Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 25

Search results for: Abigail Millings

25 Trends in Use of Millings in Pavement Maintenance

Authors: Rafiqul Tarefder, Mohiuddin Ahmad, Mohammad Hossain

Abstract:

While milling materials from old pavement surface can be an important component of cost effective maintenance operation, their use in maintenance projects are not uniform and well documented. This study documents the different maintenance practices followed by four transportation districts of New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) in an attempt to find whether millings are being used in maintenance projects by those districts. Based on existing literature, a questionnaire was developed related to six common maintenance practices. NMDOT district personal were interviewed face to face to discuss and get answers to that questionnaire. It revealed that NMDOT districts mainly use chip seal and patching. Other maintenance procedures such as sand seal, scrub seal, slurry seal, and thin overlay have limited use. Two out of four participating districts do not have any documents on chip sealing; rather they employ the experiences of the chip seal crew. All districts use polymer modified high float emulsion (HFE100P) for chip seal with an application rate ranging from 0.4 to 0.56 gallons per square yard. Chip application rate varies from 15 to 40 lb/ square yard. State wide, the thickness of chip seal varies from 3/8" to 1" and life varies from 3 to 10 years. NMDOT districts mainly use three type of patching: pothole, dig-out and blade patch. Pothole patches are used for small potholes and during emergency, dig-out patches are used for all type of potholes sometimes after pothole patching, and blade patch is used when a significant portion of the pavement is damaged. Pothole patches last as low as three days whereas, blade patch lasts as long as 3 years. It was observed that all participating districts use millings in maintenance projects.

Keywords: chip seal, sand seal, scrub seal, slurry seal, overlay, patching, millings

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24 The Relationship between Dispositional Mindfulness, Adult Attachment Orientations, and Emotion Regulation

Authors: Jodie Stevenson, Lisa-Marie Emerson, Abigail Millings

Abstract:

Mindfulness has been conceptualized as a dispositional trait, which is different across individuals. Previous research has independently identified both adult attachment orientations and emotion regulation abilities as correlates of dispositional mindfulness. Research has also presented a two-factor model of the relationship between these three constructs. The present study aimed to further develop this model and investigated theses relationships in a sample of 186 participants. Participants completed the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire Short Form (FFMQ-SF), the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale for global attachment (ECR), the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERC), and the Adult Disorganized Attachment scale (ADA). Exploratory factor analysis revealed a 3-factor solution accounting for 59% of the variance across scores on these measures. The first factor accounted for 32% of the variance and loaded highly on attachment and mindfulness subscales. The second factor accounted for 15% of the variance with strong loadings on emotion regulation subscales. The third factor accounted for 12% of the variance with strong loadings on disorganized attachment, and the mindfulness observes subscale. The results further confirm the relationship between attachment, mindfulness, and emotion regulation along with the unique addition of disorganized attachment. The extracted factors will then be used to predict well-being outcomes for an undergraduate student population.

Keywords: adult attachment, emotion regulation, mindfulness, well-being

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23 Transport Infrastructure and Economic Growth in South Africa

Authors: Abigail Mosetsanagape Mooketsi, Itumeleng Pleasure Mongale, Joel Hinaunye Eita

Abstract:

The aim of this study is to analyse the impact of transport infrastructure on economic growth in South Africa through Engle Granger two step approach using the data from 1970 to 2013. GDP is used as a proxy for economic growth whilst rail transport (rail lines, rail goods transported) and air transport(air passengers carried, air freight) are used as proxies for transport infrastructure. The results showed that there is a positive long-run relationship between transport infrastructure and economic growth. The results show that South Africa’s economic growth can be boosted by providing transport infrastructure. The estimated models were simulated and the results that the model is a good fit. The findings of this research will be beneficial to policy makers, academics and it will also enhance the ability of the investors to make informed decisions about investing in South Africa.

Keywords: transport, infrastructure, economic growth, South Africa

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22 The Current Status of Middle Class Internet Use in China: An Analysis Based on the Chinese General Social Survey 2015 Data and Semi-Structured Investigation

Authors: Abigail Qian Zhou

Abstract:

In today's China, the well-educated middle class, with stable jobs and above-average income, are the driving force behind its Internet society. Through the analysis of data from the 2015 Chinese General Social Survey and 50 interviewees, this study investigates the current situation of this group’s specific internet usage. The findings of this study demonstrate that daily life among the members of this socioeconomic group is closely tied to the Internet. For Chinese middle class, the Internet is used to socialize and entertain self and others. It is also used to search for and share information as well as to build their identities. The empirical results of this study will provide a reference, supported by factual data, for enterprises seeking to target the Chinese middle class through online marketing efforts.

Keywords: middle class, Internet use, network behaviour, online marketing, China

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21 A Single Country Comparative Contextual Description Study of the Executive Authorities in Austria

Authors: Meryl Abigail Lucasan

Abstract:

The purpose of this research paper is to present a Single Country Comparative Contextual Description Study of the Executive Authorities in Austria, focusing with the Federal President, Cabinet members (Federal Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor and the other Federal Ministers) and the State Government. In this paper, the roles and powers of the executive authorities of Austria will be enumerated and explained; and the behavior of the executive authorities of Austria will be described in detail. In addition, the researcher will provide a survey that was answered by an Austrian citizen through electronic mail to gain more concrete information about the current political condition in Austria. Based on research, Austria has a remarkable political stability. This paper will develop a conceptual framework or a sample paradigm to represent the political system in Austria, focusing on its states and Executive Authorities in achieving political stability.

