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

Search results for: Lynn Lehmann

25 Determination of Biomolecular Interactions Using Microscale Thermophoresis

Authors: Lynn Lehmann, Dinorah Leyva, Ana Lazic, Stefan Duhr, Philipp Baaske

Abstract:

Characterization of biomolecular interactions, such as protein-protein, protein-nucleic acid or protein-small molecule, provides critical insights into cellular processes and is essential for the development of drug diagnostics and therapeutics. Here we present a novel, label-free, and tether-free technology to analyze picomolar to millimolar affinities of biomolecular interactions by Microscale Thermophoresis (MST). The entropy of the hydration shell surrounding molecules determines thermophoretic movement. MST exploits this principle by measuring interactions using optically generated temperature gradients. MST detects changes in the size, charge and hydration shell of molecules and measures biomolecule interactions under close-to-native conditions: immobilization-free and in bioliquids of choice, including cell lysates and blood serum. Thus, MST measures interactions under close-to-native conditions, and without laborious sample purification. We demonstrate how MST determines the picomolar affinities of antibody::antigen interactions, and protein::protein interactions measured from directly from cell lysates. MST assays are highly adaptable to fit to the diverse requirements of different and complex biomolecules. NanoTemper´s unique technology is ideal for studies requiring flexibility and sensitivity at the experimental scale, making MST suitable for basic research investigations and pharmaceutical applications.

Keywords: biochemistry, biophysics, molecular interactions, quantitative techniques

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24 The Impact of Financial Reporting on Sustainability

Authors: Lynn Ruggieri

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The worldwide pandemic has only increased sustainability awareness. The public is demanding that businesses be held accountable for their impact on the environment. While financial data enjoys uniformity in reporting requirements, there are no uniform reporting requirements for non-financial data. Europe is leading the way with some standards being implemented for reporting non-financial sustainability data; however, there is no uniformity globally. And without uniformity, there is not a clear understanding of what information to include and how to disclose it. Sustainability reporting will provide important information to stakeholders and will enable businesses to understand their impact on the environment. Therefore, there is a crucial need for this data. This paper looks at the history of sustainability reporting in the countries of the European Union and throughout the world and makes a case for worldwide reporting requirements for sustainability.

Keywords: financial reporting, non-financial data, sustainability, global financial reporting

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23 Research Attitude: Its Factor Structure and Determinants in the Graduate Level

Authors: Janet Lynn S. Montemayor

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Dropping survivability and rising drop-out rate in the graduate school is attributed to the demands that come along with research-related requirements. Graduate students tend to withdraw from their studies when confronted with such requirements. This act of succumbing to the challenge is primarily due to a negative mindset. An understanding of students’ view towards research is essential for teachers in facilitating research activities in the graduate school. This study aimed to develop a tool that accurately measures attitude towards research. Psychometric properties of the Research Attitude Inventory (RAIn) was assessed. A pool of items (k=50) was initially constructed and was administered to a development sample composed of Masters and Doctorate degree students (n=159). Results show that the RAIn is a reliable measure of research attitude (k=41, αmax = 0.894). Principal component analysis using orthogonal rotation with Kaiser normalization identified four underlying factors of research attitude, namely predisposition, purpose, perspective, and preparation. Research attitude among the respondents was analyzed using this measure.

Keywords: graduate education, principal component analysis, research attitude, scale development

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22 Study on the Work-Life Balance of Selected Working Single Mothers in the Coastal Community of La Huerta, Paranaque

Authors: Idette Sheirina Biyo, Rhodora Lynn C. Lintag

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This paper explores how the work-life balance of selected working single mothers situated in a coastal community is affecting their well-being. Working single mothers carry the responsibility of earning for their family while simultaneously exercising their motherhood. This study utilized a purposeful qualitative research through semi-structured interviews among ten working single mothers living in the coastal community of La Huerta, Parañaque in order to identify the following: a) experiences of the working single mothers, b) problems usually encountered, and c) how these problems are affecting their well-being. Dorothy Smith’s Feminist Standpoint theory is used as a theoretical lens in order to explain their work-life balance. Results have shown that despite their dual roles as the main income earners and heads of the households, they are not neglecting to care for their well-being. They consider getting sufficient rest, eating well, and going to church as forms of caring for their well-being. Other factors that affect their work-life balance include living arrangements, work hours, type of work, and income.

Keywords: coastal community, well-being, work-life balance, Working single mother

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21 Myroides Bacteremia: A Case Report

Authors: Jamie Lynn Co, Mary Shiela Ariola-Ramos

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Myroides are aerobic, yellow-pigmented, non-motile, non-fermenting gram-negative rods. They are commonly found in the environment such as water and soil. Although found in the environment, Myroides are rare pathogens of humans. Myroides spp. primarily infect immunocompromised patients, often with diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or prolonged corticosteroid therapy. We present a case of a 70-year-old immunocompromised patient with diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure, diagnosed with sepsis caused by Myroides spp. The primary portal and source of infection were the pustules and boils found on the lower extremities of the patient. Susceptibility testing showed that our isolate was only susceptible to ciprofloxacin and meropenem; and following the treatment, the patient recovered. Myroides continues to be a rare pathogen of humans that is prevalent in our environment. It primarily affects immunocompromised patients such as those with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, etc. Despite their low virulence, physicians should consider this opportunistic pathogen as possible etiologic agent especially in cases wherein there is lack of response to commonly used antibiotics.

