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Abstract

In 1896, the First Modern Olympic Games was held in Athens, Greece. During this event the athletes were required to run clockwise during the track events. This was met with much complaint from the athletes. It was because of these complaints that the IOC then gathered in 1913 and set the current anticlockwise rule. We run counterclockwise because everything in nature tends towards counterclockwise motion. That spectator will perceive the runners as moving left to right-the same direction our eyes move when we read. The human body is slightly heavier than the right because of the heart and when running anticlockwise, the body would tend to very slightly incline towards the left, which could be an advantage while running anticlockwise most people are right hand/leg dominant. Moving counterclockwise we have a better control and move faster. Position of the center of foot pressure during balance tests was correlated with the turning score.
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The Reason Why Do Athletes Run Around the Track Counter-
Clockwise?
a
Mohammad Hadi Tavakkoli,
b
T.P. Jose
a
Ph.D Research Scholar, LNCPE (SAI), Kerala University
India
b
Research Guide & Associate Professor, Kerala, India
In 1896, the First Modern Olympic Games was held in Athens, Greece. During
this event the athletes were required to run clockwise during the track events.
This was met with much complaint from the athletes. It was because of these
complaints that the IOC then gathered in 1913 and set the current anti-clockwise
rule. We run counter-clockwise because everything in nature tends towards
counter-clockwise motion. That spectator will perceive the runners as moving left to
right - the same direction our eyes move when we read. The human body is slightly
heavier than the right because of the heart and when running anticlockwise, the body
would tend to very slightly incline towards the left, which could be an advantage
while running anticlockwise most people are right hand/leg dominant. Moving
counterclockwise we have a better control and move faster. Position of the center of
foot pressure during balance tests was correlated with the turning score.
KEYWORDS: Athlete, Clockwise, Counter clockwise, Track & Field
The Riddle
Whenever we watch any track & field events, specifically a race like 200 m,
400 m, 800 m, or 1500 m we just watch the speed in which the athletes run, but
never focus or attention on a crucial fact that runners run in counter-clockwise
direction only. Generally people brush aside it as something trivial because they are
least bothered whether the athlete runs clockwise or counter-clockwise. However, for
a curious mind this proposition stands as a million dollar question to which answer
must be sought.
We are aware that no event in this universe occurs without a cause whether or
not we are aware of it or not. It is true and perhaps well-known to us that all runners
on the athletic track run only in counter-clockwise direction and noticeably there
are only left turns on their path usually when it is 400m, 800m or more (Syah,
2010). Observably, runners have to cover more laps and on their way they have
only left turns. For a moment, let us not confuse which is clockwise and which
counter-clockwise but just imagine the situation as such we are watching the
runners, sitting in the stadium. Then we can clearly understand that the runners
run in counter-clockwise direction all time (i.e. for example… opposite to the
direction, in wish we brush your teeth, if we are a right handed).
Now we can have a clear idea about the direction in which the athletes run
on the track. Interestingly, it is not that only the track athletes run counter-
clockwise but also circular sport athletes (discus and hammer throwers and
shot putters) make the rotational movement in counter-clockwise direction. Even
motorcycle and formula 1 racing are run counter-clockwise (Simone, 2009).
Physical educators, biologists, biomechanics experts, physiologists, and
historians have tried to explain this phenomenon using facts casually gathered
but no empirical evidence. Many theories are thrown around to define the reason
Abstract
International Educational E-Journal, {Quarterly}, ISSN 2277-2456, Volume-II, Issue-IV, Oct-Nov-Dec 2013
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why athletes always run around the track counter-clockwise. The whole issue it
seems is wrapped in fact and fiction, and to find a convincing reason is a
Herculean task from out of several interesting explanations offered by many
individuals (Anthony, 2012).
The Roman Tradition
Who actually knows why athletes are made to run on the track counter-
clockwise but from a historical viewpoint, the legend has it that the chariot
races at Rome`s Circus Maximus stadium in the sixth century BC were traditionally
run clockwise until an unlucky chariot racer accidentally hit emperor Nero in the
check near the whip. The charioteer was immediately executed by Nero and the
subsequent day all races were run on the earth the opposite track, i.e. counter-
clockwise, it might have been an arbitrary decision but became a tradition over time.
What supports this tradition is the fact that the Circus was overlooked by the emperors
on the Palatine hill, so the finishing line was on the eastern side of the north, where
the spina ended (Eber, 2010).
