Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 219

Search results for: Robert Schöch

129 Attitudes and Behaviors of Pediatric Residents towards Care for Underserved Children in a Tertiary Government Hospital

Authors: Paul Lawrence Filomeno, John Robert Medina, Anna Lisa Ong-Lim, Leonila Dans

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Introduction: In most hospitals, pediatric residents are part of the frontline team who interacts with medically underserved patients. Despite of these daily encounters, little is known regarding their attitudes and behaviors towards caring for these underserved patients. Objectives: This study measured the pediatric resident physicians’ attitudes and behaviors towards underserved patients and determine its association. Methodology: The study utilized a cross-sectional mixed methodology, combining the use of a self-administered questionnaire survey using the Learner’s Needs Assessment tool, measuring both attitudes and behaviors towards the underserved. This is followed by a focus group discussion (FGD) involving a sample of residents at the Philippine General Hospital. Results: The response rate was 100% among 62 residents. Overall, 78% of pediatric residents acknowledged the issues of medically underserved to be very important. Volunteerism (behaviors) was only 27% during residency, and was projected to be 90% in future practice. No significant association was noted between their attitudes and behaviors. The FGD revealed that factors (i.e. burnout) causes strains in residents towards the underserved. Frustration from genuine concern for the underserved children was apparent. Conclusion: Among PGH pediatric residents, their attitudes and behaviors are noted to be positive towards the underserved. There was no significant correlation noted between having positive attitudes and volunteerism (behaviors) of the residents towards the underserved. Despite this, residents pointed out certain factors (i.e. burnout) that affect their attitudes and behaviors. The study results may serve as the basis for curriculum enhancements tailored to promote resident well-being, molding them to become the ‘5-star pediatricians’ who will genuinely be ready to serve the underserved.

Keywords: Behaviors, attitudes, pediatric residents, underserved children

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128 Multi-Objective Optimization of a Solar-Powered Triple-Effect Absorption Chiller for Air-Conditioning Applications

Authors: Ali Shirazi, Robert A. Taylor, Stephen D. White, Graham L. Morrison

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In this paper, a detailed simulation model of a solar-powered triple-effect LiBr–H2O absorption chiller is developed to supply both cooling and heating demand of a large-scale building, aiming to reduce the fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in building sector. TRNSYS 17 is used to simulate the performance of the system over a typical year. A combined energetic-economic-environmental analysis is conducted to determine the system annual primary energy consumption and the total cost, which are considered as two conflicting objectives. A multi-objective optimization of the system is performed using a genetic algorithm to minimize these objectives simultaneously. The optimization results show that the final optimal design of the proposed plant has a solar fraction of 72% and leads to an annual primary energy saving of 0.69 GWh and annual CO2 emissions reduction of ~166 tonnes, as compared to a conventional HVAC system. The economics of this design, however, is not appealing without public funding, which is often the case for many renewable energy systems. The results show that a good funding policy is required in order for these technologies to achieve satisfactory payback periods within the lifetime of the plant.

Keywords: Economic, Environmental, Multi-objective optimization, solar air-conditioning, triple-effect absorption chiller

Procedia PDF Downloads 97
127 Spatial Relationship of Drug Smuggling Based on Geographic Information System Knowledge Discovery Using Decision Tree Algorithm

Authors: S. Niamkaeo, O. Robert, O. Chaowalit

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In this investigation, we focus on discovering spatial relationship of drug smuggling along the northern border of Thailand. Thailand is no longer a drug production site, but Thailand is still one of the major drug trafficking hubs due to its topographic characteristics facilitating drug smuggling from neighboring countries. Our study areas cover three districts (Mae-jan, Mae-fahluang, and Mae-sai) in Chiangrai city and four districts (Chiangdao, Mae-eye, Chaiprakarn, and Wienghang) in Chiangmai city where drug smuggling of methamphetamine crystal and amphetamine occurs mostly. The data on drug smuggling incidents from 2011 to 2017 was collected from several national and local published news. Geo-spatial drug smuggling database was prepared. Decision tree algorithm was applied in order to discover the spatial relationship of factors related to drug smuggling, which was converted into rules using rule-based system. The factors including land use type, smuggling route, season and distance within 500 meters from check points were found that they were related to drug smuggling in terms of rules-based relationship. It was illustrated that drug smuggling was occurred mostly in forest area in winter. Drug smuggling exhibited was discovered mainly along topographic road where check points were not reachable. This spatial relationship of drug smuggling could support the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board in surveillance drug smuggling.

Keywords: Geographic Information System, Decision Tree, drug smuggling, GIS knowledge discovery, rule-based system

Procedia PDF Downloads 33
126 Analysis Customer Loyalty Characteristic and Segmentation Analysis in Mobile Phone Category in Indonesia

Authors: A. B. Robert, Adam Pramadia, Calvin Andika

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The main purpose of this study is to explore consumer loyalty characteristic of mobile phone category in Indonesia. Second, this research attempts to identify consumer segment and to explore their profile in each segment as the basis of marketing strategy formulation. This study used some tools of multivariate analysis such as discriminant analysis and cluster analysis. Discriminate analysis used to discriminate consumer loyal and not loyal by using particular variables. Cluster analysis used to reveal various segment in mobile phone category. In addition to having better customer understanding in each segment, this study used descriptive analysis and cross tab analysis in each segment defined by cluster analysis. This study expected several findings. First, consumer can be divided into two large group of loyal versus not loyal by set of variables. Second, this study identifies customer segment in mobile phone category. Third, exploring customer profile in each segment that has been identified. This study answer a call for additional empirical research into different product categories. Therefore, a replication research is advisable. By knowing the customer loyalty characteristic, and deep analysis of their consumption behavior and profile for each segment, this study is very advisable for high impact marketing strategy development. This study contributes body of knowledge by adding empirical study of consumer loyalty, segmentation analysis in mobile phone category by multiple brand analysis.