Keywords: bacteremia, immunocompromised, gram negative rods, Myroides

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20 MAGE-A3 and PRAME Gene Expression and EGFR Mutation Status in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Authors: Renata Checiches, Thierry Coche, Nicolas F. Delahaye, Albert Linder, Fernando Ulloa Montoya, Olivier Gruselle, Karen Langfeld, An de Creus, Bart Spiessens, Vincent G. Brichard, Jamila Louahed, Frédéric F. Lehmann

Abstract:

Background: The RNA-expression levels of cancer-testis antigens MAGE A3 and PRAME were determined in resected tissue from patients with primary non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and related to clinical outcome. EGFR, KRAS and BRAF mutation status was determined in a subset to investigate associations with MAGE A3 and PRAME expression. Methods: We conducted a single-centre, uncontrolled, retrospective study of 1260 tissue-bank samples from stage IA-III resected NSCLC. The prognostic value of antigen expression (qRT-PCR) was determined by hazard-ratio and Kaplan-Meier curves. Results: Thirty-seven percent (314/844) of tumours expressed MAGE-A3, 66% (723/1092) expressed PRAME and 31% (239/839) expressed both. Respective frequencies in squamous-cell tumours and adenocarcinomas were 43%/30% for MAGE A3 and 80%/44% for PRAME. No correlation with stage, tumour size or patient age was found. Overall, no prognostic value was identified for either antigen. A trend to poorer overall survival was associated with MAGE-A3 in stage IIIB and with PRAME in stage IB. EGFR and KRAS mutations were found in 10.1% (28/311) and 33.8% (97/311) of tumours, respectively. EGFR (but not KRAS) mutation status was negatively associated with PRAME expression. Conclusion: No clear prognostic value for either PRAME or MAGE A3 was observed in the overall population, although some observed trends may warrant further investigation.

Keywords: MAGE A3, PRAME, cancer-testis gene, NSCLC, survival, EGFR

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19 A Study on the Effect of Socioeconomic Status on Adolescents' Health Promoting Behaviors: Mediating Effect of Family-Based Activity

Authors: Sue Lynn Kim, Sang-Gyun Lee, Joan P. Yoo

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Although adolescents in low socioeconomic status (SES) have been reported to less engage in health promoting behaviors (HPB), the specific mechanism between their SES and HPB has not been extensively studied. Considering the Korean education system which focuses only on college entrance exams while lacking of interest in students’ health, and unique traits of adolescents, such as ego-centric thinking, family members can significantly contribute to develop and enhance adolescents’ HPB. Based on the review of related literature and previous researches, this study examined the mediating effect of family-based activities on the relationship between SES and adolescents' HPB. 636 adolescents (4th graders in elementary and 1st graders in middle school) and their parents from the 1st year survey of Seoul Education & Health Welfare Panel were analyzed by AMOS 19.0 utilizing structural equation modeling. Analytic results show that adolescents in low SES were less likely to engage in family-based activities as well as HPB. This association between SES and HPB was partially mediated by family-based activities. Based on the findings, we suggest that special education programs to enhance HPB should be required in schools and community organizations especially for adolescents in low SES who may have difficulties in doing family-based activities due to parents’ low income and insufficient leisure time. In addition, family-based activities should be encouraged to enhance HPB by raising parents' awareness about the importance of family-based activities on their children's HPB.

Keywords: family-based activity, health promoting behaviors, socioeconomic status, HPB

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18 Mineralogy and Fluid Inclusion Study of the Kebbouch South Pb-Zn Deposit, Northwest Tunisia

Authors: Imen Salhi, Salah Bouhlel, Bernrd Lehmann

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The Kebbouch South Pb-Zn deposit is located 20 km to the east of El Kef (NW) in the southeastern part of the Triassic diapir belt in the Tunisian Atlas. The deposit is composed of sulfide and non-sulfide zinc-lead ore bodies. The aim of this study is to provide petrographic results, mineralogy, as well as fluid inclusion data of the carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn Kebbouch South deposit. Mineralization forms two major ore types: (1) lenticular dolostones and clay breccias in the contact zone between Triassic and Upper Cretaceous strata;, it consists of small-scale lenticular, strata-or fault-controlled mineralization mainly composed of marcasite, galena, sphalerite, pyrite, and (2) stratiform mineralization in the Bahloul Formation (Upper Cenomanian-Lower Turonian) consisting of framboidal and cubic pyrite, disseminated sphalerite and galena. Non-metalliferous and/or gangue minerals are represented by dolomite, calcite, celestite and quartz. Fluid inclusion petrography study has been carried out on calcite and celestite. Fluid inclusions hosted in celestite are less than 20 µm large and show two types of aqueous inclusions: monophase liquid aqueous inclusions (L), abundant and very small, generally less than 15 µm and liquid-rich two phase inclusions (L+V). The gas phase forms a mobile vapor bubble. Microthermometric analyses of (L+V) fluid inclusions for celestite indicate that the homogenization temperature ranges from 121 to 156°C, and final ice melting temperatures are in the range of – 19 to -9°C corresponding to salinities of 12 to 21 wt% NaCl eq. (L+V) fluid inclusions from calcite are frequently localized along the growth zones; their homogenization temperature ranges from 96 to 164°C with final ice melting temperatures between -16 and -7°C corresponding to salinities of 9 to 19 wt% NaCl eq. According to mineralogical and fluid inclusion studies, mineralization in the Pb – Zn Kebbouch South deposit formed between 96 to 164°C with salinities ranging from 9 to 21 wt% NaCl eq. A contribution of basinal brines in the ore formation of the kebbouch South Pb–Zn deposit is likely. The deposit is part of the family of MVT deposits associated with the salt diapir environment.

Keywords: fluid inclusion, Kebbouch South, mineralogy, MVT deposits, Pb-Zn

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17 Qualitative Data Summary of Piloted Observation Instrument for Designing Adaptations in Inclusive Settings

Authors: Rebecca Lynn

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The successful inclusion of students with disabilities depends upon many factors, including the collaboration between general and special education teachers for meeting student learning goals as outlined in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). However, Individualized Education Plans do not provide sufficient information on accommodations and modifications for the variety of general education contexts and content areas in which a student may participate. In addition, general and special education teachers lack observation skills and tools for gathering essential information about the strengths and needs of students with disabilities in relation to general education instruction and classrooms. More research and tools are needed for planning adaptations that increase access to content in general education classrooms. This paper will discuss the outcomes of a qualitative field-based study of a structured observation instrument used for gathering information on student strengths and needs in relation to social, academic and regulatory expectations during instruction in general education classrooms. The study explores the following questions: To what extent does the observation structure and instrument increase collaborative planning of adaptations in general education classrooms for students with disabilities? To what extent does the observation structure and instrument change pedagogical practices and collaboration in general education classrooms for fostering successful inclusion? A hypothesis of this study was that use of the instrument in the context of lessons and in collaborative debriefing would increase awareness and use of meaningful adaptations, and lead to universal design in the planning of instruction. A finding of the study is a shift from viewing students with disabilities as passive participants to a more pedagogical inclusion as teachers developed skills in observation and created content/context-specific adaptations for students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Keywords: adaptations, collaboration, inclusion, observations

