Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 23

Search results for: Usha Barahmand

23 Identifying Factors Linking Childhood Neglect to Opiate Use

Authors: Usha Barahmand, Ali Khazaee, Goudarz Sadeghi Hashjin


The purpose of this study is to assess the relative mediating effects of impulsivity and internalizing problems in the relationship between childhood neglect and motives for opiate use. Seventy-two adolescent opiate users were recruited for the study. Participants completed assessments of childhood abuse history, distress, impulsiveness and motives for substance use as well as a socio-demographic information sheet. Findings from bootstrap mediator analyses indicated that distress, but not impulsiveness, mediated the relationship between childhood emotional abuse and expansion and enhancement motives for substance use. The current study provides preliminary evidence that internalizing problems may function as a mechanism linking prior childhood experiences of emotional neglect to subsequent motives for substance use. Clinical implications of these findings suggest that targeting emotion dysregulation problems may be an effective adjunct in the treatment of adolescents with a history of childhood maltreatment that are at risk for substance use.

Keywords: childhood neglect, impulsiveness, internalizing problems, substance use motives

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22 Emotion Dysregulation as Mediator between Child Abuse and Opiate Use Motives

Authors: Usha Barahmand, Ali Khazaee, Goudarz Sadeghi Hashjin


Coping motives are considered to be indicators of problematic substance use. The present investigation examined a model with emotional abuse as an antecedent and emotional dysregulation as a mediator leading to substance use. The intent of this study was to examine the associations between various types of childhood maltreatment and motives for substance use. The sample consisted of 72 male opiate users recruited from those enrolled for Methadone Maintenance treatment. Participants responded to measures of childhood maltreatment, emotion dysregulation, and motives for opiate use. All data were analyzed using Pearson's correlation coefficients and bootstrap analysis of mediation. Results supported the hypothesis that the experience of emotional abuse in childhood is associated with problems in regulating emotions which in turn correlates with opiate use as a way to cope with negative affect, to enhance positive effect or to obtain social rewards. Bootstrap analysis confirmed the mediating role of emotion dysregulation. Findings support the potential utility of further research into emotion dysregulation and motives as antecedents of problematic opiate use.

Keywords: childhood abuse, emotion dysregulation, motives, substance use

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21 Development of the New York Misophonia Scale: Implications for Diagnostic Criteria

Authors: Usha Barahmand, Maria Stalias, Abdul Haq, Esther Rotlevi, Ying Xiang


Misophonia is a condition in which specific repetitive oral, nasal, or other sounds and movements made by humans trigger impulsive aversive reactions of irritation or disgust that instantly become anger. A few measures exist for the assessment of misophonia, but each has some limitations, and evidence for a formal diagnosis is still lacking. The objective of this study was to develop a reliable and valid measure of misophonia for use in the general population. Adopting a purely descriptive approach, this study focused on developing a self-report measure using all triggers and reactions identified in previous studies on misophonia. A measure with two subscales, one assessing the aversive quality of various triggers and the other assessing reactions of individuals, was developed. Data were gathered from a large sample of both men and women ranging in age from 18 to 65 years. Exploratory factor analysis revealed three main triggers: oral/nasal sounds, hand and leg movements, and environmental sounds. Two clusters of reactions also emerged: nonangry attempts to avoid the impact of the aversive stimuli and angry attempts to stop the aversive stimuli. The examination of the psychometric properties of the scale revealed its internal consistency and test-retest reliability to be excellent. The scale was also found to have very good concurrent and convergent validity. Significant annoyance and disgust in response to the triggers were reported by 12% of the sample, although for some specific triggers, rates as high as 31% were also reported. These findings have implications for the delineation of the criteria for identifying misophonia as a clinical condition.

Keywords: adults, factor analysis, misophonia, psychometric properties, scale

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20 The Role of Psychosis Proneness in the Association of Metacognition with Psychological Distress in Non-Clinical Population

Authors: Usha Barahmand, Ruhollah Heydari Sheikh Ahmad


Distress refers to an unpleasant metal state or emotional suffering marked by negative affect such as depression (e.g., lost interest; sadness; hopelessness), anxiety (e.g., restlessness; feeling tense). These negative affect have been mostly suggested to be concomitant of metal disorders such as positive psychosis symptoms and also of proneness to psychotic features in non-clinical population. Psychotic features proneness including hallucination, delusion and schizotypal traits, have been found to be associated with metacognitive beliefs. Metacognition has been conceptualized as ‘thinking about thoughts, monitoring and controlling of cognitive processes’. The aim of the current study was to investigate the role of psychosis proneness in the association of metacognitions and distress. We predicted psychosis proneness would mediate the association of metacognitive beliefs and the distress. A sample of 420 university students was randomly recruited to endorse questionnaires of the study that consisted of DASS-21questionnaire for assessing levels of distress, Cartwright–Hatton & Wells, Meta-cognitions Questionnaire (MCQ-30) for assessing metacognitive beliefs, Launay-Slade Hallucination Scale-revised (LSHS-R), Peters et al. Delusions Inventory, Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Brief. Conducting a bootstrapping approach in order to investigate our hypothesis, the result showed that there was no a direct association between metacognitive dimensions and psychological distress and psychosis proneness significantly mediated the association. Finding suggested that individuals with dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs experience high levels of distress if they are prone to psychosis symptoms. In other words, psychosis proneness is a path through which individuals with dysfunctional metacognitions experience high levels of psychological distress.

