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Search results for: instrumental variables

55 Modeling the Demand for the Healthcare Services Using Data Analysis Techniques

Authors: Elizaveta S. Prokofyeva, Svetlana V. Maltseva, Roman D. Zaitsev


Rapidly evolving modern data analysis technologies in healthcare play a large role in understanding the operation of the system and its characteristics. Nowadays, one of the key tasks in urban healthcare is to optimize the resource allocation. Thus, the application of data analysis in medical institutions to solve optimization problems determines the significance of this study. The purpose of this research was to establish the dependence between the indicators of the effectiveness of the medical institution and its resources. Hospital discharges by diagnosis; hospital days of in-patients and in-patient average length of stay were selected as the performance indicators and the demand of the medical facility. The hospital beds by type of care, medical technology (magnetic resonance tomography, gamma cameras, angiographic complexes and lithotripters) and physicians characterized the resource provision of medical institutions for the developed models. The data source for the research was an open database of the statistical service Eurostat. The choice of the source is due to the fact that the databases contain complete and open information necessary for research tasks in the field of public health. In addition, the statistical database has a user-friendly interface that allows you to quickly build analytical reports. The study provides information on 28 European for the period from 2007 to 2016. For all countries included in the study, with the most accurate and complete data for the period under review, predictive models were developed based on historical panel data. An attempt to improve the quality and the interpretation of the models was made by cluster analysis of the investigated set of countries. The main idea was to assess the similarity of the joint behavior of the variables throughout the time period under consideration to identify groups of similar countries and to construct the separate regression models for them. Therefore, the original time series were used as the objects of clustering. The hierarchical agglomerate algorithm k-medoids was used. The sampled objects were used as the centers of the clusters obtained, since determining the centroid when working with time series involves additional difficulties. The number of clusters used the silhouette coefficient. After the cluster analysis it was possible to significantly improve the predictive power of the models: for example, in the one of the clusters, MAPE error was only 0,82%, which makes it possible to conclude that this forecast is highly reliable in the short term. The obtained predicted values of the developed models have a relatively low level of error and can be used to make decisions on the resource provision of the hospital by medical personnel. The research displays the strong dependencies between the demand for the medical services and the modern medical equipment variable, which highlights the importance of the technological component for the successful development of the medical facility. Currently, data analysis has a huge potential, which allows to significantly improving health services. Medical institutions that are the first to introduce these technologies will certainly have a competitive advantage.

Keywords: Data Analysis, Healthcare, medical facilities, demand modeling

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54 Educational Impact of Participatory Theatre Based Intervention on Gender Equality Attitudes, Youth in Serbia

Authors: Jasna Milošević Đorđević, Jelisaveta Blagojević, Jovana Timotijević, Alison Mckinley


Young people in Serbia, have grown up in turbulent times during the Balkan wars, in a cultural and economic isolation without adequate education on (ethnic, gender, social,..) equality. They often have very strong patriarchal gender stereotypes. The perception of gender in Serbia is still heavily influenced by traditional worldview and young people have little opportunity in traditional educational system to challenge it, receiving no formal sex education. Educational policies have addressed achieving gender equality as one of the goals, supporting all young people to gain better educational opportunities, but there are obvious shortcomings of the official education system in implementation of those goals. Therefore new approaches should be implemented. We evaluate the impact of non traditional approach, such as participatory theatre performance with strong transformative potential, especially in relation to gender issues. Theatre based intervention (TBI) was created to provoke the young people to become aware of their gender constructs. Engaging young people in modern form of education such as transformative gender intervention through participatory theatre could have positive impact on their sex knowledge and understanding gender roles. The transformative process in TBI happens on two levels – the affective and the cognitive. The founding agency of the project and evaluation is IPPF. The most important aim of this survey is evaluation of the transformative TBI, as a new educational approach related to better understanding gender as social construct. To reach this goal, we have measured attitude change in three indicators: a) gender identity/ perception of feminine identity, perception of masculine identity, importance of gender for personal identity, b) gender roles on the labor market, c) Gender equality in partnership & sexual behavior. Our main hypothesis is that participatory theatre-based intervention can have a transformational potential in challenging traditional gender knowledge and attitudes among youth in Serbia. To evaluate the impact of TB intervention, we implement: online baseline and end-line survey with nonparticipants of the TBI on the representative sample in targeted towns (control group). Additionally we conducted testing the experimental group twice: pretest at the beginning of each TBI and post testing of participants after the play. A sample of 500 respondents aged 18-30 years, from 9 towns in Serbia responded to online questionnaire in September 2017, in a baseline research. Pre and post measurement of all tested variables among participants in nine towns would be performed. End-line survey with 500 respondents would be conducted at the end of the project (early year 2018). After the first TBI (60 participants) no impact was detected on measured indicators: perception of desirable characteristics of man F(1,59)= 1.291, p=.260; perception of desirable characteristics of women F(1,55)=1.386, p= .244; gender identity importance F(1,63)= .050, p=.824; sex related behavior F(1,61)=1,145, p=.289; gender equality on labor market F(1,63)=.076, p=.783; gender equality in partnership F(1,61)=.201, p=.656; However, we hope that following intervention would bring more data showing that participatory theatre intervention explaining gender as a social construct could have additional positive impact in traditional educational system.

Keywords: Gender Identity, Gender Role, educational impact, participatory theatre based intervention

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53 Sustainable Recycling Practices to Reduce Health Hazards of Municipal Solid Waste in Patna, India

Authors: Papia Raj, Anupama Singh


Though Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is a worldwide problem, yet its implications are enormous in developing countries, as they are unable to provide proper Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) for the large volume of MSW. As a result, the collected wastes are dumped in open dumping at landfilling sites while the uncollected wastes remain strewn on the roadside, many-a-time clogging drainage. Such unsafe and inadequate management of MSW causes various public health hazards. For example, MSW directly on contact or by leachate contaminate the soil, surface water, and ground water; open burning causes air pollution; anaerobic digestion between the piles of MSW enhance the greenhouse gases i.e., carbon dioxide and methane (CO2 and CH4) into the atmosphere. Moreover, open dumping can cause spread of vector borne disease like cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and so on. Patna, the capital city of Bihar, one of the most underdeveloped provinces in India, is a unique representation of this situation. Patna has been identified as the ‘garbage city’. Over the last decade there has been an exponential increase in the quantity of MSW generation in Patna. Though a large proportion of such MSW is recyclable in nature, only a negligible portion is recycled. Plastic constitutes the major chunk of the recyclable waste. The chemical composition of plastic is versatile consisting of toxic compounds, such as, plasticizers, like adipates and phthalates. Pigmented plastic is highly toxic and it contains harmful metals such as copper, lead, chromium, cobalt, selenium, and cadmium. Human population becomes vulnerable to an array of health problems as they are exposed to these toxic chemicals multiple times a day through air, water, dust, and food. Based on analysis of health data it can be emphasized that in Patna there has been an increase in the incidence of specific diseases, such as, diarrhoea, dysentry, acute respiratory infection (ARI), asthma, and other chronic respiratory diseases (CRD). This trend can be attributed to improper MSWM. The results were reiterated through a survey (N=127) conducted during 2014-15 in selected areas of Patna. Random sampling method of data collection was used to better understand the relationship between different variables affecting public health due to exposure to MSW and lack of MSWM. The results derived through bivariate and logistic regression analysis of the survey data indicate that segregation of wastes at source, segregation behavior, collection bins in the area, distance of collection bins from residential area, and transportation of MSW are the major determinants of public health issues. Sustainable recycling is a robust method for MSWM with its pioneer concerns being environment, society, and economy. It thus ensures minimal threat to environment and ecology consequently improving public health conditions. Hence, this paper concludes that sustainable recycling would be the most viable approach to manage MSW in Patna and would eventually reduce public health hazards.

Keywords: Public Health, municipal solid waste, Patna, sustainable recycling

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52 Genetic Polymorphism and Insilico Study Epitope Block 2 MSP1 Gene of Plasmodium falciparum Isolate Endemic Jayapura

Authors: Arsyam Mawardi, Sony Suhandono, Azzania Fibriani, Fifi Fitriyah Masduki


Malaria is an infectious disease caused by Plasmodium sp. This disease has a high prevalence in Indonesia, especially in Jayapura. The vaccine that is currently being developed has not been effective in overcoming malaria. This is due to the high polymorphism in the Plasmodium genome especially in areas that encode Plasmodium surface proteins. Merozoite Surface Protein 1 (MSP1) Plasmodium falciparum is a surface protein that plays a role in the invasion process in human erythrocytes through the interaction of Glycophorin A protein receptors and sialic acid in erythrocytes with Reticulocyte Binding Proteins (RBP) and Duffy Adhesion Protein (DAP) ligands in merozoites. MSP1 can be targeted to be a specific antigen and predicted epitope area which will be used for the development of diagnostic and malaria vaccine therapy. MSP1 consists of 17 blocks, each block is dimorphic, and has been marked as the K1 and MAD20 alleles. Exceptions only in block 2, because it has 3 alleles, among others K1, MAD20 and RO33. These polymorphisms cause allelic variations and implicate the severity of patients infected P. falciparum. In addition, polymorphism of MSP1 in Jayapura isolates has not been reported so it is interesting to be further identified and projected as a specific antigen. Therefore, in this study, we analyzed the allele polymorphism as well as detected the MSP1 epitope antigen candidate on block 2 P. falciparum. Clinical samples of selected malaria patients followed the consecutive sampling method, examining malaria parasites with blood preparations on glass objects observed through a microscope. Plasmodium DNA was isolated from the blood of malarial positive patients. The block 2 MSP1 gene was amplified using PCR method and cloned using the pGEM-T easy vector then transformed to TOP'10 E.coli. Positive colonies selection was performed with blue-white screening. The existence of target DNA was confirmed by PCR colonies and DNA sequencing methods. Furthermore, DNA sequence analysis was done through alignment and formation of a phylogenetic tree using MEGA 6 software and insilico analysis using IEDB software to predict epitope candidate for P. falciparum. A total of 15 patient samples have been isolated from Plasmodium DNA. PCR amplification results show the target gene size about ± 1049 bp. The results of MSP1 nucleotide alignment analysis reveal that block 2 MSP1 genes derived from the sample of malarial patients were distributed in four different allele family groups, K1 (7), MAD20 (1), RO33 (0) and MSP1_Jayapura (10) alleles. The most commonly appears of the detected allele is MSP1_Jayapura single allele. There was no significant association between sex variables, age, the density of parasitemia and alel variation (Mann Whitney, U > 0.05), while symptomatic signs have a significant difference as a trigger of detectable allele variation (U < 0.05). In this research, insilico study shows that there is a new epitope antigen candidate from the MSP1_Jayapura allele and it is predicted to be recognized by B cells with 17 amino acid lengths in the amino acid sequence 187 to 203.