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16 Signed Language Phonological Awareness: Building Deaf Children's Vocabulary in Signed and Written Language

Authors: Lynn Mcquarrie, Charlotte Enns

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The goal of this project was to develop a visually-based, signed language phonological awareness training program and to pilot the intervention with signing deaf children (ages 6 -10 years/ grades 1 - 4) who were beginning readers to assess the effects of systematic explicit American Sign Language (ASL) phonological instruction on both ASL vocabulary and English print vocabulary learning. Growing evidence that signing learners utilize visually-based signed language phonological knowledge (homologous to the sound-based phonological level of spoken language processing) when reading underscore the critical need for further research on the innovation of reading instructional practices for visual language learners. Multiple single-case studies using a multiple probe design across content (i.e., sign and print targets incorporating specific ASL phonological parameters – handshapes) was implemented to examine if a functional relationship existed between instruction and acquisition of these skills. The results indicated that for all cases, representing a variety of language abilities, the visually-based phonological teaching approach was exceptionally powerful in helping children to build their sign and print vocabularies. Although intervention/teaching studies have been essential in testing hypotheses about spoken language phonological processes supporting non-deaf children’s reading development, there are no parallel intervention/teaching studies exploring hypotheses about signed language phonological processes in supporting deaf children’s reading development. This study begins to provide the needed evidence to pursue innovative teaching strategies that incorporate the strengths of visual learners.

Keywords: American sign language phonological awareness, dual language strategies, vocabulary learning, word reading

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15 A Mixed Methods Study: Evaluation of Experiential Learning Techniques throughout a Nursing Curriculum to Promote Empathy

Authors: Joan Esper Kuhnly, Jess Holden, Lynn Shelley, Nicole Kuhnly

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Empathy serves as a foundational nursing principle inherent in the nurse’s ability to form those relationships from which to care for patients. Evidence supports, including empathy in nursing and healthcare education, but there is limited data on what methods are effective to do so. Building evidence supports experiential and interactive learning methods to be effective for students to gain insight and perspective from a personalized experience. The purpose of this project is to evaluate learning activities designed to promote the attainment of empathic behaviors across 5 levels of the nursing curriculum. Quantitative analysis will be conducted on data from pre and post-learning activities using the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire. The main hypothesis, that simulation learning activities will increase empathy, will be examined using a repeated measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) on Pre and Post Toronto Empathy Questionnaire scores for three simulation activities (Stroke, Poverty, Dementia). Pearson product-moment correlations will be conducted to examine the relationships between continuous demographic variables, such as age, credits earned, and years practicing, with the dependent variable of interest, Post Test Toronto Empathy Scores. Krippendorff’s method of content analysis will be conducted to identify the quantitative incidence of empathic responses. The researchers will use Colaizzi’s descriptive phenomenological method to describe the students’ simulation experience and understand its impact on caring and empathy behaviors employing bracketing to maintain objectivity. The results will be presented, answering multiple research questions. The discussion will be relevant to results and educational pedagogy in the nursing curriculum as they relate to the attainment of empathic behaviors.

Keywords: curriculum, empathy, nursing, simulation

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14 Bacteriophage Lysis Of Physiologically Stressed Listeria Monocytogenes In A Simulated Seafood Processing Environment

Authors: Geevika J. Ganegama Arachchi, Steve H. Flint, Lynn McIntyre, Cristina D. Cruz, Beatrice M. Dias-Wanigasekera, Craig Billington, J. Andrew Hudson, Anthony N. Mutukumira

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In seafood processing plants, Listeriamonocytogenes(L. monocytogenes)likely exists in a metabolically stressed state due to the nutrient-deficient environment, processing treatments such as heating, curing, drying, and freezing, and exposure to detergents and disinfectants. Stressed L. monocytogenes cells have been shown to be as pathogenic as unstressed cells. This study investigated lytic efficacy of (LiMN4L, LiMN4p, and LiMN17) which were previouslycharacterized as virulent against physiologically stressed cells of three seafood borne L. monocytogenesstrains (19CO9, 19DO3, and 19EO3).Physiologically compromised cells ofL. monocytogenesstrains were prepared by aging cultures in TrypticaseSoy Broth at 15±1°C for 72 h; heat injuringcultures at 54±1 - 55±1°C for 40 - 60 min;salt-stressing cultures in Milli-Q water were incubated at 25±1°C in darkness for three weeks; and incubating cultures in 9% (w/v) NaCl at 15±1°C for 72 h. Low concentrations of physiologically compromised cells of three L. monocytogenesstrainswere challenged in vitrowith high titre of three phages in separate experiments using Fish Broth medium (aqueous fish extract) at 15 °C in order to mimic the environment of seafood processing plant. Each phage, when present at ≈9 log10 PFU/ml, reduced late exponential phase cells of L. monocytogenes suspended in fish protein broth at ≈2-3 log10 CFU/ml to a non-detectable level (< 10 CFU/ml). Each phage, when present at ≈8.5 log10 PFU/ml, reduced both heat-injured cells present at 2.5-3.6 log10 CFU/ml and starved cells that were showed coccoid shape, present at ≈2-3 log10 CFU/ml to < 10 CFU/ml after 30 min. Phages also reduced salt-stressed cellspresent at ≈3 log10 CFU/ml by > 2 log10. L. monocytogenes (≈8 log10 CFU/ml) were reduced to below the detection limit (1 CFU/ml) by the three successive phage infections over 16 h, indicating that emergence of spontaneous phage resistance was infrequent. The three virulent phages showed high decontamination potential for physiologically stressed L. monocytogenes strains from seafood processing environments.

