Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 22

Search results for: Moshe Mello

22 Fuel Properties of Distilled Tire Pyrolytic Oil and Its Blends with Biodiesel and Commercial Diesel Fuel

Authors: Moshe Mello, Hilary Rutto, Tumisang Seodigeng

Abstract:

Tires are extremely challenging to recycle due to the available chemically cross-linked polymer which constitutes their nature and therefore, they are neither fusible nor soluble and consequently, cannot be remoulded into other shapes without serious degradation. Pyrolysis of tires produces four valuable products namely; char, steel, tire pyrolytic oil (TPO) and non-condensable gases. TPO has been reported to have similar properties to commercial diesel fuel (CDF). In this study, distillation of TPO was carried out in a batch distillation column and biodiesel was produced from waste cooking oil. FTIR analysis proved that TPO can be used as a fuel due to the available compounds detected and GC analysis displayed 94% biodiesel concentration from waste cooking oil. Different blends of TPO/biodiesel, TPO/CDF and biodiesel/CDF were prepared at different ratios. Fuel properties such as viscosity, density, flash point, and calorific value were studied. Viscosity and density models were also studied to measure the quality of different blends.

Keywords: biodiesel, distillation, pyrolysis, tire

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21 Adsorptive Desulfurization of Tire Pyrolytic Oil Using Cu(I)–Y Zeolite via π-Complexation

Authors: Moshe Mello, Hilary Rutto, Tumisang Seodigeng

Abstract:

The accelerating requirement to reach 0% sulfur content in liquid fuels demands researchers to seek efficient alternative technologies to challenge the predicament. In this current study, the adsorption capabilities of modified Cu(I)-Y zeolite were tested for removal of organosulfur compounds (OSC) present in TPO. The π-complexation-based adsorbent was obtained by ion exchanging Y-zeolite with Cu+ cation using liquid phase ion exchange (LPIE). Preparation of the adsorbent involved firstly ion-exchange between Na-Y zeolite with a Cu(NO3)2 aqueous solution of 0.5M for 48 hours followed by reduction of Cu2+ to Cu+. Batch studies for TPO in comparison with model diesel comprising of sulfur compounds such as thiophene (TH), benzothiophene (BTH), dibenzothiophene (DBT) and 4,6-dimethyldibenzothiophe (4,6-DMDBT) showed that modified Cu(I)-Y zeolite is an effective adsorbent for removal of OSC in liquid fuels. The effect of multiple operating conditions such as adsorbent dosage, reaction time and temperature were studied to optimize the process. For model diesel fuel, the selectivity for adsorption of sulfur compounds followed the order 4,6-DMDBT> DBT> BTH> TH. Interpretation of the results was justified using the molecular orbital theory and calculations. Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms were used to predict adsorption of the reaction mixture. The Cu(I)-Y zeolite is fully regeneratable and this is achieved by a simple procedure of blowing the adsorbent with air at 350 °C, followed by reactivation at 450 °C in a rich helium surrounding.

Keywords: adsorption, desulfurization, TPO, zeolite

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20 Desulphurization of Waste Tire Pyrolytic Oil (TPO) Using Photodegradation and Adsorption Techniques

Authors: Moshe Mello, Hilary Rutto, Tumisang Seodigeng

Abstract:

The nature of tires makes them extremely challenging to recycle due to the available chemically cross-linked polymer and, therefore, they are neither fusible nor soluble and, consequently, cannot be remolded into other shapes without serious degradation. Open dumping of tires pollutes the soil, contaminates underground water and provides ideal breeding grounds for disease carrying vermins. The thermal decomposition of tires by pyrolysis produce char, gases and oil. The composition of oils derived from waste tires has common properties to commercial diesel fuel. The problem associated with the light oil derived from pyrolysis of waste tires is that it has a high sulfur content (> 1.0 wt.%) and therefore emits harmful sulfur oxide (SOx) gases to the atmosphere when combusted in diesel engines. Desulphurization of TPO is necessary due to the increasing stringent environmental regulations worldwide. Hydrodesulphurization (HDS) is the commonly practiced technique for the removal of sulfur species in liquid hydrocarbons. However, the HDS technique fails in the presence of complex sulfur species such as Dibenzothiopene (DBT) present in TPO. This study aims to investigate the viability of photodegradation (Photocatalytic oxidative desulphurization) and adsorptive desulphurization technologies for efficient removal of complex and non-complex sulfur species in TPO. This study focuses on optimizing the cleaning (removal of impurities and asphaltenes) process by varying process parameters; temperature, stirring speed, acid/oil ratio and time. The treated TPO will then be sent for vacuum distillation to attain the desired diesel like fuel. The effect of temperature, pressure and time will be determined for vacuum distillation of both raw TPO and the acid treated oil for comparison purposes. Polycyclic sulfides present in the distilled (diesel like) light oil will be oxidized dominantly to the corresponding sulfoxides and sulfone via a photo-catalyzed system using TiO2 as a catalyst and hydrogen peroxide as an oxidizing agent and finally acetonitrile will be used as an extraction solvent. Adsorptive desulphurization will be used to adsorb traces of sulfurous compounds which remained during photocatalytic desulphurization step. This desulphurization convoy is expected to give high desulphurization efficiency with reasonable oil recovery.

