Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 15

Search results for: Ramona Moldovan

15 Genetic Counseling for Severe Mental Disorders. Integrating Innovative Services and Prophylactic Interventions in an Online Platform - MENTALICA

Authors: Ramona Moldovan, Doina Cosman, Sebastian Moldovan, Radu Popp, Victor Pop

Abstract:

MENTALICA is a project aimed at developing and evaluating a platform that can assist individuals diagnosed with severe mental disorders and their families in managing the consequences associated with severe mental disorders, recurrence risks, prevention strategies and treatment options. MENTALICA is a platform based on guidance issued by some of the most prominent scientific organizations in the world. In order to personalize the information provided, the program explores details about the personal and family history of mental disorders. MENTALICA summarizes the answers and gives respondents a personal assessment. This includes personalized information and support about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. MENTALICA includes several modules: Family history tools, Risk assessment tools and Risk factor sheets, Practical guides for patients, Practical guides for families, Guidelines for clinicians. Currently, there are no available guidelines for genetic counselling for mental disorders. Respondents can print out their reports and discuss them with family members or their doctors. We will briefly present the current status of MENTALICA and its implications for patients, professionals and the community.

Keywords: Platform, Genetic Counseling, Mental Disorders

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14 International Trends in Sustainability Reporting Using Global Reporting Initiatives

Authors: Ramona Zharfpeykan

Abstract:

This study analyses the trend and nature of sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs) reporting in firms globally. It presents both trend and panel data of sustainability reports of 798 firms in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) database from 2010 to 2014. The results show some fluctuations in the frequency of sustainability KPI reporting globally across the time while the major focus of reports in firms stayed almost the same. It made us further analyse this trend and found that there are some indicators, such as 'environmental protect expenses' and 'number of grievances', that was barely reported over this period along with some highly popular ones such as 'direct economic value' and 'employment rate'. We could not find any statistical correlation between the KPI reporting percentage and the firms’ industries generally and neither if they belong to environmentally sensitive industries.

Keywords: sustainability reporting, global reporting initiatives, sustainability KPI, trends of sustainability reporting

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13 The Role of Contextual Factors in the Sustainability Reporting of Australian and New Zealand Companies

Authors: Ramona Zharfpeykan

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The concept of sustainability is generally considered as a key topic in many countries, and sustainability reporting is becoming an important tool for companies to communicate their sustainability plans and performance to their stakeholders. There have been various studies on factors that may influence sustainability reporting in companies. This study examines the possible effect of some of the organisational factors on corporate sustainability reporting. The organisational factors included in this study are a company’s type (public or private), industry, and size as well as managers’ perception of the level of importance of indicators in reporting these indicators. A survey was conducted from 240 Australian and New Zealand companies in various industries. They were asked about their perception of the importance of sustainability indicators in their performance and if they report these indicators. The GRI indicators used to develop the survey. A multiple regression model was developed using reporting strategy score as dependent and type, size, industry categorisation, and managers’ perception of the level of importance of the GRI indicators as independent factors. The results show that among all the factors included in the model, size of a company and the perception of managers of the level of importance of environmental and labour practice indicators can affect the sustainability scores of these companies.

Keywords: sustainability reporting, global reporting initiative, sustainability reporting strategy, organisational features

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12 The conceptualisation of Smart Data Collection and Processing Techniques for Aircraft Wing Applications

Authors: Jörn Mehnen, Ramona Dogea, Dorothy Evans

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The emergence of 4ᵗʰ industrial revolution has resulted in significant improvement in the effectiveness of technology uptake across various sectors. The aerospace industries are at the forefront of digital technology usage due to the complexity in their design and operation. Therefore, there is a need to continuously find different ways of exploring the implementation of digital manufacturing technologies in aerospace applications. The aircraft wing is a critical area of an aircraft structure; however, research directed at getting real-time data of their performance in service is not well documented. This project is directed at evaluating concepts based on industry 4.0 to examine techniques for collecting and analysing data in aircraft wings to optimise their operation during harsh environmental conditions. A technique based on large sensor array architecture for collecting data is developed with a complimentary Matlab algorithm capable of processing sensory data for the self-adaptation of aircraft wings in service. It is shown that the developed framework can be utilised in an industry 4 based system for enhancing aircraft wing performance. The results provide information on current cutting-edge technologies that can be utilised for aircraft wing performance optimisation.