Keywords: physiologically stressed L. monocytogenes, heat injured, seafood processing environment, virulent phage

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13 Comparing Xbar Charts: Conventional versus Reweighted Robust Estimation Methods for Univariate Data Sets

Authors: Ece Cigdem Mutlu, Burak Alakent

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Maintaining the quality of manufactured products at a desired level depends on the stability of process dispersion and location parameters and detection of perturbations in these parameters as promptly as possible. Shewhart control chart is the most widely used technique in statistical process monitoring to monitor the quality of products and control process mean and variability. In the application of Xbar control charts, sample standard deviation and sample mean are known to be the most efficient conventional estimators in determining process dispersion and location parameters, respectively, based on the assumption of independent and normally distributed datasets. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the real-world data would be normally distributed. In the cases of estimated process parameters from Phase I data clouded with outliers, efficiency of traditional estimators is significantly reduced, and performance of Xbar charts are undesirably low, e.g. occasional outliers in the rational subgroups in Phase I data set may considerably affect the sample mean and standard deviation, resulting a serious delay in detection of inferior products in Phase II. For more efficient application of control charts, it is required to use robust estimators against contaminations, which may exist in Phase I. In the current study, we present a simple approach to construct robust Xbar control charts using average distance to the median, Qn-estimator of scale, M-estimator of scale with logistic psi-function in the estimation of process dispersion parameter, and Harrell-Davis qth quantile estimator, Hodge-Lehmann estimator and M-estimator of location with Huber psi-function and logistic psi-function in the estimation of process location parameter. Phase I efficiency of proposed estimators and Phase II performance of Xbar charts constructed from these estimators are compared with the conventional mean and standard deviation statistics both under normality and against diffuse-localized and symmetric-asymmetric contaminations using 50,000 Monte Carlo simulations on MATLAB. Consequently, it is found that robust estimators yield parameter estimates with higher efficiency against all types of contaminations, and Xbar charts constructed using robust estimators have higher power in detecting disturbances, compared to conventional methods. Additionally, utilizing individuals charts to screen outlier subgroups and employing different combination of dispersion and location estimators on subgroups and individual observations are found to improve the performance of Xbar charts.

Keywords: average run length, M-estimators, quality control, robust estimators

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12 Emotions Evoked by Robots - Comparison of Older Adults and Students

Authors: Stephanie Lehmann, Esther Ruf, Sabina Misoch

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Background: Due to demographic change and shortage of skilled nursing staff, assistive robots are built to support older adults at home and nursing staff in care institutions. When assistive robots facilitate tasks that are usually performed by humans, user acceptance is essential. Even though they are an important aspect of acceptance, emotions towards different assistive robots and different situations of robot-use have so far not been examined in detail. The appearance of assistive robots can trigger emotions that affect their acceptance. Acceptance of robots is assumed to be greater when they look more human-like; however, too much human similarity can be counterproductive. Regarding different groups, it is assumed that older adults have a more negative attitude towards robots than younger adults. Within the framework of a simulated robot study, the aim was to investigate emotions of older adults compared to students towards robots with different appearances and in different situations and so contribute to a deeper view of the emotions influencing acceptance. Methods: In a questionnaire study, vignettes were used to assess emotions toward robots in different situations and of different appearance. The vignettes were composed of two situations (service and care) shown by video and four pictures of robots varying in human similarity (machine-like to android). The combination of the vignettes was randomly distributed to the participants. One hundred forty-two older adults and 35 bachelor students of nursing participated. They filled out a questionnaire that surveyed 30 positive and 30 negative emotions. For each group, older adults and students, a sum score of “positive emotions” and a sum score of “negative emotions” was calculated. Mean value, standard deviation, or n for sample size and % for frequencies, according to the scale level, were calculated. For differences in the scores of positive and negative emotions for different situations, t-tests were calculated. Results: Overall, older adults reported significantly more positive emotions than students towards robots in general. Students reported significantly more negative emotions than older adults. Regarding the two different situations, the results were similar for the care situation, with older adults reporting more positive emotions than students and less negative emotions than students. In the service situation, older adults reported significantly more positive emotions; negative emotions did not differ significantly from the students. Regarding the appearance of the robot, there were no significant differences in emotions reported towards the machine-like, the mechanical-human-like and the human-like appearance. Regarding the android robot, students reported significantly more negative emotions than older adults. Conclusion: There were differences in the emotions reported by older adults compared to students. Older adults reported more positive emotions, and students reported more negative emotions towards robots in different situations and with different appearances. It can be assumed that older adults have a different attitude towards the use of robots than younger people, especially young adults in the health sector. Therefore, the use of robots in the service or care sector should not be rejected rashly based on the attitudes of younger persons, without considering the attitudes of older adults equally.

Keywords: emotions, robots, seniors, young adults

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11 Everolimus Loaded Polyvinyl Alcohol Microspheres for Sustained Drug Delivery in the Treatment of Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma

Authors: Lynn Louis, Bor Shin Chee, Marion McAfee, Michael Nugent

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This article aims to develop a sustained release formulation of microspheres containing the mTOR inhibitor Everolimus (EVR) using Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) to enhance the bioavailability of the drug and to overcome poor solubility characteristics of Everolimus. This paper builds on recent work in the manufacture of microspheres using the sessile droplet technique by freezing the polymer-drug solution by suspending the droplets into pre-cooled ethanol vials immersed in liquid nitrogen. The spheres were subjected to 6 freezing cycles and 3 freezing cycles with thawing to obtain proper geometry, prevent aggregation, and achieve physical cross-linking. The prepared microspheres were characterised for surface morphology by SEM, where a 3-D porous structure was observed. The in vitro release studies showed a 62.17% release over 12.5 days, indicating a sustained release due to good encapsulation. This result is comparatively much more than the 49.06% release achieved within 4 hours from the solvent cast Everolimus film as a control with no freeze-thaw cycles performed. The solvent cast films were made in this work for comparison. A prolonged release of Everolimus using a polymer-based drug delivery system is essential to reach optimal therapeutic concentrations in treating SEGA tumours without systemic exposure. These results suggest that the combination of PVA and Everolimus via a rheological synergism enhanced the bioavailability of the hydrophobic drug Everolimus. Physical-chemical characterisation using DSC and FTIR analysis showed compatibility of the drug with the polymer, and the stability of the drug was maintained owing to the high molecular weight of the PVA. The obtained results indicate that the developed PVA/EVR microsphere is highly suitable as a potential drug delivery system with improved bioavailability in treating Subependymal Giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA).