The Greek Connection
Some people trace the tradition of running counter-clockwise to the Greek
beliefs and mythology (Bredesen, 2005). The ancient creeks had big concepts
about philosophy, art, democracy, sculpture, dramatics, and also athletics. They
also were pretty high in the order of their athletic skills. They started having
Olympiads
1
. One of the true test of a man`s worth is how fast can he run at
the rival if needed, and is he faster than say, Apocraphe over at hand? The
ancient Greeks were an optical people, and knew a good attitude when they saw
it; hence the Acropolis. They also like write to their views. For most people
natural way to see things is from left to right, and that landscape, when
travelling, was easier to digest when it travelled from left to right. So the
spectators at the ancient Olympic contests would want to see the runners run
past from their left to right. To do this the runners would need to run counter-
clockwise (word press, 2007). Interestingly, the Greeks didn`t have clocks;
for them it was no clockwise or counter-clockwise, at hand it was singular
right or left. The tradition goes back to the Olympic Games, 700BC (the
booklet Olympia, Altis and Museum). The ancient Hippodrome (a course for
chariot or horse races) appears to be based on an anti-clockwise race with
competitors coming up to the finishing line at the end of the straight . How far
the Greeks were accurate in their visual sense and applying it to their
advantage in laying down running tracks and making athletes run from left to
right, can be put to a simple test by yourself, with a FIFA activity on your
Xbox or ps 123, and you will find you play far better when your team is going from
left to right, and that if you play right to left you lose fluidity (soldjablue, 2007).
The Natural Reason
We run counter-clockwise because everything in nature tends towards
counter-clockwise motion. The list of natural phenomena that run counter-
clockwise is quite impressive. It includes: the molecule structure of amino acids,
the shape of seashells, the rotational direction of all the planets (except Venus), and
the orbital direction of the earth around the sun. On this point, Peter Brown from
1
An Olympiad is a period of four years associated with the Olympic Games of the Ancient Greeks.
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Sheffield argues: “Because of the effect of the Earth`s rotation, an athlete
running anti-clockwise will have a slight advantage, resulting in a faster time. In
the Southern Hemisphere, this effect is reversed but, as the sport grew up in
the Northern Hemisphere, anti-clockwise races have remained, despite the
international status of athletics. Evidence of this phenomenon is that none of the
current world track records have been set south of the equator. The question is,
if the World Championships are ever held in the Southern Hemisphere, would
the IAAF decide that track events should be run in the opposite
direction?” (Brown, 2011). Perhaps, no, for it would upset the entire athletic
competition ethos.
The physical phenomenon of Coriolis effect when viewed from above the north
pole of the earth, the earth rotates counter-clockwise, it orbits the sun counter-
clockwise, and the moon orbits the earth counter-clockwise (Sprott, 2000). In fact,
every planet orbits the sun counter-clockwise. All but Venus and Uranus rotate
counter-clockwise, and all major moons except Triton orbit their planet counter-
clockwise. To complete the picture, the sun rotates counter-clockwise too. In sum,
counter-clockwise track racing follows the Law of Nature in human wisdom.
However, many believe that Coriolis Effect
2
has very little to do with anything but
bowel movements.
Biomechanical Concept
When an object (body) is in flight, every rotation is matched by an equal and
opposite rotation. In other words, if the body is rotating about an axis (vertical or
horizontal), any rotation added by the legs, body or arms in one direction will be
matched by a rotation of the arms, legs or body in the opposite direction. If the long
jumper sweeps the arms forward (clockwise) in flight, the effect will be to rotate the
body backward (counter clockwise). Since there is a net forward rotation resulting
from the takeoff, the effect of sweeping the arms will cause the body to remain in a
vertical position.
The jumper wants to get his feet out in front of him so he can keep from doing a
“face plant” when he lands. Bringing his feet forward would involve a certain quantity
of counterclockwise rotation, but he didn't start out with any rotation when he left the
ground. Suppose we consider counterclockwise as positive and clockwise as negative.
The only way his legs can acquire some positive rotation is if some other part of his
body picks up an equal amount of negative rotation. This is why he swings his arms
up behind him (Crowell, 2011).
The Sentimental Reason
Though probably the tradition of running on the track counter-clockwise has
not been questioned since the Roman Era, the most plausible answer might be
that it symbolizes man`s run “against the clock”, so the races are run
counter-clockwise… By running satisfactory counter-clockwise, the athlete travel
back within time, is also quoted to be a scientific fact in support of the
sentimental reason , so to say. By this way, the figure-skaters are always trying to get
the lowest time possible.
