Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Does science help the world?... you decide

Today I received an e-mail looking for student editors at the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, so I went over there and checked it out. After perusing an article on the History of the Ear, I read some of the Yale School of Medicine 2003 Thesis Abstracts. Here is my favorite:

Performance Results of the New York City Marathon 1983-1999. Andrew J.
Cooper, Paul M. Sethi, and Peter Jokl. Department of Orthopaedics, Yale University
School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

The purpose of the study is to determine whether elite master (age, more than 50)
male and female athletes improved, as a group, in running times over the last two decades
at a greater rate than their younger counterparts. Running time, age, and gender of all
415,000 runners in the New York City Marathon from 1983 to 1999 were examined using
linear regression analysis. The number of master participants increased at a greater rate
than the younger age groups (p < .05). For all runners, average running times have not significantly
changed for the time period under review. Running times, however, for the top
50 male and top 50 female finishers over the past two decades showed statistically greater
improvement in the master group compared to their younger counterparts (p < .001). During
this period the 20 to 29 and 30 to 39-year-old groups had slower running times (p <
.05); the 50 to 59 male runners improved their times by about eight seconds (0.13 minutes)
per year; the female 50 to 59 group by 2.08 minutes per year. The 60 to 69 males
improved by 1:14 min annually (p < .05) versus 3.79 minutes per year for the females.
NYC Marathon participation is increasing at a higher rate in the master groups. The top
finishers demonstrate that the male and female masters continued to improve running
times at a greater rate than the younger groups, whose performance levels have plateaued.
The biggest time improvements are observed in the elite master female runners.


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