International Science Index

2606
10011404
Multidisciplinary Approach to Diagnosis of Primary Progressive Aphasia in a Younger Middle Aged Patient
Authors:
Abstract:

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative disease similar to frontotemporal and semantic dementia, while having a different clinical image and anatomic pathology topography. Nonetheless, they are often included under an umbrella term: frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). In the study, examples of diagnosing PPA are presented through the multidisciplinary lens of specialists from different fields (neurologists, psychiatrists, clinical speech therapists, clinical neuropsychologists and others) using a variety of diagnostic tools such as MR, PET/CT, genetic screening and neuropsychological and logopedic methods. Thanks to that, specialists can get a better and clearer understanding of PPA diagnosis. The study summarizes the concrete procedures and results of different specialists while diagnosing PPA in a patient of younger middle age and illustrates the importance of multidisciplinary approach to differential diagnosis of PPA.

Paper Detail
28
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2605
10011406
Maternal Health Outcome and Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Dynamic Panel Analysis
Authors:
Abstract:

Maternal health outcome is one of the major population development challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region has the highest maternal mortality ratio, despite the progressive economic growth in the region during the global economic crisis. It has been hypothesized that increase in economic growth will reduce the level of maternal mortality. The purpose of this study is to investigate the existence of the negative relationship between health outcome proxy by maternal mortality ratio and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study used the Pooled Mean Group estimator of ARDL Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) and the Kao test for cointegration to examine the short-run and long-run relationship between maternal mortality and economic growth. The results of the cointegration test showed the existence of a long-run relationship between the variables considered for the study. The long-run result of the Pooled Mean group estimates confirmed the hypothesis of an inverse relationship between maternal health outcome proxy by maternal mortality ratio and economic growth proxy by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Thus increasing economic growth by investing in the health care systems to reduce pregnancy and childbirth complications will help reduce maternal mortality in the sub-region.

Paper Detail
22
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2604
10011410
Affordable and Environmental Friendly Small Commuter Aircraft Improving European Mobility
Abstract:

Mobility is one of the most important societal needs for amusement, business activities and health. Thus, transport needs are continuously increasing, with the consequent traffic congestion and pollution increase. Aeronautic effort aims at smarter infrastructures use and in introducing greener concepts. A possible solution to address the abovementioned topics is the development of Small Air Transport (SAT) system, able to guarantee operability from today underused airfields in an affordable and green way, helping meanwhile travel time reduction, too. In the framework of Horizon2020, EU (European Union) has funded the Clean Sky 2 SAT TA (Transverse Activity) initiative to address market innovations able to reduce SAT operational cost and environmental impact, ensuring good levels of operational safety. Nowadays, most of the key technologies to improve passenger comfort and to reduce community noise, DOC (Direct Operating Costs) and pilot workload for SAT have reached an intermediate level of maturity TRL (Technology Readiness Level) 3/4. Thus, the key technologies must be developed, validated and integrated on dedicated ground and flying aircraft demonstrators to reach higher TRL levels (5/6). Particularly, SAT TA focuses on the integration at aircraft level of the following technologies [1]: 1)    Low-cost composite wing box and engine nacelle using OoA (Out of Autoclave) technology, LRI (Liquid Resin Infusion) and advance automation process. 2) Innovative high lift devices, allowing aircraft operations from short airfields (< 800 m). 3) Affordable small aircraft manufacturing of metallic fuselage using FSW (Friction Stir Welding) and LMD (Laser Metal Deposition). 4)       Affordable fly-by-wire architecture for small aircraft (CS23 certification rules). 5) More electric systems replacing pneumatic and hydraulic systems (high voltage EPGDS -Electrical Power Generation and Distribution System-, hybrid de-ice system, landing gear and brakes). 6) Advanced avionics for small aircraft, reducing pilot workload. 7) Advanced cabin comfort with new interiors materials and more comfortable seats. 8) New generation of turboprop engine with reduced fuel consumption, emissions, noise and maintenance costs for 19 seats aircraft. (9) Alternative diesel engine for 9 seats commuter aircraft. To address abovementioned market innovations, two different platforms have been designed: Reference and Green aircraft. Reference aircraft is a virtual aircraft designed considering 2014 technologies with an existing engine assuring requested take-off power; Green aircraft is designed integrating the technologies addressed in Clean Sky 2. Preliminary integration of the proposed technologies shows an encouraging reduction of emissions and operational costs of small: about 20% CO2 reduction, about 24% NOx reduction, about 10 db (A) noise reduction at measurement point and about 25% DOC reduction. Detailed description of the performed studies, analyses and validations for each technology as well as the expected benefit at aircraft level are reported in the present paper.