Keywords: metacognition, non-clinical population, psychological distress, psychosis proneness

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19 Personality Profiles, Emotional Disturbance and Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients with Epilepsy

Authors: Usha Barahmand, Ruhollah Heydari Sheikh Ahmad, Sara Alaie Khoraem


Introduction: The association of epilepsy with several psychological disorders and reduced quality of life has long been recognized. The present study aimed at comparing the personality profiles, quality of life and symptomatology of anxiety and depression in patients with epilepsy and healthy controls. Materials and Methods: Forty seven patients (29 men and 18 women) with diagnosed epilepsy participated in this study. Forty seven healthy controls who matched the patients in age and gender were also recruited. The participants’ personality and psychological profiles were assessed using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21), the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the HEXACO Personality Inventory (HEXACO-PI). Scoring algorithms were applied to the SF-36 produce the physical and mental component scores (PCS and MCS). Results: There were statistically significant differences in the total SF-36 score, anxiety, depression and stress scores of the DASS-21 between patients and controls. Anxiety, stress and depression scores significantly correlated inversely with the PCS and MCS. Data analysis showed that females had higher depression scores than males in both patients and controls, while males in both groups scored higher on stress. Patients’ personality scores were also different from those reported by controls on emotional, agreeableness and extroversion. Patients scored higher on emotionality, and lower on agreeableness and extraversion. Patients also scored lower on indices of quality of life. Regression analysis revealed that emotionality, anxiety, stress and MCS accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in severity of epileptic seizures. Conclusion: Stressful situations and psychological conditions as well as the personality trait of neuroticism were related to the occurrence of recurrent epileptic seizures.

Keywords: anxiety, depression, epilepsy, neuroticism, personality, quality of life, stress

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18 Assessment of Surface Water Quality in Belarus

Authors: Anastasiya Vouchak, Aliaksandr Volchak


Belarus is not short of water. However, there is a problem of water quality. Its pollution has both natural and man-made origin. This research is based on data from State Water Cadastre of the Republic of Belarus registered from 1994 to 2014. We analyzed changes in such hydro-chemical criteria as concentration of ammonium ions, suspended matter, dissolved oxygen, oil-products, nitrites, phosphates in water, dichromate value, water impurity index, 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). Pollution of water with ammonium ions was observed in Belarus rivers of the Western Dvina, Polota, Schara, Usha, Muhavets, Berzina, Plissa, Svisloch, Pripiat, Yaselda in 2006-2014. The threshold limit value (TLV) was 1.5-3 times as much. Concentration of ammonia in the Berezina exceeded 3 – 5 times the TLVs in 2006-2010. Maximum excess of TLV was registered in the Svisloch (10 km downstream of Minsk) in 2006-2007. It was over 4 mg/dm³ whereas the norm is 0.39 mg/dm³. In 1997 there were ammonia pollution spots in the Dnieper, the Berezina, and the Svisloch Rivers. Since 2006 we have observed pollution spots in the Neman, Ross, Vilia, Sozh, Gorin Rivers, the Osipovichi and Soligorsk reservoirs. Dichromate value exceeds the TLVs in 40% cases. The most polluted waters are the Muhavets, Berezina, Pripiat, Yaselda, Gorin Rivers, the Vileyka and Soligorsk reservoirs. The Western Dvina, Neman, Viliya, Schara, Svisloch, and Plissa Rivers are less polluted. The Dnieper is the cleanest in this respect. In terms of BOD, water is polluted in the Neman, Muhavets, Svisloch, Yaselda, Gorin Rivers, the Osipovichi, Zaslavl, and Soligorsk reservoirs. The Western Dvina, Polota, Sozh, Iputs Rivers and Lake Naroch are not polluted in this respect. This criterion has been decreasing in 33 out of 42 cases. The least suspended matter is in the Berezina, Sozh, Iputs Rivers and Lake Naroch. The muddiest water is in the Neman, Usha, Svisloch, Pripyat, Yaselda Rivers, the Osipovichi and Soligorsk reservoirs. Water impurity index shows reduction of this criterion at all gauge stations. Multi-year average values predominantly (66.6%) correspond to the third class of water quality, i.e. moderately polluted. They include the Western Dvina, Ross, Usha, Muhavets, Dnieper, Berezina, Plissa, Iputs, Pripyat, Yaselda, Gorin Rivers, the Osipovichi and Soligorsk reservoirs. Water in the Svisloch River downstream of Minsk is of the forth quality class, i.e. most polluted. In the rest cases (33.3%) water is relatively clean. They include the Lidea, Schara, Viliya, Sozh Rivers, Lake Lukoml, Lake Naroch, Vileyka and Zaslavl reservoirs. Multi-year average values range from 7.0 to 9.5 mg О₂/dm³. The Yaselda has the least value - 6.7 mg О₂/dm³. A shortage of dissolved oxygen was found in the Berezina (2010), the Yaselda (2007), the Plissa (2011-2014), the Soligorsk reservoir (1996). Contamination of water with oil-products was observed everywhere in 1994-1999. Some spots were found in the Western Dvina, Vilia, Usha, Dnieper in 2003-2006, in the Svisloch in 2002-2012. We are observing gradual decrease of oil pollutants in surface water. The quality of 67 % surface water is referred to as moderately polluted.