Keywords: Industry 4.0, Aircraft Wing, real-time data collection, MATLAB algorithm

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11 Comparative Sustainability Performance Analysis of Australian Companies Using Composite Measures

Authors: Ramona Zharfpeykan, Paul Rouse

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Organizational sustainability is important to both organizations themselves and their stakeholders. Despite its increasing popularity and increasing numbers of organizations reporting sustainability, research on evaluating and comparing the sustainability performance of companies is limited. The aim of this study was to develop models to measure sustainability performance for both cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons across companies in the same or different industries. A secondary aim was to see if sustainability reports can be used to evaluate sustainability performance. The study used both a content analysis of Australian sustainability reports in mining and metals and financial services for 2011-2014 and a survey of Australian and New Zealand organizations. Two methods ranging from a composite index using uniform weights to data envelopment analysis (DEA) were employed to analyze the data and develop the models. The results show strong statistically significant relationships between the developed models, which suggests that each model provides a consistent, systematic and reasonably robust analysis. The results of the models show that for both industries, companies that had sustainability scores above or below the industry average stayed almost the same during the study period. These indices and models can be used by companies to evaluate their sustainability performance and compare it with previous years, or with other companies in the same or different industries. These methods can also be used by various stakeholders and sustainability ranking companies such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Keywords: Data Envelopment Analysis, Sustainability, sustainability performance measurement system, sustainability performance index, global reporting initiative

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10 Development of a Plant-Based Dietary Supplement to Address Critical Micronutrient Needs of Women of Child-Bearing Age in Europe

Authors: Sara D. Garduño-Diaz, Ramona Milcheva, Chanyu Xu

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Women’s reproductive stages (pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and lactation) represent a time of higher micronutrient needs. With a healthy food selection as the first path of choice to cover these increased needs, tandem micronutrient supplementation is often required. Because pregnancy and lactation should be treated with care, all supplements consumed should be of quality ingredients and manufactured through controlled processes. This work describes the process followed for the development of plant-based multiple micronutrient supplements aimed at addressing the growing demand for natural ingredients of non-animal origin. A list of key nutrients for inclusion was prioritized, followed by the identification and selection of qualified raw ingredient providers. Nutrient absorption into the food matrix was carried out through natural processes. The outcome is a new line of products meeting the set criteria of being gluten and lactose-free, suitable for vegans/vegetarians, and without artificial conservatives. In addition, each product provides the consumer with 10 vitamins, 6 inorganic nutrients, 1 source of essential fatty acids, and 1 source of phytonutrients each (maca, moringa, and chlorella). Each raw material, as well as the final product, was submitted to microbiological control three-fold (in-house and external). The final micronutrient mix was then tested for human factor contamination, pesticides, total aerobic microbial count, total yeast count, and total mold count. The product was created with the aim of meeting product standards for the European Union, as well as specific requirements for the German market in the food and pharma fields. The results presented here reach the point of introduction of the newly developed product to the market, with acceptability and effectiveness results to be published at a later date.

Keywords: Organic, pregnancy, Fertility, Lactation, vegetarian

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9 The Quality of Fishery Product on the Moldovan Market, Regulations, National Institutions, Controls and Non-Compliant Products

Authors: Silvius Stanciu, Mihaela Munteanu (Pila)