Keywords: drug delivery system, everolimus, freeze-thaw cycles, polyvinyl alcohol

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10 Prenatal Paraben Exposure Impacts Infant Overweight Development and in vitro Adipogenesis

Authors: Beate Englich, Linda Schlittenbauer, Christiane Pfeifer, Isabel Kratochvil, Michael Borte, Gabriele I. Stangl, Martin von Bergen, Thorsten Reemtsma, Irina Lehmann, Kristin M. Junge

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The worldwide production of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) has risen dramatically over the last decades, as so has the prevalence for obesity. Many EDCs are believed to contribute to this obesity epidemic, by enhancing adipogenesis or disrupting relevant metabolism. This effect is most tremendous in the early prenatal period when priming effects find a highly vulnerable time window. Therefore, we investigate the impact of parabens on childhood overweight development and adipogenesis in general. Parabens are ester of 4-hydroxy-benzoic acid and part of many cosmetic products or food packing. Therefore, ubiquitous exposure can be found in the westernized world, with exposure already starting during the sensitive prenatal period. We assessed maternal cosmetic product consumption, prenatal paraben exposure and infant BMI z-scores in the prospective German LINA cohort. In detail, maternal urinary concentrations (34 weeks of gestation) of methyl paraben (MeP), ethyl paraben (EtP), n-propyl paraben (PrP) and n-butyl paraben (BuP) were quantified using UPLC-MS/MS. Body weight and height of their children was assessed during annual clinical visits. Further, we investigated the direct influence of those parabens on adipogenesis in-vitro using a human mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation assay to mimic a prenatal exposure scenario. MSC were exposed to 0.1 – 50 µM paraben during the entire differentiation period. Differentiation outcome was monitored by impedance spectrometry, real-time PCR and triglyceride staining. We found that maternal cosmetic product consumption was highly correlated with urinary paraben concentrations at pregnancy. Further, prenatal paraben exposure was linked to higher BMI Z-scores in children. Our in-vitro analysis revealed that especially the long chained paraben BuP stimulates adipogenesis by increasing the expression of adipocyte specific genes (PPARγ, ADIPOQ, LPL, etc.) and triglyceride storage. Moreover, we found that adiponectin secretion is increased whereas leptin secretion is reduced under BuP exposure in-vitro. Further mechanistic analysis for receptor binding and activation of PPARγ and other key players in adipogenesis are currently in process. We conclude that maternal cosmetic product consumption is linked to prenatal paraben exposure of children and contributes to the development of infant overweight development by triggering key pathways of adipogenesis.

Keywords: adipogenesis, endocrine disruptors, paraben, prenatal exposure

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9 Family Medicine Residents in End-of-Life Care

Authors: Goldie Lynn Diaz, Ma. Teresa Tricia G. Bautista, Elisabeth Engeljakob, Mary Glaze Rosal

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Introduction: Residents are expected to convey unfavorable news, discuss prognoses, and relieve suffering, and address do-not-resuscitate orders, yet some report a lack of competence in providing this type of care. Recognizing this need, Family Medicine residency programs are incorporating end-of-life care from symptom and pain control, counseling, and humanistic qualities as core proficiencies in training. Objective: This study determined the competency of Family Medicine Residents from various institutions in Metro Manila on rendering care for the dying. Materials and Methods: Trainees completed a Palliative Care Evaluation tool to assess their degree of confidence in patient and family interactions, patient management, and attitudes towards hospice care. Results: Remarkably, only a small fraction of participants were confident in performing independent management of terminal delirium and dyspnea. Fewer than 30% of residents can do the following without supervision: discuss medication effects and patient wishes after death, coping with pain, vomiting and constipation, and reacting to limited patient decision-making capacity. Half of the respondents had confidence in supporting the patient or family member when they become upset. Majority expressed confidence in many end-of-life care skills if supervision, coaching and consultation will be provided. Most trainees believed that pain medication should be given as needed to terminally ill patients. There was also uncertainty as to the most appropriate person to make end-of-life decisions. These attitudes may be influenced by personal beliefs rooted in cultural upbringing as well as by personal experiences with death in the family, which may also affect their participation and confidence in caring for the dying. Conclusion: Enhancing the quality and quantity of end-of-life care experiences during residency with sufficient supervision and role modeling may lead to knowledge and skill improvement to ensure quality of care. Fostering bedside learning opportunities during residency is an appropriate venue for teaching interventions in end-of-life care education.

Keywords: end of life care, geriatrics, palliative care, residency training skill

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8 Offloading Knowledge-Keeping to Digital Technology and the Attrition of Socio-Cultural Life

Authors: Sophia Melanson Ricciardone

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Common vexations concerning the impact of contemporary media technology on our daily lives tend to conjure mental representations of digital specters that surreptitiously invade the privacy of our most intimate spaces. While legitimacy assuredly sustains these concerns, examining them in isolation from other attributable phenomena to the problems created by our hyper-mediated conditions does not supply a complete account of the deleterious cost of integrating digital affordances into the banal cadence of our shared socio-cultural realities. As we continue to subconsciously delegate facets of our social and cognitive lives to digital technology, the very faculties that have enabled our species to thrive and invent technology in the first place are at risk of attrition – namely our capacity to sustain attention while synthesizing information in working memory to produce creative and inventive constructions for our shared social existence. Though the offloading of knowledge-keeping to fellow social agents belonging to our family and community circles is an enduring intuitive phenomenon across human societies – what social psychologists refer to as transactive memory – in offloading our various socio-cognitive faculties to digital technology, we may plausibly be supplanting the visceral social connections forged by transactive memory. This paper will present related research and literature produced across the disciplines of sociobiology, socio-cultural anthropology, social psychology, cognitive semiotics and communication and media studies that directly and indirectly address the social precarity cultivated by digital technologies. This body of scholarly work will then be situated within common areas of interest belonging to digital anthropology, including the groundbreaking work of Pavel Curtis, Christopher Kelty, Lynn Cherny, Vincent Duclos, Nick Seaver, and Sherry Turkle. It is anticipated that in harmonizing these overlapping areas of intradisciplinary interest, this paper can weave together the disparate connections across spheres of knowledge that help delineate the conditions of our contemporary digital existence.