Keywords: Polymorphism, epitope candidate, insilico analysis, MSP1 P. falciparum

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51 An Odyssey to Sustainability: The Urban Archipelago of India

Authors: B. Sudhakara Reddy


This study provides a snapshot of the sustainability of selected Indian cities by employing 70 indicators in four dimensions to develop an overall city sustainability index. In recent years, the concept of ‘urban sustainability’ has become prominent due to its complexity. Urban areas propel growth and at the same time poses a lot of ecological, social and infrastructural problems and risks. In case of developing countries, the high population density of and the continuous in-migration run the highest risk in natural and man-made disasters. These issues combined with the inability of policy makers in providing basic services makes the cities unsustainable. To assess whether any given policy is moving towards or against urban sustainability it is necessary to consider the relationships among its various dimensions. Hence, in recent years, while preparing the sustainability index, an integral approach involving indicators of different dimensions such as ‘economic’, ‘environmental’ and 'social' is being used. It is also important for urban planners, social analysts and other related institutions to identify and understand the relationships in this complex system. The objective of the paper is to develop a city performance index (CPI) to measure and evaluate the urban regions in terms of sustainable performances. The objectives include: i) Objective assessment of a city’s performance, ii) setting achievable goals iii) prioritise relevant indicators for improvement, iv) learning from leaders, iv) assessment of the effectiveness of programmes that results in achieving high indicator values, v) Strengthening of stakeholder participation. Using the benchmark approach, a conceptual framework is developed for evaluating 25 Indian cities. We develop City Sustainability index (CSI) in order to rank cities according to their level of sustainability. The CSI is composed of four dimensions: Economic, Environment, Social, and Institutional. Each dimension is further composed of multiple indicators: (1) Economic that considers growth, access to electricity, and telephone availability; (2) environmental that includes waste water treatment, carbon emissions, (3) social that includes, equity, infant mortality, and 4) institutional that includes, voting share of population, urban regeneration policies. The CSI, consisting of four dimensions disaggregate into 12 categories and ultimately into 70 indicators. The data are obtained from public and non-governmental organizations, and also from city officials and experts. By ranking a sample of diverse cities on a set of specific dimensions the study can serve as a baseline of current conditions and a marker for referencing future results. The benchmarks and indices presented in the study provide a unique resource for the government and the city authorities to learn about the positive and negative attributes of a city and prepare plans for a sustainable urban development. As a result of our conceptual framework, the set of criteria we suggest is somewhat different to any already in the literature. The scope of our analysis is intended to be broad. Although illustrated with specific examples, it should be apparent that the principles identified are relevant to any monitoring that is used to inform decisions involving decision variables. These indicators are policy-relevant and, hence they are useful tool for decision-makers and researchers.

Keywords: Sustainability, Performance, City, Indicator, benchmark

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50 Towards a Measuring Tool to Encourage Knowledge Sharing in Emerging Knowledge Organizations: The Who, the What and the How

Authors: Rachel Barker


The exponential velocity in the truly knowledge-intensive world today has increasingly bombarded organizations with unfathomable challenges. Hence organizations are introduced to strange lexicons of descriptors belonging to a new paradigm of who, what and how knowledge at individual and organizational levels should be managed. Although organizational knowledge has been recognized as a valuable intangible resource that holds the key to competitive advantage, little progress has been made in understanding how knowledge sharing at individual level could benefit knowledge use at collective level to ensure added value. The research problem is that a lack of research exists to measure knowledge sharing through a multi-layered structure of ideas with at its foundation, philosophical assumptions to support presuppositions and commitment which requires actual findings from measured variables to confirm observed and expected events. The purpose of this paper is to address this problem by presenting a theoretical approach to measure knowledge sharing in emerging knowledge organizations. The research question is that despite the competitive necessity of becoming a knowledge-based organization, leaders have found it difficult to transform their organizations due to a lack of knowledge on who, what and how it should be done. The main premise of this research is based on the challenge for knowledge leaders to develop an organizational culture conducive to the sharing of knowledge and where learning becomes the norm. The theoretical constructs were derived and based on the three components of the knowledge management theory, namely technical, communication and human components where it is suggested that this knowledge infrastructure could ensure effective management. While it is realised that it might be a little problematic to implement and measure all relevant concepts, this paper presents effect of eight critical success factors (CSFs) namely: organizational strategy, organizational culture, systems and infrastructure, intellectual capital, knowledge integration, organizational learning, motivation/performance measures and innovation. These CSFs have been identified based on a comprehensive literature review of existing research and tested in a new framework adapted from four perspectives of the balanced score card (BSC). Based on these CSFs and their items, an instrument was designed and tested among managers and employees of a purposefully selected engineering company in South Africa who relies on knowledge sharing to ensure their competitive advantage. Rigorous pretesting through personal interviews with executives and a number of academics took place to validate the instrument and to improve the quality of items and correct wording of issues. Through analysis of surveys collected, this research empirically models and uncovers key aspects of these dimensions based on the CSFs. Reliability of the instrument was calculated by Cronbach’s a for the two sections of the instrument on organizational and individual levels.The construct validity was confirmed by using factor analysis. The impact of the results was tested using structural equation modelling and proved to be a basis for implementing and understanding the competitive predisposition of the organization as it enters the process of knowledge management. In addition, they realised the importance to consolidate their knowledge assets to create value that is sustainable over time.

Keywords: Innovation, Knowledge sharing, Intellectual Capital, performance measures

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49 The Role of Oral and Intestinal Microbiota in European Badgers

Authors: Emma J. Dale, Christina D. Buesching, Kevin R. Theis, David W. Macdonald


This study investigates the oral and intestinal microbiomes of wild-living European badgers (Meles meles) and will relate inter-individual differences to social contact networks, somatic and reproductive fitness, varying susceptibility to bovine tuberculous (bTB) and to the olfactory advertisement. Badgers are an interesting model for this research, as they have great variation in body condition, despite living in complex social networks and having access to the same resources. This variation in somatic fitness, in turn, affects breeding success, particularly in females. We postulate that microbiota have a central role to play in determining the successfulness of an individual. Our preliminary results, characterising the microbiota of individual badgers, indicate unique compositions of microbiota communities within social groups of badgers. This basal information will inform further questions related to the extent microbiota influence fitness. Hitherto, the potential role of microbiota has not been considered in determining host condition, but also other key fitness variables, namely; communication and resistance to disease. Badgers deposit their faeces in communal latrines, which play an important role in olfactory communication. Odour profiles of anal and subcaudal gland secretions are highly individual-specific and encode information about group-membership and fitness-relevant parameters, and their chemical composition is strongly dependent on symbiotic microbiota. As badgers sniff/ lick (using their Vomeronasal organ) and over-mark faecal deposits of conspecifics, these microbial communities can be expected to vary with social contact networks. However, this is particularly important in the context of bTB, where badgers are assumed to transmit bTB to cattle as well as conspecifics. Interestingly, we have found that some individuals are more susceptible to bTB than are others. As acquired immunity and thus potential susceptibility to infectious diseases are known to depend also on symbiotic microbiota in other members of the mustelids, a role of particularly oral microbiota can currently not be ruled out as a potential explanation for inter-individual differences in infection susceptibility of bTB in badgers. Tri annually badgers are caught in the context of a long-term population study that began in 1987. As all badgers receive an individual tattoo upon first capture, age, natal as well as previous and current social group-membership and other life history parameters are known for all animals. Swabs (subcaudal ‘scent gland’, anal, genital, nose, mouth and ear) and fecal samples will be taken from all individuals, stored at -80oC until processing. Microbial samples will be processed and identified at Wayne State University’s Theis (Host-Microbe Interactions) Lab, using High Throughput Sequencing (16S rRNA-encoding gene amplification and sequencing). Acknowledgments: Gas-Chromatography/ Mass-spectrometry (in the context of olfactory communication) analyses will be performed through an established collaboration with Dr. Veronica Tinnesand at Telemark University, Norway.