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This paper presents the aspects of the official control of fishery in the Republic of Moldova. Currently, the regulations and the activity of national institutions with responsibilities in the field of food quality are in a process of harmonization with the European rules, aiming at European integration, quality improvement and providing a higher level of food safety. The National Agency for Food Safety is the main national body with responsibilities in the field of food safety. In the field of fishery products, the Agency carries out an intensive activity of informing the citizen and controlling the products marketed. The paper presents the dangers related to the consumption of fish and fishery products traded on the national market, the sanitary-veterinary inspections conducted by the profile institution and the improper situations identified. The national market of fishery products depends largely on imports, mainly focused on ocean fish. The research carried out has shown that during the period 2011-2018, following the inspections carried out on fishery products traded on the national market, a number of inconsistencies have been identified. Thus, indigenous products were frequently detected with sensory characteristics unfit for consumption, and being commercialized in inappropriate locations or contaminated with chemical pollutants. On import products controlled, the most frequent inconsistent situations have been represented by inconsistent sensory aspects and by parasite contamination. Taking into account the specific aspects of aquatic products, including the high level of alterability, special conditions of growth, marketing, culinary preparation and consumption are necessary in order to decrease the risk of disease over the population. Certificates, attestations and other documents certifying the quality of batches, completed by additional laboratory examinations, are necessary in order to increase the level of confidence on the quality of products marketed in the Republic. The implementation of various control procedures and mechanisms at national level, correlated with the focused activity of the specialized institutions, can decrease the risk of contamination and avoid cases of disease on the population due to the consumption of fishery products.

Keywords: Food Safety, Quality Control, Fishery Products, Republic of Moldova

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8 Medical versus Non-Medical Students' Opinions about Academic Stress Management Using Unconventional Therapies

Authors: Ramona-Niculina Jurcau, Ioana-Marieta Jurcau, Dong Hun Kwak, Nicolae-Alexandru Colceriu

Abstract:

Background: Stress management (SM) is a topic of great academic interest and equally a task to accomplish. In addition, it is recognized the beneficial role of unconventional therapies (UCT) in stress modulation. Aims: The aim was to evaluate medical (MS) versus non-medical students’ (NMS) opinions about academic stress management (ASM) using UCT. Methods: MS (n=103, third year males and females) and NMS (n=112, males and females, from humanities faculties, different years of study), out of their academic program, voluntarily answered to a questionnaire concerning: a) Classification of the four most important academic stress factors; b) The extent to which their daily life influences academic stress; c) The most important SM methods they know; d) Which of these methods they are applying; e) the UCT they know or about which they have heard; f) Which of these they know to have stress modulation effects; g) Which of these UCT, participants are using or would like to use for modulating stress; and if participants use UTC for their own choose or following a specialist consultation in those therapies (SCT); h) If they heard about the following UCT and what opinion they have (using visual analogue scale) about their use (following CST) for the ASM: Phytotherapy (PT), apitherapy (AT), homeopathy (H), ayurvedic medicine (AM), traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), music therapy (MT), color therapy (CT), forest therapy (FT). Results: Among the four most important academic stress factors, for MS more than for NMS, are: busy schedule, large amount of information taught; high level of performance required, reduced time for relaxing. The most important methods for SM that MS and NMS know, hierarchically are: listen to music, meeting friends, playing sport, hiking, sleep, regularly breaks, seeing positive side, faith; of which, NMS more than MS, are partially applying to themselves. UCT about which MS and less NMS have heard, are phytotherapy, apitherapy, acupuncture, reiki. Of these UTC, participants know to have stress modulation effects: some plants, bee’s products and music; they use or would like to use for ASM (the majority without SCT) certain teas, honey and music. Most of MS and only some NMS heard about PT, AT, TCM, MT and much less about H, AM, CT, TT. NMS more than MS, would use these UCT, following CST. Conclusions: 1) Academic stress is similarly reflected in MS and NMS opinions. 2) MS and NMS apply similar but very few UCT for stress modulation. 3) Information that MS and NMS have about UCT and their ASM application is reduced. 4) It is remarkable that MS and especially NMS, are open to UCT use for ASM, following an SCT.