Keywords: adsorption, asphaltenes, photocatalytic oxidation, pyrolysis

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19 GIS-Based Topographical Network for Minimum “Exertion” Routing

Authors: Katherine Carl Payne, Moshe Dror

Abstract:

The problem of minimum cost routing has been extensively explored in a variety of contexts. While there is a prevalence of routing applications based on least distance, time, and related attributes, exertion-based routing has remained relatively unexplored. In particular, the network structures traditionally used to construct minimum cost paths are not suited to representing exertion or finding paths of least exertion based on road gradient. In this paper, we introduce a topographical network or “topograph” that enables minimum cost routing based on the exertion metric on each arc in a given road network as it is related to changes in road gradient. We describe an algorithm for topograph construction and present the implementation of the topograph on a road network of the state of California with ~22 million nodes.

Keywords: topograph, RPE, routing, GIS

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18 Accounting Performance of the Leading Companies in the Construction Sector in Brazil during the Period 2009-2012

Authors: Fabrício José Piacente, Vanessa de Cillos Silva, Thiago Luiz Mello Melato

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The construction industry has been demonstrating increased growth and importance in Brazil’s national economic development. This study aims to evaluate the financial performance of the leading companies in the construction sector in Brazil in the period from 2009 to 2012. An analysis is made of the capital structure, liquidity, and profitability of the six largest companies in the construction sector in Brazil: Brookfield, Cyrela, Gafisa, MRV, PDG and Rossi. The results are then compared with standard industry ratios. It was found that among the companies analyzed, MRV and Cyrela showed the best relative performance in the period under consideration.

Keywords: accounting ratios, construction, financial performance, Brazil

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17 Improving Concrete Properties with Fibers Addition

Authors: E. Mello, C. Ribellato, E. Mohamedelhassan

Abstract:

This study investigated the improvement in concrete properties with addition of cellulose, steel, carbon and PET fibers. Each fiber was added at four percentages to the fresh concrete, which was moist-cured for 28-days and then tested for compressive, flexural and tensile strengths. Changes in strength and increases in cost were analyzed. Results showed that addition of cellulose caused a decrease between 9.8% and 16.4% in compressive strength. This range may be acceptable as cellulose fibers can significantly increase the concrete resistance to fire, and freezing and thawing cycles. Addition of steel fibers to concrete increased the compressive strength by up to 20%. Increases 121.5% and 80.7% were reported in tensile and flexural strengths respectively. Carbon fibers increased flexural and tensile strengths by up to 11% and 45%, respectively. Concrete strength properties decreased after the addition of PET fibers. Results showed that improvement in strength after addition of steel and carbon fibers may justify the extra cost of fibers.

Keywords: concrete, compressive strength, fibers, flexural strength, tensile strength

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16 Energy Benefits of Urban Platooning with Self-Driving Vehicles

Authors: Eduardo F. Mello, Peter H. Bauer

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The primary focus of this paper is the generation of energy-optimal speed trajectories for heterogeneous electric vehicle platoons in urban driving conditions. Optimal speed trajectories are generated for individual vehicles and for an entire platoon under the assumption that they can be executed without errors, as would be the case for self-driving vehicles. It is then shown that the optimization for the “average vehicle in the platoon” generates similar transportation energy savings to optimizing speed trajectories for each vehicle individually. The introduced approach only requires the lead vehicle to run the optimization software while the remaining vehicles are only required to have adaptive cruise control capability. The achieved energy savings are typically between 30% and 50% for stop-to-stop segments in cities. The prime motivation of urban platooning comes from the fact that urban platoons efficiently utilize the available space and the minimization of transportation energy in cities is important for many reasons, i.e., for environmental, power, and range considerations.