Keywords: Austrian politics, executive branch of the government, federal government, political stability

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20 Analyzing the Perceptions of Emotions in Aesthetic Music

Authors: Abigail Wiafe, Charles Nutrokpor, Adelaide Oduro-Asante

Abstract:

The advancement of technology is rapidly making people more receptive to music as computer-generated music requires minimal human interventions. Though algorithms are applied to generate music, the human experience of emotions is still explored. Thus, this study investigates the emotions humans experience listening to computer-generated music that possesses aesthetic qualities. Forty-two subjects participated in the survey. The selection process was purely arbitrary since it was based on convenience. Subjects listened and evaluated the emotions experienced from the computer-generated music through an online questionnaire. The Likert scale was used to rate the emotional levels after the music listening experience. The findings suggest that computer-generated music possesses aesthetic qualities that do not affect subjects' emotions as long as they are pleased with the music. Furthermore, computer-generated music has unique creativity, and expressioneven though the music produced is meaningless, the computational models developed are unable to present emotional contents in music as humans do.

Keywords: aesthetic, algorithms, emotions, computer-generated music

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19 The 'Human Medium' in Communicating the National Image: A Case Study of Chinese Middle-Class Tourists Visiting Japan

Authors: Abigail Qian Zhou

Abstract:

In recent years, the prosperity of mass tourism in China has accelerated the breadth and depth of direct communication between countries, and the national image has been placed in a new communication context. Outbound tourists are not only directly involved in the formation of the national image, but are also the most direct medium and the most active symbol representing the national image. This study uses Chinese middle-class tourists visiting Japan as a case study, and analyzes, through participant observation and semi-structured interviews, the communication function of the national image transmitted by 'human medium' in tourism activities. It also explores the 'human medium' in the era of mass tourism. This study hopes to build a bridge for tourism research and national image and media studies. It will provide a theoretical basis and practical guidance for promoting the national image, strengthening exchanges between tourists and local populations, and expanding the tourism market in the future.

Keywords: human medium, national image, communication, Chinese middle class, outbound tourists

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18 Modeling of Erosion and Sedimentation Impacts from off-Road Vehicles in Arid Regions

Authors: Abigail Rosenberg, Jennifer Duan, Michael Poteuck, Chunshui Yu

Abstract:

The Barry M. Goldwater Range, West in southwestern Arizona encompasses 2,808 square kilometers of Sonoran Desert. The hyper-arid range has an annual rainfall of less than 10 cm with an average high temperature of 41 degrees Celsius in July to an average low of 4 degrees Celsius in January. The range shares approximately 60 kilometers of the international border with Mexico. A majority of the range is open for recreational use, primarily off-highway vehicles. Because of its proximity to Mexico, the range is also heavily patrolled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection seeking to intercept and apprehend inadmissible people and illicit goods. Decades of off-roading and Border Patrol activities have negatively impacted this sensitive desert ecosystem. To assist the range program managers, this study is developing a model to identify erosion prone areas and calibrate the model’s parameters using the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment modeling tool.

Keywords: arid lands, automated geospatial watershed assessment, erosion modeling, sedimentation modeling, watershed modeling

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17 PPPs as Panacea to Delivery of Public Sector Construction Project in Zimbabwe

Authors: Ringisai Abigail Mawondo-Dhliwayo, Kahilu Kajimo-Shakantu

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Due to financial challenges which governments in general face, it is becoming more difficult for many to continually use their limited resources to undertake infrastructural development. Governments increasingly now need other delivery approaches, in particular, the Public-Private Partnerships which make it possible for the public sector to achieve infrastructural development without incurring any/minimum cost. The literature reviewed outlined that benefits of PPPs include timely delivery of quality projects with cost limits. The methodology utilized for the empirical study comprised six interviews and sixty questionnaires which were undertaken and administered by construction consultants and government officials involved in PPPs projects. The results obtained showed that PPPs are not widely used in Zimbabwe although the need for their use exists. The study also found some challenges which prevent or derail the rate at which PPPs are utilized, of which the primary one was a political influence. It is concluded that despite limitations, PPPs remain the most effective and viable option for the delivery of government projects. The study recommends that policy and framework for the implementation of PPPs be developed. More useful information could have been obtained if final users of PPPs projects were included in the sample for data collection.

