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Concept: Marathon


We compared the impact of media vs. direct exposure on acute stress response to collective trauma. We conducted an Internet-based survey following the Boston Marathon bombings between April 29 and May 13, 2013, with representative samples of residents from Boston (n = 846), New York City (n = 941), and the remainder of the United States (n = 2,888). Acute stress symptom scores were comparable in Boston and New York [regression coefficient (b) = 0.43; SE = 1.42; 95% confidence interval (CI), -2.36, 3.23], but lower nationwide when compared with Boston (b = -2.21; SE = 1.07; 95% CI, -4.31, -0.12). Adjusting for prebombing mental health (collected prospectively), demographics, and prior collective stress exposure, six or more daily hours of bombing-related media exposure in the week after the bombings was associated with higher acute stress than direct exposure to the bombings (continuous acute stress symptom total: media exposure b = 15.61 vs. direct exposure b = 5.69). Controlling for prospectively collected prebombing television-watching habits did not change the findings. In adjusted models, direct exposure to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Sandy Hook School shootings were both significantly associated with bombing-related acute stress; Superstorm Sandy exposure wasn’t. Prior exposure to similar and/or violent events may render some individuals vulnerable to the negative effects of collective traumas. Repeatedly engaging with trauma-related media content for several hours daily shortly after collective trauma may prolong acute stress experiences and promote substantial stress-related symptomatology. Mass media may become a conduit that spreads negative consequences of community trauma beyond directly affected communities.

Concepts: United States, New York City, Massachusetts, New England, Marathon, Remainder, September 11 attacks, Acute stress reaction


Several studies have correlated elevations in cardiac biomarkers of injury post marathon with transient and reversible right ventricular (RV) systolic dysfunction as assessed by both transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). Whether or not permanent myocardial injury occurs due to repeated marathon running in the aging population remains controversial.

Concepts: Heart, Echocardiography, Muscle, Cardiac muscle, Circulatory system, Cardiovascular system, Running, Marathon


Bright sunlight filtered through the awnings of the medical tent pitched in Copley Square, where I joined the many medical professionals caring for people who’d fallen ill from their 26.2-mile run. Some volunteers had been staffing the medical tent for years - one nurse had worked at the Boston Marathon more than 25 times. Sickened and stressed runners poured into our makeshift hospital. A runner stumbled in and vomited into a bag. We helped him onto a cot, where he sat shivering. “You’re OK,” a nurse said gently, wiping his face. But his core temperature had dropped to 96 degrees, . . .

Concepts: Health care, Patient, Marathon, Boston Marathon, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, World Marathon Majors, Bobbi Gibb, Copley Square


At 2:50 p.m. on April 15, nearly 3 hours after the first runner completed the Boston Marathon, two blasts ripped through the crowd that was gathered along the approach to the finish line, killing 3 people and injuring more than 260. Within moments, the crowd’s initial panic was replaced by purposeful action, as bystanders ran to, rather than from, the horror to help the injured. Law-enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel swiftly converged on the scene. Within minutes, ambulances began transporting the most critically injured to nearby hospitals. Once victims reached Boston’s hospitals, the story continued in the same . . .

Concepts: Ambulance, Emergency medical services, Massachusetts, Emergency medical technician, Marathon, Boston Marathon, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, World Marathon Majors


Existing evidence on whether marathon running contributes to hip and knee arthritis is inconclusive. Our aim was to describe hip and knee health in active marathon runners, including the prevalence of pain, arthritis, and arthroplasty, and associated risk factors.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Rheumatoid arthritis, Avicenna, Osteoarthritis, Hip replacement, Prevalence, Running, Marathon


The first aim of this study was to determine the age group at which marathon performance declines in top male and female runners and to compare that to the runners of average ability. Another aim of this of this study was to examine the age-related yearly decline in marathon performance between age group winners and the average marathon finisher. Data from the New York (NYC), Boston, and Chicago marathons from 2001-2016 were analyzed. Age, sex, and location were used in multiple linear regression models to determine the rate of decline in marathon times. Winners of each age group were assessed in 5-year increments from 16 through 74 years old (n = 47 per age group). The fastest times were between 25-34 years old, with overall champion males at 28.3 years old, and overall champion females at 30.8 years old (p = 0.004). At 35 years of age up to 74 years of age, female age group winners had a faster yearly decline in marathon finishing times compared to male age group winners, irrespective of marathon location [women = (min:sec) 2:33 per year, n = 336; men = 2:06 per year, n = 373, p < 0.01]. The median times between each age group only slowed beginning at 50 years old, thereafter the decline was similar between both men and women (women = 2:36, n = 140; men = 2:57, n = 150, p = 0.11). The median times were fastest at Boston and similar between Chicago and NYC. In conclusion, the rate of decline at 35 years old up to 74 years old is roughly linear (adjusted r2 = 0.88, p < 0.001) with female age group winners demonstrating 27 s per year greater decline per year compared to male age group winners.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Male, Female, Gender, Sex, Gamete, Marathon


