Resting heart rates were ascertained during the 1978-1979 school year in 3590 children aged 5-17 years in the biracial geographic population of Bogalusa, Louisiana. These rates were found to be relatively independent of the method of measurement, whether supine by physician's stethoscope or dressed sitting radial pulse taken by a nurse, and in either case adhering to a strict measurement protocol. Apart from the known influences of age and sex, the authors found a small but consistent racial influence, with whites having 3-4 beats/min higher rates than blacks. Controlling for age, the authors found heart rate to be positively correlated with blood pressure in whites and with subcapsular skinfold thickness in boys. No consistent relation between heart rate and amount of cigarettes smoked was observed. Boys in the upper five percentiles of blood pressure-heart rate ("double") product values were found to have about twice the subscapular skinfold thickness compared to the lower five percentiles. Likewise, boys in the upper five percentiles of subscapular skinfold thickness had significantly increased double products. Since the double product is an index of cardiac oxygen consumption, this finding could point to a possible etiologic link between obesity and chronic cardiac stress in males beyond the mediation of lipoproteins, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus in contributing to atherosclerotic heart disease, but this issue needs further study. Ascertainment of resting heart rate provides an additional parameter in the study of cardiovascular risk factor variables, in youth as in adulthood, to supplement the natural history of the atherosclerosis-hypertension syndrome with its sequelae.
"Summarizing multiple findings from the literature, based primarily on reviews by Farrington (1997) and Raine (2002): • violent child and adolescent offenders have significantly lower heart rates than controls, regardless of situational context, with an average effect size (Cohen's d) (Cohen, 1988) of 0.56; • the LHR–violence association remains significant after controlling for numerous potential confounding factors, such as height, weight, IQ, motor activity, drug and alcohol use, exercise, socioeconomic status, family size, and teenage pregnancy; • LHR typifies young children with a disinhibited temperament that in turn predisposes to juvenile delinquency and adult aggressive behavior; • LHR at age 3 predicts aggressive behavior at age 11; • LHR is diagnostically specific for conduct disorder, and the association has been confirmed in at least six international studies; • LHR is one of only two predictors of violence that are independent of all other psychosocial and family risk factors, the other being poor concentration, and it is more strongly associated with violence than having a criminal parent; • the relationship is consistent with gender differences in resting heart rate (females N males) (Voors et al., 1982) and is also heritable, i.e., the offspring of criminal parents have LHRs, and LHR at ages 7, 9 and 11 is associated with life course persistent offending (Moffitt and Caspi, 2001); • LHR characterizes both male and female antisocial individuals and it increases the risk of adult offending if the individual came from a large family, the mother was a teenager, or there were experiences of early separation. • LHR characterizes aggression in a variety of animal species; • conversely, high heart rate is an established protective factor against the development of criminal behavior. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low resting heart rate is a strong and consistent predictor of conduct disorder and chronic aggression. Explanations such as fearlessness and low arousal-induced stimulus-seeking have been offered, assuming a causal association between the phenomena, but the origin of low heart rate and its significance for understanding aggression and violence remain obscure. Retinoids (vitamin A and its congeners) play important roles in embryogenesis and neural development. Several lines of evidence also suggest a causal role of retinoids in aggression as well as cognitive and mood disorders. The hypothesis is proposed that retinoid overexpression in utero induces, via a noradrenergic-to-cholinergic switch, alterations in cardiac functioning and hemodynamics resulting in low resting heart rate, brain structural and functional changes, minor physical anomalies, and persistent aggression. Retinoid toxicity occurring early in pregnancy could represent a final common pathway by which various prenatal challenges result in conduct disorder and chronic aggression (e.g., maternal cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, exposure to environmental chemicals, stress, trauma or infection). Implications of the model for understanding related aspects of chronic aggression are discussed, as well as strategies for prevention and treatment.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 12/2008; 33(2):205-13. DOI:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2008.10.019 · 3.69 Impact Factor
"Unfortunately a similar body of knowledge is not currently available describing the mechanisms responsible for high blood pressure in children. A limited number of studies have measured the determinants of blood pressure in lean and obese children using non-invasive measures, such as acetylene re-breathing and echocardiography (Voors et al 1982; Rocchini et al 1989; Daniels et al 1996). In contrast to commonly held beliefs, these studies reveal that overweight children are characterized by an increased resting cardiac output mediated in large part by an expanded stroke volume and not an elevated systemic vascular resistance (Rocchini et al 1989; Daniels et al 1996). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity is a growing problem in developed countries and is likely a major cause of the increased prevalence of high blood pressure in children. The aim of this review is to provide clinicians and clinical scientists with an overview of the current state of the literature describing the negative influence of obesity on blood pressure and it's determinants in children. In short, we discuss the array of vascular abnormalities seen in overweight children and adolescents, including endothelial dysfunction, arterial stiffening and insulin resistance. We also discuss the potential role of an increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system in the development of high blood pressure and vascular dysfunction associated with obesity. As there is little consensus regarding the methods to prevent or treat high blood pressure in children, we also provide a summary of the evidence supporting relationship between physical activity and blood pressure in children and adolescents. After reviewing a number of physical activity intervention studies performed in children, it appears as though 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic-based physical activity 3-5 days/week is required to improve vascular function and reduce blood pressure in obese children. Future studies should focus on describing the influence of physical activity on blood pressure control in overweight children.
Vascular Health and Risk Management 02/2007; 3(1):139-49.
"Blacks were found to have the faster heart rates as newborns and at 6 months of age; from 15 to 60 months of age, however, the racial group differences were no longer present. Using data from the Bogalusa Heart Study, Voors et al. (1982) examined differences in resting heart rate in Black and White children aged 5-17 years. A small but reliable heart rate difference of 3-4 beats per minute was found between Black and White children, with the lower rate observed in the Black children. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Essential hypertension is perhaps the number-one health problem of Black Americans. Research has indicated that stress-induced cardiovascular hyperreactivity may be a significant contributor to essential hypertension. The high prevalence of hypertension among Blacks suggests that this group, in comparison with Whites, may be particularly susceptible to cardiovascular hyperreactivity. The first portion of this article reviews research to date that has examined racial differences in resting and stressor-induced cardiovascular activity. The second half of this article overviews some critical methodological and conceptual issues involved in the study of racial differences in reactivity. These issues include the effects of Black-White differences in plasma renin levels and sodium excretion, the effects of experimenter race, and differences in perceptions of the laboratory environment. Additionally, the issue of racial group classification and the implications this has for interpreting Black-White differences in reactivity is discussed. Two perspectives on racial group classification, the genetic and the sociocultural, are addressed in some detail, and the relevance of each to research on racial differences in stress reactivity is presented.
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