Keywords: construction projects, procurement, public private partnerships, public sector

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16 Multivariate Analytical Insights into Spatial and Temporal Variation in Water Quality of a Major Drinking Water Reservoir

Authors: Azadeh Golshan, Craig Evans, Phillip Geary, Abigail Morrow, Zoe Rogers, Marcel Maeder

Abstract:

22 physicochemical variables have been determined in water samples collected weekly from January to December in 2013 from three sampling stations located within a major drinking water reservoir. Classical Multivariate Curve Resolution Alternating Least Squares (MCR-ALS) analysis was used to investigate the environmental factors associated with the physico-chemical variability of the water samples at each of the sampling stations. Matrix augmentation MCR-ALS (MA-MCR-ALS) was also applied, and the two sets of results were compared for interpretative clarity. Links between these factors, reservoir inflows and catchment land-uses were investigated and interpreted in relation to chemical composition of the water and their resolved geographical distribution profiles. The results suggested that the major factors affecting reservoir water quality were those associated with agricultural runoff, with evidence of influence on algal photosynthesis within the water column. Water quality variability within the reservoir was also found to be strongly linked to physical parameters such as water temperature and the occurrence of thermal stratification. The two methods applied (MCR-ALS and MA-MCR-ALS) led to similar conclusions; however, MA-MCR-ALS appeared to provide results more amenable to interpretation of temporal and geological variation than those obtained through classical MCR-ALS.

Keywords: drinking water reservoir, multivariate analysis, physico-chemical parameters, water quality

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15 Development of Heating Elements Based on Fe₂O₃ Reduction Products by Waste Active Sludge

Authors: Abigail Parra Parra, Jorge L. Morelos Hernandez, Pedro A. Marquez Agilar, Marina Vlasova, Jesus Colin De La Cruz

Abstract:

Carbothermal reduction of metal oxides is widely used both in metallurgical processes and in the production of oxygen-free refractory ceramics. As a rule, crushed coke and graphite are used as a reducing agent. The products of carbonization of organic compounds are among the innovative reducing agents. The aim of this work was to study the process of reduction of iron oxide (hematite) down to iron by waste active sludge (WAS) carbonization products. WAS was chosen due to the accumulation of a large amount of this type of waste, soil pollution, and the relevance of the development of technologies for its disposal. The studies have shown that the temperature treatment of mixtures WAS-Fe₂O₃ in the temperature range 900-1000 ºC for 1-5 hours under oxygen deficiency is described by the following scheme: WAS + Fe₂O₃→ C,CO + Fe₂O₃→ C + FexO → Fe (amorphous and crystalline). During the heat treatment of the mixtures, strong samples are formed. The study of the electrical conductive properties of such samples showed that, depending on the ratio of the components in the initial mixtures, it is possible to change the values of electrical resistivity from 5.6 Ω‧m to 151.6 Ω‧m When a current is passed through the samples, they are heated from 240 to 378ºC. Thus, based on WAS-Fe₂O₃ mixtures, heating elements can be created that can be used to heat ceramics and concrete.

Keywords: Fe₂O₃, reduction, waste activate sludge, electroconductivity

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14 Spreading Japan's National Image through China during the Era of Mass Tourism: The Japan National Tourism Organization’s Use of Sina Weibo

Authors: Abigail Qian Zhou

Abstract:

Since China has entered an era of mass tourism, there has been a fundamental change in the way Chinese people approach and perceive the image of other countries. With the advent of the new media era, social networking sites such as Sina Weibo have become a tool for many foreign governmental organizations to spread and promote their national image. Among them, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) was one of the first foreign official tourism agencies to register with Sina Weibo and actively implement communication activities. Due to historical and political reasons, cognition of Japan's national image by the Chinese has always been complicated and contradictory. However, since 2015, China has become the largest source of tourists visiting Japan. This clearly indicates that the broadening of Japan's national image in China has been effective and has value worthy of reference in promoting a positive Chinese perception of Japan and encouraging Japanese tourism. Within this context and using the method of content analysis in media studies through content mining software, this study analyzed how JNTO’s Sina Weibo accounts have constructed and spread Japan's national image. This study also summarized the characteristics of its content and form, and finally revealed the strategy of JNTO in building its international image. The findings of this study not only add a tourism-based perspective to traditional national image communications research, but also provide some reference for the effective international dissemination of national image in the future.

Keywords: national image, international communication, tourism, Japan, China

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13 Isolation, Screening and Identification of Frog Cutaneous Bacteria for Anti-Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Activity

Authors: Adria Rae Abigail R. Eda, Arvin C. Diesmos, Vance T. Vredenburg, Merab A. Chan

Abstract:

Mitigating strategies using symbiotic cutaneous bacteria is one of the major concerns in the conservation of amphibian population. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is the causative agent of chytridiomycosis associated with mass mortality and amphibian extinctions worldwide. In the Philippines, there is a lack of study on the cutaneous bacteria of Philippine amphibians that may have beneficial effects to ward off the deadly fungal infection. In this study, cutaneous bacteria from frogs were isolated and examined for anti-B. dendrobatidis activity. Eight species of frogs were collected at Mt. Palay-palay Mataas na Gulod National Park in Cavite, a site positive for the presence of B. dendrobatidis. Bacteria were isolated from the skin of frogs by swabbing the surfaces of the body and inoculated in Reasoner´s 2A (R2A) agar. Isolated bacteria were tested for potential inhibitory properties against B. dendrobatidis through zoospore inhibition assay. Results showed that frog cutaneous bacteria significantly inhibited the growth of B. dendrobatidis in vitro. By means of 16S rRNA gene primers, the anti-B. dendrobatidis bacteria were identified to be Enterobacter sp., Alcaligenes faecalis and Pseudomonas sp. Cutaneous bacteria namely Enterobacter sp. (isolates PLd33 and PCv4) and Pseudomonas (isolate PLd31) remarkably cleared the growth of B. dendrobatidis zoospore in 1% tryptone agar. Therefore, frog cutaneous bacteria inhibited B. dendrobatidis in vitro and could possibly contribute to the immunity and defense of frogs against the lethal chytridiomycosis.

