Hematologic Inflammatory Markers and Inflammation-Related Hepatokines in Pediatric Obesity

Obesity in children particularly draws attention, because it may threaten the individual’s future life due to many chronic diseases it may lead to. Most of these diseases including obesity itself altogether are related to inflammation. For this reason, inflammation-related parameters gain importance. Within this context, complete blood cell counts, ratios or indices derived from these counts have recently found some platform to be used as inflammatory markers. So far, mostly adipokines were investigated within the field of obesity. Metabolic inflammation is closely associated with cellular dysfunction. In this study, hematologic inflammatory markers and cytokines produced predominantly by the liver (fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21) and fetuin A) were investigated in pediatric obesity. Two groups were constituted from 76 obese children based on World Health Organization criteria. Group 1 was composed of children, whose age- and sex-adjusted body mass index (BMI) percentiles were between 95 and 99. Group 2 consists of children, who are above 99th percentile. The first and the latter groups were defined as obese (OB) and morbid obese (MO). Anthropometric measurements of the children were performed. Informed consent forms and the approval of the institutional ethics committee were obtained. Blood cell counts and ratios were determined by automated hematology analyzer. The related ratios and indexes were calculated. Statistical evaluation of the data was performed by SPSS program. There was no statistically significant difference in terms of neutrophil-to lymphocyte ratio, monocyte-to-high density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio between the groups. Mean platelet volume and platelet distribution width values were decreased (p < 0.05), total platelet count, red cell distribution width (RDW) and systemic immune inflammation index values were increased (p < 0.01) in MO group. Both hepatokines were increased in the same group, however increases were not statistically significant. In this group, also a strong correlation was calculated between FGF-21 and RDW when controlled by age, hematocrit, iron and ferritin (r = 0.425; p < 0.01). In conclusion, the association between RDW, a hematologic inflammatory marker, and FGF-21, an inflammation-related hepatokine, found in MO group is an important finding discriminating between OB and MO children. This association is even more powerful when controlled by age and iron-related parameters.

Multiple Criteria Decision Making Analysis for Selecting and Evaluating Fighter Aircraft

In this paper, multiple criteria decision making analysis technique, is presented for ranking and selection of a set of determined alternatives - fighter aircraft - which are associated with a set of decision factors. In fighter aircraft design, conflicting decision criteria, disciplines, and technologies are always involved in the design process. Multiple criteria decision making analysis techniques can be helpful to effectively deal with such situations and make wise design decisions. Multiple criteria decision making analysis theory is a systematic mathematical approach for dealing with problems which contain uncertainties in decision making. The feasibility and contributions of applying the multiple criteria decision making analysis technique in fighter aircraft selection analysis is explored. In this study, an integrated framework incorporating multiple criteria decision making analysis technique in fighter aircraft analysis is established using entropy objective weighting method. An improved integrated multiple criteria decision making analysis method is utilized to aggregate the multiple decision criteria into one composite figure of merit, which serves as an objective function in the decision process. Therefore, it is demonstrated that the suitable multiple criteria decision making analysis method with decision solution provides an effective objective function for the decision making analysis. Considering that the inherent uncertainties and the weighting factors have crucial decision impacts on the fighter aircraft evaluation, seven fighter aircraft models for the multiple design criteria in terms of the weighting factors are constructed. The proposed multiple criteria decision making analysis model is based on integrated entropy index procedure, and additive multiple criteria decision making analysis theory. Hence, the applicability of proposed technique for fighter aircraft selection problem is considered. The constructed multiple criteria decision making analysis model can provide efficient decision analysis approach for uncertainty assessment of the decision problem. Consequently, the fighter aircraft alternatives are ranked based their final evaluation scores, and sensitivity analysis is conducted.