Keywords: Communication, energetics, Immunology, Fitness, free-ranging animals

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48 Formulation and Optimization of Self Nanoemulsifying Drug Delivery System of Rutin for Enhancement of Oral Bioavailability Using QbD Approach

Authors: Javed Ali, Shrestha Sharma, Jasjeet K. Sahni, Sanjula Baboota


Introduction: Rutin is a naturally occurring strong antioxidant molecule belonging to bioflavonoid category. Due to its free radical scavenging properties, it has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of various diseases including inflammation, cancer, diabetes, allergy, cardiovascular disorders and various types of microbial infections. Despite its beneficial effects, it suffers from the problem of low aqueous solubility which is responsible for low oral bioavailability. The aim of our study was to optimize and characterize self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery system (SNEDDS) of rutin using Box-Behnken design (BBD) combined with a desirability function. Further various antioxidant, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies were performed for the optimized rutin SNEDDS formulation. Methodologies: Selection of oil, surfactant and co-surfactant was done on the basis of solubility/miscibility studies. Sefsol+ Vitamin E, Solutol HS 15 and Transcutol P were selected as oil phase, surfactant and co-surfactant respectively. Optimization of SNEDDS formulations was done by a three-factor, three-level (33)BBD. The independent factors were Sefsol+ Vitamin E, Solutol HS15, and Transcutol P. The dependent variables were globule size, self emulsification time (SEF), % transmittance and cumulative percentage drug released. Various response surface graphs and contour plots were constructed to understand the effect of different factor, their levels and combinations on the responses. The optimized Rutin SNEDDS formulation was characterized for various parameters such as globule size, zeta potential, viscosity, refractive index , % Transmittance and in vitro drug release. Ex vivo permeation studies and pharmacokinetic studies were performed for optimized formulation. Antioxidant activity was determined by DPPH and reducing power assays. Anti-inflammatory activity was determined by using carrageenan induced rat paw oedema method. Permeation of rutin across small intestine was assessed using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Major findings:The optimized SNEDDS formulation consisting of Sefsol+ Vitamin E - Solutol HS15 -Transcutol HP at proportions of 25:35:17.5 (w/w) was prepared and a comparison of the predicted values and experimental values were found to be in close agreement. The globule size and PDI of optimized SNEDDS formulation was found to be 16.08 ± 0.02 nm and 0.124±0.01 respectively. Significant (p˂0.05) increase in percentage drug release was achieved in the case of optimized SNEDDS formulation (98.8 %) as compared to rutin suspension. Furthermore, pharmacokinetic study showed a 2.3-fold increase in relative oral bioavailability compared with that of the suspension. Antioxidant assay results indicated better efficacy of the developed formulation than the pure drug and it was found to be comparable with ascorbic acid. The results of anti-inflammatory studies showed 72.93 % inhibition for the SNEDDS formulation which was significantly higher than the drug suspension 46.56%. The results of CLSM indicated that the absorption of SNEDDS formulation was considerably higher than that from rutin suspension. Conclusion: Rutin SNEDDS have been successfully prepared and they can serve as an effective tool in enhancing oral bioavailability and efficacy of Rutin.

Keywords: Pharmacodynamics, rutin, oral bioavilability, pharamacokinetics

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47 On-Farm Biopurification Systems: Fungal Bioaugmentation of Biomixtures For Carbofuran Removal

Authors: Carlos E. Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Karla Ruiz-Hidalgo, Kattia Madrigal-Zúñiga, Juan Salvador Chin-Pampillo, Mario Masís-Mora, Elizabeth Carazo-Rojas


One of the main causes of contamination linked to agricultural activities is the spillage and disposal of pesticides, especially during the loading, mixing or cleaning of agricultural spraying equipment. One improvement in the handling of pesticides is the use of biopurification systems (BPS), simple and cheap degradation devices where the pesticides are biologically degraded at accelerated rates. The biologically active core of BPS is the biomixture, which is constituted by soil pre-exposed to the target pesticide, a lignocellulosic substrate to promote the activity of ligninolitic fungi and a humic component (peat or compost), mixed at a volumetric proportion of 50:25:25. Considering the known ability of lignocellulosic fungi to degrade a wide range of organic pollutants, and the high amount of lignocellulosic waste used in biomixture preparation, the bioaugmentation of biomixtures with these fungi represents an interesting approach for improving biomixtures. The present work aimed at evaluating the effect of the bioaugmentation of rice husk based biomixtures with the fungus Trametes versicolor in the removal of the insectice/nematicide carbofuran (CFN) and to optimize the composition of the biomixture to obtain the best performance in terms of CFN removal and mineralization, reduction in formation of transformation products and decrease in residual toxicity of the matrix. The evaluation of several lignocellulosic residues (rice husk, wood chips, coconut fiber, sugarcane bagasse or newspaper print) revealed the best colonization by T. versicolor in rice husk. Pre-colonized rice husk was then used in the bioaugmentation of biomixtures also containing soil pre-exposed to CFN and either peat (GTS biomixture) or compost (GCS biomixture). After spiking with 10 mg/kg CBF, the efficiency of the biomixture was evaluated through a multi-component approach that included: monitoring of CBF removal and production of CBF transformation products, mineralization of radioisotopically labeled carbofuran (14C-CBF) and changes in the toxicity of the matrix after the treatment (Daphnia magna acute immobilization test). Estimated half-lives of CBF in the biomixtures were 3.4 d and 8.1 d in GTS and GCS, respectively. The transformation products 3-hydroxycarbofuran and 3-ketocarbofuran were detected at the moment of CFN application, however their concentration continuously disappeared. Mineralization of 14C-CFN was also faster in GTS than GCS. The toxicological evaluation showed a complete toxicity removal in the biomixtures after 48 d of treatment. The composition of the GCS biomixture was optimized using a central composite design and response surface methodology. The design variables were the volumetric content of fungally pre-colonized rice husk and the volumetric ratio compost/soil. According to the response models, maximization of CFN removal and mineralization rate, and minimization in the accumulation of transformation products were obtained with an optimized biomixture of composition 30:43:27 (pre-colonized rice husk:compost:soil), which differs from the 50:25:25 composition commonly employed in BPS. Results suggest that fungal bioaugmentation may enhance the performance of biomixtures in CFN removal. Optimization reveals the importance of assessing new biomixture formulations in order to maximize their performance.

Keywords: Toxicity, Pesticides, Fungi, Bioaugmentation, degradation, biopurification systems

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46 Assessment of Antioxidant and Cholinergic Systems, and Liver Histopathologies in Lithobates catesbeianus Exposed to the Waters of an Urban Stream

Authors: Diego R. Boiarski, Camila M. Toigo, Thais M. Sobjak, Andrey F. P. Santos, Silvia Romao, Ana T. B. Guimaraes


Anthropogenic activities promote changes in the community’s structures and decrease the species abundance of amphibians. Biological communities of fluvial systems are assemblies of organisms that have adapted to regional conditions, including the physical environment and food resources, and are further refined through interactions with other species. The aim of this study was to assess neurotoxic alterations and in the antioxidant system on tadpoles of Lithobates catesbeianus exposed to waters from Cascavel River, in the south of Brazil. A total of 420 L of water was collected from the Cascavel River, 140 L from each of the three different locations: Site 1 – headwater; Site 2 – stretch of the stream that runs through an urbanized area; Site 3 – a stretch from the rural area. Twelve tadpoles were acclimated in each aquarium (100 L of water) for seven days. The water from each aquarium was replaced with the ones sampled from the river, except the one from the control aquarium. After seven days, a portion of the liver was removed and conditioned for ChE, SOD, CAT and LPO analysis; other part of the tissue was conditioned for histological analysis. The statistical analysis performed was one-way ANOVA, followed by post-hoc Tukey-HSD test, and the multivariate principal components analysis. It was not observed any neurotoxic effect, but a slight increase in SOD activity and elevation of CAT activity in both urban and rural environment. A decrease in LPO reaction was detected, mainly among the tadpoles exposed to the waters from the rural area. The results of the present study demonstrate the alteration of the antioxidant system, as well as liver histopathologies in tadpoles exposed mainly to waters collected in urban and rural environments. These alterations may cause the reduction in the velocity of the metamorphosis process from the tadpoles. Further, were observed histological alterations, highlighting necrotic areas mainly among the animals exposed to urban waters. Those damages can lead to metabolic dysfunction, interfering with survival capacity, diminishing not only individual fitness but for the whole population. In the interpretation synthesis of all biomarkers, the cellular damage gradient is perceptible, characterized by the variables related to the antioxidant system, due to the flow direction of the stream. This result is indicative that along the course of the creek occurs dumping of organic material, which promoted an acute response upon tadpoles of L. catesbeianus. and it was also observed the difference in tissue damage between the experimental groups and the control group, the latter presenting histological alterations, but to a lesser degree than the animals exposed to the waters of the Cascavel river. These damages, caused by reactive oxygen species possibly resulting from the contamination by organic compounds, can lead the animals to a series of metabolic dysfunctions, interfering with its metamorphosis capacity. Interruption of metamorphosis may affect survival, which may impair its growth, development and reproduction, diminishing not only the fitness of each individual but in a long-term, to the entire population.

Keywords: Histopathology, Oxidative Stress, American bullfrog, urban creeks pollution

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45 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: Public Health, Vaccination, migrants, universal health coverage

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44 Oat Bran Associated with Nutritional Counseling in Treating Obesity and Other Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

Authors: Simone Raimondi De Souza, Glaucia Maria Moraes De Oliveira, Ronir Raggio Luiz, Glorimar Rosa


Introduction: Obesity is among the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Genesis is multifactorial, including genetic, hormonal and environmental factors disorders, among which inadequate feeding pattern, for which nutritional counseling strategies have proven effective. The consumption of beta-glucans (soluble fibers that reportedly promote satiety) present in oat bran can be an effective strategy for preventing and treating obesity. Other benefits have been observed with oat bran consumption, such as reduction of hypercholesterolemia and hyperglycemia, two other risk factors for CVD. Objectives: To analyze the effect of oat bran consumption associated with nutritional counseling in reducing body mass index (BMI), blood cholesterol, glucose profile, waist and neck circumference in obese individuals, and to evaluate the change in eating pattern. Methods: clinical trial, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, lasting 90 days with adults of both genders, with BMI ≥30kg/m2. The study was approved by the Ethics in Research involving human beings in a public institute of cardiology, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Individuals were invited to participate and accepted formally by signing the Terms of Consent. Participants were randomized into oat bran group (gOB) or placebo group (gPCB) and received, respectively: morning prepared consisting of 40g oat bran, 30g of skimmed milk powder and 1g sweetener sucralose; refined flour 40g rice, 30g of milk powder and 1g sweetener sucralose. The Ten Steps to Healthy Eating, of Brazilian Ministry of Health were used to support the nutritional counseling. Variables analyzed: gender; age; BMI, waist circumference (WC) neck circumference (NC); systolic blood pressure (SBP); diastolic blood pressure (DBP); food consumption, total cholesterol (TC), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-c), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-c), non-HDL cholesterol (nHDLc), triglycerides (TG), fasting glucose (FG), fasting insulin (FI) and HOMA-IR. Dietary intake was assessed by 24-hour dietary recall. The Diet Quality Index revised for the Brazilian population (IQD-R) assessed quality of feeding pattern. Statistical analyzes were performed using SPSS version 21, considering statistically significant p-value less than 0.05. Results: A total of 38 participants were included, age = 50 ± 7,6years, 63% women. 19 subjects were placed in gOB and 19 in gPCB. After intervention, statistically significant reductions were observed in the following parameters: in gOB: IQD-R, TC, LDL-c, nHDL-c, FI, SBP, DBP, BMI, WC, NC; in gPCB: IQD-R, LDL-c, SBP, DBP, BMI, WC, NC. No statistically significant differences were observed in the results between groups. Conclusion: Our results reinforce nutritional counseling as important strategy for prevention and treatment of obesity and suggest that inclusion of oat bran in daily diet can bring additional benefits controlling risk factors for CVD. More studies are needed to establish all benefits of oat bran to human health as well as the ideal daily dose for consumption.