Paper Detail
19
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2603
10011413
Mesoscopic Defects of Forming and Induced Properties on the Impact of a Composite Glass/Polyester
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Forming processes induce residual deformations on the reinforcement and sometimes lead to mesoscopic defects, which are more recurrent than macroscopic defects during the manufacture of complex structural parts. This study deals with the influence of the fabric shear and buckles defects, which appear during draping processes of composite, on the impact behavior of a glass fiber reinforced polymer. To achieve this aim, we produced several specimens with different amplitude of deformations (shear) and defects on the fabric using a specific bench. The specimens were manufactured using the contact molding and tested with several impact energies. The results and measurements made on tested specimens were compared to those of the healthy material. The results showed that the buckle defects have a negative effect on elastic parameters and revealed a larger damage with significant out-of-plane mode relatively to the healthy composite material. This effect is the consequence of a local fiber impoverishment and a disorganization of the fibrous network, with a reorientation of the fibers following the out-of-plane buckling of the yarns, in the area where the defects are located. For the material with calibrated shear of the reinforcement, the increased local fiber rate due to the shear deformations and the contribution to stiffness of the transverse yarns led to an increase in mechanical properties.

Paper Detail
13
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2602
10011422
A Taxonomy of Behavior for a Medical Coordinator by Utlizing Leadership Styles
Abstract:
This paper presents a taxonomy of non-technical skills, communicative intentions, and behavior for an individual acting as a medical coordinator. In medical emergency situations, a leader among the group is imperative to both patient health and team emotional and mental health. Situational Leadership is used to make clear and easy-to-follow guidelines for behavior depending on circumstantial factors. Low-level leadership behaviors belonging to two different styles, directive and supporting, are identified from literature and are included in the proposed taxonomy. The high-level information in the taxonomy consists of the necessary non-technical skills belonging to a medical coordinator: situation awareness, decision making, task management, and teamwork. Finally, communicative intentions, dimensions, and functions are included. Thus this work brings high-level and low-level information - medical non-technical skills, communication capabilities, and leadership behavior - into a single versatile taxonomy of behavior.
Paper Detail
19
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2601
10011430
Body Mass Index, Components of Metabolic Syndrome and Hyperuricemia among Women in Postmenopausal Period
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In recent years, the problem of hyperuricemia is getting a particular importance due to its increased incidence in the world population. The aim of this study was to determine uriс acid level in blood serum, incidence of hyperuricemia among women in postmenopausal period and their association with body mass index and some components of metabolic syndrome (triglyceride, cholesterol, systolic and diastolic pressure). We examined 412 women in postmenopausal period. They were divided in to the following groups: I group (BMI = 18,5-24,9), II group (BMI = 25,0-29,9), III group (BMI = 30,0-34,9), IV group (BMI > 35). We determined uric acid level among women during postmenopausal period depending on their body mass index. The higher level of uric acid was found in patients with the maximal body mass index (BMI > 35). In the I group it was 277,52 ± 8,40; in the II group – 286,81 ± 7,79; in the III group – 291,81 ± 7,56; in the IV group – 327,17 ± 12,17. Incidence of hyperuricemia among women in the I group was 10,2%, in the II group – 15,9%; in the III group – 21,2%, in the IV group – 34,2%. We found an interdependence between an uric acid level and BMI in the examined women (r = 0,21, p < 0,05). We determined that the highest level of triglyceride (F = 18,62, p < 0,05), cholesterol (F = 3,64, p < 0,05), atherogenic coefficient (F = 22,64, p < 0,05), systolic (F = 10,5, p < 0,05) and diastolic pressure (F = 4,30, p < 0,05) was among women with hyperuricemia. It was an interdependence between an uric acid level and triglyceride (r = 0,26, p < 0,05), atherogenic coefficient (r = 0,24, p < 0,05) among women in postmenopausal period.

Paper Detail
5
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2600
10011347
Classifying Turbomachinery Blade Mode Shapes Using Artificial Neural Networks
Abstract:

Currently, extensive signal analysis is performed in order to evaluate structural health of turbomachinery blades. This approach is affected by constraints of time and the availability of qualified personnel. Thus, new approaches to blade dynamics identification that provide faster and more accurate results are sought after. Generally, modal analysis is employed in acquiring dynamic properties of a vibrating turbomachinery blade and is widely adopted in condition monitoring of blades. The analysis provides useful information on the different modes of vibration and natural frequencies by exploring different shapes that can be taken up during vibration since all mode shapes have their corresponding natural frequencies. Experimental modal testing and finite element analysis are the traditional methods used to evaluate mode shapes with limited application to real live scenario to facilitate a robust condition monitoring scheme. For a real time mode shape evaluation, rapid evaluation and low computational cost is required and traditional techniques are unsuitable. In this study, artificial neural network is developed to evaluate the mode shape of a lab scale rotating blade assembly by using result from finite element modal analysis as training data. The network performance evaluation shows that artificial neural network (ANN) is capable of mapping the correlation between natural frequencies and mode shapes. This is achieved without the need of extensive signal analysis. The approach offers advantage from the perspective that the network is able to classify mode shapes and can be employed in real time including simplicity in implementation and accuracy of the prediction. The work paves the way for further development of robust condition monitoring system that incorporates real time mode shape evaluation.