Keywords: electric vehicles, energy efficiency, optimization, platooning, self-driving vehicles, urban traffic

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15 Influence of Build Orientation on Machinability of Selective Laser Melted Titanium Alloy-Ti-6Al-4V

Authors: Manikandakumar Shunmugavel, Ashwin Polishetty, Moshe Goldberg, Junior Nomani, Guy Littlefair

Abstract:

Selective laser melting (SLM), a promising additive manufacturing (AM) technology, has a huge potential in the fabrication of Ti-6Al-4V near-net shape components. However, poor surface finish of the components fabricated from this technology requires secondary machining to achieve the desired accuracy and tolerance. Therefore, a systematic understanding of the machinability of SLM fabricated Ti-6Al-4V components is paramount to improve the productivity and product quality. Considering the significance of machining in SLM fabricated Ti-6Al-4V components, this research aim is to study the influence of build orientation on machinability characteristics by performing low speed orthogonal cutting tests. In addition, the machinability of SLM fabricated Ti-6Al-4V is compared with conventionally produced wrought Ti-6Al-4V to understand the influence of SLM technology on machining. This paper is an attempt to provide evidence to the hypothesis associated that build orientation influences cutting forces, chip formation and surface integrity during orthogonal cutting of SLM Ti-6Al-4V samples. Results obtained from the low speed orthogonal cutting tests highlight the practical importance of microstructure and build orientation on machinability of SLM Ti-6Al-4V.

Keywords: additive manufacturing, build orientation, machinability, titanium alloys (Ti-6Al-4V)

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14 Biodegradability Evaluation of Polylactic Acid Composite with Natural Fiber (Sisal)

Authors: A. Bárbara Cattozatto Fortunato, D. de Lucca Soave, E. Pinheiro de Mello, M. Piasentini Oliva, V. Tavares de Moraes, G. Wolf Lebrão, D. Fernandes Parra, S. Marraccini Giampietri Lebrão

Abstract:

Due to increasing environmental pressure for biodegradable products, especially in polymeric materials, in order to meet the demands of the biological cycles of the circular economy, new materials have been developed as a sustainability strategy. This study proposes a composite material developed from the biodegradable polymer PLA Ecovio® (polylactic acid - PLA) with natural sisal fibers, where the soybean ester was used as a plasticizer, which can aid in adhesion between the materials and fibers, making the most attractive final composite from an environmental point of view. The composites were obtained by extrusion. The materials tests were produced and submitted to biodegradation tests. Through the biodegradation tests, it can be seen that the biodegradable polymer composition with 5% sisal fiber presented about 12.4% more biodegradability compared to the polymer without fiber addition. It has also been found that the plasticizer was not a compatible with fibers and the polymer. Finally, fibers help to anticipate the decomposition process of the material when subjected to conditions of a landfill. Therefore, its intrinsic properties are not affected during its use, only the biodegradation process begins after its exposure to landfill conditions.

Keywords: biocomposites, sisal, polilactic acid, Polylactic Acid (PLA)

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13 On the Role of Cutting Conditions on Surface Roughness in High-Speed Thread Milling of Brass C3600

Authors: Amir Mahyar Khorasani, Ian Gibson, Moshe Goldberg, Mohammad Masoud Movahedi, Guy Littlefair

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One of the important factors in manufacturing processes especially machining operations is surface quality. Improving this parameter results in improving fatigue strength, corrosion resistance, creep life and surface friction. The reliability and clearance of removable joints such as thread and nuts are highly related to the surface roughness. In this work, the effect of different cutting parameters such as cutting fluid pressure, feed rate and cutting speed on the surface quality of the crest of thread in the high-speed milling of Brass C3600 have been determined. Two popular neural networks containing MLP and RBF coupling with Taguchi L32 have been used to model surface roughness which was shown to be highly adept for such tasks. The contribution of this work is modelling surface roughness on the crest of the thread by using precise profilometer with nanoscale resolution. Experimental tests have been carried out for validation and approved suitable accuracy of the proposed model. Also analysing the interaction of parameters two by two showed that the most effective cutting parameter on the surface value is feed rate followed by cutting speed and cutting fluid pressure.

Keywords: artificial neural networks, cutting conditions, high-speed machining, surface roughness, thread milling

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12 Timing and Probability of Presurgical Teledermatology: Survival Analysis

Authors: Felipa de Mello-Sampayo

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The aim of this study is to undertake, from patient’s perspective, the timing and probability of using teledermatology, comparing it with a conventional referral system. The dynamic stochastic model’s main value-added consists of the concrete application to patients waiting for dermatology surgical intervention. Patients with low health level uncertainty must use teledermatology treatment as soon as possible, which is precisely when the teledermatology is least valuable. The results of the model were then tested empirically with the teledermatology network covering the area served by the Hospital Garcia da Horta, Portugal, links the primary care centers of 24 health districts with the hospital’s dermatology department via the corporate intranet of the Portuguese healthcare system. Health level volatility can be understood as the hazard of developing skin cancer and the trend of health level as the bias of developing skin lesions. The results of the survival analysis suggest that the theoretical model can explain the use of teledermatology. It depends negatively on the volatility of patients' health, and positively on the trend of health, i.e., the lower the risk of developing skin cancer and the younger the patients, the more presurgical teledermatology one expects to occur. Presurgical teledermatology also depends positively on out-of-pocket expenses and negatively on the opportunity costs of teledermatology, i.e., the lower the benefit missed by using teledermatology, the more presurgical teledermatology one expects to occur.