This is a simple variation where, as the Vertical Loop is being pulled from the
right side to the left, the roper turns counter-clockwise from front to back. Now the
2
Coriolis effect is an inertial force described by the 19th-century French engineer-mathematician Gustave-
Gaspard Coriolis in 1835.
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Vertical Loop is on what was the left side of the roper but because of the counter-
clockwise turn is now the right side (Bunks, 1996).
Physiological Reason
As we know that if we breathe from left nose hole, cool air will go inside and
if we breathe from right nose hole, warm air will go inside. When we run on a
circular track anticlockwise, we will breathe from right nose hole .Which will warm
up our body and we can run more fast as when we start race, we first warm up our
body and then start running.
Dolphins change overt behavior every 40 s, coincident with the respiration
rate. The possibility is suggested that the salience of neural activity controlling
respiration in the reticular system may effect/disrupt reticular attention
mechanisms, thus leading to the changes in overt behavior. It is hypothesized that
this 40-s period may represent the possible attention span of the sleeping bottlenose
dolphin (Stafne & Manger, 2004).
Based on the known physiological facts, a lot of theories are thrown around to
define the reason why athletes always run around the track counter-clockwise.
Some say it is related to the heart`s position, others content that the direction has
been determined to better facilitate a right handed runner. Equally strong
arguments exist for and against the proposition. Experts in biomechanics,
however, agree that running counter-clockwise may have some coincidental
physiological benefits to the track athlete. The temporal sequence of LV twist.
During isovolumic contraction
3
, the LV apex shows brief clockwise rotation that
reverses rapidly and becomes counterclockwise during LV ejection (Ingels, et al.
1989).
A Runner on a Curved Track
As the runner rounds the curve, she leans toward the center of rotation. The
reason for this position can be understood from an analysis of the forces acting on the
runner. Her foot, as it makes contact with the ground, is subject to the two forces,
shown in: an upward force W, which supports her weight, and a centripetal
reaction force F
cp
, which counteracts the centrifugal force. The resultant force F
r
acts on the runner at an angle θ with respect to the vertical axis. If the runner were
to round the curve remaining perpendicular to the surface, this resultant force would
not pass through her center of gravity and an unbalancing torque would be applied
on the runner if the runner adjusts her position by leaning at an angle θ toward the
center of rotation, the resultant force F
r
passes through her center of gravity
and the unbalancing torque is eliminated (Davidovits, 2008).
Evolutionary Facts
Before proceeding further, let us for a moment focus on man`s evolutionary
history to gather support or the ongoing argument. According to biologists, in the
course of development due to variety of correlative factors and conditions, the
hominoid (the early ape-like man) left arboreal life and assumed upright posture
(Coleman, 2013). This led to very significant structural and functional
3
isovolumic contraction:
the early phase of systole, in which the myocardial muscle fibers have begun to
shorten but have not developed enough pressure in the ventricles to overcome the aortic and pulmonary end-
diastolic pressures and open the aortic and pulmonary valves. During this period of muscle fiber contraction, the
ventricular volumes do not change.
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transformations in man as time passed. Charles Darwin pointed out: “Man`s
ancestors lost certain characteristics either fully or in part; a keen sense of smell, the
hairy covering on the body, the majority of the dermal muscles, the tail, the
prehensile (fast moving) feet, pointed ear lobes, etc.” Man also developed new
parts of the brain (specially the cerebral cortex) and became homo sapiens or
intelligent species, capable of thinking.
The adoption of upright posture (biped position) altogether changed man`s
mode of walking, feeding, carrying objects rather hands), etc. In a danger situation,
carrying baby with both arms impeded movement, so the intelligent man began to
carry it on the left chest supported by left arm and used the right arm to propel the
body and run for safety with all the speed at his command (Berk, 2006). With
Use and Disuse principle in mind, we draw two conclusions of practical
importance from this explanation: (a) since the human heart is situated in the
left-chest, its rhythmic beat had a soothing effect on the baby during long
and often rough carriage; and (b) at the same time, the disuse rendered the left side
of the body weaker vis-à-vis the right side.
Besides, functional adaptations also took place in the human brain making
several motor movements right-dominated (Krekelberg, et al. 2006). The heart is
a vital organ on which the hinges the survival of the organism. Nature has devised
instinctive mechanism to protect it. During evolutionary adaptations, there
developed a tendency with the body to keep the left side drawn back in a
fight reaction situation and offer resistance trough the dominant right side. Why
most people are right-side dominant, and use the left arm and/ or left leg for
support, could only be explained on the basis of these biological musings.