Drug Abuse among Immigrant Youth in Canada

There has been an increased number of immigrants arriving in Canada and a concurrent rise in the number of immigrant youth suffering from drug abuse. Immigrant youths’ drug abuse has become a significant social and public health concern for researchers. This paper explores the nature of immigrant youths’ drug abuse by examining the factors influencing the onset of substance misuse, the barriers that discourage youth to seek out treatment, and how to resolve addictions amidst immigrant youth. Findings demonstrate that diminished parental supervision, acculturation challenges, peer conformity, discrimination, and ethnic marginalization are all significant factors influencing youth to use drugs as an outlet for their pain, while culturally incompetent care and fear of family and culture-based addiction stigma act as barriers discouraging youth from seeking out addiction support. To resolve addiction challenges amidst immigrant youth, future research should focus on promoting and implementing culturally sensitive practices and psychoeducational initiatives into immigrant communities and within public health policies.

Fighter Aircraft Selection Using Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution with Multiple Criteria Decision Making Analysis

This paper presents a multiple criteria decision making analysis technique for selecting fighter aircraft for the national air force. The selection of military aircraft is a process consisting of contradictory goals and objectives. When a modern air force needs to choose fighter aircraft to upgrade existing fleets, a multiple criteria decision making analysis and scenario planning for defense acquisition has been put forward. The selection of fighter aircraft for the air defense force is a strategic decision making process, since the purchase or lease of fighter jets, maintenance and operating costs and having a fleet is the biggest cost for the air force. Multiple criteria decision making analysis methods are effectively applied to facilitate decision making from various available options. The selection criteria were determined using the literature on the problem of fighter aircraft selection. The selection of fighter aircraft to be purchased for the air defense forces is handled using a multiple criteria decision making analysis technique that also determines a suitable methodological approach for the defense procurement and fleet upgrade planning process. The aim of this study is to originate an approach to evaluate fighter aircraft alternatives, Su-35, F-35, and TF-X (MMU), based on technique for order preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS).

Scholar Index for Research Performance Evaluation Using Multiple Criteria Decision Making Analysis

This paper aims to present an objective quantitative methodology on how to evaluate individual’s scholarly research output using multiple criteria decision analysis. A multiple criteria decision making analysis (MCDMA) methodological process is adopted to build a multiple criteria evaluation model. With the introduction of the scholar index, which gives significant information about a researcher's productivity and the scholarly impact of his or her publications in a single number (s is the number of publications with at least s citations); cumulative research citation index; the scholar index is included in the citation databases to cover the multidimensional complexity of scholarly research performance and to undertake objective evaluations with scholar index. The scholar index, one of publication activity indexes, is analyzed by considering it to be the most appropriate sciencemetric indicator which allows to smooth over many drawbacks of scholarly output assessment by mere calculation of the number of publications (quantity) and citations (quality). Hence, this study includes a set of indicators-based scholar index to be used for evaluating scholarly researchers. Google Scholar open science database was used to assess and discuss scholarly productivity and impact of researchers. Based on the experiment of computing the scholar index, and its derivative indexes for a set of researchers on open research database platform, quantitative methods of assessing scholarly research output were successfully considered to rank researchers. The proposed methodology considers the ranking, and the selection of data on which a scholarly research performance evaluation was based, the analysis of the data, and the presentation of the multiple criteria analysis results.

Heavy Deformation and High-Temperature Annealing Microstructure and Texture Studies of TaHfNbZrTi Equiatomic Refractory High Entropy Alloy