Paper Detail
72
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2599
10011349
Attention Based Fully Convolutional Neural Network for Simultaneous Detection and Segmentation of Optic Disc in Retinal Fundus Images
Abstract:
Accurate segmentation of the optic disc is very important for computer-aided diagnosis of several ocular diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and hypertensive retinopathy. The paper presents an accurate and fast optic disc detection and segmentation method using an attention based fully convolutional network. The network is trained from scratch using the fundus images of extended MESSIDOR database and the trained model is used for segmentation of optic disc. The false positives are removed based on morphological operation and shape features. The result is evaluated using three-fold cross-validation on six public fundus image databases such as DIARETDB0, DIARETDB1, DRIVE, AV-INSPIRE, CHASE DB1 and MESSIDOR. The attention based fully convolutional network is robust and effective for detection and segmentation of optic disc in the images affected by diabetic retinopathy and it outperforms existing techniques.
Paper Detail
58
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10011359
Survey on Awareness, Knowledge and Practices: Managing Osteoporosis among Practitioners in a Tertiary Hospital, Malaysia
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This study evaluates the management of osteoporosis in a tertiary care government hospital in Malaysia. As the number of admitted patients having osteoporotic fractures is on the rise, osteoporotic medications are an increasing financial burden to government hospitals because they account for half of the orthopedic budget and expenditure. Comprehensive knowledge among practitioners is important to detect early and avoid this preventable disease and its serious complications. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the awareness, knowledge, and practices in managing osteoporosis among practitioners in Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (HTAR), Klang. A questionnaire from an overseas study in managing osteoporosis among primary care physicians is adapted to Malaysia’s Clinical Practice Guideline of Osteoporosis 2012 (revised 2015) and international guidelines were distributed to all orthopedic practitioners in HTAR Klang (including surgeons, orthopedic medical officers), endocrinologists, rheumatologists and geriatricians. The participants were evaluated on their expertise in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment decision and medications for osteoporosis. Collected data were analyzed for all descriptive and statistical analyses as appropriate. All 45 participants responded to the questionnaire. Participants scored highest on expertise in prevention, followed by diagnosis, treatment decision and lastly, medication. Most practitioners stated that own-initiated continuing professional education from articles and books was the most effective way to update their knowledge, followed by attendance in conferences on osteoporosis. This study confirms the importance of comprehensive training and education regarding osteoporosis among tertiary care physicians and surgeons, predominantly in pharmacotherapy, to deliver wholesome care for osteoporotic patients.

Paper Detail
30
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2597
10011363
Review of Strategies for Hybrid Energy Storage Management System in Electric Vehicle Application
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Electric Vehicles (EV) appear to be gaining increasing patronage as a feasible alternative to Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICEVs) for having low emission and high operation efficiency. The EV energy storage systems are required to handle high energy and power density capacity constrained by limited space, operating temperature, weight and cost. The choice of strategies for energy storage evaluation, monitoring and control remains a challenging task. This paper presents review of various energy storage technologies and recent researches in battery evaluation techniques used in EV applications. It also underscores strategies for the hybrid energy storage management and control schemes for the improvement of EV stability and reliability. The study reveals that despite the advances recorded in battery technologies there is still no cell which possess both the optimum power and energy densities among other requirements, for EV application. However combination of two or more energy storages as hybrid and allowing the advantageous attributes from each device to be utilized is a promising solution. The review also reveals that State-of-Charge (SoC) is the most crucial method for battery estimation. The conventional method of SoC measurement is however questioned in the literature and adaptive algorithms that include all model of disturbances are being proposed. The review further suggests that heuristic-based approach is commonly adopted in the development of strategies for hybrid energy storage system management. The alternative approach which is optimization-based is found to be more accurate but is memory and computational intensive and as such not recommended in most real-time applications.

Paper Detail
57
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2596
10011370
Rule Insertion Technique for Dynamic Cell Structure Neural Network
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This paper discusses the idea of capturing an expert’s knowledge in the form of human understandable rules and then inserting these rules into a dynamic cell structure (DCS) neural network. The DCS is a form of self-organizing map that can be used for many purposes, including classification and prediction. This particular neural network is considered to be a topology preserving network that starts with no pre-structure, but assumes a structure once trained. The DCS has been used in mission and safety-critical applications, including adaptive flight control and health-monitoring in aerial vehicles. The approach is to insert expert knowledge into the DCS before training. Rules are translated into a pre-structure and then training data are presented. This idea has been demonstrated using the well-known Iris data set and it has been shown that inserting the pre-structure results in better accuracy with the same training.