Keywords: teledermatology, wait time, uncertainty, opportunity cost, survival analysis

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11 Determination of the Runoff Coefficient in Urban Regions, an Example from Haifa, Israel

Authors: Ayal Siegel, Moshe Inbar, Amatzya Peled

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This study examined the characteristic runoff coefficient in different urban areas. The main area studied is located in the city of Haifa, northern Israel. Haifa spreads out eastward from the Mediterranean seacoast to the top of the Carmel Mountain range with an elevation of 300 m. above sea level. For this research project, four watersheds were chosen, each characterizing a different part of the city; 1) Upper Hadar, a spacious suburb on the upper mountain side; 2) Qiryat Eliezer, a crowded suburb on a level plane of the watershed; 3) Technion, a large technical research university which is located halfway between the top of the mountain range and the coast line. 4) Keret, a remote suburb, on the southwestern outskirts of Haifa. In all of the watersheds found suitable, instruments were installed to continuously measure the water level flowing in the channels. Three rainfall gauges scattered in the study area complete the hydrological requirements for this research project. The runoff coefficient C in peak discharge events was determined by the Rational Formula. The main research finding is the significant relationship between the intensity of rainfall, and the impervious area which is connected to the drainage system of the watershed. For less intense rainfall, the full potential of the connected impervious area will not be exploited. As a result, the runoff coefficient value decreases as do the peak discharge rate and the runoff yield from the storm event. The research results will enable application to other areas by means of hydrological model to be be set up on GIS software that will make it possible to estimate the runoff coefficient of any given city watershed.

Keywords: runoff coefficient, rational method, time of concentration, connected impervious area.

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10 Dental Education in Brazil: A Systematic Literature Review

Authors: Fabiane Alves Farias Guimarães, Rodrigo Otávio Moretti-Pires, Ana Lúcia Schaefer Ferreira de Mello

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Introduction: Considering the last changes in Brazilian Health and Higher Educational Systems, the production of scientific knowledge regarding dental education and training has been increasing. The National Curriculum Guidelines for undergraduate courses in Dentistry established in 2002 the principles and procedures to perform a more generalist dental professional profile. Objectives: To perform a systematic review of the Brazilian scientific literature about dental education and training. Methods: The systematic review was conducted considering the Lilacs - Latin American Literature in Health Sciences and SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online data bases, using the combination of key words dentistry, education, teaching or training. It was select original research articles, published between 2010 and 2013, in Portuguese. Results: Based on the selection criteria, it was found 23 articles. In order to organize the outcomes, the analysis was separated in three themes: Ethical aspects of education (3 articles), integrating dental service with training (10 articles) and Dental education and the Brazilian curriculum guidelines (10 articles). Most of the studies were published between 2011 and 2012 (35% each) and were held in public universities. The studied populations included dental students, teachers, universities directors, health managers and dentists. The qualitative methodological approach was predominant. Conclusion: It was possible to identify a transience time in Brazilian undergraduate courses in Dentistry after curricular changes. The produced literature shows some advances, as the incorporation of ethical values on dental education and the inclusion of new practices environments for students by integrating education and training in diversified dental services scenarios.

Keywords: Teaching, Dental Students, Human resources in dentistry

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9 Development and Evaluation of Dehydrated Soups with Frog Meat by Freeze Drying

Authors: Sílvia Pereira Mello, Eliane Rodrigues, Maria de Lourdes Andrade, Marcelo Pereira, Giselle Dias, Jose Seixas Filho

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Frog meat is a highly digestible food and its use is recommended in diets aimed at fighting cholesterol, obesity, and arterial hypertension, as well as for treating gastrointestinal disorders. In this study, the soups were developed with frog meat in addition to other ingredients which did not present allergenic potential. The carcasses of the thawed frogs went through bleaching and deboning, and other ingredients (vegetables and condiments) were then added to the separated meat. After the process of cooking, the soups were cooled and later on frozen at -40° C for 3 hours and then taken to the LS 3000 B lyophilizer for 24 hours. The soups were submitted to microbiological analysis: enumeration of total coliforms and Bacillus cereus; identification of coagulase positive Staphylococcus; isolation and identification of Salmonella spp.; and physical-chemical analysis; application of micro-Kjeldahl method for protein, Soxhlet method for lipids, use of a heating chamber at 105ºC for moisture, incineration method (500-550°C) for ash, and Decagon's Pawkit equipment for determining water activity. Acceptance test was performed with 50 elderly people, all between 60 and 85 years of age. The degree of acceptance was demonstrated using a seven points structured hedonic scale in which the taster expressed their impression towards the product. Results of the microbiological analysis showed that all samples met the standards established by the National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil (ANVISA). Results of the acceptance test indicated that all the soups were accepted considering overall impression and intended consumption. In addition to its excellent nutritional quality, the dehydrated soups made with frog meat are presented as a solution for consumers due to convenience in preparation, consumption and storage.