Keywords: Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, oat bran, nutritional counseling

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43 Cultural Intelligence for the Managers of Tomorrow: A Data-Based Analysis of the Antecedents and Training Needs of Today’s Business School Students

Authors: Justin Byrne, Jose Ramon Cobo


The growing importance of cross- or intercultural competencies (used here interchangeably) for the business and management professionals is now a commonplace in both academic and professional literature. This reflects two parallel developments. On the one hand, it is a consequence of the increased attention paid to a whole range of 'soft skills', now seen as fundamental in both individuals' and corporate success. On the other hand, and more specifically, the increasing demand for interculturally competent professionals is a corollary of ongoing processes of globalization, which multiply and intensify encounters between individuals and companies from different cultural backgrounds. Business schools have, for some decades, responded to the needs of the job market and their own students by providing students with training in intercultural skills, as they are encouraged to do so by the major accreditation agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Adapting Early and Ang's (2003) formulation of Cultural Intelligence (CQ), this paper aims to help fill the lagunae in the current literature on intercultural training in three main ways. First, it offers an in-depth analysis of the CQ of a little studied group: contemporary Millenial and 'Generation Z' Business School students. The level of analysis distinguishes between the four different dimensions of CQ, cognition, metacognition, motivation and behaviour, and thereby provides a detailed picture of the strengths and weaknesses in CQ of the group as a whole, as well as of different sub-groups and profiles of students. Secondly, by crossing these individual-level findings with respondents' socio-cultural and educational data, this paper also proposes and tests hypotheses regarding the relative impact and importance of four possible antecedents of intercultural skills identified in the literature: prior international experience; intercultural training, foreign language proficiency, and experience of cultural diversity in habitual country of residence. Third, we use this analysis to suggest data-based intercultural training priorities for today's management students. These conclusions are based on the statistical analysis of individual responses of some 300 Bachelor or Masters students in a major European Business School provided to two on-line surveys: Ang, Van Dyne, et al's (2007) standard 20-question self-reporting CQ Scale, and an original questionnaire designed by the authors to collate information on respondent's socio-demographic and educational profile relevant to our four hypotheses and explanatory variables. The data from both instruments was crossed in both descriptive statistical analysis and regression analysis. This research shows that there is no statistically significant and positive relationship between the four antecedents analyzed and overall CQ level. The exception in this respect is the statistically significant correlation between international experience, and the cognitive dimension of CQ. In contrast, the results show that the combination of international experience and foreign language skills acting together, does have a strong overall impact on CQ levels. These results suggest that selecting and/or training students with strong foreign language skills and providing them with international experience (through multinational programmes, academic exchanges or international internships) constitutes one effective way of training culturally intelligent managers of tomorrow.

Keywords: training, business school, cultural intelligence, millennial

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42 The Effects of Labeling Cues on Sensory and Affective Responses of Consumers to Categories of Functional Food Carriers: A Mixed Factorial ANOVA Design

Authors: Hedia El Ourabi, Marc Alexandre Tomiuk, Ahmed Khalil Ben Ayed


The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of the labeling cues traceability (T), health claim (HC), and verification of health claim (VHC) on consumer affective response and sensory appeal toward a wide array of functional food carriers (FFC). Predominantly, research in the food area has tended to examine the effects of these information cues independently on cognitive responses to food product offerings. Investigations and findings of potential interaction effects among these factors on effective response and sensory appeal are therefore scant. Moreover, previous studies have typically emphasized single or limited sets of functional food products and categories. In turn, this study considers five food product categories enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, namely: meat products, eggs, cereal products, dairy products and processed fruits and vegetables. It is, therefore, exhaustive in scope rather than exclusive. An investigation of the potential simultaneous effects of these information cues on the affective responses and sensory appeal of consumers should give rise to important insights to both functional food manufacturers and policymakers. A mixed (2 x 3) x (2 x 5) between-within subjects factorial ANOVA design was implemented in this study. T (two levels: completely traceable or non-traceable) and HC (three levels: functional health claim, or disease risk reduction health claim, or disease prevention health claim) were treated as between-subjects factors whereas VHC (two levels: by a government agency and by a non-government agency) and FFC (five food categories) were modeled as within-subjects factors. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of the six between-subjects conditions. A total of 463 questionnaires were obtained from a convenience sample of undergraduate students at various universities in the Montreal and Ottawa areas (in Canada). Consumer affective response and sensory appeal were respectively measured via the following statements assessed on seven-point semantic differential scales: ‘Your evaluation of [food product category] enriched with omega-3 fatty acids is Unlikeable (1) / Likeable (7)’ and ‘Your evaluation of [food product category] enriched with omega-3 fatty acids is Unappetizing (1) / Appetizing (7).’ Results revealed a significant interaction effect between HC and VHC on consumer affective response as well as on sensory appeal toward foods enriched with omega-3 fatty acids. On the other hand, the three-way interaction effect between T, HC, and VHC on either of the two dependent variables was not significant. However, the triple interaction effect among T, VHC, and FFC was significant on consumer effective response and the interaction effect among T, HC, and FFC was significant on consumer sensory appeal. Findings of this study should serve as impetus for functional food manufacturers to closely cooperate with policymakers in order to improve on and legitimize the use of health claims in their marketing efforts through credible verification practices and protocols put in place by trusted government agencies. Finally, both functional food manufacturers and retailers may benefit from the socially-responsible image which is conveyed by product offerings whose ingredients remain traceable from farm to kitchen table.

Keywords: Functional foods, labeling cues, effective appeal, sensory appeal

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41 Impact of Anthropogenic Stresses on Plankton Biodiversity in Indian Sundarban Megadelta: An Approach towards Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainability

Authors: Santosh K. Sarkar, Dibyendu Rakshit


The study illustrates a comprehensive account of large-scale changes plankton community structure in relevance to water quality characteristics due to anthropogenic stresses, mainly concerned for Annual Gangasagar Festival (AGF) at the southern tip of Sagar Island of Indian Sundarban wetland for 3-year duration (2012-2014; n=36). This prograding, vulnerable and tide-dominated megadelta has been formed in the estuarine phase of the Hooghly Estuary infested by largest continuous tract of luxurious mangrove forest, enriched with high native flora and fauna. The sampling strategy was designed to characterize the changes in plankton community and water quality considering three diverse phases, namely during festival period (January) and its pre - (December) as well as post (February) events. Surface water samples were collected for estimation of different environmental variables as well as for phytoplankton and microzooplankton biodiversity measurement. The preservation and identification techniques of both biotic and abiotic parameters were carried out by standard chemical and biological methods. The intensive human activities lead to sharp ecological changes in the context of poor water quality index (WQI) due to high turbidity (14.02±2.34 NTU) coupled with low chlorophyll a (1.02±0.21 mg m-3) and dissolved oxygen (3.94±1.1 mg l-1), comparing to pre- and post-festival periods. Sharp reduction in abundance (4140 to 2997 cells l-1) and diversity (H′=2.72 to 1.33) of phytoplankton and microzooplankton tintinnids (450 to 328 ind l-1; H′=4.31 to 2.21) was very much pronounced. The small size tintinnid (average lorica length=29.4 µm; average LOD=10.5 µm) composed of Tintinnopsis minuta, T. lobiancoi, T. nucula, T. gracilis are predominant and reached some of the greatest abundances during the festival period. Results of ANOVA revealed a significant variation in different festival periods with phytoplankton (F= 1.77; p=0.006) and tintinnid abundance (F= 2.41; P=0.022). RELATE analyses revealed a significant correlation between the variations of planktonic communities with the environmental data (R= 0.107; p= 0.005). Three distinct groups were delineated from principal component analysis, in which a set of hydrological parameters acted as the causative factor(s) for maintaining diversity and distribution of the planktonic organisms. The pronounced adverse impact of anthropogenic stresses on plankton community could lead to environmental deterioration, disrupting the productivity of benthic and pelagic ecosystems as well as fishery potentialities which directly related to livelihood services. The festival can be considered as multiple drivers of changes in relevance to beach erosion, shoreline changes, pollution from discarded plastic and electronic wastes and destruction of natural habitats resulting loss of biodiversity. In addition, deterioration in water quality was also evident from immersion of idols, causing detrimental effects on aquatic biota. The authors strongly recommend for adopting integrated scientific and administrative strategies for resilience, sustainability and conservation of this megadelta.