Keywords: Stress Management, medical students, academic stress, stress modulation, non-medical students, unconventional therapies

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7 Research Related to the Academic Learning Stress, Reflected into PubMed Website Publications

Authors: Ramona-Niculina Jurcau, Ioana-Marieta Jurcau, Dong Hun Kwak, Nicolae-Alexandru Colceriu

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Background: Academic environment led, in time, to the birth of some research subjects concluded with many publications. One of these issues is related to the learning stress. Thus far, the PubMed website displays an impressive number of papers related to the academic stress. Aims: Through this study, we aimed to evaluate the research concerning academic learning stress (ALS), by a retrospective analysis of PubMed publications. Methods: We evaluated the ALS, considering: a) different keywords as - ‘academic stress’ (AS), ‘academic stressors’ (ASs), ‘academic learning stress’ (ALS), ‘academic student stress’ (ASS), ‘academic stress college’ (ASC), ‘medical academic stress’ (MAS), ‘non-medical academic stress’ (NMAS), ‘student stress’ (SS), ‘nursing student stress’ (NS), ‘college student stress’ (CSS), ‘university student stress’ (USS), ‘medical student stress’ (MSS), ‘dental student stress’ (DSS), ‘non-medical student stress’ (NMSS), ‘learning students stress’ (LSS), ‘medical learning student stress’ (MLSS), ‘non-medical learning student stress’ (NMLSS); b) the year average for decades; c) some selection filters provided by PubMed website: Article types - Journal Article (JA), Clinical Trial (CT), Review (R); Species - Humans (H); Sex - Male (M) and Female (F); Ages - 13-18, 19-24, 19-44. Statistical evaluation was made on the basis of the Student test. Results: There were differences between keywords, referring to all filters. Nevertheless, for all keywords were noted the following: the majority of studies have indicated that subjects were humans; there were no important differences between the number of subjects M and F; the age of participants was mentioned only in some studies, predominating those with teenagers and subjects between 19-24 years. Conclusions: 1) PubMed publications document that concern for the research field of academic stress, lasts for 56 years and was materialized in more than 5.010 papers. 2) Number of publications in the field of academic stress varies depending on the selected keywords: those with a general framing (AS, ASs, ALS, ASS, SS, USS, LSS) are more numerous than those with a specific framing (ASC, MAS, NMAS, NS, CSS, MSS, DSS, NMSS, MLSS, NMLSS); those concerning the academic medical environment (MAS, NS, MSS, DSS, MLSS) prevailed compared to the non-medical environment (NMAS, NMSS, NMLSS). 3) Most of the publications are included at JA, of which a small percentage are CT and R. 4) Most of the academic stress studies were conducted with subjects both M and F, most aged under 19 years and between 19-24 years.

Keywords: academic stress, student stress, academic learning stress, medical student stress

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6 Development of Special Education in Moldova: Paradoxes of Inclusion

Authors: Liya Kalinnikova Magnusson

Abstract:

The present and ongoing research investigation are focusing on special educational origins in Moldova for children with disabilities and its development towards inclusion. The research is coordinated with related research on inclusion in Ukraine and other countries. The research interest in these issues in Moldova is caused by several reasons. The first one is based upon one of the intensive processes of deconstruction of special education institutions in Moldova since 1989. A large number of children with disabilities have been dropping out of these institutions: from 11400 students in 1989 to 5800 students in 1996, corresponding to 1% of all school-age Moldovan learners. Despite the fact that a huge number of students was integrated into regular schools and the dynamics of this data across the country was uneven (the opposite, the dynamics of exclusion was raised in Trans-Dniester on the border of Moldova), the volume of the change was evident and traditional special educational provision was under stable decline. The second reason is tied to transitional challenges, which Moldova met under the force to economic liberalisation that led the country to poverty. Deinstitutionalization of the entire state system took place in the situation of economic polarization of the society. The level of social benefits was dramatically diminished, increasing inequality. The most vulnerable from the comprehensive income consideration were families with many children, children with disabilities, children with health problems, etc.: each third child belonged to the poorest population. In 2000-2001: 87,4% of all families with children had incomes below the minimum wage. The research question raised based upon these considerations has been addressed to the investigation of particular patterns of the origins of special education and its development towards inclusion in Moldova from 1980 until the present date: what is the pattern of special education origins and what are particular arrangements of special education development towards inclusion against inequality? This is a qualitative study, with relevant peer review resources connected to the research question and national documents of educational reforms towards inclusion retrospectively and contemporary, analysed by a content analysis approach. This study utilises long term statistics completed by the respective international agencies as a result of regular monitoring of the implementation of educational reforms. The main findings were composed in three big themes: adoption of the Soviet pattern of special education, ‘endemic stress’ of breaking the pattern, and ‘paradoxes of resolution’.