Keywords: belarus, hydro-chemical criteria, water pollution, water quality

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17 Opportunities of Clean Development Mechanism through Hydropower in Nepal

Authors: Usha Khatiwada


Nepal’s overall energy baseline: It has been proposed that hydropower projects for domestic consumption can earn CDM revenue in Nepal if a new methodology is established that takes into account not only consumption in Nepal of grid electricity but also other fuels such as kerosene, diesel, and firewood, used by a vast majority of the population for their lighting and other needs. However, this would mean that we would be trying to combine grid electricity supply and consumers not supplied from the grid into one methodology. Such a sweeping baseline may have a very small chance of success with the CDM Executive Board.

Keywords: environment, clean development mechanism, hydropower, Nepal

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16 A Secure Survey against Black Hole Attack in MANET

Authors: G. Usha, S. Kannimuthu, K. Mahalakshmi


Mobile Adhoc Network (MANET) is one of the most promising technologies that have applications ranging from various portable devices to military networks. MANET has no fixed infrastructure and the security of such network is a big concern. Therefore, in order to operate MANET’s securely, the misbehavior and intrusions should be detected before the attackers affect the network communication. In this article, we make a comprehensive survey against black hole attack that is a serious threat against MANET that exploits the routing behavior of the MANET. We have given broad survey solutions that detect black hole attacks in MANET. This is achieved by analyzing the techniques involved in detecting the attacks in each scheme. Furthermore, we examine about the challenges to the researchers for constructing an in-depth solution against black hole attack.

Keywords: AODV, cross layer security, mobile Adhoc network (MANET), packet delivery ratio, single layer security

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15 Metastatic Polypoid Nodular Melanoma Management During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Stefan Bradu, Daniel Siegel, Jameson Loyal, Andrea Leaf, Alana Kurtti, Usha Alapati, Jared Jagdeo


Compared with all other variants of nodular melanoma, patients with polypoid nodular melanoma have the lowest 5-year survival rate. The pathophysiology and management of polypoid melanoma are scarcely reported in the literature. Although surgical excision is the cornerstone of melanoma management, treatment of polypoid melanoma is complicated by several negative prognostic factors, including early metastasis. This report demonstrates the successful treatment of a rapidly developing red nodular polypoid melanoma with metastasis using surgery and adjuvant nivolumab in a SARS-CoV-2-positive patient who delayed seeking care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to detailing the successful treatment approach, the immunosuppressive effects of SARS-2-CoV and its possible contribution to the rapid progression of polypoid melanoma are discussed. This case highlights the complex challenges of melanoma diagnosis and management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: covid-19, dermatology, immunotherapy, melanoma, nivolumab

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14 Road Accidents Bigdata Mining and Visualization Using Support Vector Machines

Authors: Usha Lokala, Srinivas Nowduri, Prabhakar K. Sharma


Useful information has been extracted from the road accident data in United Kingdom (UK), using data analytics method, for avoiding possible accidents in rural and urban areas. This analysis make use of several methodologies such as data integration, support vector machines (SVM), correlation machines and multinomial goodness. The entire datasets have been imported from the traffic department of UK with due permission. The information extracted from these huge datasets forms a basis for several predictions, which in turn avoid unnecessary memory lapses. Since data is expected to grow continuously over a period of time, this work primarily proposes a new framework model which can be trained and adapt itself to new data and make accurate predictions. This work also throws some light on use of SVM’s methodology for text classifiers from the obtained traffic data. Finally, it emphasizes the uniqueness and adaptability of SVMs methodology appropriate for this kind of research work.