Keywords: phytoplankton, Gangasagar festival, Sundarban megadelta, tintinnid

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40 Regional Hydrological Extremes Frequency Analysis Based on Statistical and Hydrological Models

Authors: Hadush Kidane Meresa


The hydrological extremes frequency analysis is the foundation for the hydraulic engineering design, flood protection, drought management and water resources management and planning to utilize the available water resource to meet the desired objectives of different organizations and sectors in a country. This spatial variation of the statistical characteristics of the extreme flood and drought events are key practice for regional flood and drought analysis and mitigation management. For different hydro-climate of the regions, where the data set is short, scarcity, poor quality and insufficient, the regionalization methods are applied to transfer at-site data to a region. This study aims in regional high and low flow frequency analysis for Poland River Basins. Due to high frequent occurring of hydrological extremes in the region and rapid water resources development in this basin have caused serious concerns over the flood and drought magnitude and frequencies of the river in Poland. The magnitude and frequency result of high and low flows in the basin is needed for flood and drought planning, management and protection at present and future. Hydrological homogeneous high and low flow regions are formed by the cluster analysis of site characteristics, using the hierarchical and C- mean clustering and PCA method. Statistical tests for regional homogeneity are utilized, by Discordancy and Heterogeneity measure tests. In compliance with results of the tests, the region river basin has been divided into ten homogeneous regions. In this study, frequency analysis of high and low flows using AM for high flow and 7-day minimum low flow series is conducted using six statistical distributions. The use of L-moment and LL-moment method showed a homogeneous region over entire province with Generalized logistic (GLOG), Generalized extreme value (GEV), Pearson type III (P-III), Generalized Pareto (GPAR), Weibull (WEI) and Power (PR) distributions as the regional drought and flood frequency distributions. The 95% percentile and Flow duration curves of 1, 7, 10, 30 days have been plotted for 10 stations. However, the cluster analysis performed two regions in west and east of the province where L-moment and LL-moment method demonstrated the homogeneity of the regions and GLOG and Pearson Type III (PIII) distributions as regional frequency distributions for each region, respectively. The spatial variation and regional frequency distribution of flood and drought characteristics for 10 best catchment from the whole region was selected and beside the main variable (streamflow: high and low) we used variables which are more related to physiographic and drainage characteristics for identify and delineate homogeneous pools and to derive best regression models for ungauged sites. Those are mean annual rainfall, seasonal flow, average slope, NDVI, aspect, flow length, flow direction, maximum soil moisture, elevation, and drainage order. The regional high-flow or low-flow relationship among one streamflow characteristics with (AM or 7-day mean annual low flows) some basin characteristics is developed using Generalized Linear Mixed Model (GLMM) and Generalized Least Square (GLS) regression model, providing a simple and effective method for estimation of flood and drought of desired return periods for ungauged catchments.

Keywords: Flood, stochastic, Regionalization, Frequency, Drought, Poland, magnitude, ungauged

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39 Genomic and Proteomic Variability in Glycine Max Genotypes in Response to Salt Stress

Authors: Faheema Khan


To investigate the ability of sensitive and tolerant genotype of Glycine max to adapt to a saline environment in a field, we examined the growth performance, water relation and activities of antioxidant enzymes in relation to photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll a fluorescence, photosynthetic pigment concentration, protein and proline in plants exposed to salt stress. Ten soybean genotypes (Pusa-20, Pusa-40, Pusa-37, Pusa-16, Pusa-24, Pusa-22, BRAGG, PK-416, PK-1042, and DS-9712) were selected and grown hydroponically. After 3 days of proper germination, the seedlings were transferred to Hoagland’s solution (Hoagland and Arnon 1950). The growth chamber was maintained at a photosynthetic photon flux density of 430 μmol m−2 s−1, 14 h of light, 10 h of dark and a relative humidity of 60%. The nutrient solution was bubbled with sterile air and changed on alternate days. Ten-day-old seedlings were given seven levels of salt in the form of NaCl viz., T1 = 0 mM NaCl, T2=25 mM NaCl, T3=50 mM NaCl, T4=75 mM NaCl, T5=100 mM NaCl, T6=125 mM NaCl, T7=150 mM NaCl. The investigation showed that genotype Pusa-24, PK-416 and Pusa-20 appeared to be the most salt-sensitive. genotypes as inferred from their significantly reduced length, fresh weight and dry weight in response to the NaCl exposure. Pusa-37 appeared to be the most tolerant genotype since no significant effect of NaCl treatment on growth was found. We observed a greater decline in the photosynthetic variables like photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll fluorescence and chlorophyll content, in salt-sensitive (Pusa-24) genotype than in salt-tolerant Pusa-37 under high salinity. Numerous primers were verified on ten soybean genotypes obtained from Operon technologies among which 30 RAPD primers shown high polymorphism and genetic variation. The Jaccard’s similarity coefficient values for each pairwise comparison between cultivars were calculated and similarity coefficient matrix was constructed. The closer varieties in the cluster behaved similar in their response to salinity tolerance. Intra-clustering within the two clusters precisely grouped the 10 genotypes in sub-cluster as expected from their physiological findings.Salt tolerant genotype Pusa-37, was further analysed by 2-Dimensional gel electrophoresis to analyse the differential expression of proteins at high salt stress. In the Present study, 173 protein spots were identified. Of these, 40 proteins responsive to salinity were either up- or down-regulated in Pusa-37. Proteomic analysis in salt-tolerant genotype (Pusa-37) led to the detection of proteins involved in a variety of biological processes, such as protein synthesis (12 %), redox regulation (19 %), primary and secondary metabolism (25 %), or disease- and defence-related processes (32 %). In conclusion, the soybean plants in our study responded to salt stress by changing their protein expression pattern. The photosynthetic, biochemical and molecular study showed that there is variability in salt tolerance behaviour in soybean genotypes. Pusa-24 is the salt-sensitive and Pusa-37 is the salt-tolerant genotype. Moreover this study gives new insights into the salt-stress response in soybean and demonstrates the power of genomic and proteomic approach in plant biology studies which finally could help us in identifying the possible regulatory switches (gene/s) controlling the salt tolerant genotype of the crop plants and their possible role in defence mechanism.

Keywords: Salt Stress, glycine max, RAPD, genomic and proteomic variability

Procedia PDF Downloads 326
38 Cyber-Victimization among Higher Education Students as Related to Academic and Personal Factors

Authors: T. Heiman, D. Olenik-Shemesh


Over the past decade, with the rapid growth of electronic communication, the internet and, in particular, social networking has become an inseparable part of people's daily lives. Along with its benefits, a new type of online aggression has emerged, defined as cyber bullying, a form of interpersonal aggressive behavior that takes place through electronic means. Cyber-bullying is characterized by repetitive behavior over time of maladaptive authority and power usage using computers and cell phones via sending insulting messages and hurtful pictures. Preliminary findings suggest that the prevalence of involvement in cyber-bullying among higher education students varies between 10 and 35%. As to date, universities are facing an uphill effort in trying to restrain online misbehavior. As no studies examined the relationships between cyber-bullying involvement with personal aspects, and its impacts on academic achievement and work functioning, this present study examined the nature of cyber-bullying involvement among 1,052 undergraduate students (mean age = 27.25, S.D = 4.81; 66.2% female), coping with, as well as the effects of social support, perceived self-efficacy, well-being, and body-perception, in relation to cyber-victimization. We assume that students in higher education are a vulnerable population and at high risk of being cyber-victims. We hypothesize that social support might serve as a protective factor and will moderate the relationships between the socio-emotional variables and the occurrence of cyber- victimization. The findings of this study will present the relationships between cyber-victimization and the social-emotional aspects, which constitute risk and protective factors. After receiving approval from the Ethics Committee of the University, a Google Drive questionnaire was sent to a random sample of students, studying in the various University study centers. Students' participation was voluntary, and they completed the five questionnaires anonymously: Cyber-bullying, perceived self-efficacy, subjective well-being, social support and body perception. Results revealed that 11.6% of the students reported being cyber-victims during last year. Examining the emotional and behavioral reactions to cyber-victimization revealed that female emotional and behavioral reactions were significantly greater than the male reactions (p < .001). Moreover, females reported on a significant higher social support compared to men; male reported significantly on a lower social capability than female; and men's body perception was significantly more positive than women's scores. No gender differences were observed for subjective well-being scale. Significant positive correlations were found between cyber-victimization and fewer friends, lower grades, and work ineffectiveness (r = 0.37- .40, p < 0 .001). The results of the Hierarchical regression indicated significantly that cyber-victimization can be predicted by lower social support, lower body perception, and gender (female), that explained 5.6% of the variance (R2 = 0.056, F(5,1047) = 12.47, p < 0.001). The findings deepen our understanding of the students' involvement in cyber-bullying, and present the relationships of the social-emotional and academic aspects on cyber-victim students. In view of our findings, higher education policy could help facilitate coping with cyber-bullying incidents, and student support units could develop intervention programs aimed at reducing cyber-bullying and its impacts.

Keywords: Higher Education, Social Support, academic and personal factors, cyber-victimization

Procedia PDF Downloads 186
37 Comparing Perceived Restorativeness in Natural and Urban Environment: A Meta-Analysis

Authors: Elisa Menardo, Margherita Pasini, Margherita Brondino


A growing body of empirical research from different areas of inquiry suggests that brief contact with natural environment restore mental resources. The Attention Restoration Theory (ART) is the widespread used and empirical founded theory developed to explain why exposure to nature helps people to recovery cognitive resources. It assumes that contact with nature allows people to free (and then recovery) voluntary attention resources and thus allows them to recover from a cognitive fatigue situation. However, it was suggested that some people could have more cognitive benefit after exposure to urban environment. The objective of this study is to report the results of a meta-analysis on studies (peer-reviewed articles) comparing the restorativeness (the quality to be restorative) perceived in natural environments than those perceived in urban environments. This meta-analysis intended to estimate how much nature environments (forests, parks, boulevards) are perceived to be more restorativeness than urban ones (i.e., the magnitude of the perceived restorativeness’ difference). Moreover, given the methodological difference between study, it studied the potential role of moderator variables as participants (student or other), instrument used (Perceived Restorativeness Scale or other), and procedure (in laboratory or in situ). PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, Scopus, SpringerLINK, Web of Science online database were used to identify all peer-review articles on restorativeness published to date (k = 167). Reference sections of obtained papers were examined for additional studies. Only 22 independent studies (with a total of 1371 participants) met inclusion criteria (direct exposure to environment, comparison between one outdoor environment with natural element and one without natural element, and restorativeness measured by self-report scale) and were included in meta-analysis. To estimate the average effect size, a random effect model (Restricted Maximum-likelihood estimator) was used because the studies included in the meta-analysis were conducted independently and using different methods in different populations, so no common effect-size was expected. The presence of publication bias was checked using trim and fill approach. Univariate moderator analysis (mixed effect model) were run to determine whether the variable coded moderated the perceived restorativeness difference. Results show that natural environments are perceived to be more restorativeness than urban environments, confirming from an empirical point of view what is now considered a knowledge gained in environmental psychology. The relevant information emerging from this study is the magnitude of the estimated average effect size, which is particularly high (d = 1.99) compared to those that are commonly observed in psychology. Significant heterogeneity between study was found (Q(19) = 503.16, p < 0.001;) and studies’ variability was very high (I2[C.I.] = 96.97% [94.61 - 98.62]). Subsequent univariate moderator analyses were not significant. Methodological difference (participants, instrument, and procedure) did not explain variability between study. Other methodological difference (e.g., research design, environment’s characteristics, light’s condition) could explain this variability between study. In the mine while, studies’ variability could be not due to methodological difference but to individual difference (age, gender, education level) and characteristics (connection to nature, environmental attitude). Furthers moderator analysis are working in progress.