Keywords: Statistics, Inclusion, Special Education, Content Analysis, educational reforms, children with disabilities

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5 The Impact of International Human Rights Law on Local Efforts to Address Women’s Realities of Violence: Lessons from Jamaica

Authors: Ramona Georgeta Biholar

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Gender-based violence against women plagues societies around the world. The work to eliminate it is an ongoing battle. At the international level, Article 5 (a) CEDAW establishes an agenda for social and cultural transformation: it imposes on States parties to CEDAW an obligation to modify sex roles and stereotypical social and cultural patterns of conduct. Also, it provides for the protection of women from violence stemming from such gender norms. Yet, the lived realities of women are frequently disconnected from this agenda. Nonetheless, it is the reality of the local that is crucial for the articulation, implementation and realization of women’s rights in general, and for the elimination of gender-based violence against women in particular. In this paper we discuss the transformation of sex roles and gender stereotyping with a view to realize women’s right to be free from gender-based violence. This paper is anchored in qualitative data collection undertaken in Jamaica and socio-legal research. Based on this research, 1) We explain the process of vernacularisation as a strategy that enables women’s human rights to hit the ground and benefit rights holders, and 2) We present a synergistic model for the implementation of Article 5 (a) CEDAW so that women’s right to be free from gender-based violence can be realized in a concrete national jurisdiction. This model is grounded in context-based demands and recommendations for social and cultural transformation as a remedy for the incidence of gender-based violence against women. Moreover, the synergistic model offers directions that have a general application for the implementation of CEDAW and Article 5 (a) CEDAW in particular, with a view to realize women’s right to be free from gender-based violence. The model is thus not only a conceptual tool of analysis, but also a prescriptive tool for action. It contributes to the work of both academics and practitioners, such as Governmental officials, and national and local civil society representatives. Overall, this paper contributes to understanding the process necessary to bridge that gap between women’s human rights norms and women’s life realities of discrimination and violence.

Keywords: International Human Rights Law, CEDAW, gender-based violence against women, women’s rights implementation, the Caribbean

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4 Inclusion as an Organizational Development Task of Adult Education Institutions: A Qualitative Study in the Federal State of Hessia in Germany

Authors: Ramona Kahl

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By the ratification, the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities by the federal republic of Germany in 2009, adult education organisations have been called upon to guarantee equal access for people with disabilities. In the context of demographic change, the demand for inclusive courses in general continuing education will continue to grow in the future. Institutions of general adult education are facing the task of an inclusive reorganization on an organizational, professional and micro-didactic level. So the adult education with the concept of lifelong learning has to open up for the results of the disability studies in the field of social and cultural inclusion. The project iQ_EB (2017-2020) analysis and supports this organizational task by developing a concept for the qualification of pedagogical personnel for inclusive education at adult education centers with focus on the target group of blind and visually impaired people. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research finances the project and several German associations in the field of blindness and visual impairment cooperate with the project team. Based on half-standardized interviews with the staff members of the Hessian adult education centers analyzed with the content analysis, the speech explores the different strategies of the general adult education centers concerning the task of inclusion. Three different practice strategies can be found so far: individual case solutions, special offers for disabled people and institutional cooperation with facilities in the domain of disabled care. Two organizational opening strategies are concise: the new cooperation with established disability care institutions and the creation of further learning spaces for disabled people in the public space of the adult education centers. By opening up for new target groups and cooperation partners, a reorganization of the institutional structures and the professional self-image becomes necessary. To become an inclusive organization, the analyzed adult education centers invest more or less effort depending on the region, the institutional conditions, and the qualifications of the staff.