Keywords: Marketing Strategy, Segmentation, Cluster Analysis, Customer Loyalty, discriminant analysis, mobile phone

Procedia PDF Downloads 401
125 Relationship between Response of the Resistive Sensors on the Chosen Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Their Concentration

Authors: Robert Rusinek, Marek Gancarz, Agnieszka Nawrocka, Marcin Tadla

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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the fungi metabolites in the gaseous form produced during improper storage of agricultural commodities (e.g. grain, food). The spoilt commodities produce a wide range of VOCs including alcohols, esters, aldehydes, ketones, alkanes, alkenes, furans, phenols etc. The characteristic VOCs and odours can be determined by using electronic nose (e-Nose) which contains a matrix of different kinds of sensors e.g. resistive sensors. The aim of the present studies was to determine relationship between response of the resistive sensors on the chosen volatiles and their concentration. According to the literature, it was chosen volatiles characteristic for the cereals: ethanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol and hexanal. Analysis of the sensor signals shows that a signal shape is different for the different substances. Moreover, each VOC signal gives information about a maximum of the normalized sensor response (R/Rmax), an impregnation time (tIM) and a cleaning time at half maximum of R/Rmax (tCL). These three parameters can be regarded as a ‘VOC fingerprint’. Seven resistive sensors (TGS2600-B00, TGS2602-B00, TGS2610-C00, TGS2611-C00, TGS2611-E00, TGS2612-D00, TGS2620-C00) produced by Figaro USA Inc., and one (AS-MLV-P2) produced by AMS AG, Austria were used. Two out of seven sensors (TGS2611-E00, TGS2612-D00) did not react to the chosen VOCs. The most responsive sensor was AS-MLV-P2. The research was supported by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), Grant No. PBS2/A8/22/2013.

Keywords: Organic Compounds, Resistive Sensors, agricultural commodities, volatile

Procedia PDF Downloads 233
124 Governance of Energy Transitions in Developing States

Authors: Robert Lindner

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In recent years a multitude of international efforts, including the United Nations’ aspirational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, provided a new momentum to facilitate energy access and rural electrification projects to combat energy poverty in developing states in Asia. Rural electrification projects promise to facilitate other sustainable development aims, such as the empowerment of local communities through the creation of economic opportunities or increased disaster resilience. This study applies a multi-governance research framework to study the cases of the ongoing energy system transition in Myanmar and Cambodia. It explores what impact the international aid community, especially multilateral development banks and international development agencies, has on the governance of the transitions and how diverging aid donor interest shape policy making and project planning. The study is based on policy analysis and expert interviews, as well as extensive field research. It critically examines the current development trajectories and the strategies of the stakeholders involved. It concludes that institutional and technological competition between donors, as well as a lack of transparency and inclusion in the project planning and implementation phases, contributes to insufficient coordination in national energy policy making and project implementation at the local level. The study further discusses possible alternative approaches that might help to promote the spread of sustainable energy technologies.

Keywords: developing countries, Energy transitions, energy governance, multi-level governance

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123 Waterborne Platooning: Cost and Logistic Analysis of Vessel Trains

Authors: Alina P. Colling, Robert G. Hekkenberg

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Recent years have seen extensive technological advancement in truck platooning, as reflected in the literature. Its main benefits are the improvement of traffic stability and the reduction of air drag, resulting in less fuel consumption, in comparison to using individual trucks. Platooning is now being adapted to the waterborne transport sector in the NOVIMAR project through the development of a Vessel Train (VT) concept. The main focus of VT’s, as opposed to the truck platoons, is the decrease in manning on board, ultimately working towards autonomous vessel operations. This crew reduction can prove to be an important selling point in achieving economic competitiveness of the waterborne approach when compared to alternative modes of transport. This paper discusses the expected benefits and drawbacks of the VT concept, in terms of the technical logistic performance and generalized costs. More specifically, VT’s can provide flexibility in destination choices for shippers but also add complexity when performing special manoeuvres in VT formation. In order to quantify the cost and performances, a model is developed and simulations are carried out for various case studies. These compare the application of VT’s in the short sea and inland water transport, with specific sailing regimes and technologies installed on board to allow different levels of autonomy. The results enable the identification of the most important boundary conditions for the successful operation of the waterborne platooning concept. These findings serve as a framework for future business applications of the VT.

Keywords: autonomous vessels, NOVIMAR, vessel trains, waterborne platooning

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

Authors: Olga Colbert

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

Keywords: Consciousness, Dreaming, lucid dreaming, Dickens, Victorian

Procedia PDF Downloads 137
121 Origanum vulgare as a Possible Modulator of Testicular Endocrine Function in Mice

Authors: Eva Tvrda, Barbora Babečková, Michal Ďuračka, Róbert Kirchner, Július Árvay

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This study was designed to assess the in vitro effects of Origanum vulgare L. (oregano) extract on the testicular steroidogenesis. We focused on identifying major biomolecules present in the oregano extract, as well as to investigate its in vitro impact on the secretion of cholesterol, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione by murine testicular fragments. The extract was subjected to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) which identified cyranosid, daidzein, thymol, rosmarinic and trans-caffeic acid among the predominant biochemical components of oregano. For the in vitro experiments, testicular fragments from 20 sexually mature Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice were incubated in the absence (control group) or presence of the oregano extract at selected concentrations (10, 100 and 1000 μg/mL) for 24 h. Cholesterol levels were quantified using photometry and the hormones were assessed by ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay). Our data revealed that the release of cholesterol and androstenedione (but not dehydroepiandrosterone and testosterone) by the testicular fragments was significantly impacted by the oregano extract in a dose-dependent fashion. Supplementation of the extract resulted in a significant decline of cholesterol (P < 0.05 in case of 100 μg/mL; P < 0.01 with respect 100 μg/mL extract), as well as androstenedione (P < 0.01 with respect to 100 and 1000 μg/mL extract). Our results suggest that the biomolecules present in Origanum vulgare L. could exhibit a dose-dependent impact on the secretion of male steroids, playing a role in the regulation of testicular steroidogenesis.