Keywords: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, cutaneous bacteria, frogs, zoospore inhibition assay

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12 Memory and Narratives Rereading before and after One Week

Authors: Abigail M. Csik, Gabriel A. Radvansky

Abstract:

As people read through event-based narratives, they construct an event model that captures information about the characters, goals, location, time, and causality. For many reasons, memory for such narratives is represented at different levels, namely, the surface form, textbase, and event model levels. Rereading has been shown to decrease surface form memory, while, at the same time, increasing textbase and event model memories. More generally, distributed practice has consistently shown memory benefits over massed practice for different types of materials, including texts. However, little research has investigated distributed practice of narratives at different inter-study intervals and these effects on these three levels of memory. Recent work in our lab has indicated that there may be dramatic changes in patterns of forgetting around one week, which may affect the three levels of memory. The present experiment aimed to determine the effects of rereading on the three levels of memory as a factor of whether the texts were reread before versus after one week. Participants (N = 42) read a set of stories, re-read them either before or after one week (with an inter-study interval of three days, seven days, or fourteen days), and then took a recognition test, from which the three levels of representation were derived. Signal detection results from this study reveal that differential patterns at the three levels as a factor of whether the narratives were re-read prior to one week or after one week. In particular, an ANOVA revealed that surface form memory was lower (p = .08) while textbase (p = .02) and event model memory (p = .04) were greater if narratives were re-read 14 days later compared to memory when narratives were re-read 3 days later. These results have implications for what type of memory benefits from distributed practice at various inter-study intervals.

Keywords: memory, event cognition, distributed practice, consolidation

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11 Therapeutic Potential of mAb KP52 in Human and Feline Cancers

Authors: Abigail Tan, Heng Liang Tan, Vanessa Ding, James Hui, Eng Hin Lee, Andre Choo

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Introduction: Comparative oncology investigates the similarities in spontaneous carcinogenesis between humans and animals, in order to identify treatments that can benefit these patients. Companion animals (CA), like canines and felines, are of special interest when it comes to studying human cancers due to their exposure to the same environmental factors and develop tumours with similar features. The purpose of this study is to explore the cross-reactivity of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) across cancers in humans and CA. Material and Methods: A panel of CA mAbs generated in the lab was screened on multiple human cancer cell lines through flow cytometry to identify for positive binders. Shortlisted candidates were then characterised by biochemical and functional assays e.g., antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) and western blot assays, including glycan studies. Results: Candidate mAb KP52 was generated from whole-cell immunisation using feline mammary carcinoma. KP52 showed strong positive binding to human cancer cells, such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Furthermore, KP52 demonstrated strong killing ( > 50%) as an ADC with Saporin as the payload. Western blot results revealed the molecular weight of the antigen targets to be approximately 45kD and 50kD under reduced conditions. Glycan studies suggest that the epitope is glycan in nature, specifically an O-linked glycan. Conclusion: Candidate mAb KP52 has a therapeutic potential as an ADC against feline mammary cancer, human ovarian cancer, human mammary cancer, human pancreatic cancer, and human gastric cancer.

Keywords: ADC, comparative oncology, mAb, therapeutic

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10 Application of Scoring Rubrics by Lecturers towards Objective Assessment of Essay Questions in the Department of Social Science Education, University of Calabar, Nigeria

Authors: Donald B. Enu, Clement O. Ukpor, Abigail E. Okon

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Unreliable scoring of students’ performance by lecturers short-chains students’ assessment in terms of underequipping the school authority with facts as intended by society through the curriculum hence, the learners, the school and the society are cheated because the usefulness of testing is defeated. This study, therefore, examined lecturers’ scoring objectivity of essay items in the Department of Social Science Education, University of Calabar, Nigeria. Specifically, it assessed lecturers’ perception of the relevance of scoring rubrics and its level of application. Data were collected from all the 36 lecturers in the Department (28 members and 8 non-members adjourned to the department), through a 20-item questionnaire and checklist instruments. A case-study design was adopted. Descriptive statistics of frequency counts, weighted means, standard deviations, and percentages were used to analyze data gathered. A mean score of 2.5 and or 60 percent and above formed the acceptance or significant level in decision taking. It was found that lecturers perceived the use of scoring rubrics as a relevant practice to ensure fairness and reliable treatment of examiners scripts particularly in marking essay items and that there is a moderately high level of adherence to the application of scoring rubrics. It was also observed that some criteria necessary for the scoring objectivity of essay items were not fully put in place in the department. It was recommended strongly that students’ identities be hidden while marking and that pre-determined marking scheme should be prepared centrally and strictly adhered to during marking and recording of scores. Conference marking should be enforced in the department.