Keywords: Continuing Education, Institutional Cooperation, Organizational Development, qualitative study

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3 Importance of an E-Learning Program in Stress Field for Postgraduate Courses of Doctors

Authors: Ramona-Niculina Jurcau, Ioana-Marieta Jurcau

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Background: Preparing in the stress field (SF) is, increasingly, a concern for doctors of different specialties. Aims: The aim was to evaluate the importance of an e-learning program for doctors postgraduate courses, in SF. Methods: Doctors (n= 40 male, 40 female) of different specialties and ages (31-71 years), who attended postgraduate courses in SF, voluntarily responded to a questionnaire that included the following themes: Importance of SF courses for specialty practiced by each respondent doctor (using visual analogue scale, VAS); What SF themes would be indicated as e-learning (EL); Preferred form of SF information assimilation: Classical lectures (CL), EL or a combination of these methods (CL+EL); Which information on the SF course are facilitated by EL model versus CL; In their view which are the first four advantages and the first four disadvantages of EL compared to CL, for SF. Results: To most respondents, the SF courses are important for the specialty they practiced (VAS by an average of 4). The SF themes suggested to be done as EL were: Stress mechanisms; stress factor models for different medical specialties; stress assessment methods; primary stress management methods for different specialties. Preferred form of information assimilation was CL+EL. Aspects of the course facilitated by EL versus CL model: Active reading of theoretical information, with fast access to keywords details; watching documentaries in everyone's favorite order; practice through tests and the rapid control of results. The first four EL advantages, mentioned for SF were: Autonomy in managing the time allocated to the study; saving time for traveling to the venue; the ability to read information in various contexts of time and space; communication with colleagues, in good times for everyone. The first three EL disadvantages, mentioned for SF were: It decreases capabilities for group discussion and mobilization for active participation; EL information accession may depend on electrical source or/and Internet; learning slowdown can appear, by temptation of postponing the implementation. Answering questions was partially influenced by the respondent's age and genre. Conclusions: 1) Post-graduate courses in SF are of interest to doctors of different specialties. 2) The majority of participating doctors preferred EL, but combined with CL (CL+EL). 3) Preference for EL was manifested mainly by young or middle age men doctors. 4) It is important to balance the proper formula for chosen EL, to be the most efficient, interesting, useful and agreeable.

Keywords: stress field, doctors’ postgraduate courses, classical lectures, e-learning lecture

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2 Shades of Violence – Risks of Male Violence Exposure for Mental and Somatic-Disorders and Risk-Taking Behavior: A Prevalence Study

Authors: Dana Cassandra Winkler, Delia Leiding, Rene Bergs, Franziska Kaiser, Ramona Kirchhart, Ute Habel

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Background: Violence is a multidimensional phenomenon, affecting people of every age, socio-economic status and gender. Nevertheless, most studies primarily focus on men perpetrating women. Aim of the present study is to identify the likelihood of mental and somatic disorders and risk-taking behavior in male violence affected. In addition, the relationship between age of violence experience and the risk for health-related problems was analyzed. Method: On the basis of current evidence, a questionnaire was developed focusing on demographic background, health status, risk-taking behavior, and active and passive violence exposure. In total, 5221 males (Mean: 56,1 years, SD: 17,6) were consulted. To account for the time of violence experience in an efficient way, age clusters ‘0-12 years’, ‘13-20 years’, ‘21-35 years’, ‘36-65 years’ and ‘over 65 years’ were defined. A binary logistic regression was calculated to reveal differences in violence-affected and non-violence affected males regarding health and risk-taking factors. Males who experienced violence on a daily/ almost daily basis vs. males who reported violence occurrence once/ several times a month/ year were compared with respect to health factors and risk-taking behavior. Data of males, who indicated active and passive violence exposure, were analyzed by a chi²-analysis, to investigate a possible relation between the age of victimization and violence perpetration. Findings: Results imply that general violence experience, independent of active and passive violence exposure increases the likelihood in favor of somatic-, psychosomatic- and mental disorders as well as risk-taking behavior in males. Experiencing violence on a daily or almost daily basis in childhood and adolescence may serve as a predictor for increased health problems and risk-taking behavior. Furthermore, the violence experience and perpetration occur significantly within the same age cluster. This underlines the importance of a near-term intervention to minimize the risk, that victims become perpetrators later. Conclusion: The present study reveals predictors concerning health risk factors as well as risk-taking behavior in males with violence exposure. The results of this study may underscore the benefit of intervention and regular health care approaches in violence-affected males and underline the importance of acknowledging the overlap of violence experience and perpetration for further research.