Keywords: support vector mechanism (SVM), machine learning (ML), support vector machines (SVM), department of transportation (DFT)

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13 Migrant and Population Health, Two Sides of a Coin: A Descriptive Study

Authors: A. Sottomayor, M. Perez Duque, M. C. Henriques


Introduction: Migration is not a new phenomenon; nomads often traveled, seeking better living conditions, including food and water. The increase of migrations affects all countries, rising health-related challenges. In Portugal, we have had migrant movements in the last decades, pairing with economic behavior. Irregular immigrants are detained in Santo António detention center from Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (USHA-SEF) in Porto until court decision for a maximum of 60 days. It is the only long stay officially designated detention center for immigrants in Portugal. Immigrant health is important for public health (PH). It affects and is affected by the community. The XXVII Portuguese Government considered immigrant integration, including access to health, health promotion, protection and reduction of inequities a political priority. Many curative, psychological and legal services are provided for detainees, but until 2015, no structured health promotion or prevention actions were being held at USHA-SEF. That year, Porto Occidental PH Local Unit started to provide vaccination and health literacy on this theme for detainees and SEF workers. Our activities include a vaccine lecture, a medical consultation with vaccine prescription and administration, along with documented proof of vaccination. All vaccines are volunteer and free of charge. This action reduces the risk of importation and transmission of diseases, contributing to world eradication and elimination programs. We aimed to characterize the demography of irregular immigrant detained at UHSA-SEF and describe our activity. Methods: All data was provided by Porto Occidental Public Health Unit. All paper registers of vaccination were uploaded to MicrosoftExcel®. We included all registers and collected demographic variables, nationality, vaccination date, category, and administered vaccines. Descriptive analysis was performed using MicrosoftExcel®. Results: From 2015 to 2018, we delivered care to 256 individuals (179 immigrants; 77 workers). Considering immigrants, 72% were male, and 8 (16%) women were pregnant. 85% were between 20-54 years (ᵡ=30,8y; 2-71y), and 11 didn’t report any age. Migrants came from 48 countries, and India had the highest number (9%). MMR and Tetanus vaccines had > 90% vaccination rate and Poliomyelitis, hepatitis B and flu vaccines had around 85% vaccination rates. We had a consistent number of refusals. Conclusion: Our irregular migrant population comes from many different countries, which increases the risk of disease importation. Pregnant women are present as a particular subset of irregular migrants, and vaccination protects them and the baby. Vaccination of migrant is valuable for them and for the countries in which they pass. It contributes to universal health coverage, for eradication programmes and accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Peer influence may present as a determinant of refusals so we must consistently educate migrants before vaccination. More studies would be valuable, particularly on the migrant trajectory, duration of stay, destiny after court decision and health impact.

Keywords: migrants, public health, universal health coverage, vaccination

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12 Detecting and Secluding Route Modifiers by Neural Network Approach in Wireless Sensor Networks

Authors: C. N. Vanitha, M. Usha


In a real world scenario, the viability of the sensor networks has been proved by standardizing the technologies. Wireless sensor networks are vulnerable to both electronic and physical security breaches because of their deployment in remote, distributed, and inaccessible locations. The compromised sensor nodes send malicious data to the base station, and thus, the total network effectiveness will possibly be compromised. To detect and seclude the Route modifiers, a neural network based Pattern Learning predictor (PLP) is presented. This algorithm senses data at any node on present and previous patterns obtained from the en-route nodes. The eminence of any node is upgraded by their predicted and reported patterns. This paper propounds a solution not only to detect the route modifiers, but also to seclude the malevolent nodes from the network. The simulation result proves the effective performance of the network by the presented methodology in terms of energy level, routing and various network conditions.

Keywords: neural networks, pattern learning, security, wireless sensor networks

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11 Behavior of Double Skin Circular Tubular Steel-Concrete-Composite Column

Authors: Usha Sivasankaran, Seetha Raman


Experimental work on Double skin Concrete Filled tubes (DSCFT) are a variation of CFT (Concrete- filled steel tubular) with a hollow core formed by two concentric steel tubes in – filled with concrete. Six Specimens with three different volume fractions of steel fibres are cast and tested. Experiments on circular steel tubes in – filled with steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) and normal concrete have been performed to investigate the contribution of steel fibres to the load bearing capacity of Short Composite Columns. The main Variable considered in the test study is the percentage of steel fibres added to the in –filled concrete. All the specimens were tested under axial compression until failure state realisation. This project presents the percentage Variation in the compression strengths of the 3 types of Composite members taken under Study. The results show that 1.5% SFRC in filled steel columns exhibit enhanced ultimate load carrying capacity.