Keywords: essay items, objective scoring, scorers reliability, scoring rubrics

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9 Challenges Associated with Recruitment of Professional Doctorate Degree Holders into Ghanaian Universities

Authors: Joseph E. Cobbinah, Abigail A. Aryeh-Adjei

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Over the years, entry into the academia in any Ghanaian university requires an advanced research degree, more preferably traditional doctorate (PhD or DPhil). It is however argued that PhD is more research intensive, so since university teaching involves a lot of research, those having traditional doctorate have good research background to teach in a university and are thus recruited as lecturers. However, in the last ten years, a reasonable number of academics enter Ghanaian universities with professional doctorate degrees, which hitherto was considered to be only suitable for industry, because it gives individuals with just basic research skills needed for professional practice, unlike the traditional PhD which is research intensive degree. Currently, there are a reasonable number of professional doctorate degree holders with qualifications like DBA, EdD, PsychD, DPharm, EngD, among others in various departments in many Ghanaian universities. Maybe, because such degree holders also use the title Dr, some university authorities put them at par with their counterparts with traditional doctorate, although some lecturers with PhD seem to look down upon those with traditional doctorate degrees and this has created some tension amongst those academics. This makes their promotions and holding of university academic positions very problematic in some ways. This paper therefore seeks to investigate the types of professional doctorate degree holders working as lecturers in some selected universities in Ghana and the challenges associated with their recruitment, acceptability and proper integration into universities’ teaching and learning. The paper adopted qualitative research methodology. In all, respondents from three state-owned and privately owned universities were involved in the study. Administrators, lecturers, heads of departments and deans of faculty were interviewed to assess the challenges associated with the recruitment of professional doctorate degree holders and any problems they face in the departments they work. It became evident that, although some lecturers enter the academia with professional doctorate degrees, their counterparts seem not to give them the recognition and respect they deserve. Although there is little or no evidence that professional doctorate degree holders are under performing, recruiting professional doctorate degree holders does not only become a challenge, but also their progression into the university’s promotion ladder become very slow compared to their counterparts with traditional PhD degrees.

Keywords: professional doctorate, academia, lecturers, Ghanaian universities, orate

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8 Primary Fallopian Tube Carcinoma: A Case Report

Authors: Mary Abigail T. Ty, Mary Jocelyn Yu-Laygo, Jocelyn Z. Mariano

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This is a case of L.S.T., a 61 year old, G6P4 (3124) who presented with a one month history of intermittent, brownish, watery, non foul smelling vaginal discharge. There were no other accompanying symptoms. On rectovaginal examination, a palpable adnexal mass on the left was appreciated, with the lower border measuring 3 cm. The mass was non-tender, had irregular borders and solid areas. On transvaginal sonography, it revealed a left pelvic mass measuring 3 x 4 x 2 cm, with a Sassone score of 9. It had vascularization. The primary consideration was Ovarian Newgrowth, probably malignant in nature. CA-125 results were slightly elevated at 43.2 u/ml (NV: 0-35 u/ml). After intraoperative evaluation, the left fallopian tube was converted into a 9 x 4.5 x 3 cm bulbous cystic mass with solid areas. On cut section, the ampullary portion of the fallopian tube contained necrotic and friable looking tissues. Specimen was sent for frozen section and results revealed adenocarcinoma of the left fallopian tube. Patient subsequently underwent complete surgical staging with unremarkable post-operative course. The Surg Ico pathologic diagnosis was G6P4 (3124) Fallopian tube serous cystadenocarcinoma stage 1. The mean incidence of PFTC is 3.6 per million women yearly. This is associated with a generally low survival rate. The primary diagnosis is very difficult to establish because only 0–10% of patients suffering from PFTC are diagnosed pre-operatively. Symptoms play a very important role in the discovery of this disease, because there will be no presentation to the hospital without symptoms. The most common of which may be vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, a palpable mass and ascites. A conglomerate of manifestations may be encountered, but not at all times. This is termed hydrops tubae profluens where there is presence of colicky pain with relief from intermittent passage of serosanguinous vaginal discharge. The significance of this report is to emphasize the rarity of the case and how the dilemma in the diagnosis is almost always present despite ancillary procedures.

Keywords: fallopian tube carcinoma, prognosis, rare, risk factors

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7 Nursing-Related Barriers to Children’s Pain Management at Selected Hospitals in Ghana: A Descriptive Qualitative Study

Authors: Abigail Kusi Amponsah, Evans Frimpong Kyei, John Bright Agyemang, Hanson Boakye, Joana Kyei-Dompim, Collins Kwadwo Ahoto, Evans Oduro

Abstract:

Staff shortages, deficient knowledge, inappropriate attitudes, demanding workloads, analgesic shortages, and low prioritization of pain management have been identified in earlier studies as the nursing-related barriers to optimal children’s pain management. These studies have mainly been undertaken in developed countries, which have different healthcare dynamics than those in developing countries. The current study, therefore, sought to identify and understand the nursing-related barriers to children’s pain management in the Ghanaian context. A descriptive qualitative study was conducted among 28 purposively sampled nurses working in the pediatric units of five hospitals in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Over the course of three months, participants were interviewed on the barriers which prevented them from optimally managing children’s pain in practice. Recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and deductively analysed based on a conceptual interest in pain assessment and management-related barriers. NVivo 12 plus software guided data management and analyses. The mean age of participating nurses was 30 years, with majority being females (n =24). Participants had worked in the nursing profession for an average of five years and in the pediatric care settings for an average of two years. The nursing-related barriers identified in the present study included communication difficulties in assessing and evaluating pain management interventions with children who have nonfunctional speech, insufficient training, misconceptions on the experience of pain in children, lack of assessment tools, and insufficient number of nurses to manage the workload and nurses’ inability to prescribe analgesics. The present study revealed some barriers which prevented Ghanaian nurses from optimally managing children’s pain. Nurses should be educated, empowered, and supported with the requisite material resources to effectively manage children’s pain and improve outcomes for families, healthcare systems, and the nation. Future studies should explore the facilitators and barriers from other stakeholders involved in pediatric pain management