Keywords: mice, Testes, steroidogenesis, Origanum vulgare L

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120 Characterisation of Wind-Driven Ventilation in Complex Terrain Conditions

Authors: Daniel Micallef, Damien Bounaudet, Robert N. Farrugia, Simon P. Borg, Vincent Buhagiar, Tonio Sant

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The physical effects of upstream flow obstructions such as vegetation on cross-ventilation phenomena of a building are important for issues such as indoor thermal comfort. Modelling such effects in Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations may also be challenging. The aim of this work is to establish the cross-ventilation jet behaviour in such complex terrain conditions as well as to provide guidelines on the implementation of CFD numerical simulations in order to model complex terrain features such as vegetation in an efficient manner. The methodology consists of onsite measurements on a test cell coupled with numerical simulations. It was found that the cross-ventilation flow is highly turbulent despite the very low velocities encountered internally within the test cells. While no direct measurement of the jet direction was made, the measurements indicate that flow tends to be reversed from the leeward to the windward side. Modelling such a phenomenon proves challenging and is strongly influenced by how vegetation is modelled. A solid vegetation tends to predict better the direction and magnitude of the flow than a porous vegetation approach. A simplified terrain model was also shown to provide good comparisons with observation. The findings have important implications on the study of cross-ventilation in complex terrain conditions since the flow direction does not remain trivial, as with the traditional isolated building case.

Keywords: Computational Fluid Dynamics, CFD, complex terrain, cross-ventilation, wind driven ventilation, wind resource

Procedia PDF Downloads 259
119 Evaluation of DNA Oxidation and Chemical DNA Damage Using Electrochemiluminescent Enzyme/DNA Microfluidic Array

Authors: Itti Bist, Snehasis Bhakta, Di Jiang, Tia E. Keyes, Aaron Martin, Robert J. Forster, James F. Rusling

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DNA damage from metabolites of lipophilic drugs and pollutants, generated by enzymes, represents a major toxicity pathway in humans. These metabolites can react with DNA to form either 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG), which is the oxidative product of DNA or covalent DNA adducts, both of which are genotoxic and hence considered important biomarkers to detect cancer in humans. Therefore, detecting reactions of metabolites with DNA is an effective approach for the safety assessment of new chemicals and drugs. Here we describe a novel electrochemiluminescent (ECL) sensor array which can detect DNA oxidation and chemical DNA damage in a single array, facilitating a more accurate diagnostic tool for genotoxicity screening. Layer-by-layer assembly of DNA and enzyme are assembled on the pyrolytic graphite array which is housed in a microfluidic device for sequential detection of two type of the DNA damages. Multiple enzyme reactions are run on test compounds using the array, generating toxic metabolites in situ. These metabolites react with DNA in the films to cause DNA oxidation and chemical DNA damage which are detected by ECL generating osmium compound and ruthenium polymer, respectively. The method is further validated by the formation of 8-oxodG and DNA adduct using similar films of DNA/enzyme on magnetic bead biocolloid reactors, hydrolyzing the DNA, and analyzing by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Hence, this combined DNA/enzyme array/LC-MS approach can efficiently explore metabolic genotoxic pathways for drugs and environmental chemicals.

Keywords: Biosensor, DNA damage, electrochemiluminescence, microfluidic array

Procedia PDF Downloads 202
118 Surface Modification of Titanium Alloy with Laser Treatment

Authors: Nassier A. Nassir, Robert Birch, D. Rico Sierra, S. P. Edwardson, G. Dearden, Zhongwei Guan

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The effect of laser surface treatment parameters on the residual strength of titanium alloy has been investigated. The influence of the laser surface treatment on the bonding strength between the titanium and poly-ether-ketone-ketone (PEKK) surfaces was also evaluated and compared to those offered by titanium foils without surface treatment to optimize the laser parameters. Material characterization using an optical microscope was carried out to study the microstructure and to measure the mean roughness value of the titanium surface. The results showed that the surface roughness shows a significant dependency on the laser power parameters in which surface roughness increases with the laser power increment. Moreover, the results of the tensile tests have shown that there is no significant dropping in tensile strength for the treated samples comparing to the virgin ones. In order to optimize the laser parameter as well as the corresponding surface roughness, single-lap shear tests were conducted on pairs of the laser treated titanium stripes. The results showed that the bonding shear strength between titanium alloy and PEKK film increased with the surface roughness increment to a specific limit. After this point, it is interesting to note that there was no significant effect for the laser parameter on the bonding strength. This evidence suggests that it is not necessary to use very high power of laser to treat titanium surface to achieve a good bonding strength between titanium alloy and the PEKK film.