Paper Detail
21
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2595
10011376
Community Resilience in Response to the Population Growth in Al-Thahabiah Neighborhood
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Abstract:

Amman, the capital of Jordan, is the main political, economic, social and cultural center of Jordan and beyond. The city faces multitude demographic challenges related to the unstable political situation in the surrounded countries. It has regional and local migrants who left their homes to find better life in the capital. This resulted with random and unequaled population distribution. Some districts have high population and pressure on the infrastructure and services more than other districts.Government works to resolve this challenge in compliance with 100 Cities Resilience Framework (CRF). Amman participated in this framework as a member in December 2014 to work in achieving the four goals: health and welfare, infrastructure and utilities, economy and education as well as administration and government.  Previous research studies lack in studying Amman resilient work in neighborhood scale and the population growth as resilient challenge. For that, this study focuses on Al-Thahabiah neighborhood in Shafa Badran district in Amman. This paper studies the reasons and drivers behind this population growth during the selected period in this area then provide strategies to improve the resilient work in neighborhood scale. The methodology comprises of primary and secondary data. The primary data consist of interviews with chief officer in the executive part in Great Amman Municipality and resilient officer. The secondary data consist of papers, journals, newspaper, articles and book’s reading. The other part of data consists of maps and statistical data which describe the infrastructural and social situation in the neighborhood and district level during the studying period. Based upon those data, more detailed information will be found, e.g., the centralizing position of population and the provided infrastructure for them. This will help to provide these services and infrastructure to other neighborhoods and enhance population distribution. This study develops an analytical framework to assess urban demographical time series in accordance with the criteria of CRF to make accurate detailed projections on the requirements for the future development in the neighborhood scale and organize the human requirements for affordable quality housing, employment, transportation, health and education in this neighborhood to improve the social relations between its inhabitants and the community. This study highlights on the localization of resilient work in neighborhood scale and spread the resilient knowledge related to the shortage of its research in Jordan. Studying the resilient work from population growth challenge perspective helps improve the facilities provide to the inhabitants and improve their quality of life.

Paper Detail
24
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10011377
Prospects for Sustainable Chemistry in South Africa: A Plural Healthcare System
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The notion of sustainable chemistry has become significant in the discourse for a global post-colonial era, including South Africa, especially when it comes to access to the general health system and related policies in relation to disease or ease of human life. In view of the stubborn vestiges of coloniality in the daily lives of indigenous African people in general, the fundamentals of present Western medical and traditional medicine systems and related policies in the democratic era were examined in this study. The situation of traditional healers in relation to current policy was also reviewed. The advent of democracy in South Africa brought about a variety of development opportunities and limitations, particularly with respect to indigenous African knowledge systems such as traditional medicine. There were high hopes that the limitations of previous narrow cultural perspectives would be rectified in the democratic era through development interventions, but some sections of society, such as traditional healers, remain marginalised. The Afrocentric perspective was explored in dissecting government interventions related to traditional medicine. This article highlights that multiple medical systems should be adopted and that health policies should be aligned in order to guarantee mutual respect and to address the remnants of colonialism in South Africa, Africa and the broader global community.