The refractory alloys are crucial for high-temperature applications to improve performance and reduce cost. They are used in several applications such as aerospace, outer space, military and defense, nuclear powerplants, automobiles, and industry. The conventional refractory alloys show greater stability at high temperatures and in contrast they have operational limitations due to their low melting temperatures. However, there is a huge requirement to improve the refractory alloys’ operational temperatures and replace the conventional alloys. The newly emerging refractory high entropy alloys (RHEAs) could be alternative materials for conventional refractory alloys and fulfill the demands and requirements of various practical applications in the future. The RHEA TaHfNbZrTi was prepared through an arc melting process. The annealing behavior of severely deformed equiatomic RHEATaHfNbZrTi has been investigated. To obtain deformed condition, the alloy is cold-rolled to 90% thickness reduction and then subjected to an annealing process to observe recrystallization and microstructural evolution in the range of 800 °C to 1400 °C temperatures. The cold-rolled – 90% condition shows the presence of microstructural heterogeneity. The annealing microstructure of 800 °C temperature reveals that partial recrystallization and further annealing treatment carried out annealing treatment in the range of 850 °C to 1400 °C temperatures exhibits completely recrystallized microstructures, followed by coarsening with a degree of annealing temperature. The deformed and annealed conditions featured the development of body-centered cubic (BCC) fiber textures. The experimental investigation of heavy deformation and followed by high-temperature annealing up to 1400 °C temperature will contribute to the understanding of microstructure and texture evolution of emerging RHEAs.

Parameters Influencing Human-Machine Interaction in Hospitals

Handling life-critical systems complexity requires to be equipped with appropriate technology and the right human agents’ functions such as knowledge, experience, and competence in problem’s prevention and solving. Human agents are involved in the management and control of human-machine system’s performance. Documenting human agent’s situation awareness is crucial to support human-machine designers’ decision-making. Knowledge about risks, critical parameters and factors that can impact and threaten automation system’s performance should be collected using preventive and retrospective approaches. This paper aims to document operators’ situation awareness through the analysis of automated organizations’ feedback. The analysis of automated hospital pharmacies feedback helps identify and control critical parameters influencing human machine interaction in order to enhance system’s performance and security. Our human machine system evaluation approach has been deployed in Macon hospital center’s pharmacy which is equipped with automated drug dispensing systems since 2015. Automation’s specifications are related to technical aspects, human-machine interaction, and human aspects. The evaluation of drug delivery automation performance in Macon hospital center has shown that the performance of the automated activity depends on the performance of the automated solution chosen, and also on the control of systemic factors. In fact, 80.95% of automation specification related to the chosen Sinteco’s automated solution is met. The performance of the chosen automated solution is involved in 28.38% of automation specifications performance in Macon hospital center. The remaining systemic parameters involved in automation specifications performance need to be controlled. 

Shaping the Input Side Current Waveform of a 3-ϕ Rectifier into a Pure Sine Wave

In this investigative research paper, we have presented the simulation results of a three-phase rectifier circuit to improve the input side current using the passive filters, such as capacitors and inductors at the output and input terminals of the rectifier circuit respectively. All simulation works were performed in a personal computer using the PSPICE simulator software, which is a virtual circuit design and simulation software package. The output voltages and currents were measured across a resistive load of 1 k. We observed that the output voltage levels, input current wave shapes, harmonic contents through the harmonic spectrum, and total harmonic distortion improved due to the use of such filters. 

Assessing and Evaluating the Course Outcomes of Control Systems Course Mapping Complex Engineering Problem Solving Issues and Associated Knowledge Profiles with the Program Outcomes

In the current context, the engineering program educators need to think about how to develop the concepts and complex engineering problem-solving skills through various complex engineering activities by the undergraduate engineering students in various engineering courses. But most of them are facing challenges to assess and evaluate these skills of their students. In this study, detailed assessment and evaluation methods for the undergraduate Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) program are stated using the Outcome-Based Education (OBE) approach. For this purpose, a final year course titled control systems has been selected. The assessment and evaluation approach, course contents, course objectives, course outcomes (COs), and their mapping to the program outcomes (POs) with complex engineering problems and activities via the knowledge profiles, performance indicators, rubrics of assessment, CO and PO attainment data, and other statistics, are reported for a student-cohort of control systems course registered by the students of BSc in EEE program in Spring 2021 Semester at the EEE Department of Southeast University (SEU). It is found that the target benchmark was achieved by the students of that course. Several recommendations for the continuous quality improvement (CQI) process are also provided.