Keywords: titanium alloy, bonding strength, laser surface treatment, PEKK, poly-ether-ketone-ketone

Procedia PDF Downloads 120
117 Prenatal Lead Exposure and Postpartum Depression: An Exploratory Study of Women in Mexico

Authors: Nia McRae, Robert Wright, Ghalib Bello

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Introduction: Postpartum depression is a prevalent mood disorder that is detrimental to the mental and physical health of mothers and their newborns. Lead (Pb) is a toxic metal that is associated with hormonal imbalance and mental impairments. The hormone changes that accompany pregnancy and childbirth may be exacerbated by Pb and increase new mothers’ susceptibility to postpartum depression. To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the only study that investigates the association between prenatal Pb exposure and postpartum depression. Identifying risk factors can contribute to improved prevention and treatment strategies for postpartum depression. Methods: Data was derived from the Programming Research in Obesity, Growth, Environment and Social Stress (PROGRESS) study which is an ongoing longitudinal birth cohort. Postpartum depression was identified by a score of 13 or above on the 10-Item Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) 6-months and 12-months postpartum. Pb was measured in the blood (BPb) in the second and third trimester and in the tibia and patella 1-month postpartum. Quantile regression models were used to assess the relationship between BPb and postpartum depression. Results: BPb in the second trimester was negatively associated with the 80th percentile of depression 6-months postpartum (β: -0.26; 95% CI: -0.51, -0.01). No significant association was found between BPb in the third trimester and depression 6-months postpartum. BPb in the third trimester exhibited an inverse relationship with the 60th percentile (β: -0.23; 95% CI: -0.41, -0.06), 70th percentile (β: -0.31; 95% CI: -0.52, -0.10), and 90th percentile of depression 12-months postpartum (β: -0.36; 95% CI: -0.69, -0.03). There was no significant association between BPb in the second trimester and depression 12-months postpartum. Bone Pb concentrations were not significantly associated with postpartum depression. Conclusion: The negative association between BPb and postpartum depression may support research which demonstrates lead is a nontherapeutic stimulant. Further research is needed to verify these results and identify effect modifiers.

Keywords: Depression, Prenatal, Postpartum, lead

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116 Nanoparticle-Based Histidine-Rich Protein-2 Assay for the Detection of the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium Falciparum

Authors: Yagahira E. Castro-Sesquen, Robert H. Gilman, Chloe Kim, David J. Sullivan, Peter C. Searson

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Diagnosis of severe malaria is particularly important in highly endemic regions since most patients are positive for parasitemia and treatment differs from non-severe malaria. Diagnosis can be challenging due to the prevalence of diseases with similar symptoms. Accurate diagnosis is increasingly important to avoid overprescribing antimalarial drugs, minimize drug resistance, and minimize costs. A nanoparticle-based assay for detection and quantification of Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) in urine and serum is reported. The assay uses magnetic beads conjugated with anti-HRP2 antibody for protein capture and concentration, and antibody-conjugated quantum dots for optical detection. Western Blot analysis demonstrated that magnetic beads allows the concentration of HRP2 protein in urine by 20-fold. The concentration effect was achieved because large volume of urine can be incubated with beads, and magnetic separation can be easily performed in minutes to isolate beads containing HRP2 protein. Magnetic beads and Quantum Dots 525 conjugated to anti-HRP2 antibodies allows the detection of low concentration of HRP2 protein (0.5 ng mL-1), and quantification in the range of 33 to 2,000 ng mL-1 corresponding to the range associated with non-severe to severe malaria. This assay can be easily adapted to a non-invasive point-of-care test for classification of severe malaria.

Keywords: Quantum Dots, Malaria, HRP2 protein, magnetic beads

Procedia PDF Downloads 212
115 An Intelligent Scheme Switching for MIMO Systems Using Fuzzy Logic Technique

Authors: Robert O. Abolade, Olumide O. Ajayi, Zacheaus K. Adeyemo, Solomon A. Adeniran

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Link adaptation is an important strategy for achieving robust wireless multimedia communications based on quality of service (QoS) demand. Scheme switching in multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems is an aspect of link adaptation, and it involves selecting among different MIMO transmission schemes or modes so as to adapt to the varying radio channel conditions for the purpose of achieving QoS delivery. However, finding the most appropriate switching method in MIMO links is still a challenge as existing methods are either computationally complex or not always accurate. This paper presents an intelligent switching method for the MIMO system consisting of two schemes - transmit diversity (TD) and spatial multiplexing (SM) - using fuzzy logic technique. In this method, two channel quality indicators (CQI) namely average received signal-to-noise ratio (RSNR) and received signal strength indicator (RSSI) are measured and are passed as inputs to the fuzzy logic system which then gives a decision – an inference. The switching decision of the fuzzy logic system is fed back to the transmitter to switch between the TD and SM schemes. Simulation results show that the proposed fuzzy logic – based switching technique outperforms conventional static switching technique in terms of bit error rate and spectral efficiency.

Keywords: Fuzzy Logic, mimo, channel quality indicator, link adaptation, spatial multiplexing, transmit diversity

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114 Characterization of Bacteriophage for Biocontrol of Pseudomonas syringae, Causative Agent of Canker in Prunus spp.

Authors: Mojgan Rabiey, Shyamali Roy, Billy Quilty, Ryan Creeth, George Sundin, Robert W. Jackson

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Bacterial canker is a major disease of Prunus species such as cherry (Prunus avium). It is caused by Pseudomonas syringae species including P. syringae pv. syringae (Pss) and P. syringae pv. morsprunorum race 1 (Psm1) and race 2 (Psm2). Concerns over the environmental impact of, and developing resistance to, copper controls call for alternative approaches to disease management. One method of control could be achieved using naturally occurring bacteriophage (phage) infective to the bacterial pathogens. Phages were isolated from soil, leaf, and bark of cherry trees in five locations in the South East of England. The phages were assessed for their host range against strains of Pss, Psm1, and Psm2. The phages exhibited a differential ability to infect and lyse different Pss and Psm isolates as well as some other P. syringae pathovars. However, the phages were unable to infect beneficial bacteria such as Pseudomonas fluorescens. A subset of 18 of these phages were further characterised genetically (Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA-PCR fingerprinting and sequencing) and using electron microscopy. The phages are tentatively identified as belonging to the order Caudovirales and the families Myoviridae, Podoviridae, and Siphoviridae, with genetic material being dsDNA. Future research will fully sequence the phage genomes. The efficacy of the phage, both individually and in cocktails, to reduce disease progression in vivo will be investigated to understand the potential for practical use of these phages as biocontrol agents.