Keywords: cognition, digital media, knowledge keeping, transactive memory

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7 Sequence Analysis and Molecular Cloning of PROTEOLYSIS 6 in Tomato

Authors: Nurulhikma Md Isa, Intan Elya Suka, Nur Farhana Roslan, Chew Bee Lynn

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The evolutionarily conserved N-end rule pathway marks proteins for degradation by the Ubiquitin Proteosome System (UPS) based on the nature of their N-terminal residue. Proteins with a destabilizing N-terminal residue undergo a series of condition-dependent N-terminal modifications, resulting in their ubiquitination and degradation. Intensive research has been carried out in Arabidopsis previously. The group VII Ethylene Response Factor (ERFs) transcription factors are the first N-end rule pathway substrates found in Arabidopsis and their role in regulating oxygen sensing. ERFs also function as central hubs for the perception of gaseous signals in plants and control different plant developmental including germination, stomatal aperture, hypocotyl elongation and stress responses. However, nothing is known about the role of this pathway during fruit development and ripening aspect. The plant model system Arabidopsis cannot represent fleshy fruit model system therefore tomato is the best model plant to study. PROTEOLYSIS6 (PRT6) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase of the N-end rule pathway. Two homologs of PRT6 sequences have been identified in tomato genome database using the PRT6 protein sequence from model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Homology search against Ensemble Plant database (tomato) showed Solyc09g010830.2 is the best hit with highest score of 1143, e-value of 0.0 and 61.3% identity compare to the second hit Solyc10g084760.1. Further homology search was done using NCBI Blast database to validate the data. The result showed best gene hit was XP_010325853.1 of uncharacterized protein LOC101255129 (Solanum lycopersicum) with highest score of 1601, e-value 0.0 and 48% identity. Both Solyc09g010830.2 and uncharacterized protein LOC101255129 were genes located at chromosome 9. Further validation was carried out using BLASTP program between these two sequences (Solyc09g010830.2 and uncharacterized protein LOC101255129) to investigate whether they were the same proteins represent PRT6 in tomato. Results showed that both proteins have 100 % identity, indicates that they were the same gene represents PRT6 in tomato. In addition, we used two different RNAi constructs that were driven under 35S and Polygalacturonase (PG) promoters to study the function of PRT6 during tomato developmental stages and ripening processes.

Keywords: ERFs, PRT6, tomato, ubiquitin

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6 An Exploratory Case Study of the Transference of Skills and Dispositions Used by a Newly Qualified Teacher

Authors: Lynn Machin

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Using the lens of a theoretical framework relating to learning to learn the intention of the case study was to explore how transferable the teaching and learning skills of a newly qualified teacher (post-compulsory education) were when used in an overseas, unfamiliar and challenging post-compulsory educational environment. Particularly, the research sought to explore how this newly qualified teacher made use of the skills developed during their teacher training and to ascertain if, and what, other skills were necessary in order for them to have a positive influence on their learners and for them to be able to thrive within a different country and learning milieu. This case study looks at the experience of a trainee teacher who recently qualified in the UK to teach in post compulsory education (i.e. post 16 education). Rather than gaining employment in a UK based academy or college of further education this newly qualified teacher secured her first employment as a teacher in a province in China. Moreover, the newly qualified teacher had limited travel experience and had never travelled to Asia. She was one of the quieter and more reserved members on the one year teacher training course and was the least likely of the group to have made the decision to work abroad. How transferable the pedagogical skills that she had gained during her training would be when used in a culturally different and therefore (to her, challenging) environment was a key focus of the study. Another key focus was to explore the dispositions being used by the newly qualified teacher in order for her to teach and to thrive in an overseas educational environment. The methodological approach used for this study was both interpretative and qualitative. Associated methods were: Observation: observing the wider and operational practice of the newly qualified teacher over a five day period, and their need, ability and willingness to be reflective, resilient, reciprocal and resourceful. Interview: semi-structured interview with the newly qualified teacher following the observation of her practice. Findings from this case study illuminate the modifications made by the newly qualified teacher to her bank of teaching and learning strategies as well as the essentiality of dispositions used by her to know how to learn and also, crucially, to be ready and willing to do so. Such dispositions include being resilient, resourceful, reciprocal and reflective; necessary in order to adapt to the emerging challenges encountered by the teacher during their first months of employment in China. It is concluded that developing the skills to teach is essential for good teaching and learning practices. Having dispositions that enable teachers to work in ever changing conditions and surroundings is, this paper argues, essential for transferability and longevity of use of these skills.

Keywords: learning, post-compulsory, resilience, transferable

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5 Telemedicine Versus Face-to-Face Follow up in General Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors: Teagan Fink, Lynn Chong, Michael Hii, Brett Knowles