The Right-Limb Domination
Through various studies, physiologists have found that right-handed people
tend to have more highly developed hand and leg muscles on their right hand
side than the left. This gives them an advantage when running around a track
counter-clockwise, because it allows for their more powerful leg to remain on the
outside, facilitating the turns. When running counter-clockwise, you will filch
longer strides with your right leg-which allows for more propulsion and speed on
the turns. Scientists agree that most of us are not only right handed but also right
legged. We kick the ball with the right leg, and if falling forward we catch
ourselves more often with the right leg. The right leg is more muscular and
makes longer steps in walking, according to Prof. Onur Güntürkün, biopsychologist
at the Ruhr university at Bochum/Germany (Kosog, 1999). For the 90% of
people who are right handed, a left turn is more natural and easier to negotiate.
The right side of the body, in general, being stronger makes it easier for
people to turn left than to turn right. Biomechanically, pushing is easier than
pulling; so when the right side pushes or propels, the left side being weaker
automatically withdraws, but while turning right, the dominant right side makes a
truly tiring effort, allowing the left side to simply follow. Same way, most people
being right-leg dominant, use their left -leg for support when turning. Right
dominate leg will push off stronger, carrying the body farther, which leaves a
greater distance between strides of the non-dominant foot. Because of the slight
difference in stride length, a right dominate person will circle, or veer, toward
the right. Whereas a left dominant person will veer toward the left (Stockton,
2009).
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A Matter of Heart
Physiologist have also cited structure of the human body especially location
of our most precious heart on the left side as an important factor in explaining
why counter-clockwise running or turning is most helpful to the athletes than
clockwise movement.
According to them, as the heart is on the left side, for humans and animals,
running counter-clockwise makes the centrifugal force in the body to act from left
to right, and from right to left for clockwise running. When the body loses
equilibrium, it has a strong tendency to fall toward the heart side. This also explains
why most riders find it easier to corner to the left than to the right. And it’s why
track races go counterclockwise so that all turning is to the left (Borysewicz, 1985).
Superior venecava, the principle vein, carries the degenerated blood from the upper
half of the body to the heart`s right atrium assisted by heart suction. The
centrifugal force, due to running in clockwise direction, will make the centrifugal
force to impede suction and tire the athlete. Apart from this, it is also argued that
when an athlete runs in counter-clockwise direction, he encounters only left turns
and as a matter of fact left turns are easier than right turns, as explained above.
The physiological fact is also quoted as the major reason for the health
officers in the olden days ensuring that all carnival merry-go-rounds were run only
in the anti-clock-wise direction. It is a curious fact that all things which move over the
surface of the earth tend to sidle from their appointed paths-to the right in the
Northern Hemisphere to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. The magnitude of the
effect also depends directly on the speed of the moving object. Every carnival worth
the name has a Coriolian coordinate system: viz., the merry-go-round. When the
merry-go-round starts up, you begin a game of catch. The earth is a spherical merry-
go –round, and all of the carioles drifts we observe when we use terrestrial coordinate
systems are due ultimately to the fact that the earth, like the merry-go-round, is
always spinning out from under our dynamical systems. To an observer conscious of
Newton`s second low of motion ,the apparent “acceleration” (deflection from a
straight path) of an object moving over the earth suggest that some force is acting on
it, and he is strongly tempted to speak of the carioles “force.” He likes to regard these
motions as according in obedient Newtonian fashion in what he calls “inertial space”
(McDonald,1952). In pursuance of this principle, the racing tracks, animal
shows in circuses, bullock-down pelt on wheels, all mostly have only left turns.
Stairways in temple towers have only left turns for going up. It is so because
moving counter-clockwise is probably parsimonious (economical) in terms of
energy cost and biomechanics. Although we find it much easier to hoop in an anti-
clockwise direction than a clockwise one (apparently this is normal for right-handed
people). However, if we can learn to hoop in both directions we will get better-
looking abs, because we will then be working the muscles on both sides of our body
(Wood, 2013).