Automated 3D Segmentation System for Detecting Tumor and Its Heterogeneity in Patients with High Grade Ovarian Epithelial Cancer

High grade ovarian epithelial cancer (OEC) is the most fatal gynecological cancer and poor prognosis of this entity is closely related to considerable intratumoral genetic heterogeneity. By examining imaging data, it is possible to assess the heterogeneity of tumorous tissue. This study presents a methodology for aligning, segmenting and finally visualizing information from various magnetic resonance imaging series, in order to construct 3D models of heterogeneity maps from the same tumor in OEC patients. The proposed system may be used as an adjunct digital tool by health professionals for personalized medicine, as it allows for an easy visual assessment of the heterogeneity of the examined tumor.

Hydrochemical Contamination Profiling and Spatial-Temporal Mapping with the Support of Multivariate and Cluster Statistical Analysis

The aim of this work was to test a methodology able to generate spatial-temporal maps that can synthesize simultaneously the trends of distinct hydrochemical indicators in an old radium-uranium tailings dam deposit. Multidimensionality reduction derived from principal component analysis and subsequent data aggregation derived from clustering analysis allow to identify distinct hydrochemical behavioral profiles and generate synthetic evolutionary hydrochemical maps.

Migrant Women English Instructors’ Transformative Workplace Learning Experiences in Post-Secondary English Language Programs in Ontario, Canada

This study aims to reveal migrant women English instructors' workplace learning experiences in Canadian post-secondary institutions in Ontario. Migrant women English instructors in higher education are an understudied group of teachers. This study employs a qualitative research paradigm. Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory is an essential lens for the researcher to explain, analyze, and interpret the research data. It is a collaborative research project. The researcher and participants cooperatively create photographic or other artwork data responding to the research questions. Photovoice and arts-informed data collection methodology are the main methods. Research participants engage in the study as co-researchers and inquire about their own workplace learning experiences, actively utilizing their critical self-reflective and dialogic skills. Co-researchers individually select the forms of artwork they prefer to engage with to represent their transformative workplace learning experiences about the Canadian workplace cultures that they underwent while working with colleagues and administrators in the workplace. Once the co-researchers generate their cultural artifacts as research data, they collaboratively interpret their artworks with the researcher and other volunteer co-researchers. Co-researchers jointly investigate the themes emerging from the artworks. They also interpret the meanings of their own and others’ workplace learning experiences embedded in the artworks through interactive one-on-one or group interviews. The following are the research questions that the migrant women English instructor participants examine and answer: (1) What have they learned about their workplace culture and how do they explain their learning experiences? (2) How transformative have their learning experiences been at work? (3) How have their colleagues and administrators influenced their transformative learning? (4) What kind of support have they received? What supports have been valuable to them and what changes would they like to see? (5) What have their learning experiences transformed? (6) What has this arts-informed research process transformed? The study findings implicate English language instructor support currently practiced in post-secondary English language programs in Ontario, Canada, especially for migrant women English instructors. This research is a doctoral empirical study in progress. This study has the urgency to address the research problem that few studies have investigated migrant English instructors’ professional learning and support issues in the workplace, precisely that of English instructors working with adult learners in Canada. While appropriate social and professional support for migrant English instructors is required throughout the country, the present workplace realities in Ontario's English language programs need to be heard soon. For that purpose, the conceptualization of this study is crucial. It makes the investigation of under-represented instructors’ under-researched social phenomena, workplace learning and support, viable and rigorous. This paper demonstrates the robust theorization of English instructors’ workplace experiences using Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory in the English language teacher education field. 

