Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

Search results for: Cara MacNish

8 Study of Natural Patterns on Digital Image Correlation Using Simulation Method

Authors: Gang Li, Ghulam Mubashar Hassan, Arcady Dyskin, Cara MacNish


Digital image correlation (DIC) is a contactless full-field displacement and strain reconstruction technique commonly used in the field of experimental mechanics. Comparing with physical measuring devices, such as strain gauges, which only provide very restricted coverage and are expensive to deploy widely, the DIC technique provides the result with full-field coverage and relative high accuracy using an inexpensive and simple experimental setup. It is very important to study the natural patterns effect on the DIC technique because the preparation of the artificial patterns is time consuming and hectic process. The objective of this research is to study the effect of using images having natural pattern on the performance of DIC. A systematical simulation method is used to build simulated deformed images used in DIC. A parameter (subset size) used in DIC can have an effect on the processing and accuracy of DIC and even cause DIC to failure. Regarding to the picture parameters (correlation coefficient), the higher similarity of two subset can lead the DIC process to fail and make the result more inaccurate. The pictures with good and bad quality for DIC methods have been presented and more importantly, it is a systematic way to evaluate the quality of the picture with natural patterns before they install the measurement devices.

Keywords: Digital Image Correlation (DIC), deformation simulation, natural pattern, subset size

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7 Covariate-Adjusted Response-Adaptive Designs for Semi-Parametric Survival Responses

Authors: Ayon Mukherjee


Covariate-adjusted response-adaptive (CARA) designs use the available responses to skew the treatment allocation in a clinical trial in towards treatment found at an interim stage to be best for a given patient's covariate profile. Extensive research has been done on various aspects of CARA designs with the patient responses assumed to follow a parametric model. However, ranges of application for such designs are limited in real-life clinical trials where the responses infrequently fit a certain parametric form. On the other hand, robust estimates for the covariate-adjusted treatment effects are obtained from the parametric assumption. To balance these two requirements, designs are developed which are free from distributional assumptions about the survival responses, relying only on the assumption of proportional hazards for the two treatment arms. The proposed designs are developed by deriving two types of optimum allocation designs, and also by using a distribution function to link the past allocation, covariate and response histories to the present allocation. The optimal designs are based on biased coin procedures, with a bias towards the better treatment arm. These are the doubly-adaptive biased coin design (DBCD) and the efficient randomized adaptive design (ERADE). The treatment allocation proportions for these designs converge to the expected target values, which are functions of the Cox regression coefficients that are estimated sequentially. These expected target values are derived based on constrained optimization problems and are updated as information accrues with sequential arrival of patients. The design based on the link function is derived using the distribution function of a probit model whose parameters are adjusted based on the covariate profile of the incoming patient. To apply such designs, the treatment allocation probabilities are sequentially modified based on the treatment allocation history, response history, previous patients’ covariates and also the covariates of the incoming patient. Given these information, an expression is obtained for the conditional probability of a patient allocation to a treatment arm. Based on simulation studies, it is found that the ERADE is preferable to the DBCD when the main aim is to minimize the variance of the observed allocation proportion and to maximize the power of the Wald test for a treatment difference. However, the former procedure being discrete tends to be slower in converging towards the expected target allocation proportion. The link function based design achieves the highest skewness of patient allocation to the best treatment arm and thus ethically is the best design. Other comparative merits of the proposed designs have been highlighted and their preferred areas of application are discussed. It is concluded that the proposed CARA designs can be considered as suitable alternatives to the traditional balanced randomization designs in survival trials in terms of the power of the Wald test, provided that response data are available during the recruitment phase of the trial to enable adaptations to the designs. Moreover, the proposed designs enable more patients to get treated with the better treatment during the trial thus making the designs more ethically attractive to the patients. An existing clinical trial has been redesigned using these methods.

Keywords: censored response, Cox regression, efficiency, ethics, optimal allocation, power, variability

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6 Recent Advances in Research on Carotenoids: From Agrofood Production to Health Outcomes