Paper Detail
30
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10011378
Dialogue Meetings as an Arena for Collaboration and Reflection among Researchers and Practitioners
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The research question of the article is to explore whether the dialogue meetings method could be relevant for reflective learning among researchers and practitioners when welfare technology should be implemented in municipalities, or not. A testbed was planned to be implemented in a retirement home in a Swedish municipality, and the practitioners worked with a pre-study of that testbed. In the article, the dialogue between the researchers and the practitioners in the dialogue meetings is described and analyzed. The potential of dialogue meetings as an arena for learning and reflection among researchers and practitioners is discussed. The research methodology approach is participatory action research with mixed methods (dialogue meetings, focus groups, participant observations). The main findings from the dialogue meetings were that the researchers learned more about the use of traditional research methods, and the practitioners learned more about how they could improve their use of the methods to facilitate change processes in their organization. These findings have the potential both for the researchers and the practitioners to result in more relevant use of research methods in change processes in organizations. It is concluded that dialogue meetings could be relevant for reflective learning among researchers and practitioners when welfare technology should be implemented in a health care organization.
Paper Detail
28
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2592
10011381
Leveraging Li-Fi to Enhance Security and Performance of Medical Devices
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The network connectivity of medical devices is increasing at a rapid rate. Many medical devices, such as vital sign monitors, share information via wireless or wired connections. However, these connectivity options suffer from a variety of well-known limitations. Wireless connectivity, especially in the unlicensed radio frequency bands, can be disrupted. Such disruption could be due to benign reasons, such as a crowded spectrum, or to malicious intent. While wired connections are less susceptible to interference, they inhibit the mobility of the medical devices, which could be critical in a variety of scenarios. This work explores the application of Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) communication to enhance the security, performance, and mobility of medical devices in connected healthcare scenarios. A simple bridge for connected devices serves as an avenue to connect traditional medical devices to the Li-Fi network. This bridge was utilized to conduct bandwidth tests on a small Li-Fi network installed into a Mock-ICU setting with a backend enterprise network similar to that of a hospital. Mobile and stationary tests were conducted to replicate various different situations that might occur within a hospital setting. Results show that in room Li-Fi connectivity provides reasonable bandwidth and latency within a hospital like setting.
Paper Detail
20
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10011394
Obesity and Bone Mineral Density in Patients with Large Joint Osteoarthritis
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Along with the global aging of population, the number of people with somatic diseases is increasing, including such interrelated pathologies as obesity, osteoarthritis (OA) and osteoporosis (OP). The objective of the study is to examine the connection between body mass index (BMI), OA and bone mineral density (BMD) of lumbar spine, femoral neck and trabecular bone score (TBS) in postmenopausal women with OA. We have observed 359 postmenopausal women (50-89 years old) and divided them into four groups by age: 50-59 yrs, 60-69 yrs, 70-79 yrs and over 80 years old. In addition, according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Clinical classification criteria for knee and hip OA, we divided them into 2 groups: group I – 117 females with symptomatic OA (including 89 patients with knee OA, 28 patients with hip OA) and group II –242 women with a normal functional activity of large joints. Analysis of data was performed taking into account their BMI, classified by World Health Organization (WHO). Diagnosis of obesity was established when BMI was above 30 kg/m2. In woman with obesity, a symptomatic OA was detected in 44 postmenopausal women (41.1%), a normal functional activity of large joints - in 63 women (58.9%). However, in women with normal BMI – 73 women, who account for 29.0% of cases, a symptomatic OA was detected. According to a chi-squared (χ2) test, a significantly higher level of BMI was detected in postmenopausal women with OA (χ2 = 5.05, p = 0.02). Women with a symptomatic OA had a significantly higher BMD of lumbar spine compared with women who had a normal functional activity of large joints. No significant differences of BMD of femoral necks or TBS were detected in either the group with OA or with a normal functional activity of large joints.

Paper Detail
24
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10011395
Information System for Early Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnostics Based on Multiscale Texture Gradient Method
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Structures of eye bottom were extracted using multiscale texture gradient method and color characteristics of macular zone and vessels were verified in CIELAB scale. The difference of average values of L*, a* and b* coordinates of CIE (International Commision of Illumination) scale in patients with diabetes and healthy volunteers was compared. The average value of L* in diabetic patients exceeded such one in the group of practically healthy persons by 2.71 times (P < 0.05), while the value of a* index was reduced by 3.8 times when compared with control one (P < 0.05). b* index exceeded such one in the control group by 12.4 times (P < 0.05). The integrated index on color difference (ΔE) exceeded control value by 2.87 times (P < 0.05). More pronounced differences with ΔE were followed by a shorter period of MA appearance with a correlation level at -0.56 (P < 0.05). The specificity of diagnostics raised by 2.17 times (P < 0.05) and negative prognostic index exceeded such one determined with the expert method by 2.26 times (P < 0.05).

Paper Detail
18
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10011300
Effects of School Facilities’ Mechanical and Plumbing Characteristics and Conditions on Student Attendance, Academic Performance and Health
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School districts throughout the United States are constantly seeking measures to improve test scores, reduce school absenteeism and improve indoor environmental quality. It is imperative to identify key building investments which will provide the largest benefits to schools in terms of improving the aforementioned factors. This study uses Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests to statistically evaluate the impact of a school building’s mechanical and plumbing characteristics on a child’s educational performance. The educational performance is measured via three indicators, i.e. test scores, suspensions, and absenteeism. The study investigated 125 New York City school facilities to determine the potential correlations between 50 mechanical and plumbing variables and the performance indicators. Key findings from the tests revealed that elementary schools with pneumatic systems in “good” condition have 48.8% lower percentages of students scoring at the minimum English Language Arts (ELA) competency level compared with those with no pneumatic system. Additionally, elementary schools with “unit heaters/cabinet heaters” in “good to fair” conditions have 1.1% higher attendance rates compared to schools with no “unit heaters/cabinet heaters” or those in inferior condition. Furthermore, elementary schools with air conditioning have 0.6% higher attendance rates compared to schools with no air conditioning, and those with interior floor drains in “good” condition have 1.8% higher attendance rates compared to schools with interior drains in inferior condition.