Destination Port Detection for Vessels: An Analytic Tool for Optimizing Port Authorities Resources

Port authorities have many challenges in congested ports to allocate their resources to provide a safe and secure loading/unloading procedure for cargo vessels. Selecting a destination port is the decision of a vessel master based on many factors such as weather, wavelength and changes of priorities. Having access to a tool which leverages Automatic Identification System (AIS) messages to monitor vessel’s movements and accurately predict their next destination port promotes an effective resource allocation process for port authorities. In this research, we propose a method, namely, Reference Route of Trajectory (RRoT) to assist port authorities in predicting inflow and outflow traffic in their local environment by monitoring AIS messages. Our RRo method creates a reference route based on historical AIS messages. It utilizes some of the best trajectory similarity measures to identify the destination of a vessel using their recent movement. We evaluated five different similarity measures such as Discrete Frechet Distance (DFD), Dynamic Time ´ Warping (DTW), Partial Curve Mapping (PCM), Area between two curves (Area) and Curve length (CL). Our experiments show that our method identifies the destination port with an accuracy of 98.97% and an f-measure of 99.08% using Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) similarity measure.

Evaluation of Corrosion in Steel Reinforced Concrete with Brick Waste

The massive demolition of old buildings in recent years has generated tons of waste, especially brick waste. Thus, a concern of recent research is the use of this waste for the production of environmentally friendly concrete. At the same time, corrosion of the reinforcement steel rebar in classical concrete is a current problem. In this context, in the present paper a study was carried out on the corrosion of metal reinforcement in cement mortars with added brick waste. The corrosion process was analyzed on four compositions of mortars without and with 15%, 25% and 35% brick waste replacing the sand. The brick waste has majority content in SiO2, Al2O3, FeO3 and CaO. The grain size distribution of brick waste was close to that of the sand (dmax = 2 mm). The preparation method of the samples was similar to ordinary mortars. The corrosion action on the rebar in concrete, at different brick waste concentrations, was investigated by electrochemical measurements (polarization curves and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)) at 1 month and 26 months. The results obtained at 26 months revealed that the addition of the brick waste in mortar improved the anticorrosion properties in the case of all samples compared with the etalon mortar. The best results were obtained in the case of the sample with 15% brick waste (the efficiency was ≈ 90%). The corrosion intermediary layer formed on the rebar surface was evidenced by SEM-EDX.

Error Correction Method for 2D Ultra-Wideband Indoor Wireless Positioning System Using Logarithmic Error Model

Indoor positioning technologies have been evolved rapidly. They augment the Global Positioning System (GPS) which requires line-of-sight to the sky to track the location of people or objects. In this study, we developed an error correction method for an indoor real-time location system (RTLS) based on an ultra-wideband (UWB) sensor from Decawave. Multiple stationary nodes (anchor) were installed throughout the workspace. The distance between stationary and moving nodes (tag) can be measured using a two-way-ranging (TWR) scheme. The result has shown that the uncorrected ranging error from the sensor system can be as large as 1 m. To reduce ranging error and thus increase positioning accuracy, we present an online correction algorithm using the Kalman filter. The results from experiments have shown that the system can reduce ranging error down to 5 cm.

Stop Consonants in Chinese and Slovak: Contrastive Analysis by Using Praat

The acquisition of the correct pronunciation in Chinese is closely linked to the initial phase of the study. Based on the contrastive analysis, we determine the differences in the pronunciation of stop consonants in Chinese and Slovak taking into consideration the place and manner of articulation to gain a better understanding of the students' main difficulties in the process of acquiring correct pronunciation of Chinese stop consonants. We employ the software Praat for the analysis of the recorded samples with an emphasis on the pronunciation of the students with a varying command of Chinese. The comparison of the voice onset time (VOT) length for the individual consonants in the students' pronunciation and the pronunciation of the native speaker exposes the differences between the correct pronunciation and the deviant pronunciation of the students.