Keywords: bacteriological quality, lithobates catesbeianus, instant soup, proximate composition, sensory analysis

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8 Patients' Out-Of-Pocket Expenses-Effectiveness Analysis of Presurgical Teledermatology

Authors: Felipa De Mello-Sampayo

Abstract:

Background: The aim of this study is to undertake, from a patient perspective, an economic analysis of presurgical teledermatology, comparing it with a conventional referral system. Store-and-forward teledermatology allows surgical planning, saving both time and number of visits involving travel, thereby reducing patients’ out-of-pocket expenses, i.e., costs that patients incur when traveling to and from health providers for treatment, visits’ fees, and the opportunity cost of time spent in visits. Method: Patients’ out-of-pocket expenses-effectiveness of presurgical teledermatology were analyzed in the setting of a public hospital during two years. The mean delay in surgery was used to measure effectiveness. The teledermatology network covering the area served by the Hospital Garcia da Horta (HGO), Portugal, linked the primary care centers of 24 health districts with the hospital’s dermatology department. The patients’ opportunity cost of visits, travel costs, and visits’ fee of each presurgical modality (teledermatology and conventional referral), the cost ratio between the most and least expensive alternative, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio were calculated from initial primary care visit until surgical intervention. Two groups of patients: those with squamous cell carcinoma and those with basal cell carcinoma were distinguished in order to compare the effectiveness according to the dermatoses. Results: From a patient perspective, the conventional system was 2.15 times more expensive than presurgical teledermatology. Teledermatology had an incremental out-of-pocket expenses-effectiveness ratio of €1.22 per patient and per day of delay avoided. This saving was greater in patients with squamous cell carcinoma than in patients with basal cell carcinoma. Conclusion: From a patient economic perspective, teledermatology used for presurgical planning and preparation is the dominant strategy in terms of out-of-pocket expenses-effectiveness than the conventional referral system, especially for patients with severe dermatoses.

Keywords: economic analysis, out-of-pocket expenses, opportunity cost, teledermatology, waiting time

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7 Identifying Patterns of Seeking and Providing Help Online among Adolescents in Israel

Authors: Gali Pesin, Yuliya Lipshits-Braziler, Sima Amram-Vaknin, Moshe Tatar

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The present study introduces four different patterns of seeking and providing help online among adolescents: (I) ‘Transceivers’ - adolescents who both seek as well as provide help online; (II) ‘Receivers’ - adolescents who seek help online, yet don’t provide it; (III) ‘Transmitters’ - adolescents who provide help online, yet don’t seek it; and (IV) ‘Idles’ - adolescents who refrain from seeking and providing help online. The study examined differences in seeking and providing help online between possible combinations of the four patterns, as well as gender differences within each pattern. Data was collected from 528 adolescents in Israel (59% were girls). Findings revealed that Transceivers are the largest group (45%) in this study, with higher representation of girls (65%). These adolescents seek help mainly around social difficulties, and they turn to peers who are both known and unknown to them. In addition, their preferred way to seek and provide help is through social network sites. Moreover, they often accept and give others emotional support. Receivers are the smallest group (5%) in this study. They turn to both known and unknown professionals more often than to friends and family. In addition, they seek help mostly around health and nutrition issues, and they usually receive instrumental support. For Receivers, the most important factor for seeking help online is anonymity, and the least important factor is familiarity with the help giver. Transmitters represent 16% of the adolescents in this study, with a greater representation of boys (52%). Their main reason to refrain from seeking help online is self-reliance. Nevertheless, these adolescents provide help to others online, mainly to those known to them through posting or responding to posts on social network sites. Idles represent 34% of the adolescents in this study. They refrain from seeking help online mainly due to their preference to seek help face to face, and due to their lack of trust in the internet or those using it. Idles and Transmitters are willing to seek help online mostly from friends and family. In addition, they are willing seek help online mainly regarding questions concerning military or civil service. They consider the most important facilitators for seeking help online as confidentiality and reliability. The present study’s main contribution is exploring the role of providing online help in understanding the adolescent behavior of seeking help online. In addition, the results of the present study have practical implications for the work of mental health providers, such as counseling psychologists and online mental health support.