Keywords: composite columns, optimization of steel, double skin, DSCFT

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10 Electrochemical Coagulation of Synthetic Textile Dye Wastewater

Authors: H. B. Rekha, Usha N. Murthy, Prashanth, Ashoka


Dyes are manufactured to have high chemical resistance because they are normally species, very difficult to degrade (reactive dyes). It damages flora and fauna. Furthermore, coloured components are highly hazardous. So removal of dyes becomes a challenge for both textile industry and water treatment facility. Dyeing wastewater is usually treated by conventional methods such as biological oxidation and adsorption but nowadays them becoming in-adequate because of large variability of composition of waste water. In the present investigation, mild steel electrodes of varying surface area were used for treatment of synthetic textile dye. It appears that electro-chemical coagulation could be very effective in removing coloured from wastewater; it could also be used to remove other parameters like chlorides, COD, and solids to some extent. In the present study, coloured removal up to 99% was obtained for surface area of mild steel electrode of 80 cm2 and 96% of surface area of mild steel electrode of 50 cm2. The findings from this study could be used to improve the design of electro-chemical treatment systems and modify existing systems to improve efficiency.

Keywords: electrochemical coagulation, mild steel, colour, environmental engineering

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9 Contribution of Electrochemical Treatment in Treating Textile Dye Wastewater

Authors: Usha N. Murthy, H. B. Rekha, Mahaveer Devoor


The introduction of more stringent pollution regulations, in relation to financial and social pressures for sustainable development, has pressed toward limiting the volumes of industrial and domestic effluents discharged into the environment-as well as to increase the efforts within research and development of new or more efficient wastewater treatment technologies. Considering both discharge volume and effluent composition, wastewater generated by the textile industry is rated as the most polluting among all industrial sectors. The pollution load is mainly due to spent dye baths, which are composed of unreacted dyes, dispersing agents, surfactants, salts and organics. In the present investigation, the textile dye wastewater was characterized by high colour, chemical oxygen demand (COD), total dissolved solids (TDS) and pH. Electrochemical oxidation process for four plate electrodes was carried out at five different current intensities, out of which 0.14A has achieved maximum percentage removal of COD with 75% and 83% of colour. The COD removal rate in kg COD/h/m2 decreases with increase in the current intensity. The energy consumption increases with increase in the current intensity. Hence, textile dye wastewater can be effectively pre-treated by electrochemical oxidation method where the process limits objectionable colour while leaving the COD associated with organics left for natural degradation thus causing a sustainable reduction in pollution load.

Keywords: electrochemical treatment, COD, colour, environmental engineering

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8 MMP-2 Gene Polymorphism and Its Influence on Serum MMP-2 Levels in Pre-Eclampsia in Indian Population

Authors: Ankush Kalra, Mirza Masroor, Usha Manaktala, B. C. Koner, T. K. Mishra


Introduction: Pre-eclampsia affects 3-5% of pregnancies worldwide and increases maternal-fetal morbidity and mortality. Reduced placental perfusion induces the release of biomolecules by the placenta into maternal circulation causing endothelial dysfunction. Zinc dependent matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) may be up-regulated and interact with circulating factors of oxidative stress and inflammation to produce endothelial dysfunction in pre-eclampsia. Aim: To study the functional genetic polymorphism of MMP-2 gene (g-1306 C>T) in pre-eclampsia and its effect on serum MMP-2 levels in these patients. Method: Hundred pre-eclampsia patients and hundred age and gestation period matched healthy pregnant women with their consent were recruited in the study. Serum MMP-2 levels in all subjects were estimated using standard ELISA kits. MMP-2 gene (g.- 1306 C>T) SNPs were genotyped using whole blood by ASO-PCR. Result: The pre-eclampsia patients had higher serum levels of MMP-2 compared to the healthy pregnant (p < 0.05). Also the MMP-2 genotype was associated with significant alteration in the serum MMP-2 concentration in these patients (p < 0.05). Conclusion: This study results suggest an association of MMP-2 genetic polymorphism and serum levels of MMP-2 to the path physiology of hypertensive disorder of pregnancy.

Keywords: allele specific oligonucleotide polymerase chain reaction (ASO-PCR), enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), pre-eclampsia

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7 Analysis of Osmotin as Transcription Factor/Cell Signaling Modulator Using Bioinformatic Tools

Authors: Usha Kiran, M. Z. Abdin


Osmotin is an abundant cationic multifunctional protein discovered in cells of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. var Wisconsin 38) adapted to an environment of low osmotic potential. It provides plants protection from pathogens, hence placed in the PRP family of proteins. The osmotin induced proline accumulation has been reported in plants including transgenic tomato and strawberry conferring tolerance against both biotic and abiotic stresses. The exact mechanism of induction of proline by osmotin is however, not known till date. These observations have led us to hypothesize that osmotin induced proline accumulation could be due to its involvement as transcription factor and/or cell signal pathway modulator in proline biosynthesis. The present investigation was therefore, undertaken to analyze the osmotin protein as transcription factor /cell signalling modulator using bioinformatics tools. The results of available online DNA binding motif search programs revealed that osmotin does not contain DNA-binding motifs. The alignment results of osmotin protein with the protein sequence from DATF showed the homology in the range of 0-20%, suggesting that it might not contain a DNA binding motif. Further to find unique DNA-binding domain, the superimposition of osmotin 3D structure on modeled Arabidopsis transcription factors using Chimera also suggested absence of the same. We, however, found evidence implicating osmotin in cell signaling. With these results, we concluded that osmotin is not a transcription factor but regulating proline biosynthesis and accumulation through cell signaling during abiotic stresses.