Keywords: Nursing-Related Barriers, Children, Pain Management, Ghana

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6 Towards Competence-Based Regulatory Sciences Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Identification of Competencies

Authors: Abigail Ekeigwe, Bethany McGowan, Loran C. Parker, Stephen Byrn, Kari L. Clase

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There are growing calls in the literature to develop and implement competency-based regulatory sciences education (CBRSE) in sub-Saharan Africa to expand and create a pipeline of a competent workforce of regulatory scientists. A defined competence framework is an essential component in developing competency-based education. However, such a competence framework is not available for regulatory scientists in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this research is to identify entry-level competencies for inclusion in a competency framework for regulatory scientists in sub-Saharan Africa as a first step in developing CBRSE. The team systematically reviewed the literature following the PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews and based on a pre-registered protocol on Open Science Framework (OSF). The protocol has the search strategy and the inclusion and exclusion criteria for publications. All included publications were coded to identify entry-level competencies for regulatory scientists. The team deductively coded the publications included in the study using the 'framework synthesis' model for systematic literature review. The World Health Organization’s conceptualization of competence guided the review and thematic synthesis. Topic and thematic codings were done using NVivo 12™ software. Based on the search strategy in the protocol, 2345 publications were retrieved. Twenty-two (n=22) of the retrieved publications met all the inclusion criteria for the research. Topic and thematic coding of the publications yielded three main domains of competence: knowledge, skills, and enabling behaviors. The knowledge domain has three sub-domains: administrative, regulatory governance/framework, and scientific knowledge. The skills domain has two sub-domains: functional and technical skills. Identification of competencies is the primal step that serves as a bedrock for curriculum development and competency-based education. The competencies identified in this research will help policymakers, educators, institutions, and international development partners design and implement competence-based regulatory science education in sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to access to safe, quality, and effective medical products.

Keywords: competence-based regulatory science education, competencies, systematic review, sub-Saharan Africa

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5 Detecting Elderly Abuse in US Nursing Homes Using Machine Learning and Text Analytics

Authors: Minh Huynh, Aaron Heuser, Luke Patterson, Chris Zhang, Mason Miller, Daniel Wang, Sandeep Shetty, Mike Trinh, Abigail Miller, Adaeze Enekwechi, Tenille Daniels, Lu Huynh

Abstract:

Machine learning and text analytics have been used to analyze child abuse, cyberbullying, domestic abuse and domestic violence, and hate speech. However, to the authors’ knowledge, no research to date has used these methods to study elder abuse in nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities from field inspection reports. We used machine learning and text analytics methods to analyze 356,000 inspection reports, which have been extracted from CMS Form-2567 field inspections of US nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities between 2016 and 2021. Our algorithm detected occurrences of the various types of abuse, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and passive and active neglect. For example, to detect physical abuse, our algorithms search for combinations or phrases and words suggesting willful infliction of damage (hitting, pinching or burning, tethering, tying), or consciously ignoring an emergency. To detect occurrences of elder neglect, our algorithm looks for combinations or phrases and words suggesting both passive neglect (neglecting vital needs, allowing malnutrition and dehydration, allowing decubiti, deprivation of information, limitation of freedom, negligence toward safety precautions) and active neglect (intimidation and name-calling, tying the victim up to prevent falls without consent, consciously ignoring an emergency, not calling a physician in spite of indication, stopping important treatments, failure to provide essential care, deprivation of nourishment, leaving a person alone for an inappropriate amount of time, excessive demands in a situation of care). We further compare the prevalence of abuse before and after Covid-19 related restrictions on nursing home visits. We also identified the facilities with the most number of cases of abuse with no abuse facilities within a 25-mile radius as most likely candidates for additional inspections. We also built an interactive display to visualize the location of these facilities.

Keywords: machine learning, text analytics, elder abuse, elder neglect, nursing home abuse

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4 The Relationship between Violence against Women in the Family and Common Mental Disorders in Urban Informal Settlements of Mumbai, India: A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors: Abigail Bentley, Audrey Prost, Nayreen Daruwalla, Apoorwa Gupta, David Osrin