Keywords: Meta-analysis, Urban Environments, Natural Environments, perceived restorativeness

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36 Fuzzy Time Series- Markov Chain Method for Corn and Soybean Price Forecasting in North Carolina Markets

Authors: Selin Guney, Andres Riquelme


Among the main purposes of optimal and efficient forecasts of agricultural commodity prices is to guide the firms to advance the economic decision making process such as planning business operations and marketing decisions. Governments are also the beneficiaries and suppliers of agricultural price forecasts. They use this information to establish a proper agricultural policy, and hence, the forecasts affect social welfare and systematic errors in forecasts could lead to a misallocation of scarce resources. Various empirical approaches have been applied to forecast commodity prices that have used different methodologies. Most commonly-used approaches to forecast commodity sectors depend on classical time series models that assume values of the response variables are precise which is quite often not true in reality. Recently, this literature has mostly evolved to a consideration of fuzzy time series models that provide more flexibility in terms of the classical time series models assumptions such as stationarity, and large sample size requirement. Besides, fuzzy modeling approach allows decision making with estimated values under incomplete information or uncertainty. A number of fuzzy time series models have been developed and implemented over the last decades; however, most of them are not appropriate for forecasting repeated and nonconsecutive transitions in the data. The modeling scheme used in this paper eliminates this problem by introducing Markov modeling approach that takes into account both the repeated and nonconsecutive transitions. Also, the determination of length of interval is crucial in terms of the accuracy of forecasts. The problem of determining the length of interval arbitrarily is overcome and a methodology to determine the proper length of interval based on the distribution or mean of the first differences of series to improve forecast accuracy is proposed. The specific purpose of this paper is to propose and investigate the potential of a new forecasting model that integrates methodologies for determining the proper length of interval based on the distribution or mean of the first differences of series and Fuzzy Time Series- Markov Chain model. Moreover, the accuracy of the forecasting performance of proposed integrated model is compared to different univariate time series models and the superiority of proposed method over competing methods in respect of modelling and forecasting on the basis of forecast evaluation criteria is demonstrated. The application is to daily corn and soybean prices observed at three commercially important North Carolina markets; Candor, Cofield and Roaring River for corn and Fayetteville, Cofield and Greenville City for soybeans respectively. One main conclusion from this paper is that using fuzzy logic improves the forecast performance and accuracy; the effectiveness and potential benefits of the proposed model is confirmed with small selection criteria value such MAPE. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of integrating fuzzy logic and nonarbitrary determination of length of interval for the reliability and accuracy of price forecasts. The empirical results represent a significant contribution to our understanding of the applicability of fuzzy modeling in commodity price forecasts.

Keywords: forecast, Fuzzy, commodity, Markov

Procedia PDF Downloads 79
35 Backward-Facing Step Measurements at Different Reynolds Numbers Using Acoustic Doppler Velocimetry

Authors: Maria Amelia V. C. Araujo, Billy J. Araujo, Brian Greenwood


The flow over a backward-facing step is characterized by the presence of flow separation, recirculation and reattachment, for a simple geometry. This type of fluid behaviour takes place in many practical engineering applications, hence the reason for being investigated. Historically, fluid flows over a backward-facing step have been examined in many experiments using a variety of measuring techniques such as laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV), hot-wire anemometry, particle image velocimetry or hot-film sensors. However, some of these techniques cannot conveniently be used in separated flows or are too complicated and expensive. In this work, the applicability of the acoustic Doppler velocimetry (ADV) technique is investigated to such type of flows, at various Reynolds numbers corresponding to different flow regimes. The use of this measuring technique in separated flows is very difficult to find in literature. Besides, most of the situations where the Reynolds number effect is evaluated in separated flows are in numerical modelling. The ADV technique has the advantage in providing nearly non-invasive measurements, which is important in resolving turbulence. The ADV Nortek Vectrino+ was used to characterize the flow, in a recirculating laboratory flume, at various Reynolds Numbers (Reh = 3738, 5452, 7908 and 17388) based on the step height (h), in order to capture different flow regimes, and the results compared to those obtained using other measuring techniques. To compare results with other researchers, the step height, expansion ratio and the positions upstream and downstream the step were reproduced. The post-processing of the AVD records was performed using a customized numerical code, which implements several filtering techniques. Subsequently, the Vectrino noise level was evaluated by computing the power spectral density for the stream-wise horizontal velocity component. The normalized mean stream-wise velocity profiles, skin-friction coefficients and reattachment lengths were obtained for each Reh. Turbulent kinetic energy, Reynolds shear stresses and normal Reynolds stresses were determined for Reh = 7908. An uncertainty analysis was carried out, for the measured variables, using the moving block bootstrap technique. Low noise levels were obtained after implementing the post-processing techniques, showing their effectiveness. Besides, the errors obtained in the uncertainty analysis were relatively low, in general. For Reh = 7908, the normalized mean stream-wise velocity and turbulence profiles were compared directly with those acquired by other researchers using the LDV technique and a good agreement was found. The ADV technique proved to be able to characterize the flow properly over a backward-facing step, although additional caution should be taken for measurements very close to the bottom. The ADV measurements showed reliable results regarding: a) the stream-wise velocity profiles; b) the turbulent shear stress; c) the reattachment length; d) the identification of the transition from transitional to turbulent flows. Despite being a relatively inexpensive technique, acoustic Doppler velocimetry can be used with confidence in separated flows and thus very useful for numerical model validation. However, it is very important to perform adequate post-processing of the acquired data, to obtain low noise levels, thus decreasing the uncertainty.

Keywords: ADV, experimental data, multiple Reynolds number, post-processing

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34 Aesthetic Perception and Prestige of the German Language in Europe: A Socio-Cognitive Study from Cross-Modal Correspondences to Social Connotations

Authors: Alessandra Domizi


The study analyzes how German is aesthetically perceived in the European area, especially as far as the sound of this language is concerned. The theoretical background for the study arises from research on language attitudes towards English and German language varieties being applied to the German Language as a whole. The latter is here regarded from the external perspective of non-speakers and non-native speakers of German, while also taking into account native speakers’ self-attitude. This analysis is relevant for 1) achieving a better understanding of language-related perception processes in general and a deeper awareness of their social implications and value; 2) achieving a better understanding of the social and political landscapes of Europe as well as Germany’s perceived role through the indirect tool of language attitudes research, 3) the setting of a starting point for the collection and interpretation of a comprehensive set of data to constitute the basis for future development of innovative teaching methods that take into account learners’ perception and attitudes towards the target language (this would regard the teaching of German language at first, but could potentially be extended, as a method, to the teaching of any language). Starting from the general observation that negative judgments about German seem to be quite widespread, the study aims to find out: 1) whether there might be at least something inherent in the aesthetic perception of languages (an idea which is currently discarded by most linguists); 2) which kind of social connotations connected to German-speaking countries and people emerge in association with people’s attitudes towards the German language. To achieve these research goals, a survey has been carried out in different European countries, selected based on the respective national languages. In order for the main language families to be represented (in consideration of the hypothesis that participants’ native languages would influence their perception of a foreign language), the following countries have been chosen: Germany and Austria (Germanic, for self-perception), UK (Germanic) Italy (Romance), Poland (Slavic), Latvia (Baltic), Hungary (Uralic). The survey featured 1) a first quantitative, cognitive phase requiring participants to complete a number of tasks aimed to promote spontaneous connections between the different areas of perception/sensory modalities –an indirect approach to researching broadly (or possibly universally) shared traits in sound perception through cross-modal correspondences (sight and hearing), 2) a second quantitative and qualitative sociological phase involving direct questions with both scalar and open response options; 3) a third quantitative and qualitative phase where an auditory stimulus is provided for the participants to comment on. Analysis and interpretation of the collected data were visualized through diverse models. These provide an overview of the aesthetic perception and prestige of the German language in the addressed countries, with identifiable patterns in relation to variables such as language family of origin, historical connotations, and language knowledge. The response to the cognitive tasks widely confirmed previous Gestalt Psychology research about cross-modal correspondences between the sight and hearing sensory modalities, therefore inviting to further pursue this track in future research on the topic of language sound perception.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Europe, German Language, language perception, language prestige

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33 The Development of Congeneric Elicited Writing Tasks to Capture Language Decline in Alzheimer Patients

Authors: Lise Paesen, Marielle Leijten


People diagnosed with probable Alzheimer disease suffer from an impairment of their language capacities; a gradual impairment which affects both their spoken and written communication. Our study aims at characterising the language decline in DAT patients with the use of congeneric elicited writing tasks. Within these tasks, a descriptive text has to be written based upon images with which the participants are confronted. A randomised set of images allows us to present the participants with a different task on every encounter, thus allowing us to avoid a recognition effect in this iterative study. This method is a revision from previous studies, in which participants were presented with a larger picture depicting an entire scene. In order to create the randomised set of images, existing pictures were adapted following strict criteria (e.g. frequency, AoA, colour, ...). The resulting data set contained 50 images, belonging to several categories (vehicles, animals, humans, and objects). A pre-test was constructed to validate the created picture set; most images had been used before in spoken picture naming tasks. Hence the same reaction times ought to be triggered in the typed picture naming task. Once validated, the effectiveness of the descriptive tasks was assessed. First, the participants (n=60 students, n=40 healthy elderly) performed a typing task, which provided information about the typing speed of each individual. Secondly, two descriptive writing tasks were carried out, one simple and one complex. The simple task contains 4 images (1 animal, 2 objects, 1 vehicle) and only contains elements with high frequency, a young AoA (<6 years), and fast reaction times. Slow reaction times, a later AoA (≥ 6 years) and low frequency were criteria for the complex task. This task uses 6 images (2 animals, 1 human, 2 objects and 1 vehicle). The data were collected with the keystroke logging programme Inputlog. Keystroke logging tools log and time stamp keystroke activity to reconstruct and describe text production processes. The data were analysed using a selection of writing process and product variables, such as general writing process measures, detailed pause analysis, linguistic analysis, and text length. As a covariate, the intrapersonal interkey transition times from the typing task were taken into account. The pre-test indicated that the new images lead to similar or even faster reaction times compared to the original images. All the images were therefore used in the main study. The produced texts of the description tasks were significantly longer compared to previous studies, providing sufficient text and process data for analyses. Preliminary analysis shows that the amount of words produced differed significantly between the healthy elderly and the students, as did the mean length of production bursts, even though both groups needed the same time to produce their texts. However, the elderly took significantly more time to produce the complex task than the simple task. Nevertheless, the amount of words per minute remained comparable between simple and complex. The pauses within and before words varied, even when taking personal typing abilities (obtained by the typing task) into account.