Fatigue Life Prediction on Steel Beam Bridges under Variable Amplitude Loading

Steel bridges are normally subjected to random loads with different traffic frequencies. They are structures with dynamic behavior and are subject to fatigue failure process, where the nucleation of a crack, growth and failure can occur. After locating and determining the size of an existing fault, it is important to predict the crack propagation and the convenient time for repair. Therefore, fracture mechanics and fatigue concepts are essential to the right approach to the problem. To study the fatigue crack growth, a computational code was developed by using the root mean square (RMS) and the cycle-by-cycle models. One observes the variable amplitude loading influence on the life structural prediction. Different loads histories and initial crack length were considered as input variables. Thus, it was evaluated the dispersion of results of the expected structural life choosing different initial parameters.

Learning Objects Content Presentation Adaptation Model Considering Students' Learning Styles

Learning styles (LSs) correspond to the individual preferences of a person regarding the modes and forms in which he/she prefers to learn throughout the teaching/learning process. The content presentation of learning objects (LOs) using knowledge about the students’ LSs offers them digital educational resources tailored to their individual learning preferences. In this context, the most relevant characteristics of the LSs along with the most appropriate forms of LOs' content presentation were mapped and associated. Such was performed in order to define the composition of an adaptive model of LO's content presentation considering the LSs, which was called Adaptation of Content Presentation of Learning Objects Considering Learning Styles (ACPLOLS). LO prototypes were created with interfaces that were adapted to students' LSs. These prototypes were based on a model created for validation of the approaches that were used, which were established through experiments with the students. The results of subjective measures of students' emotional responses demonstrated that the ACPLOLS has reached the desired results in relation to the adequacy of the LOs interface, in accordance with the Felder-Silverman LSs Model.

Reducing the Need for Multi-Input Multi-Output in Multi-Beam Base Transceiver Station Antennas Using Orthogonally-Polarized Feeds with an Arbitrary Number of Ports

A multi-beam BTS (Base Transceiver Station) antenna has been developed using dual parabolic cylindrical reflectors. The ±45° polarization feeds are used in spatial diversity MIMO (Multi-Input Multi-Output). They can be replaced by single-port orthogonally polarized feeds. Then, with two sets of beams generated above each other, the ± 45° polarization ports of any conventional transceiver can be connected to two of these beam sets. Thus, with two-port transceivers, the system will be equivalent to 4x4 MIMO, instead of 2x2. Radio Frequency (RF) power combiners/splitters can also be used to combine the multiple beams into a single beam or any arbitrary number of beams/ports. The gain of the combined-beam will be more than 20-24 dBi instead of 17-18 dBi of conventional wide-beam antennas. Furthermore, the gain of the combined beam will be high over the whole beam angle. Moreover, the users will always be close to the peak gain value of the combined beam regardless of their location within the combined beam angle. The frequency bands of all the combined beams are adjusted such that they all have the same frequency band. Different configurations of RF power splitter/combiners can be used to provide any arbitrary number of beams/ports according to the requirements of any existing base station configuration.

A Review on Bearing Capacity Factor Nγ of Shallow Foundations with Different Shapes

There are several methods for calculating the bearing capacity factors of foundations and retaining walls. In this paper, the bearing capacity factor Nγ (shape factor) for different types of foundation have been investigated. The formula for bearing capacity on c–φ–γ soil can still be expressed by Terzaghi’s equation except that the bearing capacity factor Nγ depends on the surcharge ratio, and friction angle φ. It is apparent that the value of Nγ increases irregularly with the friction angle of the subsoil, which leads to an excessive increment in Nγ of foundations with larger width. Also, the bearing capacity factor Nγ will significantly decrease with an increase in foundation`s width. It also should be highlighted that the effect of shape and dimension will be less noticeable with a decrease in the relative density of the soil. Hence, the bearing capacity factor Nγ relatively depends on foundation`s width, surcharge and roughness ratio. This paper presents the results of various studies conducted on the bearing capacity factor Nγ of: different types of shallow foundation and foundations with irregular geometry (ring footing, triangular footing, shell foundations and etc.) Further studies on the effect of bearing capacity factor Nγ on mat foundations and the characteristics of this factor with or without consideration for the presence of friction between soil and foundation are recommended.