Keywords: adolescents, counseling, online help-seeking, online help-providing

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6 A Method for Clinical Concept Extraction from Medical Text

Authors: Moshe Wasserblat, Jonathan Mamou, Oren Pereg

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Natural Language Processing (NLP) has made a major leap in the last few years, in practical integration into medical solutions; for example, extracting clinical concepts from medical texts such as medical condition, medication, treatment, and symptoms. However, training and deploying those models in real environments still demands a large amount of annotated data and NLP/Machine Learning (ML) expertise, which makes this process costly and time-consuming. We present a practical and efficient method for clinical concept extraction that does not require costly labeled data nor ML expertise. The method includes three steps: Step 1- the user injects a large in-domain text corpus (e.g., PubMed). Then, the system builds a contextual model containing vector representations of concepts in the corpus, in an unsupervised manner (e.g., Phrase2Vec). Step 2- the user provides a seed set of terms representing a specific medical concept (e.g., for the concept of the symptoms, the user may provide: ‘dry mouth,’ ‘itchy skin,’ and ‘blurred vision’). Then, the system matches the seed set against the contextual model and extracts the most semantically similar terms (e.g., additional symptoms). The result is a complete set of terms related to the medical concept. Step 3 –in production, there is a need to extract medical concepts from the unseen medical text. The system extracts key-phrases from the new text, then matches them against the complete set of terms from step 2, and the most semantically similar will be annotated with the same medical concept category. As an example, the seed symptom concepts would result in the following annotation: “The patient complaints on fatigue [symptom], dry skin [symptom], and Weight loss [symptom], which can be an early sign for Diabetes.” Our evaluations show promising results for extracting concepts from medical corpora. The method allows medical analysts to easily and efficiently build taxonomies (in step 2) representing their domain-specific concepts, and automatically annotate a large number of texts (in step 3) for classification/summarization of medical reports.

Keywords: clinical concepts, concept expansion, medical records annotation, medical records summarization

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5 Relatively High Heart-Rate Variability Predicts Greater Survival Chances in Patients with Covid-19

Authors: Yori Gidron, Maartje Mol, Norbert Foudraine, Frits Van Osch, Joop Van Den Bergh, Moshe Farchi, Maud Straus

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Background: The worldwide pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV2), which began in 2019, also known as Covid-19, has infected over 136 million people and tragically took the lives of over 2.9 million people worldwide. Many of the complications and deaths are predicted by the inflammatory “cytokine storm.” One way to progress in the prevention of death is by finding a predictive and protective factor that inhibits inflammation, on the one hand, and which also increases anti-viral immunity on the other hand. The vagal nerve does precisely both actions. This study examined whether vagal nerve activity, indexed by heart-rate variability (HRV), predicts survival in patients with Covid-19. Method: We performed a pseudo-prospective study, where we retroactively obtained ECGs of 271 Covid-19 patients arriving at a large regional hospital in The Netherlands. HRV was indexed by the standard deviation of the intervals between normal heartbeats (SDNN). We examined patients’ survival at 3 weeks and took into account multiple confounders and known prognostic factors (e.g., age, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension). Results: Patients’ mean age was 68 (range: 25-95) and nearly 22% of the patients had died by 3 weeks. Their mean SDNN (17.47msec) was far below the norm (50msec). Importantly, relatively higher HRV significantly predicted a higher chance of survival, after statistically controlling for patients’ age, cardiac diseases, hypertension and diabetes (relative risk, H.R, and 95% confidence interval (95%CI): H.R = 0.49, 95%CI: 0.26 – 0.95, p < 0.05). However, since HRV declines rapidly with age and since age is a profound predictor in Covid-19, we split the sample by median age (40). Subsequently, we found that higher HRV significantly predicted greater survival in patients older than 70 (H.R = 0.35, 95%CI: 0.16 – 0.78, p = 0.01), but HRV did not predict survival in patients below age 70 years (H.R = 1.11, 95%CI: 0.37 – 3.28, p > 0.05). Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study showing that higher vagal nerve activity, as indexed by HRV, is an independent predictor of higher chances for survival in Covid-19. The results are in line with the protective role of the vagal nerve in diseases and extend this to a severe infectious illness. Studies should replicate these findings and then test in controlled trials whether activating the vagus nerve may prevent mortality in Covid-19.

Keywords: Covid-19, heart-rate Variability, prognosis, survival, vagal nerve

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4 Jurisdiction Conflicts in Contracts of International Maritime Transport: The Application of the Forum Selection Clause in Brazilian Courts

