress at school and TV/video watching of the child, and social background of the family. A bivariate method (Pearson's chi-square) was used as a statistical tool. RESULTS: We received 68 replies (64%) from Group 1 and 75 (70%) from Group 2. Fifty-four schoolchildren were still sleepy in Group 1 and 28% had become sleepy in Group 2. The persistence of SDS in Group 1 was related to older age, irregular sleeping habits, frequent night waking and the fathers' sleep difficulties. The appearance of SDS in Group 2 was related to a high average grade at school. CONCLUSION: A delayed sleep phase rhythm and problems staying asleep are obvious causes of persistent SDS, but the stress of schoolwork can also cause daytime sleepiness in schoolchildren. (+info)
Replaying the game: hypnagogic images in normals and amnesics.
Participants playing the computer game Tetris reported intrusive, stereotypical, visual images of the game at sleep onset. Three amnesic patients with extensive bilateral medial temporal lobe damage produced similar hypnagogic reports despite being unable to recall playing the game, suggesting that such imagery may arise without important contribution from the declarative memory system. In addition, control participants reported images from previously played versions of the game, demonstrating that remote memories can influence the images from recent waking experience. (+info)
Interaction of procedural factors in human performance on yoked schedules.
The differential effects of reinforcement contingencies and contextual variables on human performance were investigated in two experiments. In Experiment 1, adult human subjects operated a joystick in a video game in which the destruction of targets was arranged according to a yoked variable-ratio variable-interval schedule of reinforcement. Three variables were examined across 12 conditions: verbal instructions, shaping, and the use of a consummatory response following reinforcement (i.e., depositing a coin into a bank). Behavior was most responsive to the reinforcement contingencies when the consummatory response was available, responding was established by shaping, and subjects received minimal verbal instructions about their task. The responsiveness of variable-interval subjects' behavior varied more than that of variable-ratio subjects when these contextual factors were altered. Experiment 2 examined resistance to instructional control under the same yoked-schedules design. Conditions varied in terms of the validity of instructions. Performance on variable-ratio schedules was more resistant to instructional control than that on variable-interval schedules. (+info)
Physical activity in Dublin children aged 7-9 years.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the amount of regular activity and time spent in sedentary occupations in children aged 7--9 years. Sex differences in levels of activity and time and facilities for physical education at school were also examined. METHODS: A 10% sample of Dublin National Schools were selected. Parents of children in second class were surveyed. The questionnaire used was a modification of the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents. Teachers of second class were questioned about the time and facilities for physical education in schools. RESULTS: Some 39% of children were participating in hard exercise for at least 20 minutes three or more times a week, with fewer girls (28%) than boys (53%) contributing to this result. A further 57% of children were engaging in at least 20 minutes of light exercise three or more times a week, with no sex differences. Estimated energy expenditure in regular activity was higher in boys than girls. Most (78%) of the children were spending one to three hours a day sedentary in front of a screen. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides comprehensive data on physical activity levels in Dublin schoolchildren aged 7--9 years. The amount of inactivity is of concern. Even at this young age, boys are reported to participate in more physical activity than girls. (+info)
Video game epilepsy.
Reflex epilepsy is the commonest form of epilepsy in which seizures are provoked by specific external stimulus. Photosensitive reflex epilepsy is provoked by environmental flicker stimuli. Video game epilepsy is considered to be its variant or a pattern sensitive epilepsy. The mean age of onset is around puberty and boys suffer more commonly as they are more inclined to play video games. Television set or computer screen is the commonest precipitants. The treatment remains the removal of the offending stimulus along with drug therapy. Long term prognosis in these patients is better as photosensitivity gradually declines with increasing age. We present two such case of epilepsy induced by video game. (+info)
Cumulative trauma disorder risk for children using computer products: results of a pilot investigation with a student convenience sample.
OBJECTIVES: Cumulative trauma disorder is a major health problem for adults. Despite a growing understanding of adult cumulative trauma disorder, however, little is known about the risks for younger populations. This investigation examined issues related to child/adolescent computer product use and upper body physical discomfort. METHODS: A convenience sample of 212 students, grades 1-12, was interviewed at their homes by a college-age sibling or relative. One of the child's parents was also interviewed. A 22-item questionnaire was used for data-gathering. Questionnaire items included frequency and duration of use, type of computer products/games and input devices used, presence of physical discomfort, and parental concerns related to the child's computer use. RESULTS: Many students experienced physical discomfort attributed to computer use, such as wrist pain (30%) and back pain (15%). Specific computer activities-such as using a joystick or playing noneducational games-were significantly predictive of physical discomfort using logistic multiple regression. Many parents reported difficulty getting their children off the computer (46%) and that their children spent less time outdoors (35%). CONCLUSIONS: Computer product use within this cohort was associated with self-reported physical discomfort. Results suggest a need for more extensive study, including multiyear longitudinal surveys. (+info)