Keywords: alzheimer's disease, Experimental Design, language decline, writing process

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32 Spatial Assessment of Creek Habitats of Marine Fish Stock in Sindh Province

Authors: Syed Jamil H. Kazmi, Faiza Sarwar


The Indus delta of Sindh Province forms the largest creeks zone of Pakistan. The Sindh coast starts from the mouth of Hab River and terminates at Sir Creek area. In this paper, we have considered the major creeks from the site of Bin Qasim Port in Karachi to Jetty of Keti Bunder in Thatta District. A general decline in the mangrove forest has been observed that within a span of last 25 years. The unprecedented human interventions damage the creeks habitat badly which includes haphazard urban development, industrial and sewage disposal, illegal cutting of mangroves forest, reduced and inconsistent fresh water flow mainly from Jhang and Indus rivers. These activities not only harm the creeks habitat but affected the fish stock substantially. Fishing is the main livelihood of coastal people but with the above-mentioned threats, it is also under enormous pressure by fish catches resulted in unchecked overutilization of the fish resources. This pressure is almost unbearable when it joins with deleterious fishing methods, uncontrolled fleet size, increase trash and by-catch of juvenile and illegal mesh size. Along with these anthropogenic interventions study area is under the red zone of tropical cyclones and active seismicity causing floods, sea intrusion, damage mangroves forests and devastation of fish stock. In order to sustain the natural resources of the Indus Creeks, this study was initiated with the support of FAO, WWF and NIO, the main purpose was to develop a Geo-Spatial dataset for fish stock assessment. The study has been spread over a year (2013-14) on monthly basis which mainly includes detailed fish stock survey, water analysis and few other environmental analyses. Environmental analysis also includes the habitat classification of study area which has done through remote sensing techniques for 22 years’ time series (1992-2014). Furthermore, out of 252 species collected, fifteen species from estuarine and marine groups were short-listed to measure the weight, health and growth of fish species at each creek under GIS data through SPSS system. Furthermore, habitat suitability analysis has been conducted by assessing the surface topographic and aspect derivation through different GIS techniques. The output variables then overlaid in GIS system to measure the creeks productivity. Which provided the results in terms of subsequent classes: extremely productive, highly productive, productive, moderately productive and less productive. This study has revealed the Geospatial tools utilization along with the evaluation of the fisheries resources and creeks habitat risk zone mapping. It has also been identified that the geo-spatial technologies are highly beneficial to identify the areas of high environmental risk in Sindh Creeks. This has been clearly discovered from this study that creeks with high rugosity are more productive than the creeks with low levels of rugosity. The study area has the immense potential to boost the economy of Pakistan in terms of fish export, if geo-spatial techniques are implemented instead of conventional techniques.

Keywords: Risk, Productivity Analysis, geo-spatial, fish stock

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31 Influence of Dryer Autumn Conditions on Weed Control Based on Soil Active Herbicides

Authors: Juergen Junk, Franz Ronellenfitsch, Michael Eickermann


An appropriate weed management in autumn is a prerequisite for an economically successful harvest in the following year. In Luxembourg oilseed rape, wheat and barley is sown from August until October, accompanied by a chemical weed control with soil active herbicides, depending on the state of the weeds and the meteorological conditions. Based on regular ground and surface water-analysis, high levels of contamination by transformation products of respective herbicide compounds have been found in Luxembourg. The most ideal conditions for incorporating soil active herbicides are single rain events. Weed control may be reduced if application is made when weeds are under drought stress or if repeated light rain events followed by dry spells, because the herbicides tend to bind tightly to the soil particles. These effects have been frequently reported for Luxembourg throughout the last years. In the framework of a multisite long-term field experiment (EFFO) weed monitoring, plants observations and corresponding meteorological measurements were conducted. Long-term time series (1947-2016) from the SYNOP station Findel-Airport (WMO ID = 06590) showed a decrease in the number of days with precipitation. As the total precipitation amount has not significantly changed, this indicates a trend towards rain events with higher intensity. All analyses are based on decades (10-day periods) for September and October of each individual year. To assess the future meteorological conditions for Luxembourg, two different approaches were applied. First, multi-model ensembles from the CORDEX experiments (spatial resolution ~12.5 km; transient projections until 2100) were analysed for two different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP8.5 and RCP4.5), covering the time span from 2005 until 2100. The multi-model ensemble approach allows for the quantification of the uncertainties and also to assess the differences between the two emission scenarios. Second, to assess smaller scale differences within the country a high resolution model projection using the COSMO-LM model was used (spatial resolution 1.3 km). To account for the higher computational demands, caused by the increased spatial resolution, only 10-year time slices have been simulated (reference period 1991-2000; near future 2041-2050 and far future 2091-2100). Statistically significant trends towards higher air temperatures, +1.6 K for September (+5.3 K far future) and +1.3 K for October (+4.3 K), were predicted for the near future compared to the reference period. Precipitation simultaneously decreased by 9.4 mm (September) and 5.0 mm (October) for the near future and -49 mm (September) and -10 mm (October) in the far future. Beside the monthly values also decades were analyzed for the two future time periods of the CLM model. For all decades of September and October the number of days with precipitation decreased for the projected near and far future. Changes in meteorological variables such as air temperature and precipitation did already induce transformations in weed societies (composition, late-emerging etc.) of arable ecosystems in Europe. Therefore, adaptations of agronomic practices as well as effective weed control strategies must be developed to maintain crop yield.

Keywords: Weed Management, ensembles, CORDEX projections, dry spells

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30 Environmental Sanitation Parameters Recording in Refugee-Migrants Camps in Greece, 2017

Authors: Crysovaladou Kefaloudi, Kassiani Mellou, Eirini Saranti-Papasaranti, Athanasios Koustenis, Chrysoula Botsi, Agapios Terzidis


Recent migration crisis led to a vast migrant – refugees movement to Greece which created an urgent need for hosting settlements. Taken into account the protection of public health from possible pathogens related to water and food supply as well as waste and sewage accumulation, a 'Living Conditions Recording Form' was created in the context of 'PHILOS' European Program funded by the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of EU’s DG Migration and Home Affairs, in order to assess a number of environmental sanitation parameters, in refugees – migrants camps in mainland. The assessment will be completed until the end of July. From March to June 2017, mobile unit teams comprised of health inspectors of sub-action 2 of “PHILOS” proceeded with the assessment of living conditions in twenty-two out of thirty-one camps and 'Stata' was used for the statistical analysis of obtained information. Variables were grouped into the following categories: 1) Camp administration, 2) hosted population number, 3) accommodation, 4) heating installations, 5) personal hygiene, 6) sewage collection and disposal, 7) water supply, 8) waste collection and management, 9) pest control, 10) fire safety, 11) food handling and safety. Preliminary analysis of the results showed that camp administration was performed in 90% of the camps by a public authority with the coordination of various NGOs. The median number of hosted population was 222 ranging from 62 to 3200, and the median value of hosted population per accommodation type was 4 in 19 camps. Heating facilities were provided in 86.1% of camps. In 18.2 % of the camps, one personal hygiene facility was available per 6 people ranging in the rest of the camps from 1 per 3 to 1 per 20 hosted refugees-migrants. Waste and sewage collection was performed depending on populations demand in an adequate way in all recorded camps. In 90% of camps, water was supplied through the central water supply system. In 85% of camps quantity and quality of water supply inside camps was regularly monitored for microbial and chemical indices. Pest control was implemented in 86.4% of the camps as well as fire safety measures. Food was supplied by catering companies in 50% of the camps, and the quality and quantity food was monitored at a regular basis. In 77% of camps, food was prepared by the hosted population with the availability of proper storage conditions. Furthermore, in all camps, hosted population was provided with personal hygiene items and health sanitary educational programs were implemented in 77.3% of camps. In conclusion, in the majority of the camps, environmental sanitation parameters were satisfactory. However, waste and sewage accumulation, as well as inadequate pest control measures were recorded in some camps. The obtained data have led to a number of recommendations for the improvement of sanitary conditions, disseminated to all relevant stakeholders. Special emphasis was given to hygiene measures implementation during food handling by migrants – refugees, as well as to waste and sewage accumulation taking in to account the population’s cultural background.