Authors: Renan Caseiro De Almeida, Mateus Mello Garrute

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The world walks to be ever more globalised. This trend promotes an increase on the number of transnational commercial transactions. The main modal for carriage of goods is by sea, and many countries have their economies dependent on the maritime freightage – it could be because they exercise largely this activity or because they follow the tendency of using the maritime logistic widely. Among these ones, Brazil is included. This nation counts with sixteen ports with good capacities, which receive most of the international income by sea. It is estimated that 85 per cent of the total influx of goods in Brazil is by maritime modal, leaving mere 15 per cent for the other ones. This made it necessary to develop maritime law in international and national basis, to create a standard to be applied with the intention to harmonize the transnational carriage of goods by sea. Maritime contracts are very specific and have interesting peculiarities, but in their range, little research has been made on what causes the main divergences when it comes to international contracts: the jurisdiction conflict. Likewise any other international contract, it is common for the parties to set a forum selection clause to choose the forum which will be able to judge the litigations that could rise from a maritime transport contract and, consequently, also which law should be applied to the cases. However, the forum choice in Brazil has always been somewhat polemical – not only in the maritime law sphere - for sometimes national tribunals overlook the parties’ choice and call the competence for themselves. In this sense, it is interesting to mention that the Mexico Convention of 1994 about the law applicable to international contracts did not gain strength in Brazil, nor even reached the Congress to be considered for ratification. Furthermore, it is also noteworthy that Brazil has a new Civil Procedure Code, which was put into reinforcement in 2016 bringing new legal provisions specifically about the forum selection. This represented a mark in the national legal system in this matter. Therefore, this paper intends to give an insight through Brazilian jurisprudence, making an analysis of how this issue has been treated on litigations about maritime contracts in the national tribunals, as well as the solutions found by the Brazilian legal system for the jurisdiction conflicts in those cases. To achieve the expected results, the hypothetical-deductive method will be used in combination with researches on doctrine and legislations. Also, jurisprudential research and case law study will have a special role, since the main point of this paper is to verify and study the position of the courts in Brazil in a specific matter. As a country of civil law, the Brazilian judges and tribunals are very attached to the rules displayed on codes. However, the jurisprudential understanding has been changing during the years and with the advent of the new rules about the applicable law and forum selection clause, it is noticeable that new winds are being blown.

Keywords: applicable law, forum selection clause, international business, international maritime contracts, litigation in courts

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3 Work-Family Conflict and Family and Job Resources among Women: The Role of Negotiation

Authors: Noa Nelson, Meitar Moshe, Dana Cohen

Abstract:

Work-family conflict (WFC) is a significant source of stress for contemporary employees, with research indicating its heightened severity for women. The conservation of resources theory argues that individuals experience stress when their resources fall short of demands, and attempt to reach balance by obtaining resources. Presumably then, to achieve work-family balance women would need to negotiate for resources such as spouse support, employer support and work flexibility. The current research tested the hypotheses that competent negotiation at home and at work associated with increased family and job resources and with decreased WFC, as well as with higher work, marital and life satisfaction. In the first study, 113 employed mothers, married or cohabiting, reported to what extent they conducted satisfactory negotiation with spouse over division of housework, and their actual housework load compared to spouse. They answered a WFC questionnaire, measuring how much work interferes with family (WIF) and how much family interferes with work (FIW), and finally, measurements of satisfaction. In the second study, 94 employed mothers, married or cohabiting reported to what extent they conducted satisfactory negotiation with their boss over balancing work demands with family needs. They reported the levels of three job resources: flexibility, control and family-friendly organizational culture. Finally, they answered the same WFC and satisfaction measurements from study 1. Statistical analyses –t-tests, correlations, and hierarchical linear regressions- showed that in both studies, women reported higher WIF than FIW. Negotiations associated with increased resources: support from spouse, work flexibility and control and a family-friendly culture; negotiation with spouse associated also with satisfaction measurements. However, negotiations or resources (except family-friendly culture) did not associate with reduced conflict. The studies demonstrate the role of negotiation in obtaining family and job resources. Causation cannot be determined, but the fact is that employed mothers who enjoyed more support (at both home and work), flexibility and control, were more likely to keep active interactions to increase them. This finding has theoretical and practical implications, especially in view of research on female avoidance of negotiation. It is intriguing that negotiations and resources generally did not associate with reduced WFC. This finding might reflect the severity of the conflict, especially of work interfering with family, which characterizes many contemporary jobs. It might also suggest that employed mothers have high expectations from themselves, and even under supportive circumstances, experience the challenge of balancing two significant and demanding roles. The research contributes to the fields of negotiation, gender, and work-life balance. It calls for further studies, to test its model in additional populations and validate the role employees have in actively negotiating for the balance that they need. It also calls for further research to understand the contributions of job and family resources to reducing work-family conflict, and the circumstances under which they contribute.

