Low visual information-processing speed and attention are predictors of fatigue in elementary and junior high school students

Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Osaka City, Osaka 545-8585, Japan.
Behavioral and Brain Functions (Impact Factor: 1.97). 06/2011; 7(1):20. DOI: 10.1186/1744-9081-7-20
Source: PubMed


Fatigue is a common complaint among elementary and junior high school students, and is known to be associated with reduced academic performance. Recently, we demonstrated that fatigue was correlated with decreased cognitive function in these students. However, no studies have identified cognitive predictors of fatigue. Therefore, we attempted to determine independent cognitive predictors of fatigue in these students.
We performed a prospective cohort study. One hundred and forty-two elementary and junior high school students without fatigue participated. They completed a variety of paper-and-pencil tests, including list learning and list recall tests, kana pick-out test, semantic fluency test, figure copying test, digit span forward test, and symbol digit modalities test. The participants also completed computerized cognitive tests (tasks A to E on the modified advanced trail making test). These cognitive tests were used to evaluate motor- and information-processing speed, immediate and delayed memory function, auditory and visual attention, divided and switching attention, retrieval of learned material, and spatial construction. One year after the tests, a questionnaire about fatigue (Japanese version of the Chalder Fatigue Scale) was administered to all the participants.
After the follow-up period, we confirmed 40 cases of fatigue among 118 students. In multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for grades and gender, poorer performance on visual information-processing speed and attention tasks was associated with increased risk of fatigue.
Reduced visual information-processing speed and poor attention are independent predictors of fatigue in elementary and junior high school students.

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