Paper Detail
84
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10011309
Vision-Based Daily Routine Recognition for Healthcare with Transfer Learning
Abstract:
We propose to record Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) of elderly people using a vision-based system so as to provide better assistive and personalization technologies. Current ADL-related research is based on data collected with help from non-elderly subjects in laboratory environments and the activities performed are predetermined for the sole purpose of data collection. To obtain more realistic datasets for the application, we recorded ADLs for the elderly with data collected from real-world environment involving real elderly subjects. Motivated by the need to collect data for more effective research related to elderly care, we chose to collect data in the room of an elderly person. Specifically, we installed Kinect, a vision-based sensor on the ceiling, to capture the activities that the elderly subject performs in the morning every day. Based on the data, we identified 12 morning activities that the elderly person performs daily. To recognize these activities, we created a HARELCARE framework to investigate into the effectiveness of existing Human Activity Recognition (HAR) algorithms and propose the use of a transfer learning algorithm for HAR. We compared the performance, in terms of accuracy, and training progress. Although the collected dataset is relatively small, the proposed algorithm has a good potential to be applied to all daily routine activities for healthcare purposes such as evidence-based diagnosis and treatment.
Paper Detail
92
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10011318
A Qualitative Study of Health-Related Beliefs and Practices among Vegetarians
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The process of becoming a vegetarian involves changes in several life aspects, including health. Despite its relevance, however, little research has been carried out to analyze vegetarians' self-perceived health, and even less empirical attention has received in the Romanian population. This study aimed to assess health-related beliefs and practices among vegetarian adults in a Romanian sample. We have undertaken 20 semi-structured interviews (10 males, 10 females) based on a snowball sample with a mean age of 31 years. The interview guide was divided into three sections: causes of adopting the diet, general aspects (beliefs, practices, tensions, and conflicts) and consequences of adopting the diet (significant changes, positive aspects, and difficulties, physical and mental health). Additional anamnestic data were reported by means of a questionnaire. Data analyses were performed using Tropes text analysis software (v. 8.2) and SPSS software (v. 24.0.) Findings showed that most of the participants considered a vegetarian diet as a natural and healthy choice as opposed to meat-eating, which is not healthy, and its consumption should be moderated among omnivores. A higher proportion of participants (65%) had an average body mass index (BMI), and several women even assumed having certain affections that no longer occur after following a vegetarian diet. Moreover, participants admitted having better moods and mental health status, given their self-contentment with the dietary choice. Relatives were perceived as more skeptical about their practices than others, and especially women had this view. This study provides a valuable insight into health-related beliefs and practices and how a vegetarian diet might interact.

Paper Detail
50
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10011324
An Exploratory Survey Questionnaire to Understand What Emotions Are Important and Difficult to Communicate for People with Dysarthria and Their Methodology of Communicating
Abstract:
People with speech disorders may rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies to help them communicate. However, the limitations of the current AAC technologies act as barriers to the optimal use of these technologies in daily communication settings. The ability to communicate effectively relies on a number of factors that are not limited to the intelligibility of the spoken words. In fact, non-verbal cues play a critical role in the correct comprehension of messages and having to rely on verbal communication only, as is the case with current AAC technology, may contribute to problems in communication. This is especially true for people’s ability to express their feelings and emotions, which are communicated to a large part through non-verbal cues. This paper focuses on understanding more about the non-verbal communication ability of people with dysarthria, with the overarching aim of this research being to improve AAC technology by allowing people with dysarthria to better communicate emotions. Preliminary survey results are presented that gives an understanding of how people with dysarthria convey emotions, what emotions that are important for them to get across, what emotions that are difficult for them to convey, and whether there is a difference in communicating emotions when speaking to familiar versus unfamiliar people.
Paper Detail
62
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10011325
Low Cost Microcontroller Based ECG Machine
Abstract:

Electrocardiographic (ECG) machine is an important equipment to diagnose heart problems. Besides, the ECG signals are used to detect many other features of human body and behavior. But it is not so cheap and simple in operation to be used in the countries like Bangladesh, where most of the people are very low income earners. Therefore, in this paper, we have tried to implement a simple and portable ECG machine. Since Arduino Uno microcontroller is very cheap, we have used it in our system to minimize the cost. Our designed system is powered by a 2-voltage level DC power supply. It provides wireless connectivity to have ECG data either in smartphone having android operating system or a PC/laptop having Windows operating system. To get the data, a graphic user interface has been designed. Android application has also been made using IDE for Android 2.3 and API 10. Since it requires no USB host API, almost 98% Android smartphones, available in the country, will be able to use it. We have calculated the heart rate from the measured ECG by our designed machine and by an ECG machine of a reputed diagnostic center in Dhaka city for the same people at the same time on same day. Then we calculated the percentage of errors between the readings of two machines and computed its average. From this computation, we have found out that the average percentage of error is within an acceptable limit.