Keywords: Pseudomonas, Biological Control, bacteriophage, bacterial cancker

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113 Cognitive Functioning and Cortisol Suppression in Major Depression in a Long-Term Perspective

Authors: Pia Berner Hansson, Robert Murison Anders Lund, Hammar Åsa

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Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is often associated with high levels of stress and disturbances in the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) system, yielding high levels of cortisol, in addition to cognitive dysfunction. Previous studies in this patient group have shown a relationship between cortisol profile and cognitive functioning in the acute phase of MDD and that the patients had significantly less suppression after dexamethasone administration. However, few studies have investigated this relationship over time and in phases of symptom reduction. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationships between cortisol levels after the Dexamethasone Suppression Test (DST) and cognitive function in a long term perspective in MDD patients. Patients meeting the DSM-IV criteria for a MDD were included in the study and tested in symptom reduction. A control group was included. Cortisol was measured in saliva collected with Salivette sampling devices. Saliva samples were collected 4 times during a 24 hours period over two consecutive days: at awakening, after 45 minutes, after 7 hours and at 11 pm. Dexamethasone (1.0 mg) was given on Day 1 at 11 pm. The neuropsychological test battery consisted of standardized tests measuring memory and Executive Functioning (EF). Cortisol levels did not differ significantly between patients and controls on Day 1 or Day 2. Both groups showed significant suppression after Dexamethasone. There were no correlations between cortisol levels or suppression after Dexamethasone and cognitive measures. The results indicate that the HPA-axis functioning normalizes in phases of symptom reduction in MDD patients and that there no relation between cortisol profile and cognitive functioning in memory or EF.

Keywords: Depression, MDD, cortisol, suppression, cognitive functioning

Procedia PDF Downloads 206
112 Access to the Forest Ecosystem Services: Understanding the Interaction between Livelihood Capitals and Access

Authors: Abu S. M. G. Kibria, Alison M. Behie, Robert Costanza, Colin Groves, Tracy Farrell

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This study is aimed to understand the level of access and the influence of livelihood capitals in maintaining access and control of ecosystem services (ESS) in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Besides the villagers, we consider other stakeholders including the forest department, coast guard, police, merchants, pirates and villagers who ‘controlled’ or ‘maintained’ access to ESS (crab catching, shrimp fry, honey, shrimp, mixed fish, fuel wood) in this region. Villagers used human, physical, natural and social capitals to gain access to ESS. The highest level of access was observed in crab catching and the lowest was found in honey collection, both of which were done when balancing the costs and benefits of accessing one ESS against another. The outcomes of these ongoing access negotiations were determined by livelihood capitals of the households. In addition, it was often found that the certain variables could have a positive effect on one ESS and a negative effect on another. For instance, human, social and natural capitals (eldest daughter’s education and No. of livelihood group membership and) had significant positive effects on honey collection while two components of human and social capitals including ‘eldest son’s education’ and ‘severity of pirate problem’ had exactly the opposite impact. These complex interactions were also observed in access to other ESS. It thus seems that access to ESS is not anything which is provided, but rather it is achieved by using livelihood capitals. Protecting any ecosystem from over exploitation and improve wellbeing can be achieved by properly balancing the livelihood capital-access nexus.

Keywords: Interaction, provisioning services, access level, livelihood capital, access gain

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111 A Case Study on the Census of Technological Capacities in Health Care in Rural Sanitary Institutions in South Cameroon

Authors: Samuel Fosso Wamba, Doriane Micaela Andeme Bikoro, Jean Robert Kala Kamdjoug

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Currently one of the leading fields in the market of technological innovation is digital health. In developed countries, this booming innovation is experiencing an exponential speed. We understand that in developed countries, e-health could also revolutionize the practice of medicine and therefore fill the many failures observed in medical care. Everything leads to believe that future technology is oriented towards the medical sector. The aim of this work is to explore at the same time the technological resources and the potential of health care based on new technologies; it is a case study in a rural area of Southern Cameroon. Among other things, we will make a census of the shortcomings and problems encountered, and we will propose various appropriate solutions. The work methodology used here is essentially qualitative. We used two qualitative data collection techniques, direct observation, and interviews. In fact, we spent two weeks in the field observing and conducting some semi-directive interviews with some of those responsible for these health structures. This study was conducted in three health facilities in the south of the country; including two health centers and a rural hospital. Many technological failures have been identified in the day-to-day management of these health facilities and especially in the administration of health care to patients. We note major problems such as the digital divide, the lack of qualified personnel, the state of isolation of this area. This is why various proposals are made to improve the health sector in Cameroon both technologically and medically.