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Background: Telemedicine is a rapidly advancing field providing healthcare to patients at a distance from their treating clinician. There is a paucity of high-quality evidence detailing the safety and acceptability of telemedicine for postoperative outpatient follow-up. This randomized controlled trial – conducted prior to the COVID 19 pandemic – aimed to assess patient satisfaction and safety (as determined by readmission, reoperation and complication rates) of telephone compared to face-to-face clinic follow-up after uncomplicated general surgical procedures. Methods: Patients following uncomplicated laparoscopic appendicectomy or cholecystectomy and laparoscopic or open umbilical or inguinal hernia repairs were randomized to a telephone or face-to-face outpatient clinic follow-up. Data points including patient demographics, perioperative details and postoperative outcomes (eg. wound healing complications, pain scores, unplanned readmission to hospital and return to daily activities) were compared between groups. Patients also completed a Likert patient satisfaction survey following their consultation. Results: 103 patients were recruited over a 12-month period (21 laparoscopic appendicectomies, 65 laparoscopic cholecystectomies, nine open umbilical hernia repairs, six laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs and two laparoscopic umbilical hernia repairs). Baseline patient demographics and operative interventions were the same in both groups. Patient or clinician-reported concerns on postoperative pain, use of analgesia, wound healing complications and return to daily activities at clinic follow-up were not significantly different between the two groups. Of the 58 patients randomized to the telemedicine arm, 40% reported high and 60% reported very high patient satisfaction. Telemedicine clinic mean consultation times were significantly shorter than face-to-face consultation times (telemedicine 10.3 +/- 7.2 minutes, face-to-face 19.2 +/- 23.8 minutes, p-value = 0.014). Rates of failing to attend clinic were not significantly different (telemedicine 3%, control 6%). There was no increased rate of postoperative complications in patients followed up by telemedicine compared to in-person. There were no unplanned readmissions, return to theatre, or mortalities in this study. Conclusion: Telemedicine follow-up of patients undergoing uncomplicated general surgery is safe and does not result in any missed diagnosis or higher rates of complications. Telemedicine provides high patient satisfaction and steps to implement this modality in inpatient care should be undertaken.

Keywords: general surgery, telemedicine, patient satisfaction, patient safety

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4 Identification and Characterization of Novel Genes Involved in Quinone Synthesis in the Odoriferous Defensive Stink Glands of the Red Flour Beetle, Tribolium castaneum

Authors: B. Atika, S. Lehmann, E. Wimmer

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The defense strategy is very common in the insect world. Defensive substances play a wide variety of functions for beetles, such as repellents, toxicants, insecticides, and antimicrobics. Beetles react to predators, invaders, and parasitic microbes with the release of toxic and repellent substances. Defensive substances are directed against a large array of potential target organisms or may function for boiling bombardment or as surfactants. Usually, Coleoptera biosynthesize and store their defensive compounds in a complex secretory organ, known as odoriferous defensive stink glands. The red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), uses these glands to produce antimicrobial p-benzoquinones and 1-alkenes. In the past, the morphology of stink gland has been studied in detail in tenebrionid beetles; however, very little is known about the genes that are involved in the production of gland secretion. In this study, we studied a subset of genes that are essential for the benzoquinone production in red flour beetle. In the first phase, we selected 74 potential candidate genes from a genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown screen named 'iBeetle.' All these 74 candidate genes were functionally characterized by RNAi-mediated gene knockdown. Therefore, they were selected for a subsequent gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of secretion volatiles in respective RNAi knockdown glands. 33 of them were observed to alter the phenotype of stink gland. In the GC-MS analysis, 7 candidate genes were noted to display a strongly altered gland, in terms of secretion color and chemical composition, upon knockdown, showing their key role in the biosynthesis of gland secretion. Morphologically altered stink glands were found for odorant receptor and protein kinase superfamily. Subsequent GC-MS analysis of secretion volatiles revealed reduced benzoquinone levels in LIM domain, PDZ domain, PBP/GOBP family knockdowns and a complete lack of benzoquinones in the knockdown of sulfatase-modifying factor enzyme 1, sulfate transporter family. Based on stink gland transcriptome data, we analyzed the function of sulfatase-modifying factor enzyme 1 and sulfate transporter family via RNAi-mediated gene knockdowns, GC-MS, in situ hybridization, and enzymatic activity assays. Morphologically altered stink glands were noted in knockdown of both these genes. Furthermore, GC-MS analysis of secretion volatiles showed a complete lack of benzoquinones in the knockdown of these two genes. In situ hybridization showed that these two genes are expressed around the vesicle of certain subgroup of secretory stink gland cells. Enzymatic activity assays on stink gland tissue showed that these genes are involved in p-benzoquinone biosynthesis. These results suggest that sulfatase-modifying factor enzyme 1 and sulfate transporter family play a role specifically in benzoquinone biosynthesis in red flour beetles.

Keywords: Red Flour Beetle, defensive stink gland, benzoquinones, sulfate transporter, sulfatase-modifying factor enzyme 1

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3 Reconceptualising the Voice of Children in Child Protection

Authors: Sharon Jackson, Lynn Kelly

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This paper proposes a conceptual review of the interdisciplinary literature which has theorised the concept of ‘children’s voices’. The primary aim is to identify and consider the theoretical relevance of conceptual thought on ‘children’s voices’ for research and practice in child protection contexts. Attending to the ‘voice of the child’ has become a core principle of social work practice in contemporary child protection contexts. Discourses of voice permeate the legislative, policy and practice frameworks of child protection practices within the UK and internationally. Voice is positioned within a ‘child-centred’ moral imperative to ‘hear the voices’ of children and take their preferences and perspectives into account. This practice is now considered to be central to working in a child-centered way. The genesis of this call to voice is revealed through sociological analysis of twentieth-century child welfare reform as rooted inter alia in intersecting political, social and cultural discourses which have situated children and childhood as cites of state intervention as enshrined in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by the UK government in 1991 and more specifically Article 12 of the convention. From a policy and practice perspective, the professional ‘capturing’ of children’s voices has come to saturate child protection practice. This has incited a stream of directives, resources, advisory publications and ‘how-to’ guides which attempt to articulate practice methods to ‘listen’, ‘hear’ and above all – ‘capture’ the ‘voice of the child’. The idiom ‘capturing the voice of the child’ is frequently invoked within the literature to express the requirements of the child-centered practice task to be accomplished. Despite the centrality of voice, and an obsession with ‘capturing’ voices, evidence from research, inspection processes, serious case reviews, child abuse and death inquires has consistently highlighted professional neglect of ‘the voice of the child’. Notable research studies have highlighted the relative absence of the child’s voice in social work assessment practices, a troubling lack of meaningful engagement with children and the need to more thoroughly examine communicative practices in child protection contexts. As a consequence, the project of capturing ‘the voice of the child’ has intensified, and there has been an increasing focus on developing methods and professional skills to attend to voice. This has been guided by a recognition that professionals often lack the skills and training to engage with children in age-appropriate ways. We argue however that the problem with ‘capturing’ and [re]representing ‘voice’ in child protection contexts is, more fundamentally, a failure to adequately theorise the concept of ‘voice’ in the ‘voice of the child’. For the most part, ‘The voice of the child’ incorporates psychological conceptions of child development. While these concepts are useful in the context of direct work with children, they fail to consider other strands of sociological thought, which position ‘the voice of the child’ within an agentic paradigm to emphasise the active agency of the child.