Various theories have been posed to explain the fitness payoffs of hunting success among hunter-gatherers. ‘Having’ theories refer to the acquisition of resources, and include the direct provisioning hypothesis. In contrast, ‘getting’ theories concern the signalling of male resourcefulness and other desirable traits, such as athleticism and intelligence, via hunting prowess. We investigated the association between androgenisation and endurance running ability as a potential signalling mechanism, whereby running prowess, vital for persistence hunting, might be used as a reliable signal of male reproductive fitness by females. Digit ratio (2D:4D) was used as a proxy for prenatal androgenisation in 439 males and 103 females, while a half marathon race (21km), representing a distance/duration comparable with that of persistence hunting, was used to assess running ability. Digit ratio was significantly and positively correlated with half-marathon time in males (right hand: r = 0.45, p<0.001; left hand: r = 0.42, p<0.001) and females (right hand: r = 0.26, p<0.01; left hand: r = 0.23, p = 0.02). Sex-interaction analysis showed that this correlation was significantly stronger in males than females, suggesting that androgenisation may have experienced stronger selective pressure from endurance running in males. As digit ratio has previously been shown to predict reproductive success, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that endurance running ability may signal reproductive potential in males, through its association with prenatal androgen exposure. However, further work is required to establish whether and how females respond to this signalling for fitness.

Concepts: Human, Male, Reproduction, Female, Gender, Finger, Marathon, Haile Gebrselassie


INTRODUCTION: Susceptibility to pain varies among individuals and may predispose to a higher risk for pain disorders. Thus, it is of interest to investigate subjects who exhibit higher resistance to pain. We therefore tested pain tolerance and assessed personality traits of ultra-marathon athletes who are able to run 4487 km (2789 mi) over 64 days without resting days and compare the results to controls. METHODS: After approval of the local ethics committee and with informed consent, 11 participants of the TransEurope FootRace (TEFR09 participants) and 11 matched (age, sex, and ethnicity) controls without marathon experience in the last 5 years were enrolled. They were tested for cold pain tolerance (cold pressor [CP] test), and the 240 item trait and character inventory (TCI) as well as the general self-efficacy (GSE) test were obtained. RESULTS: TransEurope FootRace participants had a highly significant greater cold pain tolerance in the CP test than controls (P = 0.0002). While the GSE test showed no differences, the TCI test provided TEFR09 participants to be less cooperative and reward dependent but more spiritually transcendent than the controls. Significant positive correlations were found between the CP test pain score at 180 seconds and several TCI subscales showing that higher pain scores correlate with higher reward dependence, dependence, cooperativeness, empathy, and pure-hearted conscience. CONCLUSIONS: Personality profiles as well as pain tolerance of our sample of TEFR09 participants differ from normal controls and-as obtained in previous studies-probably also from chronic pain patients. Low pain perception may predispose a person to become a long-distance runner. It remains unclear, however, whether low pain perception is cause or consequence of continuous extreme training.

Concepts: Psychology, Informed consent, Personality psychology, Pain, Neuroticism, Chronic pain, Trait theory, Marathon


School staff provide key mental health services following mass crisis events and teachers, in particular, can provide important supports within their classrooms. This study examines Boston-area teachers' perception of classroom-wide psychiatric distress and the types of supports that schools and teachers provided following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt. Boston-area K-12 teachers (N = 147) in communities with varying levels of exposure to the bombing and manhunt completed an anonymous web-based survey 2-5 months after the attack. Teachers reported on students' exposure to the bombings and manhunt, classroom-wide psychiatric distress, and the types of supports they and their schools provided students. Teacher reports of student exposure to the bombings and manhunt were significantly associated with their perceptions of greater classroom-wide psychiatric distress. Almost half indicated that their school had no formal policy for responding to the crisis, half reported no training to address events, and even the most common classroom-based support strategy-reassuring students of their safety-was provided by only 76 % of teachers. Teacher perceptions of student exposure to the manhunt, but not the bombing, were significantly associated with greater provision of these supports. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt, teachers and schools provided supports; however, the extent and types of supports varied considerably. Working with teachers to most effectively and consistently serve in this complex role has the potential to improve school-based crisis response plans, as well as student outcomes.

Concepts: Psychology, Education, Mental health, High school, School, Teacher, Marathon, Boston Marathon


Prolonged exercise, such as marathon running, has been associated with an increase in respiratory mucosal inflammation. The aim of this pilot study was to examine the effects of Montmorency cherry juice on markers of stress, immunity and inflammation following a Marathon.

Concepts: Muscle, Respiratory system, Upper respiratory tract, Upper respiratory tract infection, Lower respiratory tract, Running, Marathon, Cherries