Paper Detail
51
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10011239
Survey of Epidemiology and Mechanisms of Badminton Injury Using Medical Check-Up and Questionnaire of School Age Badminton Players
Abstract:

Badminton is one type of racket sports that requires repetitive overhead motion, with the shoulder in abduction/external rotation and requires players to perform jumps, lunges, and quick directional changes. These characteristics could be stressful for body regions that may cause badminton injuries. Regarding racket players including badminton players, there have not been any studies that have utilized medical check-up to evaluate epidemiology and mechanism of injuries. In addition, epidemiology of badminton injury in school age badminton players is unknown. The first purpose of this study was to investigate the badminton injuries, physical fitness parameters, and intensity of shoulder pain using medical check-up so that the mechanisms of shoulder injuries might be revealed. The second purpose of this study was to survey the distribution of badminton injuries in elementary school age players so that injury prevention can be implemented as early as possible. The results of this study revealed that shoulder pain occurred in all players, and present shoulder pain players had smaller weight, greater shoulder external rotation (ER) gain, significantly thinner circumference of upper limbs and greater trunk extension. Identifying players with specific of these factors may enhance the prevention of badminton injury. This study also shows that there are high incidences of knee, ankle, plantar, and shoulder injury or pain in elementary school age badminton players. Injury prevention program might be implemented for elementary school age players.

Paper Detail
256
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10011242
Improving the Safety Performance of Workers by Assessing the Impact of Safety Culture on Workers’ Safety Behaviour in Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry: A Pilot Study in the Niger Delta Region
Abstract:

Interest in the development of appropriate safety culture in the oil and gas industry has taken centre stage among stakeholders in the industry. Human behaviour has been identified as a major contributor to occupational accidents, where abnormal activities associated with safety management are taken as normal behaviour. Poor safety culture is one of the major factors that influence employee’s safety behaviour at work, which may consequently result in injuries and accidents and strengthening such a culture can improve workers safety performance. Nigeria oil and gas industry has contributed to the growth and development of the country in diverse ways. However, in terms of safety and health of workers, this industry is a dangerous place to work as workers are often exposed to occupational safety and health hazard. To ascertain the impact of employees’ safety and how it impacts health and safety compliance within the local industry, online safety culture survey targeting frontline workers within the industry was administered covering major subjects that include; perception of management commitment and style of leadership; safety communication method and its resultant impact on employees’ behaviour; employee safety commitment and training needs. The preliminary result revealed that 54% of the participants feel that there is a lack of motivation from the management to work safely. In addition, 55% of participants revealed that employers place more emphasis on work delivery over employee’s safety on the installation. It is expected that the study outcome will provide measures aimed at strengthening and sustaining safety culture in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Paper Detail
122
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10011254
A Robust Optimization Method for Service Quality Improvement in Health Care Systems under Budget Uncertainty
Abstract:

With the development of business competition, it is important for healthcare providers to improve their service qualities. In order to improve service quality of a clinic, four important dimensions are defined: tangibles, responsiveness, empathy, and reliability. Moreover, there are several service stages in hospitals such as financial screening and examination. One of the most challenging limitations for improving service quality is budget which impressively affects the service quality. In this paper, we present an approach to address budget uncertainty and provide guidelines for service resource allocation. In this paper, a service quality improvement approach is proposed which can be adopted to multistage service processes to improve service quality, while controlling the costs. A multi-objective function based on the importance of each area and dimension is defined to link operational variables to service quality dimensions. The results demonstrate that our approach is not ultra-conservative and it shows the actual condition very well. Moreover, it is shown that different strategies can affect the number of employees in different stages.

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10011271
Microbial Contaminants in Drinking Water Collected from Different Regions of Kuwait
Abstract:

Water plays a major role in maintaining life on earth, but it can also serve as a matrix for pathogenic organisms, posing substantial health threats to humans. Although, outbreaks of diseases attributable to drinking water may not be common in industrialized countries, they still occur and can lead to serious acute, chronic, or sometimes fatal health consequences. The analysis of drinking water samples from different regions of Kuwait was performed in this study for bacterial and viral contaminations. Drinking tap water samples were collected from 15 different locations of the six Kuwait governorates. All samples were analyzed by confocal microscopy for the presence of bacteria. The samples were cultured in vitro to detect cultivable organisms. DNA was isolated from the cultured organisms and the identity of the bacteria was determined by sequencing the bacterial 16S rRNA genes, followed by BLAST analysis in the database of NCBI, USA. RNA was extracted from water samples and analyzed by real-time PCR for the detection of viruses with potential health risks, i.e. Astrovirus, Enterovirus, Norovirus, Rotavirus, and Hepatitis A. Confocal microscopy showed the presence of bacteria in some water samples. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing of culture grown organisms, followed by BLAST analysis, identified the presence of several non-pathogenic bacterial species. However, one sample had Acinetobacter baumannii, which often causes opportunistic infections in immunocompromised people, but none of the studied viruses could be detected in the drinking water samples analyzed. The results indicate that drinking water samples analyzed from various locations in Kuwait are relatively safe for drinking and do not contain many harmful pathogens.