The Tail Piece
The direction we read also provides a fine answer to this question. Most
languages are read from left to right. It is true that Chinese and Arabic are read
from right to left and traditional Japanese is read downwards left to right, but
these are the exceptions. Rugani (University of Trento, Italy) says animals and
humans may instinctively count from the left because the right hemisphere of the
brain – which processes the left field of vision – is dominant in visual tasks. This
suggests counting from the left may be instinctive rather than culturally learned. Even
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in languages such as Farsi that are written and read from right to left, numerals are
organized from left to right (Coghlan,2010). It is no fun but a proven fact that if a
person is blindfolded and told to walk forward, the right-handed person will
begin to lean towards the left and the left-handed person towards the right.
The Rule Book
With regard to the track events (foot races), the rule book says that running will
run with their disappeared hand to the inside. Somewhere, lost in the mists of
time, officialdom fixed to standardize on certain things close to the distance of
races, the point of hurdles, and the width of lane. Importantly, they also
standardized the direction the race would go. Presently, the rules for track events
(foot races), the track geometry, direction of travel, etc., have been set by
international agreement to ensure comparability of times.
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... As a result, the center of gravity is on the left, and counter-clockwise rotation is preferable to alleviate the pressure on the heart. Furthermore, when the body is out of balance, it tends to fall toward the heart [29].  The left leg is shorter for humans than the right leg due to rotation and the Northern Hemisphere. ...
... In addition, because the left leg supports the body more than the right leg, turning left is easier than turning right. [29].  The ratio of right-handed people to left-handed people is greater than the opposite. ...
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The impact of ultramarathons (UM) on the organs, especially in professional athletes, is poorly understood. We tested a 36-year-old UM male runner before and after winning a 24-h marathon. The primary goal of the study was cardiovascular assessment. The athlete experienced right knee pain for the first time after 12 h of running (approximately 130 km), which intensified, affecting his performance. The competitors ran on a 1984 m rectangle-loop (950 × 42 m) in an atypical clockwise fashion. The winner completed 516 rectangular corners. Right knee Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) one day after the run showed general overload in addition to degenerative as well as specific features associated with “turning to the right”. Re-examination after three years revealed none of these findings. Different kinds of overloading of the right lower limb, including right knee pain, were indicated in 6 of 10 competitors from the top 20, including a woman who set the world record. The affected competitors suggested as cause for discomfort the shape of the loop and running direction. They believed that changing the direction of the run during the competition and an athletics stadium loop shape on a 2000–2500 m length is better for 24-h UM runners. In the absence of technical alternatives, the “necessary evil” is a counterclockwise run (also Association of Athletics Federations IAAF recommendation). Results suggest that a one-way, clockwise, 24-h UM run had an adverse effect on the athlete’s right knee, as a result of unsymmetrical load. Organizers of 24-h UM runs should consider the shape of the competition loop and apply the principle of uniform load on the musculoskeletal system (alternate directions run). In case of technical impossibility, it would be better to run counterclockwise, which is more common, preferred by runners, and recommended by the IAAF.
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It was shown earlier that dogs, when selecting between two dishes with snacks placed in front of them, left and right, prefer to turn either clockwise or counterclockwise or randomly in either direction. This preference (or non-preference) is individually consistent in all trials but it is biased in favor of north if they choose between dishes positioned north and east or north and west, a phenomenon denoted as “pull of the north”. Here, we replicated these experiments indoors, in magnetic coils, under natural magnetic field and under magnetic field shifted 90° clockwise. We demonstrate that "pull of the north" was present also in an environment without any outdoor cues and that the magnetic (and not topographic) north exerted the effect. The detailed analysis shows that the phenomenon involves also "repulsion of the south". The clockwise turning preference in the right-preferring dogs is more pronounced in the S-W combination, while the counterclockwise turning preference in the left-preferring dogs is pronounced in the S-E combination. In this way, south-placed dishes are less frequently chosen than would be expected, while the north-placed dishes are apparently more preferred. Turning preference did not correlate with the motoric paw laterality (Kong test). Given that the choice of a dish is visually guided, we postulate that the turning preference was determined by the dominant eye, so that a dominant right eye resulted in clockwise, and a dominant left eye in counterclockwise turning. Assuming further that magnetoreception in canines is based on the radical-pair mechanism, a "conflict of interests" may be expected, if the dominant eye guides turning away from north, yet the contralateral eye "sees the north", which generally acts attractive, provoking body alignment along the north-south axis.