Keywords: environmental sanitation parameters, food borne diseases risk assessment, refugee – migrants camps, water borne diseases risk assessment

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29 An Elasto-Viscoplastic Constitutive Model for Unsaturated Soils: Numerical Implementation and Validation

Authors: Maria Lazari, Lorenzo Sanavia


Mechanics of unsaturated soils has been an active field of research in the last decades. Efficient constitutive models that take into account the partial saturation of soil are necessary to solve a number of engineering problems e.g. instability of slopes and cuts due to heavy rainfalls. A large number of constitutive models can now be found in the literature that considers fundamental issues associated with the unsaturated soil behaviour, like the volume change and shear strength behaviour with suction or saturation changes. Partially saturated soils may either expand or collapse upon wetting depending on the stress level, and it is also possible that a soil might experience a reversal in the volumetric behaviour during wetting. Shear strength of soils also changes dramatically with changes in the degree of saturation, and a related engineering problem is slope failures caused by rainfall. There are several states of the art reviews over the last years for studying the topic, usually providing a thorough discussion of the stress state, the advantages, and disadvantages of specific constitutive models as well as the latest developments in the area of unsaturated soil modelling. However, only a few studies focused on the coupling between partial saturation states and time effects on the behaviour of geomaterials. Rate dependency is experimentally observed in the mechanical response of granular materials, and a viscoplastic constitutive model is capable of reproducing creep and relaxation processes. Therefore, in this work an elasto-viscoplastic constitutive model for unsaturated soils is proposed and validated on the basis of experimental data. The model constitutes an extension of an existing elastoplastic strain-hardening constitutive model capable of capturing the behaviour of variably saturated soils, based on energy conjugated stress variables in the framework of superposed continua. The purpose was to develop a model able to deal with possible mechanical instabilities within a consistent energy framework. The model shares the same conceptual structure of the elastoplastic laws proposed to deal with bonded geomaterials subject to weathering or diagenesis and is capable of modelling several kinds of instabilities induced by the loss of hydraulic bonding contributions. The novelty of the proposed formulation is enhanced with the incorporation of density dependent stiffness and hardening coefficients in order to allow the modeling of the pycnotropy behaviour of granular materials with a single set of material constants. The model has been implemented in the commercial FE platform PLAXIS, widely used in Europe for advanced geotechnical design. The algorithmic strategies adopted for the stress-point algorithm had to be revised to take into account the different approach adopted by PLAXIS developers in the solution of the discrete non-linear equilibrium equations. An extensive comparison between models with a series of experimental data reported by different authors is presented to validate the model and illustrate the capability of the newly developed model. After the validation, the effectiveness of the viscoplastic model is displayed by numerical simulations of a partially saturated slope failure of the laboratory scale and the effect of viscosity and degree of saturation on slope’s stability is discussed.

Keywords: Unsaturated Soils, slope, PLAXIS software, Viscoplasticity

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28 Predictive Analytics for Theory Building

Authors: Hyung-Jin Kim, Donghun Lee, Ho-Won Jung


Predictive analytics (data analysis) uses a subset of measurements (the features, predictor, or independent variable) to predict another measurement (the outcome, target, or dependent variable) on a single person or unit. It applies empirical methods in statistics, operations research, and machine learning to predict the future, or otherwise unknown events or outcome on a single or person or unit, based on patterns in data. Most analyses of metabolic syndrome are not predictive analytics but statistical explanatory studies that build a proposed model (theory building) and then validate metabolic syndrome predictors hypothesized (theory testing). A proposed theoretical model forms with causal hypotheses that specify how and why certain empirical phenomena occur. Predictive analytics and explanatory modeling have their own territories in analysis. However, predictive analytics can perform vital roles in explanatory studies, i.e., scientific activities such as theory building, theory testing, and relevance assessment. In the context, this study is to demonstrate how to use our predictive analytics to support theory building (i.e., hypothesis generation). For the purpose, this study utilized a big data predictive analytics platform TM based on a co-occurrence graph. The co-occurrence graph is depicted with nodes (e.g., items in a basket) and arcs (direct connections between two nodes), where items in a basket are fully connected. A cluster is a collection of fully connected items, where the specific group of items has co-occurred in several rows in a data set. Clusters can be ranked using importance metrics, such as node size (number of items), frequency, surprise (observed frequency vs. expected), among others. The size of a graph can be represented by the numbers of nodes and arcs. Since the size of a co-occurrence graph does not depend directly on the number of observations (transactions), huge amounts of transactions can be represented and processed efficiently. For a demonstration, a total of 13,254 metabolic syndrome training data is plugged into the analytics platform to generate rules (potential hypotheses). Each observation includes 31 predictors, for example, associated with sociodemographic, habits, and activities. Some are intentionally included to get predictive analytics insights on variable selection such as cancer examination, house type, and vaccination. The platform automatically generates plausible hypotheses (rules) without statistical modeling. Then the rules are validated with an external testing dataset including 4,090 observations. Results as a kind of inductive reasoning show potential hypotheses extracted as a set of association rules. Most statistical models generate just one estimated equation. On the other hand, a set of rules (many estimated equations from a statistical perspective) in this study may imply heterogeneity in a population (i.e., different subpopulations with unique features are aggregated). Next step of theory development, i.e., theory testing, statistically tests whether a proposed theoretical model is a plausible explanation of a phenomenon interested in. If hypotheses generated are tested statistically with several thousand observations, most of the variables will become significant as the p-values approach zero. Thus, theory validation needs statistical methods utilizing a part of observations such as bootstrap resampling with an appropriate sample size.

Keywords: metabolic syndrome, Predictive analytics, explanatory modeling, theory building

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27 Making the Right Call for Falls: Evaluating the Efficacy of a Multi-Faceted Trust Wide Approach to Improving Patient Safety Post Falls

Authors: Jawaad Saleem, Hannah Wright, Peter Sommerville, Adrian Hopper


Introduction: Inpatient falls are the most commonly reported patient safety incidents, and carry a significant burden on resources, morbidity, and mortality. Ensuring adequate post falls management of patients by staff is therefore paramount to maintaining patient safety especially in out of hours and resource stretched settings. Aims: This quality improvement project aims to improve the current practice of falls management at Guys St Thomas Hospital, London as compared to our 2016 Quality Improvement Project findings. Furthermore, it looks to increase current junior doctors confidence in managing falls and their use of new guidance protocols. Methods: Multifaceted Interventions implemented included: the development of new trust wide guidelines detailing management pathways for patients post falls, available for intranet access. Furthermore, the production of 2000 lanyard cards distributed amongst junior doctors and staff which summarised these guidelines. Additionally, a ‘safety signal’ email was sent from the Trust chief medical officer to all staff raising awareness of falls and the guidelines. Formal falls teaching was also implemented for new doctors at induction. Using an established incident database, 189 consecutive falls in 2017were retrospectively analysed electronically to assess and compared to the variables measured in 2016 post interventions. A separate serious incident database was used to analyse 50 falls from May 2015 to March 2018 to ascertain the statistical significance of the impact of our interventions on serious incidents. A similar questionnaire for the 2017 cohort of foundation year one (FY1) doctors was performed and compared to 2016 results. Results: Questionnaire data demonstrated improved awareness and utility of guidelines and increased confidence as well as an increase in training. 97% of FY1 trainees felt that the interventions had increased their awareness of the impact of falls on patients in the trust. Data from the incident database demonstrated the time to review patients post fall had decreased from an average of 130 to 86 minutes. Improvement was also demonstrated in the reduced time to order and schedule X-ray and CT imaging, 3 and 5 hours respectively. Data from the serious incident database show that ‘the time from fall until harm was detected’ was statistically significantly lower (P = 0.044) post intervention. We also showed the incidence of significant delays in detecting harm ( > 10 hours) reduced post intervention. Conclusions: Our interventions have helped to significantly reduce the average time to assess, order and schedule appropriate imaging post falls. Delays of over ten hours to detect serious injuries after falls were commonplace; since the intervention, their frequency has markedly reduced. We suggest this will lead to identifying patient harm sooner, reduced clinical incidents relating to falls and thus improve overall patient safety. Our interventions have also helped increase clinical staff confidence, management, and awareness of falls in the trust. Next steps include expanding teaching sessions, improving multidisciplinary team involvement to aid this improvement.

Keywords: Patient Safety, Falls, Clinical care, Quality improvement, serious incidents

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26 An Initial Assessment of the Potential Contibution of 'Community Empowerment' to Mitigating the Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation, in Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve

Authors: Yanto Santosa, Arzyana Sunkar, Siti Badriyah Rushayati


Indonesia has experienced annual forest fires that have rapidly destroyed and degraded its forests. Fires in the peat swamp forests of Riau Province, have set the stage for problems to worsen, this being the ecosystem most prone to fires (which are also the most difficult, to extinguish). Despite various efforts to curb deforestation, and forest degradation processes, severe forest fires are still occurring. To find an effective solution, the basic causes of the problems must be identified. It is therefore critical to have an in-depth understanding of the underlying causal factors that have contributed to deforestation and forest degradation as a whole, in order to attain reductions in their rates. An assessment of the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation was carried out, in order to design and implement measures that could slow these destructive processes. Research was conducted in Giam Siak Kecil–Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve (GSKBB BR), in the Riau Province of Sumatera, Indonesia. A biosphere reserve was selected as the study site because such reserves aim to reconcile conservation with sustainable development. A biosphere reserve should promote a range of local human activities, together with development values that are in line spatially and economically with the area conservation values, through use of a zoning system. Moreover, GSKBB BR is an area with vast peatlands, and is experiencing forest fires annually. Various factors were analysed to assess the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in GSKBB BR; data were collected from focus group discussions with stakeholders, key informant interviews with key stakeholders, field observation and a literature review. Landsat satellite imagery was used to map forest-cover changes for various periods. Analysis of landsat images, taken during the period 2010-2014, revealed that within the non-protected area of core zone, there was a trend towards decreasing peat swamp forest areas, increasing land clearance, and increasing areas of community oil-palm and rubber plantations. Fire was used for land clearing and most of the forest fires occurred in the most populous area (the transition area). The study found a relationship between the deforested/ degraded areas, and certain distance variables, i.e. distance from roads, villages and the borders between the core area and the buffer zone. The further the distance from the core area of the reserve, the higher was the degree of deforestation and forest degradation. Research findings suggested that agricultural expansion may be the direct cause of deforestation and forest degradation in the reserve, whereas socio-economic factors were the underlying driver of forest cover changes; such factors consisting of a combination of socio-cultural, infrastructural, technological, institutional (policy and governance), demographic (population pressure) and economic (market demand) considerations. These findings indicated that local factors/problems were the critical causes of deforestation and degradation in GSKBB BR. This research therefore concluded that reductions in deforestation and forest degradation in GSKBB BR could be achieved through ‘local actor’-tailored approaches such as community empowerment

Keywords: community empowerment, Actor-led solution, drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve

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