Keywords: child-centered, child protection, views of the child, voice of the child

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2 Motherhood Factors Influencing the Business Growth of Women-Owned Sewing Businesses in Lagos, Nigeria: A Mixed Method Study

Authors: Oyedele Ogundana, Amon Simba, Kostas Galanakis, Lynn Oxborrow

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The debate about factors influencing the business growth of women-owned businesses has been a topical issue in business management. Currently, scholars have identified the issues of access to money, market, and management as canvasing factors influencing the business growth of women-owned businesses. However, the influence of motherhood (household/family context) on business growth is inconclusive in the literature; despite that women are more family-oriented than their male counterparts. Therefore, this research study considers the influence of motherhood factor (household/family context) on the business growth of women-owned sewing businesses (WOSBs) in Lagos, Nigeria. The sewing business sector is chosen as the fashion industry (which includes sewing businesses) currently accounts for the second largest number of jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa, following agriculture. Thus, sewing businesses provide a rich ground for contributing to existing scholarly work. Research questions; (1) In what way does the motherhood factor influence the business growth of WOSBs in Lagos? (2) To what extent does the motherhood factor influence the business growth of WOSBs in Lagos? For the method design, a pragmatic approach, a mixed-methods technique and an abductive form of reasoning are adopted. The method design is chosen because it fits, better than other research perspectives, with the research questions posed in this study. For instance, using a positivist approach will not sufficiently answer research question 1, neither will an interpretive approach sufficiently answer research question 2. Therefore, the research method design is divided into 2 phases, and the results from one phase are used to inform the development of the subsequent phases (only phase 1 has been completed at the moment). The first phase uses qualitative data and analytical method to answer research question 1. While the second phase of the research uses quantitative data and analytical method to answer research question 2. For the qualitative phase, 5 WOSBs were purposefully selected and interviewed. The sampling technique is selected as it was not the intention of the researcher to make any statistical inferences, at this phase, rather the purpose was just exploratory. Therefore, the 5 sampled women comprised of 2 unmarried women, 1 married woman with no child, and 2 married women with children. A 40-60 minutes interview was conducted per participants. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Thereafter, the data were analysed using thematic analysis in order to unearth patterns and relationships. Findings for the first phase of this research reveals that motherhood (household/family context) directly influences (positively/negatively) the performance of WOSBs in Lagos. Apart from a direct influence on WOSBs, motherhood also moderates (positively/negatively) other factors–e.g., access to money, management/human resources and market/opportunities– influencing WOSBs in Lagos. To further strengthen this conclusion, a word frequency query result shows that ‘family,’ ‘husband’ and ‘children’ are among the 10 words used frequently in all the interview transcripts. This first phase contributes to existing studies by showing the various forms by which motherhood influences WOSBs. The second phase (which data are yet to be collected) would reveal the extent to which motherhood influence the business growth of WOSBs in Lagos.

Keywords: women-owned sewing businesses, business growth, motherhood, Lagos

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1 A Study of the Trap of Multi-Homing in Customers - A Comparative Case Study of Digital Payments

Authors: Shari S. C. Shang, Lynn S. L. Chiu

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In the digital payment market, some consumers use only one payment wallet while many others play multi-homing with variety of payment services. As the diffusion of new paymentsystems, we examinedthedeterminants of the adoption onmulti-homingbehavior. This study aims to understand how a digital payment provider dynamically expandedbusiness touch points with cross business strategies to enrich digital ecosystemand avoid the trap of multi-homing in customers. By synthesizing platform ecosystem literatures, we constructed a two-dimensional research framework with one determinant of user digital behavior from offline to online intentions and the other determinant of digital payment touch points from convenient accessibility to cross business platforms. To explore in a broader scale, we selected 12 digital payments from 5 countries of UK, US, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. With the interplays of user digital behaviors and payment touch points, we group the study cases into four types. (1)Channel Initiated: users are originated from retailers with high access to in-store shopping with face-to-face guidance for payment adoption. Providers offer rewardsfor customer loyalty and secure the retailer’s efficient cash flow management. (2) Social Media Dependent: users usually are digital natives with high access to social media or internet who shop and pay digitally. Providers mightnot own physical or online shops but licensed to aggregate money flows through virtual ecosystems.(3) Early Life Engagement: digital banks race to capture the next generation from popularity to profitability. This type of payment aimed to give children a taste of financial freedom while letting parents track the spending. Providers are to capitalize on the digital payment and ecommerce boom and hold on to new customers into adulthood. (4) Traditional Banking: plastic credit cards arepurposely designed as a control group to track the evolvement of business strategies in digital payments. Traditional credit cards users may follow bank’s digital strategy to land on different types of digital wallets or mostly keep using plastic credit cards. This research analyzed business growth modelsand inter-firms’ coopetition strategies of the selected cases. Results of the multiple case analysis reveal thatChannel Initiated Payments bundled rewards with retailer’s business discountforrecurring purchase. They also extended other financial services such as insurance to fulfill customer’s new demands. Contrastively, Social Media Dependent paymentsdeveloped new usages and new value creation such as P2P money transfer through network effects among the virtual social ties. While Early Life Engagementsoffer virtual banking products to children who are digital natives but overlooked by incumbents. It has disrupted the banking business domains for the preparationfor metaverse economy.Lastly, the control group of traditional plasticcredit cards has gradually converted to a BaaS (banking as a service) model depending oncustomers’preferences. The multihoming behavior is not avoidable in digital payment competitions. Payment providers may encounter multiple waves of multihoming threat after a short period of success. A dynamic cross-business collaboration strategy should be explored to continuously evolve the digital ecosystems and allow users for broader shopping experience and continual usage.

Keywords: digital payments, digital ecosystems, multi-homing users, user digital behavior, cross business strategy, touch points

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