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A best-selling resource now in its fifth edition, Paul Davidovits' Physics in Biology and Medicine provides a high-quality and highly relevant physics grounding for students working toward careers in the medical and related professions. The text does not assume a prior background in physics, but provides it as required. It discusses biological systems that can be analyzed quantitatively and demonstrates how advances in the life sciences have been aided by the knowledge of physical or engineering analysis techniques, with applications, practice, and illustrations throughout. Physics in Biology and Medicine, Fifth Edition, includes new material and corresponding exercises on many exciting developments in the field since the prior edition, including biomechanics of joint replacement; biotribology and frictional properties of biological materials such as saliva, hair, and skin; 3-D printing and its use in medicine; new materials in dentistry; microfluidics and its applications to medicine; health, fractals, and the second law of thermodynamics; bioelectronic medicine; microsensors in medicine; role of myelin in learning, cryoelectron microscopy; clinical uses of sound; health impact of nanoparticle in polluted air. This revised edition delivers a concise and engaging introduction to the role and importance of physics in biology and medicine. It is ideal for courses in biophysics, medical physics, and related subjects.
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The present study was designed to investigate the anisotropy of systolic chord shortening in the lateral, inferior, septal, and anterior regions of the human left ventricle. At the time of surgery, 12 miniature radiopaque markers were implanted into the left ventricular midwall of the donor heart in 15 cardiac transplant recipients. Postoperative biplane cineradiograms were computer-analyzed to yield the three-dimensional coordinates of these markers at 16.7-msec intervals. In each of the four left ventricular regions, chords were constructed from a central marker to outlying markers, and the percent systolic shortening of each chord was calculated. In each region, chord angles were measured with respect to the circumferential direction (positive angles counterclockwise) and each chord was assigned to one of four angular groups: I. oblique, -45 +/- 22.5 degrees or 135 +/- 22.5 degrees; II. circumferential, 0 +/- 22.5 degrees or 180 +/- 22.5 degrees; III. oblique, 45 +/- 22.5 degrees or -135 +/- 22.5 degrees; or IV. longitudinal, 90 +/- 22.5 degrees. In the lateral, inferior, and septal regions, respectively, systolic shortening (mean +/- SD%) was significantly greater in Group I chords (19 +/- 5%, 17 +/- 5%, and 15 +/- 4%) than those in Group II (15 +/- 5%, 12 +/- 4%, and 11 +/- 4%), Group III (12 +/- 4%, 12 +/- 5%, and 11 +/- 4%), or Group IV (13 +/- 5%, 13 +/- 6%, and 12 +/- 5%). The anterior region was unique in exhibiting equal shortening in both Group I and Group II chords (16 +/- 5%), although the shortening of these chords was significantly greater than that of Group III and Group IV (12 +/- 5%) in this region. A cylindrical mathematical model was developed to relate longitudinal, circumferential, and oblique systolic shortening to torsional deformation about the long axis of the left ventricle. Torsional deformations measured in these 15 hearts were of sufficient magnitude and correct sense to agree with model predictions. These data suggest that torsional deformations of the left ventricle are of fundamental importance in linking the one-dimensional contraction of the helically wound myocytes to the three-dimensional anisotropic systolic shortening encountered in the transplanted human heart.
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Observations on eight bottlenose dolphins located in the Southern Hemisphere during rest indicated that they spent the majority of the time (85%) engaged in behaviors that can be considered clockwise. This is in contrast with many observations of sleeping/resting dolphins in the Northern Hemisphere that spend the majority of their time involved in counterclockwise activity. This observation leads to the possibility that the reason for preferential swimming biases in dolphins is the result of global forces rather than the result of the anatomy of the individual dolphins. Our observations also indicate that dolphins change overt behavior every 40 s, coincident with the respiration rate. The possibility is suggested that the salience of neural activity controlling respiration in the reticular system may effect/disrupt reticular attentional mechanisms, thus leading to the changes in overt behavior. It is hypothesized that this 40-s period may represent the possible attention span of the sleeping bottlenose dolphin.
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Functional magnetic resonance imaging adaptation (fMRIa) is an increasingly popular method that aims to provide insight into the functional properties of subpopulations of neurons within an imaging voxel. The technique relies on the assumption that neural adaptation reduces activity when two successive stimuli activate the same subpopulation but not when they stimulate different subpopulations. Here, we assess the validity of fMRIa by comparing single-cell recordings with functional imaging of orientation, motion and face processing. We find that fMRIa provides novel insight into neural representations in the human brain. However, network responses in general and adaptation in particular are more complex than is often assumed, and an unequivocal interpretation of fMRIa results can be achieved only with great care.
Why do Athletes run around the track anti-clockwise?
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How to determine limb dominance when tracking
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