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Pre-season physical examinations for aspiring high-school athletes have been found effective in screening out students who should not participate--and in identifying other potentially serious medical conditions.

A four-year study, conducted by Dr. Forest S. Tennant and colleagues at the University of California at Los Angeles, showed that "pre-participation" physicals were a cost-effective method of keeping students with medical problems out of sports. The researchers also found that 8 percent of those screened had treatable medical problems such as high blood pressure, musculo-skeletal injury, respiratory infection, and tooth decay.

Furthermore, the researchers wrote, "Many students reported that the written explanation with diagnosis and advice, which was sent home to parents, led to their seeking the required treatment." The study was reported in the August 1981 Journal of Family Practice.

A study by two educational psychologists has found that gifted children differ from average students in their view of the future and in their ability to perceive and solve problems.

Pamela George of North Carolina Central University and James Gallagher of the University of North Carolina studied the attitudes of 110 fifth- and sixth-graders from five schools in a small southern city. About half the students were classified by their schools as intellectually gifted; the others were considered average.

More than half of the gifted students had a generally negative view of the future, compared to 28 percent of the others. Gifted pupils were consistently more pessimistic about pollution, crime, and the quality of the schools.

Furthermore, gifted students were far more likely to volunteer solutions to the problems they perceived.

Ms. George and Mr. Gallagher concluded that gifted children "have the capabilities of harnessing creative problem-solving skills and accept responsibility for resolution, while other children only despair."

Some rural children use drugs almost as much as their urban counterparts, according to the second phase of the Ball State University's Indiana School Drug Study.

Based on responses from over 21,000 students, the survey found that 66 percent of "big-city" 12th-graders had used marijuana, compared to 63 percent of their small-town counterparts.

A higher percentage of rural students, however, reported that they had consumed alcohol.

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