January 28th, 2007 - Open Knowledge
Jan. 28th, 2007
05:05 pm - A Star Is Made:
A Star Is Made
By STEPHEN J. DUBNER and STEVEN D. LEVITT
Published: May 7, 2006
The Birth-Month Soccer Anomaly
Illustration by Paul Sahre
If you were to examine the birth certificates of every soccer player in next month's World Cup tournament, you would most likely find a noteworthy quirk: elite soccer players are more likely to have been born in the earlier months of the year than in the later months. If you then examined the European national youth teams that feed the World Cup and professional ranks, you would find this quirk to be even more pronounced. On recent English teams, for instance, half of the elite teenage soccer players were born in January, February or March, with the other half spread out over the remaining 9 months. In Germany, 52 elite youth players were born in the first three months of the year, with just 4 players born in the last three.
What might account for this anomaly? Here are a few guesses: a) certain astrological signs confer superior soccer skills; b) winter-born babies tend to have higher oxygen capacity, which increases soccer stamina; c) soccer-mad parents are more likely to conceive children in springtime, at the annual peak of soccer mania; d) none of the above.
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Heart-failure Patients Show Brain Injury Linked To Depression
Science Daily — A UCLA imaging study revealed significant tissue loss in theregions of heart-failure patients' brains that regulate the autonomicnervous system, interfering with the cardiovascular system's ability to swiftly adapt to changes in blood pressure and heart rate. The damagelies in the same brain areas showing changes in people suffering majordepression, which may explain why many heart-failure patients are often depressed.
The brain damage could dramatically affect heart-failure patients' ability to exercise and lowers their overall quality of life. Clinically, the findings emphasize the need for (1) cardiologists to recognize that heart-failure patients suffer from a brain injury, as well as a heart injury, and (2) that drugs or other therapies must bedeveloped to cross the blood-brain barrier, prevent brain injury and boost brain function.
Authors of the study include Mary Woo, associate deanof research at the UCLA School of Nursing, and Ronald Harper, professorof neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
The research will appear in the August edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Cardiac Failure, Vol. 11, No. 6.
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