Keywords: Census, Digital Health, rural area, Cameroon, qualitative method, capacities

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110 Patient Care Needs Assessment: An Evidence-Based Process to Inform Quality Care and Decision Making

Authors: Wynne De Jong, Robert Miller, Ross Riggs

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Beyond the number of nurses providing care for patients, having nurses with the right skills, experience and education is essential to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. Research studies continue to link nurse staffing and skill mix with nurse-sensitive patient outcomes; numerous studies clearly show that superior patient outcomes are associated with higher levels of regulated staff. Due to the limited number of tools and processes available to assist nurse leaders with staffing models of care, nurse leaders are constantly faced with the ongoing challenge to ensure their staffing models of care best suit their patient population. In 2009, several hospitals in Ontario, Canada participated in a research study to develop and evaluate an RN/RPN utilization toolkit. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a toolkit for Registered Nurses/Registered Practical Nurses Staff mix decision-making based on the College of Nurses of Ontario, Canada practice standards for the utilization of RNs and RPNs. This paper will highlight how an organization has further developed the Patient Care Needs Assessment (PCNA) questionnaire, a major component of the toolkit. Moreover, it will demonstrate how it has utilized the information from PCNA to clearly identify patient and family care needs, thus providing evidence-based results to assist leaders with matching the best staffing skill mix to their patients.

Keywords: Patient Safety, nurse staffing models of care, skill mix, nursing health human resources

Procedia PDF Downloads 195
109 The Analysis of the Stress Phenomenon among the Academic Teachers

Authors: Robert Dutkiewicz, Monika Szpringer, Mariola Wojciechowska, Grażyna Nowak-Starz, Marzena Olędzka

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The main aim of this article is to determine the phenomenon of stress among academic teachers as well as to identify the extent to which the teachers experience work-related psychological risks. It is also important to support academic teachers trade unions in scope of stress-oriented activities, including psychological dangers in the assessment of risk in the workplace (college). The authors used a method of a diagnostic survey with a polling as a technique and authors’ questionnaire as a tool. The survey was conducted between September and December of 2013 and it comprised 1890 academic teachers from five voivodeships. The study reveals that 84.0% of the respondents found the work of an academic teacher to be borne with a considerable stress. The percentage values of the most frequent causes of stress are as follows: frequent changes of both organisational and didactic matters as well as overwhelming bureaucracy (77.8 %), time pressure regarding professional development and related risk of losing job (68.2 %), difficult working conditions (45.4%), conflicts and rivalry between teachers (44.1%), excessive amount of duties as well as increasing requirements and demanding attitude of students (33.7%). Work-related stress affects or significantly affects the private life of 69 % and 66.4 % of the respondents respectively. The majority of the people surveyed deals with stress by undertaking various activities, with 40% pointing at using various substances, mostly cigarettes and alcohol (p > 0,05) Physical ailments were experienced by 81% of the respondents, in 9% they were rare and 8 % of the respondents had never experienced such disorders. The entire group of the surveyed people (100 %) claimed that they have no possibility of contacting a psychologist at their workplace (p > 0.05), and they stated that the need of contacting specialists does exist.

Keywords: stress, academic teachers, psychological risks, work-related

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108 Improving Vocabulary and Listening Comprehension via Watching French Films without Subtitles: Positive Results

Authors: Yelena Mazour-Matusevich, Jean-Robert Ancheta

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This study is based on more than fifteen years of experience of teaching a foreign language, in my case French, to the English-speaking students. It represents a qualitative research on foreign language learners’ reaction and their gains in terms of vocabulary and listening comprehension through repeatedly viewing foreign feature films with the original sountrack but without English subtitles. The initial idea emerged upon realization that the first challenge faced by my students when they find themselves in a francophone environment has been their lack of listening comprehension. Their inability to understand colloquial speech affects not only their academic performance, but their psychological health as well. To remedy this problem, I have designed and applied for many years my own teaching method based on one particular French film, exceptionally suited, for the reasons described in detail in the paper, for the intermediate-advanced level foreign language learners. This project, conducted together with my undergraduate assistant and mentoree J-R Ancheta, aims at showing how the paralinguistic features, such as characters’ facial expressions, settings, music, historical background, images provided before the actual viewing, etc., offer crucial support and enhance students’ listening comprehension. The study, based on students’ interviews, also offers special pedagogical techniques, such as ‘anticipatory’ vocabulary lists and exercises, drills, quizzes and composition topics that have proven to boost students’ performance. For this study, only the listening proficiency and vocabulary gains of the interviewed participants were assessed.

Keywords: Film, listening, Comprehension, subtitles, vocabulary

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107 Optimal Management of Forest Stands under Wind Risk in Czech Republic

Authors: Zohreh Mohammadi, Jan Kaspar, Peter Lohmander, Robert Marusak, Harald Vacik, Ljusk Ola Eriksson

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Storms are important damaging agents in European forest ecosystems. In the latest decades, significant economic losses in European forestry occurred due to storms. This study investigates the problem of optimal harvest planning when forest stands risk to be felled by storms. One of the most applicable mathematical methods which are being used to optimize forest management is stochastic dynamic programming (SDP). This method belongs to the adaptive optimization class. Sequential decisions, such as harvest decisions, can be optimized based on sequential information about events that cannot be perfectly predicted, such as the future storms and the future states of wind protection from other forest stands. In this paper, stochastic dynamic programming is used to maximize the expected present value of the profits from an area consisting of several forest stands. The region of analysis is the Czech Republic. The harvest decisions, in a particular time period, should be simultaneously taken in all neighbor stands. The reason is that different stands protect each other from possible winds. The optimal harvest age of a particular stand is a function of wind speed and different wind protection effects. The optimal harvest age often decreases with wind speed, but it cannot be determined for one stand at a time. When we consider a particular stand, this stand also protects other stands. Furthermore, the particular stand is protected by neighbor stands. In some forest stands, it may even be rational to increase the harvest age under the influence of stronger winds, in order to protect more valuable stands in the neighborhood. It is important to integrate wind risk in forestry decision-making.