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97
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10011275
Electroencephalography Activity during Sensory Organization Balance Test
Abstract:

Postural balance plays essential role throughout life in daily activities. Somatosensory, visual and vestibular inputs play the fundamental role in maintaining body equilibrium to balance the posture. The aim of this study was to find out electroencephalography (EEG) responses during balance activity of young people during Sensory Organization Balance Test. The outcome of this study will help to create the fitness and neurorehabilitation plan. 25 young people (25 ± 3.1 years) have been analyzed on Balance Master NeuroCom® with the coupling of Brain Vision 32 electrode wireless EEG system during the Sensory Organization Test. From the results it has been found that the balance score of samples is significantly higher under the influence of somatosensory input as compared to visual and vestibular input (p < 0.05). The EEG between somatosensory and visual input to balance the posture showed significantly higher (p < 0.05) alpha and beta activities during somatosensory input in somatosensory, attention and visual functions of the cortex whereas executive and motor functions of the cerebral cortex showed significantly higher (p < 0.05) alpha EEG activity during the visual input. The results suggest that somatosensory and attention function of the cerebral cortex has alpha and beta activity, respectively high during somatosensory and vestibular input in maintaining balance. In patients with balance impairments both physical and cognitive training, including neurofeedback will be helpful to improve balance abilities.

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70
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10011279
Impact of Preksha Meditation on Academic Anxiety of Female Teenagers
Abstract:

The pressure of scoring higher marks to be able to get admission in a higher ranked institution has become a social stigma for school students. It leads to various social and academic pressures on them, causing psychological anxiety. This undue stress on students sometimes may even steer to aggressive behavior or suicidal tendencies. Human mind is always surrounded by the some desires, emotions and passions, which usually disturbs our mental peace. In such a scenario, we look for a solution that helps in removing all the obstacles of mind and make us mentally peaceful and strong enough to be able to deal with all kind of pressure. Preksha meditation is one such technique which aims at bringing the positive changes for overall transformation of personality. Hence, the present study was undertaken to assess the impact of Preksha Meditation on the academic anxiety on female teenagers. The study was conducted on 120 high school students from the capital city of India. All students were in the age group of 13-15 years. They also belonged to similar social as well as economic status. The sample was equally divided into two groups i.e. experimental group (N = 60) and control group (N = 60). Subjects of the experimental group were given the intervention of Preksha Meditation practice by the trained instructor for one hour per day, six days a week, for three months for the first experimental stage and another three months for the second experimental stage. The subjects of the control group were not assigned any specific type of activity rather they continued doing their normal official activities as usual. The Academic Anxiety Scale was used to collect data during multi-level stages i.e. pre-experimental stage, post-experimental stage phase-I, and post-experimental stage phase-II. The data were statistically analyzed by computing the two-tailed-‘t’ test for inter group comparison and Sandler’s ‘A’ test with alpha = or p < 0.05 for intra-group comparisons. The study concluded that the practice for longer duration of Preksha Meditation practice brings about very significant and beneficial changes in the pattern of academic anxiety.

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79
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10011283
Analysis of Career Support Programs for Olympic Athletes in Japan with Fifteen Conceptual Categories
Abstract:

The Japan Sports Agency has made efforts to unify several career support programs for Olympic athletes prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. One of the programs, the Japan Olympic Committee Career Academy (JCA) was established in 2008 for Olympic athletes at their retirement. Research focusing on the service content of sport career support programs can help athletes experience a more positive transition. This study was designed to investigate the service content of the JCA program in relation to athletes’ career transition needs, including any differences of the reasons for retirement between Summer/Winter and Male/Female Olympic athletes, and to suggest the directions of how to unify the career support programs in Japan after hosting the Olympic Games using sport career transition models. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed the JCA director who started and managed the program since its inception, and a total of 15 conceptual categories were generated by the analysis. Four conceptual categories were in the result of “JCA situation”, 4 conceptual categories were in the result of “Athletes using JCA”, and 7 conceptual categories were in the result of “JCA current difficulties”. Through the analysis it was revealed that: the JCA had occupational supports for both current and retired Olympic athletes; other supports such as psychological support were unclear due to the lack of psychological professionals in JCA and the difficulties collaborating with other sports organizations; and there are differences in tendencies of visiting JCA, financial situations, and career choices depending on Summer/Winter and Male/Female athletes.

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92
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Using Project MIND - Math Is Not Difficult Strategies to Help Children with Autism Improve Mathematics Skills
Abstract:
This study aimed to provide a practical, systematic, and comprehensive intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A pilot study of quasi-experimental pre-post intervention with control group design was conducted to evaluate if the mathematical intervention (Project MIND - Math Is Not Difficult) increases the math comprehension of children with ASD Children with ASD in the primary grades (K-1, 2) participated in math interventions to enhance their math comprehension and cognitive ability. The Bracken basic concept scale was used to evaluate subjects’ language skills, cognitive development, and school readiness. The study found that our systemic interventions of Project MIND significantly improved the mathematical and cognitive abilities in children with autism. The results of this study may lead to a major change in effective and adequate health care services for children with ASD and their families. All statistical analyses were performed with the IBM SPSS Statistics Version 25 for Windows. The significant level was set at 0.05 P-value.
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