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) can impact a woman’s physical, reproductive and mental health, including common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. However, people other than an intimate partner may also perpetrate violence against women in the family, particularly in India. This study aims to investigate the relationship between experiences of violence perpetrated by the husband and other members of the wider household and symptoms of common mental disorders in women residing in informal settlement (slum) areas of Mumbai. METHODS: Experiences of violence were assessed through a detailed cross-sectional survey of 598 women, including questions about specific acts of emotional, economic, physical and sexual violence across different time points in the woman’s life and the main perpetrator of each act. Symptoms of common mental disorders were assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). The GHQ-12 scores were divided into four groups and the relationship between experiences of each type of violence in the last 12 months and GHQ-12 score group was analyzed using ordinal logistic regression, adjusted for the woman’s age and clustering. RESULTS: 482 (81%) women consented to interview. On average, they were 28.5 years old, had completed 7 years of education and had been married 9 years. 88% were Muslim and 47% lived in joint and 53% in nuclear families. 44% of women had experienced at least one act of violence in their lifetime (33% emotional, 22% economic, 23% physical, 12% sexual). 7% had a high GHQ-12 score (6 or above). For violence experiences in the last 12 months, the odds of being in the highest GHQ-12 score group versus the lower groups combined were 13.1 for emotional violence, 6.5 for economic, 5.7 for physical and 6.3 for sexual (p<0.001 for all outcomes). DISCUSSION: The high level of violence reported across the lifetime could be due to the detailed assessment of violent acts at multiple time points and the inclusion of perpetrators within the family other than the husband. Each type of violence was associated with greater odds of a higher GHQ-12 score and therefore more symptoms of common mental disorders. Emotional violence was far more strongly associated with symptoms of common mental disorders than physical or sexual violence. However, it is not possible to attribute causal directionality to the association. Further work to investigate the relationship between differing severity of violence experiences and women’s mental health and the components of emotional violence that make it so strongly associated with symptoms of common mental disorders would be beneficial.

Keywords: common mental disorders, family violence, India, informal settlements, mental health, violence against women

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3 Methylphenidate Use by Canadian Children and Adolescents and the Associated Adverse Reactions

Authors: Ming-Dong Wang, Abigail F. Ruby, Michelle E. Ross

Abstract:

Methylphenidate is a first-line treatment drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a common mental health disorder in children and adolescents. Over the last several decades, the rate of children and adolescents using ADHD medication has been increasing in many countries. A recent study found that the prevalence of ADHD medication use among children aged 3-18 years increased in 13 different world regions between 2001 and 2015, where the absolute increase ranged from 0.02 to 0.26% per year. The goal of this study was to examine the use of methylphenidate in Canadian children and its associated adverse reactions. Methylphenidate use information among young Canadians aged 0-14 years was extracted from IQVIA data on prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies between April 2014 and June 2020. The adverse reaction information associated with methylphenidate use was extracted from the Canada Vigilance database for the same time period. Methylphenidate use trends were analyzed based on sex, age group (0-4 years, 5-9 years, and 10-14 years), and geographical location (province). The common classes of adverse reactions associated with methylphenidate use were sorted, and the relative risks associated with methylphenidate use as compared with two second-line amphetamine medications for ADHD were estimated. This study revealed that among Canadians aged 0-14 years, every 100 people used about 25 prescriptions (or 23,000 mg) of methylphenidate per year during the study period, and the use increased with time. Boys used almost three times more methylphenidate than girls. The amount of drug used was inversely associated with age: Canadians aged 10-14 years used nearly three times as many drugs compared to those aged 5-9 years. Seasonal methylphenidate use patterns were apparent among young Canadians, but the seasonal trends differed among the three age groups. Methylphenidate use varied from region to region, and the highest methylphenidate use was observed in Quebec, where the use of methylphenidate was at least double that of any other province. During the study period, Health Canada received 304 adverse reaction reports associated with the use of methylphenidate for Canadians aged 0-14 years. The number of adverse reaction reports received for boys was 3.5 times higher than that for girls. The three most common adverse reaction classes were psychiatric disorders, nervous system disorders and injury, poisoning procedural complications. The number one commonly reported adverse reaction for boys was aggression (11.2%), while for girls, it was a tremor (9.6%). The safety profile in terms of adverse reaction classes associated with methylphenidate use was similar to that of the selected control products. Methylphenidate is a commonly used pharmaceutical product in young Canadians, particularly in the province of Quebec. Boys used approximately three times more of this product as compared to girls. Future investigation is needed to determine what factors are associated with the observed geographic variations in Canada.

Keywords: adverse reaction risk, methylphenidate, prescription trend, use variation

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2 Hydrogen Purity: Developing Low-Level Sulphur Speciation Measurement Capability

Authors: Sam Bartlett, Thomas Bacquart, Arul Murugan, Abigail Morris

Abstract:

Fuel cell electric vehicles provide the potential to decarbonise road transport, create new economic opportunities, diversify national energy supply, and significantly reduce the environmental impacts of road transport. A potential issue, however, is that the catalyst used at the fuel cell cathode is susceptible to degradation by impurities, especially sulphur-containing compounds. A recent European Directive (2014/94/EU) stipulates that, from November 2017, all hydrogen provided to fuel cell vehicles in Europe must comply with the hydrogen purity specifications listed in ISO 14687-2; this includes reactive and toxic chemicals such as ammonia and total sulphur-containing compounds. This requirement poses great analytical challenges due to the instability of some of these compounds in calibration gas standards at relatively low amount fractions and the difficulty associated with undertaking measurements of groups of compounds rather than individual compounds. Without the available reference materials and analytical infrastructure, hydrogen refuelling stations will not be able to demonstrate compliance to the ISO 14687 specifications. The hydrogen purity laboratory at NPL provides world leading, accredited purity measurements to allow hydrogen refuelling stations to evidence compliance to ISO 14687. Utilising state-of-the-art methods that have been developed by NPL’s hydrogen purity laboratory, including a novel method for measuring total sulphur compounds at 4 nmol/mol and a hydrogen impurity enrichment device, we provide the capabilities necessary to achieve these goals. An overview of these capabilities will be given in this paper. As part of the EMPIR Hydrogen co-normative project ‘Metrology for sustainable hydrogen energy applications’, NPL are developing a validated analytical methodology for the measurement of speciated sulphur-containing compounds in hydrogen at low amount fractions pmol/mol to nmol/mol) to allow identification and measurement of individual sulphur-containing impurities in real samples of hydrogen (opposed to a ‘total sulphur’ measurement). This is achieved by producing a suite of stable gravimetrically-prepared primary reference gas standards containing low amount fractions of sulphur-containing compounds (hydrogen sulphide, carbonyl sulphide, carbon disulphide, 2-methyl-2-propanethiol and tetrahydrothiophene have been selected for use in this study) to be used in conjunction with novel dynamic dilution facilities to enable generation of pmol/mol to nmol/mol level gas mixtures (a dynamic method is required as compounds at these levels would be unstable in gas cylinder mixtures). Method development and optimisation are performed using gas chromatographic techniques assisted by cryo-trapping technologies and coupled with sulphur chemiluminescence detection to allow improved qualitative and quantitative analyses of sulphur-containing impurities in hydrogen. The paper will review the state-of-the art gas standard preparation techniques, including the use and testing of dynamic dilution technologies for reactive chemical components in hydrogen. Method development will also be presented highlighting the advances in the measurement of speciated sulphur compounds in hydrogen at low amount fractions.

Keywords: gas chromatography, hydrogen purity, ISO 14687, sulphur chemiluminescence detector

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1 Performance of a Lytic Bacteriophage Cocktail against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Conditions That Simulate the Cystic Fibrosis Lung Environment

Authors: Isaac Martin, Abigail Lark, Sandra Morales, Eric W. Alton, Jane C. Davies

Abstract:

Objectives: The cystic fibrosis (CF) lung is a unique microbiological niche, wherein harmful bacteria persist for many years despite antibiotic therapy. Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa), the major culprit leading to lung decline and increased mortality, thrives in the lungs of patients with CF due to several factors that have been linked with poor antibiotic performance. Our group is investigating alternative therapies including bacteriophage cocktails with which we have previously demonstrated efficacy against planktonic organisms. In this study, we explored the effects of a 4-phage cocktail on Pa grown in two different conditions, intended to mirror the CF lung: a) alongside standard antibiotic treatment in pre-formed biofilms (structures formed by Pa-secreted exopolysaccharides which provide both physical and cell division barriers to antimicrobials and host defenses and b) in an acidic environment postulated to be present in the CF airway due both to the primary defect in bicarbonate secretion and secondary effects of inflammation. Methods: 16 Pa strains from CF patients at the Royal Brompton Hospital were selected based on sensitivity to a) ceftazidime/ tobramycin and b) the phage cocktail in a conventional plaque assay. To assess efficacy of phage in biofilms, 96 well plates with Pa (5x10⁷ CFU/ ml) were incubated in static conditions, allowing adherent bacterial colonies to form for 24 hr. Ceftazidime and tobramycin (both at 2 × MIC) were added, +/- bacteriophage (4x10⁸ PFU/mL) for a further 24 hr. Cell viability and biomass were estimated using fluorescent resazurin and crystal violet assays, respectively. To evaluate the effect of pH, strains were grown planktonically in shaking 96 well plates at pH 6.0, 6.6, 7.0 and 7.5 with tobramycin or phage, at varying concentrations. Cell viability was quantified by fluorescent resazurin assay. Results: For the biofilm assay, treatment groups were compared with untreated controls and expressed as percent reduction in cell viability and biomass. Addition of the 4-phage cocktail resulted in a 1.3-fold reduction in cell viability and 1.7-fold reduction in biomass (p < 0.001) when compared to standard antibiotic treatment alone. Notably, there was a 50 ± 15% reduction in cell viability and 60 ± 12% reduction in biomass (95% CI) for the 4 biofilms demonstrating the most resistance to antibiotic treatment. 83% of strains tested (n=6) showed decreased bacterial killing by tobramycin at acidic pHs (p < 0.01). However, 25% of strains (n=12) showed improved phage killing at acidic pHs (p < 0.05), with none showing the pattern of reduced efficacy at acidic pH demonstrated by tobramycin. Conclusion: The 4-phage anti-Pa cocktail tested against Pa performs well in pre-formed biofilms and in acidic environments; two conditions intended to mimic the CF lung. To our knowledge, these are the first data looking at the effects of subtle pH changes on phage-mediated bacterial killing in the context of Pa infection. These findings contribute to a growing body of evidence supporting the use of nebulised lytic bacteriophage as a treatment in the context of lung infection.

Keywords: biofilm, cystic fibrosis, pH, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, lytic bacteriophage

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