Keywords:

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106 Culture of Primary Cortical Neurons on Hydrophobic Nanofibers Induces the Formation of Organoid-Like Structures

Authors: Nick Weir, Robert Stevens, Alan Hargreaves, Martin McGinnity, Chris Tinsley

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Hydrophobic materials have previously demonstrated the ability to elevate cell-cell interactions and promote the formation of neural networks whilst aligned nanofibers demonstrate the ability to induce extensive neurite outgrowth in an aligned manner. Hydrophobic materials typically elicit an immune response upon implantation and thus materials used for implantation are typically hydrophilic. Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) is a hydrophobic, non-immunogenic, FDA approved material that can be electrospun to form aligned nanofibers. Primary rat cortical neurons cultured for 10 days on aligned PLLA nanofibers formed 3D cell clusters, approximately 800 microns in diameter. Neurites that extended from these clusters were highly aligned due to the alignment of the nanofibers they were cultured upon and fasciculation was also evident. Plasma treatment of the PLLA nanofibers prior to seeding of cells significantly reduced the hydrophobicity and abolished the cluster formation and neurite fasciculation, whilst reducing the extent and directionality of neurite outgrowth; it is proposed that hydrophobicity induces the changes to cellular behaviors. Aligned PLLA nanofibers induced the formation of a structure that mimics the grey-white matter compartmentalization that is observed in vivo and thus represents a step forward in generating organoids or biomaterial-based implants. Upon implantation into the brain, the biomaterial architectures described here may provide a useful platform for both brain repair and brain remodeling initiatives.

Keywords: Nanofibers, hydrophobicity, neurite fasciculation, neurite outgrowth, PLLA

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105 Effect of Soaking Period of Clay on Its California Bearing Ratio Value

Authors: Robert G. Nini

Abstract:

The quality of road pavement is affected mostly by the type of sub-grade which is acting as road foundation. The roads degradation is related to many factors especially the climatic conditions, the quality, and the thickness of the base materials. The thickness of this layer depends on its California Bearing Ratio (CBR) test value which by its turn is highly affected by the quantity of water infiltrated under the road after heavy rain. The capacity of the base material to drain out its water is predominant factor because any change in moisture content causes change in sub-grade strength. This paper studies the effect of the soaking period of soil especially clay on its CBR value. For this reason, we collected many clayey samples in order to study the effect of the soaking period on its CBR value. On each soil, two groups of experiments were performed: main tests consisting of Proctor and CBR test from one side and from other side identification tests consisting of other tests such as Atterberg limits tests. Each soil sample was first subjected to Proctor test in order to find its optimum moisture content which will be used to perform the CBR test. Four CBR tests were performed on each soil with different soaking period. The first CBR was done without soaking the soil sample; the second one with two days soaking, the third one with four days soaking period and the last one was done under eight days soaking. By comparing the results of CBR tests performed with different soaking time, a more detailed understanding was given to the role of the water in reducing the CBR of soil. In fact, by extending the soaking period, the CBR was found to be reduced quickly the first two days and slower after. A precise reduction factor of the CBR in relation with soaking period was found at the end of this paper.

Keywords: Clay, California bearing ratio, proctor test, soaking period, sub-grade

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104 Use of a Chagas Urine Nanoparticle Test (Chunap) to Correlate with Parasitemia Levels in T. cruzi/HIV Co-Infected Patients

Authors: Yagahira E. Castro-Sesquen, Robert H. Gilman, Carolina Mejia, Daniel E. Clark, Jeong Choi, Melissa J. Reimer-Mcatee, Rocio Castro, Jorge Flores, Edward Valencia-Ayala, Faustino Torrico, Ricardo Castillo-Neyra, Lance Liotta, Caryn Bern, Alessandra Luchini

Abstract:

Early diagnosis of reactivation of Chagas disease in HIV patients could be lifesaving; however, in Latin American the diagnosis is performed by detection of parasitemia by microscopy which lacks sensitivity. To evaluate if levels of T. cruzi antigens in urine determined by Chunap (Chagas urine nanoparticle test) are correlated with parasitemia levels in T. cruzi/HIV co-infected patients. T. cruzi antigens in urine of HIV patients (N=55: 31 T. cruzi infected and 24 T. cruzi serology negative) were concentrated using hydrogel particles and quantified by Western Blot and a calibration curve. The percentage of Chagas positive patients determined by Chunap compared to blood microscopy, qPCR, and ELISA was 100% (6/6), 95% (18/19) and 74% (23/31), respectively. Chunap specificity was 91.7%. Linear regression analysis demonstrated a direct relationship between parasitemia levels (determined by qPCR) and urine T. cruzi antigen concentrations (p<0.001). A cut-off of > 105 pg was chosen to determine patients with reactivation of Chagas disease (6/6). Urine antigen concentration was significantly higher among patients with CD4+ lymphocyte counts below 200/mL (p=0.045). Chunap shows potential for early detection of reactivation and with appropriate adaptation can be used for monitoring Chagas disease status in T. cruzi/HIV co-infected patients.