Keywords: osmotin, cell signaling modulator, bioinformatic tools, protein

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6 Electrical Conductivity as Pedotransfer Function in the Determination of Sodium Adsorption Ratio in Soil System in Managing Micro Level Farming Practices in India: An Effective Low Cost Technology

Authors: Usha Loganathan, Haresh Pandya


Analysis and correlation of soil properties represent an important outset for precision agriculture and is currently promoted and implemented in the developed world. Establishing relationships among indices of soil salinity has always been a challenging task in salt affected soils necessitating unique approaches for their reclamation and management to sustain long term productivity of Soil. Soil salinity indices like Electrical Conductivity (EC) and Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR) are normally used to characterize soils as either sodic or saline sodic. Currently, Determination of Soil sodium adsorption ratio is a more accepted and reliable measure of soil salinity. However, it involves arduous and protracted laboratory investigations which demand evolving new and economical methods to determine SAR based on simple soil salinity index. A linear regression model to predict soil SAR from soil electrical conductivity has been developed and presented in this paper as per which, soil SAR could very well be worked out as a pedotransfer function of soil EC. The present study was carried out in Orathupalayam (11.09-11.11 N latitude and 74.54-77.59 E longitude) in the vicinity of Orathupalayam Reservoir of Noyyal River Basin, India, over a period of 3 consecutive years from September 2013 through February 2016 in different locations chosen randomly through different seasons. The research findings are discussed in the light of micro level farming practices in India and recommend determination of SAR as a low cost technology aiding in the effective management of salt affected agricultural land.

Keywords: electrical conductivity, orathupalayam, pedotranfer function, sodium adsorption ratio

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5 Standard Protocol Selection for Acquisition of Breast Thermogram in Perspective of Early Breast Cancer Detection

Authors: Mrinal Kanti Bhowmik, Usha Rani Gogoi Jr., Anjan Kumar Ghosh, Debotosh Bhattacharjee


In the last few decades, breast thermography has achieved an average sensitivity and specificity of 90% for breast tumor detection. Breast thermography is a non-invasive, cost-effective, painless and radiation-free breast imaging modality which makes a significant contribution to the evaluation and diagnosis of patients, suspected of having breast cancer. An abnormal breast thermogram may indicate significant biological risk for the existence or the development of breast tumors. Breast thermography can detect a breast tumor, when the tumor is in its early stage or when the tumor is in a dense breast. The infrared breast thermography is very sensitive to environmental changes for which acquisition of breast thermography should be performed under strictly controlled conditions by undergoing some standard protocols. Several factors like air, temperature, humidity, etc. are there to be considered for characterizing thermal images as an imperative tool for detecting breast cancer. A detailed study of various breast thermogram acquisition protocols adopted by different researchers in their research work is provided here in this paper. After going through a rigorous study of different breast thermogram acquisition protocols, a new standard breast thermography acquisition setup is proposed here in this paper for proper and accurate capturing of the breast thermograms. The proposed breast thermogram acquisition setup is being built in the Radiology Department, Agartala Government Medical College (AGMC), Govt. of Tripura, Tripura, India. The breast thermograms are captured using FLIR T650sc thermal camera with the thermal sensitivity of 20 mK at 30 degree C. The paper is an attempt to highlight the importance of different critical parameters of breast thermography like different thermography views, patient preparation protocols, acquisition room requirements, acquisition system requirements, etc. This paper makes an important contribution by providing a detailed survey and a new efficient approach on breast thermogram capturing.

Keywords: acquisition protocol, breast cancer, breast thermography, infrared thermography

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4 An Adaptive Oversampling Technique for Imbalanced Datasets