Authors: Antonio J. Melendez-Martinez


Beyond their role as natural colorants, some carotenoids are provitamins A and may be involved in health-promoting biological actions and contribute to reducing the risk of developing non-communicable diseases, including several types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, eye conditions, skin disorders or metabolic disorders. Given the versatility of carotenoids, the COST-funded European network to advance carotenoid research and applications in agro-food and health (EUROCAROTEN) is aimed at promoting health through the diet and increasing well-being by means. Stakeholders from 38 countries participate in this network, and one of its main objectives is to promote research on little-studied carotenoids. In this contribution, recent advances of our research group and collaborators in the study of two such understudied carotenoids, namely phytoene and phytofluene, the colorless carotenoids, are outlined. The study of these carotenoids is important as they have been largely neglected despite they are present in our diets, fluids, and tissues, and evidence is accumulating that they may be involved in health-promoting actions. More specifically, studies on their levels in diverse tomato and orange varieties were carried out as well as on their potential bioavailability from different dietary sources. Furthermore, the potential effect of these carotenoids on an animal model subjected to oxidative stress was evaluated. The tomatoes were grown in research greenhouses, and some of them were subjected to regulated deficit irrigation, a sustainable agronomic practice. The citrus samples were obtained from an experimental field. The levels of carotenoids were assessed using HPLC according to routine methodologies followed in our lab. Regarding the potential bioavailability (bioaccessibility) studies, different products containing colorless carotenoids, like fruits, juices, were subjected to simulated in vitro digestions, and their incorporation into mixed micelles was assessed. The effect of the carotenoids on oxidative stress was evaluated on the Caenorhabditis elegans model. For that purpose, the worms were subjected to oxidative stress by means of a hydrogen peroxide challenge. In relation to the presence of colorless carotenoids in tomatoes and orange varieties, it was observed that they are widespread in such products and that there are mutants with very high quantities of them, for instance, the Cara Cara or Pinalate mutant oranges. The studies on their bioaccessibility revealed that, in general, phytoene and phytofluene are more bioaccessible than other common dietary carotenoids, probably due to their distinctive chemical structure. About the in vivo antioxidant capacity of phytoene and phytofluene, it was observed that they both exerted antioxidant effects at certain doses. In conclusion, evidence on the importance of phytoene and phytofluene as dietary easily bioavailable and antioxidant carotenoids has been obtained in recent studies from our group, which can be important shortly to innovate in health-promotion through the development of functional foods and related products.

Keywords: carotenoids, health, functional foods, nutrition, phytoene, phytofluene

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5 A Critical Discourse Analysis: Embedded Inequalities in the UK Disability Social Security System

Authors: Cara Williams


In 2006, the UK Labour government published a Green Paper introducing Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) as a replacement for Incapacity Benefit (IB), as well as a new Work Capability Assessment (WCA); signalling a controversial political and economic shift in disability welfare policy. In 2016, the Conservative government published Improving Lives: The Work, Health, and Disability Green Paper, as part of their social reform agenda, evidently to address the ‘injustice’ of the ‘disability employment gap’. This paper contextualises ESA in the wider ideology and rhetoric of ‘welfare to work’, ‘dependency’ and ‘responsibility’. Using the British ‘social model of disability’ as a theoretical framework, the study engages in a critical discourse analysis of these two Green Papers. By uncovering the medicalised conceptions embedded in the texts, the analysis has revealed ESA is linked with late capitalisms concern with the ‘disability category’.

Keywords: disability, employment, social security, welfare

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4 The Science of Dreaming and Sleep in Selected Charles Dickens' Novels and Letters

Authors: Olga Colbert


The present work examines the representation of dreaming in Charles Dickens’ novels, particularly Oliver Twist. Dickens showed great interest in the science of dreaming and had ample knowledge of the latest dream theories in the Victorian era, as can be seen in his personal correspondence, most notably in his famous letter to Dr. Thomas Stone on 2/2/1851. This essay places Dickens’ personal writings side by side with his novels to elucidate whether the scientific paradigm about dreaming included in the novel is consistent with the current (in Dickens’ time) scientific knowledge, or whether it is anachronistic or visionary (ahead of his time). Oliver Twist is particularly useful because it contains entire passages pondering on the nature of dreaming, enumerating types of common dreams, and taking a stand on the interference of sensory perception during the dreaming state. The author is particularly intrigued by Dickens’ assumption of the commonality and universality of lucid dreaming as revealed in these passages. This essay places popular Victorian dream theories, such as those contained in Robert Macnish’s The Philosophy of Sleep, side by side with recent dream theory, particularly psychophysiologist Stephen LaBerge’s numerous articles and books on the topic of lucid dreaming to see if Dickens deviated in any way from the reigning paradigm of the Victorian era in his representation of dreaming in his novels. While Dickens puts to great narrative use many of the characteristics of dreaming described by leading Victorian theorists, the author of this study argues, however, that Dickens’ most visionary statements derive from his acute observations of his own dreaming experiences.