Keywords: Male, Violence, Mental Health, Prevalence, health disease, risk-taking behavior

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1 Determining the Threshold for Protective Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Aortic Structure in a Mouse Model of Marfan Syndrome Associated Aortic Aneurysm

Authors: Christine P. Gibson, Ramona Alex, Michael Farney, Johana Vallejo-Elias, Mitra Esfandiarei

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Aortic aneurysm is the leading cause of death in Marfan syndrome (MFS), a connective tissue disorder caused by mutations in fibrillin-1 gene (FBN1). MFS aneurysm is characterized by weakening of the aortic wall due to elastin fibers fragmentation and disorganization. The above-average height and distinct physical features make young adults with MFS desirable candidates for competitive sports; but little is known about the exercise limit at which they will be at risk for aortic rupture. On the other hand, aerobic cardiovascular exercise has been shown to have protective effects on the heart and aorta. We have previously reported that mild aerobic exercise can delay the formation of aortic aneurysm in a mouse model of MFS. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of various levels of exercise intensity on the progression of aortic aneurysm in the mouse model. Starting at 4 weeks of age, we subjected control and MFS mice to different levels of exercise intensity (8m/min, 10m/min, 15m/min, and 20m/min, corresponding to 55%, 65%, 75%, and 85% of VO2 max, respectively) on a treadmill for 30 minutes per day, five days a week for the duration of the study. At 24 weeks of age, aortic tissue were isolated and subjected to structural and functional studies using histology and wire myography in order to evaluate the effects of different exercise routines on elastin fragmentation and organization and aortic wall elasticity/stiffness. Our data shows that exercise training at the intensity levels between 55%-75% significantly reduces elastin fragmentation and disorganization, with less recovery observed in 85% MFS group. The reversibility of elasticity was also significantly restored in MFS mice subjected to 55%-75% intensity; however, the recovery was less pronounced in MFS mice subjected to 85% intensity. Furthermore, our data shows that smooth muscle cells (SMCs) contractilion in response to vasoconstrictor agent phenylephrine (100nM) is significantly reduced in MFS aorta (54.84 ± 1.63 mN/mm2) as compared to control (95.85 ± 3.04 mN/mm2). At 55% of intensity, exercise did not rescue SMCs contraction (63.45 ± 1.70 mN/mm2), while at higher intensity levels, SMCs contraction in response to phenylephrine was restored to levels similar to control aorta [65% (81.88 ± 4.57 mN/mm2), 75% (86.22 ± 3.84 mN/mm2), and 85% (83.91 ± 5.42 mN/mm2)]. This study provides the first time evidence that high intensity exercise (e.g. 85%) may not provide the most beneficial effects on aortic function (vasoconstriction) and structure (elastin fragmentation, aortic wall elasticity) during the progression of aortic aneurysm in MFS mice. On the other hand, based on our observations, medium intensity exercise (e.g. 65%) seems to provide the utmost protective effects on aortic structure and function in MFS mice. These findings provide new insights into the potential capacity, in which MFS patients could participate in various aerobic exercise routines, especially in young adults affected by cardiovascular complications particularly aortic aneurysm. This work was funded by Midwestern University Research Fund.

Keywords: Aerobic Exercise, aortic aneurysm, aortic wall elasticity, elastin fragmentation, Marfan syndrome

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