Authors: Shaukat Ali Shahee, Usha Ananthakumar


A data set exhibits class imbalance problem when one class has very few examples compared to the other class, and this is also referred to as between class imbalance. The traditional classifiers fail to classify the minority class examples correctly due to its bias towards the majority class. Apart from between-class imbalance, imbalance within classes where classes are composed of a different number of sub-clusters with these sub-clusters containing different number of examples also deteriorates the performance of the classifier. Previously, many methods have been proposed for handling imbalanced dataset problem. These methods can be classified into four categories: data preprocessing, algorithmic based, cost-based methods and ensemble of classifier. Data preprocessing techniques have shown great potential as they attempt to improve data distribution rather than the classifier. Data preprocessing technique handles class imbalance either by increasing the minority class examples or by decreasing the majority class examples. Decreasing the majority class examples lead to loss of information and also when minority class has an absolute rarity, removing the majority class examples is generally not recommended. Existing methods available for handling class imbalance do not address both between-class imbalance and within-class imbalance simultaneously. In this paper, we propose a method that handles between class imbalance and within class imbalance simultaneously for binary classification problem. Removing between class imbalance and within class imbalance simultaneously eliminates the biases of the classifier towards bigger sub-clusters by minimizing the error domination of bigger sub-clusters in total error. The proposed method uses model-based clustering to find the presence of sub-clusters or sub-concepts in the dataset. The number of examples oversampled among the sub-clusters is determined based on the complexity of sub-clusters. The method also takes into consideration the scatter of the data in the feature space and also adaptively copes up with unseen test data using Lowner-John ellipsoid for increasing the accuracy of the classifier. In this study, neural network is being used as this is one such classifier where the total error is minimized and removing the between-class imbalance and within class imbalance simultaneously help the classifier in giving equal weight to all the sub-clusters irrespective of the classes. The proposed method is validated on 9 publicly available data sets and compared with three existing oversampling techniques that rely on the spatial location of minority class examples in the euclidean feature space. The experimental results show the proposed method to be statistically significantly superior to other methods in terms of various accuracy measures. Thus the proposed method can serve as a good alternative to handle various problem domains like credit scoring, customer churn prediction, financial distress, etc., that typically involve imbalanced data sets.

Keywords: classification, imbalanced dataset, Lowner-John ellipsoid, model based clustering, oversampling

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3 A Paradigm Shift in the Cost of Illness of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus over a Decade in South India: A Prevalence Based Study

Authors: Usha S. Adiga, Sachidanada Adiga


Introduction: Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is one of the most common non-communicable diseases which imposes a large economic burden on the global health-care system. Cost of illness studies in India have assessed the health care cost of DM, but have certain limitations due to lack of standardization of the methods used, improper documentation of data, lack of follow up, etc. The objective of the study was to estimate the cost of illness of uncomplicated versus complicated type 2 diabetes mellitus in Coastal Karnataka, India. The study also aimed to find out the trend of cost of illness of the disease over a decade. Methodology: A prevalence based bottom-up approach study was carried out in two tertiary care hospitals located in Coastal Karnataka after ethical approval. Direct Medical costs like annual laboratory costs, pharmacy cost, consultation charges, hospital bed charges, surgical /intervention costs of 238 diabetics and 340 diabetic patients respectively from two hospitals were obtained from the medical record sections. Patients were divided into six groups, uncomplicated diabetes, diabetic retinopathy(DR), nephropathy(DN), neuropathy(DNeu), diabetic foot(DF), and ischemic heart disease (IHD). Different costs incurred in 2008 and 2017 in these groups were compared, to study the trend of cost of illness. Kruskal Wallis test followed by Dunn’s test were used to compare median costs between the groups and Spearman's correlation test was used for correlation studies. Results: Uncomplicated patients had significantly lower costs (p <0.0001) compared to other groups. Patients with IHD had highest Medical expenses (p < 0.0001), followed by DN and DF (p < 0.0001 ). Annual medical costs incurred were 1.8, 2.76, 2.77, 1.76, and 4.34 times higher in retinopathy, nephropathy, diabetic foot, neuropathy and IHD patients as compared to the cost incurred in managing uncomplicated diabetics. Other costs also showed a similar pattern of rising. A positive correlation was observed between the costs incurred and duration of diabetes, a negative correlation between the glycemic status and cost incurred. The cost incurred in the management of DM in 2017 was found to be elevated 1.4 - 2.7 times when compared to that in 2008. Conclusion: It is evident from the study that the economic burden due to diabetes mellitus is substantial. It poses a significant financial burden on the healthcare system, individual and society as a whole. There is a need for the strategies to achieve optimal glycemic control and operationalize regular and early screening methods for complications so as to reduce the burden of the disease.

Keywords: COI, diabetes mellitus, a bottom up approach, economics

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2 Impact of Elevated Temperature on Spot Blotch Development in Wheat and Induction of Resistance by Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria

Authors: Jayanwita Sarkar, Usha Chakraborty, Bishwanath Chakraborty


Plants are constantly interacting with various abiotic and biotic stresses. In changing climate scenario plants are continuously modifying physiological processes to adapt to changing environmental conditions which profoundly affect plant-pathogen interactions. Spot blotch in wheat is a fast-rising disease in the warmer plains of South Asia where the rise in minimum average temperature over most of the year already affecting wheat production. Hence, the study was undertaken to explore the role of elevated temperature in spot blotch disease development and modulation of antioxidative responses by plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) for biocontrol of spot blotch at high temperature. Elevated temperature significantly increases the susceptibility of wheat plants to spot blotch causing pathogen Bipolaris sorokiniana. Two PGPR Bacillus safensis (W10) and Ochrobactrum pseudogrignonense (IP8) isolated from wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and blady grass (Imperata cylindrical L.) rhizophere respectively, showing in vitro antagonistic activity against Bipolaris sorokiniana were tested for growth promotion and induction of resistance against spot blotch in wheat. GC-MS analysis showed that Bacillus safensis (W10) and Ochrobactrum pseudogrignonense (IP8) produced antifungal and antimicrobial compounds in culture. Seed priming with these two bacteria significantly increase growth, modulate antioxidative signaling and induce resistance and eventually reduce disease incidence in wheat plants at optimum as well as elevated temperature which was further confirmed by indirect immunofluorescence assay using polyclonal antibody raised against Bipolaris sorokiniana. Application of the PGPR led to enhancement in activities of plant defense enzymes- phenylalanine ammonia lyase, peroxidase, chitinase and β-1,3 glucanase in infected leaves. Immunolocalization of chitinase and β-1,3 glucanase in PGPR primed and pathogen inoculated leaf tissue was further confirmed by transmission electron microscopy using PAb of chitinase, β-1,3 glucanase and gold labelled conjugates. Activity of ascorbate-glutathione redox cycle related enzymes such as ascorbate peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione reductase along with antioxidants such as carotenoids, glutathione and ascorbate and osmolytes like proline and glycine betain accumulation were also increased during disease development in PGPR primed plant in comparison to unprimed plants at high temperature. Real-time PCR analysis revealed enhanced expression of defense genes- chalcone synthase and phenyl alanineammonia lyase. Over expression of heat shock proteins like HSP 70, small HSP 26.3 and heat shock factor HsfA3 in PGPR primed plants effectively protect plants against spot blotch infection at elevated temperature as compared with control plants. Our results revealed dynamic biochemical cross talk between elevated temperature and spot blotch disease development and furthermore highlight PGPR mediated array of antioxidative and molecular alterations responsible for induction of resistance against spot blotch disease at elevated temperature which seems to be associated with up-regulation of defense genes, heat shock proteins and heat shock factors, less ROS production, membrane damage, increased expression of redox enzymes and accumulation of osmolytes and antioxidants.

Keywords: antioxidative enzymes, defense enzymes, elevated temperature, heat shock proteins, PGPR, Real-Time PCR, spot blotch, wheat

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1 Measuring the Biomechanical Effects of Worker Skill Level and Joystick Crane Speed on Forestry Harvesting Performance Using a Simulator

Authors: Victoria L. Chester, Usha Kuruganti


The forest industry is a major economic sector of Canada and also one of the most dangerous industries for workers. The use of mechanized mobile forestry harvesting machines has successfully reduced the incidence of injuries in forest workers related to manual labor. However, these machines have also created additional concerns, including a high machine operation learning curve, increased the length of the workday, repetitive strain injury, cognitive load, physical and mental fatigue, and increased postural loads due to sitting in a confined space. It is critical to obtain objective performance data for employers to develop appropriate work practices for this industry, however ergonomic field studies of this industry are lacking mainly due to the difficulties in obtaining comprehensive data while operators are cutting trees in the woods. The purpose of this study was to establish a measurement and experimental protocol to examine the effects of worker skill level and movement training speed (joystick crane speed) on harvesting performance using a forestry simulator. A custom wrist angle measurement device was developed as part of the study to monitor Euler angles during operation of the simulator. The device of the system consisted of two accelerometers, a Bluetooth module, three 3V coin cells, a microcontroller, a voltage regulator and an application software. Harvesting performance and crane data was provided by the simulator software and included tree to frame collisions, crane to tree collisions, boom tip distance, number of trees cut, etc. A pilot study of 3 operators with various skill levels was tested to identify factors that distinguish highly skilled operators from novice or intermediate operators. Dependent variables such as reaction time, math skill, past work experience, training movement speed (e.g. joystick control speeds), harvesting experience level, muscle activity, and wrist biomechanics were measured and analyzed. A 10-channel wireless surface EMG system was used to monitor the amplitude and mean frequency of 10 upper extremity muscles during pre and postperformance on the forestry harvest stimulator. The results of the pilot study showed inconsistent changes in median frequency pre-and postoperation, but there was the increase in the activity of the flexor carpi radialis, anterior deltoid and upper trapezius of both arms. The wrist sensor results indicated that wrist supination and pronation occurred more than flexion and extension with radial-ulnar rotation demonstrating the least movement. Overall, wrist angular motion increased as the crane speed increased from slow to fast. Further data collection is needed and will help industry partners determine those factors that separate skill levels of operators, identify optimal training speeds, and determine the length of training required to bring new operators to an efficient skill level effectively. In addition to effective and employment training programs, results of this work will be used for selective employee recruitment strategies to improve employee retention after training. Further, improved training procedures and knowledge of the physical and mental demands on workers will lead to highly trained and efficient personnel, reduced risk of injury, and optimal work protocols.

Keywords: EMG, forestry, human factors, wrist biomechanics

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