Keywords: consciousness, Dickens, dreaming, lucid dreaming, Victorian

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3 Detection of Viral-Plant Interaction Using Some Pathogenesis Related Protein Genes to Identify Resistant Genes against Potato LeafRoll Virus and Potato Virus Y in Egyptian Isolates

Authors: Dalia. G. Aseel, E. E. Hafez, S. M. Hammad


Viral RNAs of both potato leaf roll virus (PLRV) and potato virus Y (PVY) were extracted from infected potato leaves collected from different Egyptian regions. Differential Display Polymerase Chain Reaction (DD-PCR) using (Endogluconase, β-1,3-glucanases, Chitinase, Peroxidase and Polyphenol oxidase) primers (forward strand) for was performed. The obtained data revealed different banding patterns depending on the viral type and the region of infection. Regarding PLRV, a 58 up regulated and 19 down regulated genes were detected, while, 31 up regulated and 14 down regulated genes were observed in case of PVY. Based on the nucleotide sequencing, variable phylogenetic relationships were reported for the three sequenced genes coding for: Induced stolen tip protein, Disease resistance RPP-like protein and non-specific lipid-transfer protein. In a complementary approach, using the quantitative Real-time PCR, the expressions of PRs genes understudy were estimated in the infected leaves by PLRV and PVY of three potato cultivars (Spunta, Diamont and Cara). The infection with both viruses inhibited the expressions of the five PRs genes. On the contrary, infected leaves by PLRV or PVY elevated the expression of some defense genes. This interaction also may be enhanced and/or inhibited the expression of some genes responsible for the plant defense mechanisms.

Keywords: PLRV, PVY, PR genes, DD-PCR, qRT-PCR, sequencing

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2 A Critical Examination of the Relationship between the Media and the Political Agenda in the Social Deviance Portrayal of Disabled People

Authors: Cara Williams


This paper considers the media’s role in formulating a dominant social deviance paradigm and medicalised portrayal of disabled people and examines how those representations of impairment reinforce the personal tragedy view that underpins the social value given to the category of disability. According to a materialist perspective, the personal tragedy medical model approach condemns disabled people to live an inferior 'life apart', socially excluded and prevented from living as fully participating citizens on an equal basis to non-disabled people. Commonly, disabled people are portrayed as a person who needs to be cured in order to achieve a better 'quality of life'; otherwise stories center on deviance, criminality or scrounger. Media representations have consistently used negative language and images that reinforce the personal tragedy 'deficient' view of disability. The systematic misrepresentation within film, literature, TV and other art forms have validated a process about what it means to be 'normal' and how 'difference' and 'identity' are interpreted. The impact of these stereotyped disabling images for disabled people is a barrier not experienced by many other oppressed minority groups. Applying a materialist analysis, this paper contends that the impact on audience’s perceptions of impaired bodies and minds, and the harmful effects on disabled people can be linked with agenda setting theory - the relationship between the media and the political agenda.

Keywords: media, disabled people, political agenda, personal tragedy

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1 Studying the Influence of Systematic Pre-Occupancy Data Collection through Post-Occupancy Evaluation: A Shift in the Architectural Design Process

Authors: Noor Abdelhamid, Donovan Nelson, Cara Prosser


The architectural design process could be mapped out as a dialogue between designer and user that is constructed across multiple phases with the overarching goal of aligning design outcomes with user needs. Traditionally, this dialogue is bounded within a preliminary phase of determining factors that will direct the design intent, and a completion phase, of handing off the project to the client. Pre- and post-occupancy evaluations (P/POE’s) could provide an alternative process by extending this dialogue on both ends of the design process. The purpose of this research is to study the influence of systematic pre-occupancy data collection in achieving design goals by conducting post-occupancy evaluations of two case studies. In the context of this study, systematic pre-occupancy data collection is defined as the preliminary documentation of the existing conditions that helps portray stakeholders’ needs. When implemented, pre-occupancy occurs during the early phases of the architectural design process, utilizing the information to shape the design intent. Investigative POE’s are performed on two case studies with distinct early design approaches to understand how the current space is impacting user needs, establish design outcomes, and inform future strategies. The first case study underwent systematic pre-occupancy data collection and synthesis, while the other represents the traditional, uncoordinated practice of informally collecting data during an early design phase. POE’s target the dynamics between the building and its occupants by studying how spaces are serving the needs of the users. Data collection for this study consists of user surveys, audiovisual materials, and observations during regular site visits. Mixed methods of qualitative and quantitative analyses are synthesized to identify patterns in the data. The paper concludes by positioning value on both sides of the architectural design process: the integration of systematic pre-occupancy methods in the early phases and the reinforcement of a continued dialogue between building and design team after building completion.

Keywords: architecture, design process, pre-occupancy data, post-occupancy evaluation

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