Keywords: Nanoparticles, antigenuria, Chagas disease, Chunap, parasitemia, poly N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAm)/trypan blue particles (polyNIPAm/TB), reactivation of Chagas disease

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103 Freshwater Lens Observation: Case Study of Laura Island, Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Authors: Kazuhisa Koda, Tsutomu Kobayashi, Rebecca Lorennji, Alington Robert, Halston DeBrum, Julious Lucky, Paul Paul

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Atolls are low-lying small islands with highly permeable ground that does not allow rivers and lakes to develop. As the water resources on these atolls basically rely on precipitation, groundwater becomes a very important water resource during droughts. Freshwater lenses develop as groundwater on relatively large atoll islands and play a key role in the stable water supply. Atoll islands in the Pacific Ocean sometimes suffer from drought due to El Nino. The global warming effects are noticeable, particularly on atoll islands. The Republic of the Marshall Islands in Oceania is burdened with the problems common to atoll islands. About half of its population lives in the capital, Majuro, and securing water resources for these people is a crucial issue. There is a freshwater lens on the largest, Laura Island, which serves as a water source for the downtown area. A serious drought that occurred in 1998 resulted in excessive water intake from the freshwater lens on Laura Island causing up-coning. Up-coning mixes saltwater into groundwater pumped from water-intake wells. Because up-coning makes the freshwater lens unusable, there was a need to investigate the freshwater lens on Laura Island. In this study, we observed the electrical conductivities of the groundwater at different depths in existing monitoring wells to determine the total storage volume of the freshwater lens on Laura Island from 2010 to 2013. Our results indicated that most of the groundwater that seeped into the freshwater lens had flowed out into the sea.

Keywords: Drought, freshwater lens, Atoll islands, El-Nino, groundwater observation

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102 The Role of Long-Chain Ionic Surfactants on Extending Drug Delivery from Contact Lenses

Authors: Cesar Torres, Robert Briber, Nam Sun Wang

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Eye drops are the most commonly used treatment for short-term and long-term ophthalmic diseases. However, eye drops could deliver only about 5% of the functional ingredients contained in a burst dosage. To address the limitations of eye drops, the use of therapeutic contact lenses has been introduced. Drug-loaded contact lenses provide drugs a longer residence time in the tear film and hence, decrease the potential risk of side effects. Nevertheless, a major limitation of contact lenses as drug delivery devices is that most of the drug absorbed is released within the first few hours. This fact limits their use for extended release. The present study demonstrates the application of long-alkyl chain ionic surfactants on extending drug release kinetics from commercially available silicone hydrogel contact lenses. In vitro release experiments were carried by immersing drug-containing contact lenses in phosphate buffer saline at physiological pH. The drug concentration as a function of time was monitored using ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. The results of the study demonstrate that release kinetics is dependent on the ionic surfactant weight percent in the contact lenses, and on the length of the hydrophobic alkyl chain of the ionic surfactants. The use of ionic surfactants in contact lenses can extend the delivery of drugs from a few hours to a few weeks, depending on the physicochemical properties of the drugs. Contact lenses embedded with ionic surfactants could be potential biomaterials to be used for extended drug delivery and in the treatment of ophthalmic diseases. However, ocular irritation and toxicity studies would be needed to evaluate the safety of the approach.

Keywords: drug delivery, controlled release, contact lenses, ionic surfactant

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101 Consolidation Behavior of Lebanese Soil and Its Correlation with the Soil Parameters

Authors: Robert G. Nini

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Soil consolidation is one of the biggest problem facing engineers. The consolidation process has an important role in settlement analysis for the embankments and footings resting on clayey soils. The settlement amount is related to the compression and the swelling indexes of the soil. Because the predominant upper soil layer in Lebanon is consisting mainly of clay, this layer is a real challenge for structural and highway engineering. To determine the effect of load and drainage on the engineering consolidation characteristics of Lebanese soil, a full experimental and synthesis study was conducted on different soil samples collected from many locations. This study consists of two parts. During the first part which is an experimental one, the Proctor test and the consolidation test were performed on the collected soil samples. After it, the identifications soil tests as hydrometer, specific gravity and Atterberg limits are done. The consolidation test which is the main test in this research is done by loading the soil for some days then an unloading cycle was applied. It takes two weeks to complete a typical consolidation test. Because of these reasons, during the second part of our research which is based on the analysis of the experiments results, some correlations were found between the main consolidation parameters as compression and swelling indexes with the other soil parameters easy to calculate. The results show that the compression and swelling indexes of Lebanese clays may be roughly estimated using a model involving one or two variables in the form of the natural void ratio and the Atterberg limits. These correlations have increasing importance for site engineers, and the proposed model also seems to be applicable to a wide range of clays worldwide.

Keywords: Settlement, Soil Consolidation, Clay, atterberg limits, compression and swelling indexes

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100 Low Students' Access to University Education in Nigeria: Causes and Remedy

Authors: Robert Ogbanje Okwori

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The paper explained the causes low students’ access to university education in Nigeria and how it can be remedied. It is discovered that low students’ access to university education in Nigeria is evident despite these number of universities in the country. In 2006/2007 academic session, 806,089 sat for Joint Unified Matriculation Board Examination (JAMB) into Nigerian universities and only 123,626 (15.3%) were admitted while 2011/2012 academic session, a total of 1,493,604 candidates sat for Joint Unified Matriculation Board Examination (JAMB) into Nigerian universities and only 65,073 (43.57%) were admitted. This necessitates for the research. Therefore, the study posed the following research questions. What are causes of low students’ access to university education in Nigeria? What are the challenges of students’ access to university education in Nigeria? How can students’ access to university education in Nigeria be improved? Sample survey research design was adopted for the study. A structured questionnaire was used to gather data for the study. Six hundred and eighty (680) respondents which comprised of 100 level university students; JAMB Officers and University administrators (Vice Chancellors, Registrars and Admission Officers) were used for the study. Stratified random sampling was applied for adequate representation of respondents from universities in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Mean was used to answer research questions while Kuder-Richardson formula 20 was used to check the internal consistency of the instrument. The correlation coefficient of the instrument was 0.87. The major findings include the carrying capacity of each university contributes to low students’ access to university education and academic staff were inadequate. From the analysis of the study, it is concluded that the rate of access to university education is low, therefore, every university should establish distance learning programme to reduce university admission crisis. The training infrastructure in the universities should be improved upon by the owners to increase the carrying capacity of each university.

Keywords: Access, University, causes, low

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