Keywords: sork-family conflict, work-life balance, negotiation, gender, job resources, family resources

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2 Neuropsychological Aspects in Adolescents Victims of Sexual Violence with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Authors: Fernanda Mary R. G. Da Silva, Adriana C. F. Mozzambani, Marcelo F. Mello

Abstract:

Introduction: Sexual assault against children and adolescents is a public health problem with serious consequences on their quality of life, especially for those who develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The broad literature in this research area points to greater losses in verbal learning, explicit memory, speed of information processing, attention and executive functioning in PTSD. Objective: To compare the neuropsychological functions of adolescents from 14 to 17 years of age, victims of sexual violence with PTSD with those of healthy controls. Methodology: Application of a neuropsychological battery composed of the following subtests: WASI vocabulary and matrix reasoning; Digit subtests (WISC-IV); verbal auditory learning test RAVLT; Spatial Span subtest of the WMS - III scale; abbreviated version of the Wisconsin test; concentrated attention test - D2; prospective memory subtest of the NEUPSILIN scale; five-digit test - FDT and the Stroop test (Trenerry version) in adolescents with a history of sexual violence in the previous six months, referred to the Prove (Violence Care and Research Program of the Federal University of São Paulo), for further treatment. Results: The results showed a deficit in the word coding process in the RAVLT test, with impairment in A3 (p = 0.004) and A4 (p = 0.016) measures, which compromises the verbal learning process (p = 0.010) and the verbal recognition memory (p = 0.012), seeming to present a worse performance in the acquisition of verbal information that depends on the support of the attentional system. A worse performance was found in list B (p = 0.047), a lower priming effect p = 0.026, that is, lower evocation index of the initial words presented and less perseveration (p = 0.002), repeated words. Therefore, there seems to be a failure in the creation of strategies that help the mnemonic process of retention of the verbal information necessary for learning. Sustained attention was found to be impaired, with greater loss of setting in the Wisconsin test (p = 0.023), a lower rate of correct responses in stage C of the Stroop test (p = 0.023) and, consequently, a higher index of erroneous responses in C of the Stroop test (p = 0.023), besides more type II errors in the D2 test (p = 0.008). A higher incidence of total errors was observed in the reading stage of the FDT test p = 0.002, which suggests fatigue in the execution of the task. Performance is compromised in executive functions in the cognitive flexibility ability, suggesting a higher index of total errors in the alternating step of the FDT test (p = 0.009), as well as a greater number of persevering errors in the Wisconsin test (p = 0.004). Conclusion: The data from this study suggest that sexual violence and PTSD cause significant impairment in the neuropsychological functions of adolescents, evidencing risk to quality of life in stages that are fundamental for the development of learning and cognition.

Keywords: adolescents, neuropsychological functions, PTSD, sexual violence

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1 High-Resolution Facial Electromyography in Freely Behaving Humans

Authors: Lilah Inzelberg, David Rand, Stanislav Steinberg, Moshe David Pur, Yael Hanein

Abstract:

Human facial expressions carry important psychological and neurological information. Facial expressions involve the co-activation of diverse muscles. They depend strongly on personal affective interpretation and on social context and vary between spontaneous and voluntary activations. Smiling, as a special case, is among the most complex facial emotional expressions, involving no fewer than 7 different unilateral muscles. Despite their ubiquitous nature, smiles remain an elusive and debated topic. Smiles are associated with happiness and greeting on one hand and anger or disgust-masking on the other. Accordingly, while high-resolution recording of muscle activation patterns, in a non-interfering setting, offers exciting opportunities, it remains an unmet challenge, as contemporary surface facial electromyography (EMG) methodologies are cumbersome, restricted to the laboratory settings, and are limited in time and resolution. Here we present a wearable and non-invasive method for objective mapping of facial muscle activation and demonstrate its application in a natural setting. The technology is based on a recently developed dry and soft electrode array, specially designed for surface facial EMG technique. Eighteen healthy volunteers (31.58 ± 3.41 years, 13 females), participated in the study. Surface EMG arrays were adhered to participant left and right cheeks. Participants were instructed to imitate three facial expressions: closing the eyes, wrinkling the nose and smiling voluntary and to watch a funny video while their EMG signal is recorded. We focused on muscles associated with 'enjoyment', 'social' and 'masked' smiles; three categories with distinct social meanings. We developed a customized independent component analysis algorithm to construct the desired facial musculature mapping. First, identification of the Orbicularis oculi and the Levator labii superioris muscles was demonstrated from voluntary expressions. Second, recordings of voluntary and spontaneous smiles were used to locate the Zygomaticus major muscle activated in Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles. Finally, recording with a wireless device in an unmodified natural work setting revealed expressions of neutral, positive and negative emotions in face-to-face interaction. The algorithm outlined here identifies the activation sources in a subject-specific manner, insensitive to electrode placement and anatomical diversity. Our high-resolution and cross-talk free mapping performances, along with excellent user convenience, open new opportunities for affective processing and objective evaluation of facial expressivity, objective psychological and neurological assessment as well as gaming, virtual reality, bio-feedback and brain-machine interface applications.

Keywords: affective expressions, affective processing, facial EMG, high-resolution electromyography, independent component analysis, wireless electrodes

Procedia PDF Downloads 133