Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: Nowadays sustainable development has increasingly become an important research topic of engineering education all over the world. Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD) highlighted the importance of addressing sustainable development in engineering practice. However, whether and how the professional engineering learning and experience affect those perceptions is an interesting research topic especially in Chinese context. Our study fills this gap by investigating perceptions bias of EESD among first-grade engineering students, fourth-grade engineering students and experienced engineers using a triple-dimensional model. Our goal is to find the effect of engineering learning and experience on sustainable development and make these learning and experiences more accessible for students and engineers in school and workplace context. The data (n = 138) came from a Likert questionnaire based on the triple-dimensional model of EESD adopted from literature reviews and the data contain 48 first-grade students, 56 fourth-grade students and 34 engineers with rich working experience from Environmental Engineering, Energy Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering in or graduated from Zhejiang University, China. One-way ANOVA analysis was used to find the difference in different dimensions among the three groups. The statistical results show that both engineering students and engineers have a well understanding of sustainable development in ecology dimension of EESD while there are significant differences among three groups as to the socio-economy and value rationality dimensions of EESD. The findings provide empirical evidence that both engineering learning and professional engineering experience are helpful to cultivate the cognition and perception of sustainable development in engineering education. The results of this work indicate that more practical content should be added to students’ engineering education while more theoretical content should be added to engineers’ training in order to promote the engineering students’ and engineers’ perceptions of sustainable development. In addition, as to the design of engineering courses and professional practice system for sustainable development, we should not only pay attention to the ecological aspects, but also emphasize the coordination of ecological, socio-economic and human-centered sustainable development (e.g., engineer's ethical responsibility).
Abstract: In this study, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was utilized to simulate and predict the path of water from water soot blower through an ambient flow field in 300-megawatt tangentially burned pulverized coal boiler that utilizes a water soot blower as a cleaning device. To predict the position of the impact of water on the opposite side of the water soot blower under identical conditions, the nozzle size and water flow rate were fixed in this investigation. The simulation findings demonstrated a high degree of accuracy in predicting the direction of water flow to the boiler's water wall tube, which was validated by comparison to experimental data. Results show maximum deviation value of the water jet trajectory is 10.2%.
Abstract: The notion of Threshold Concepts has offered a fertile new perspective on the transformative effects of mastery of particular concepts on student understanding of subject matter and their developing identities as inductees into disciplinary discourse communities. Only by successfully traversing essential knowledge thresholds can neophytes achieve the more sophisticated understandings of subject matter possessed by mature members of a discipline. This paper uses thematic analysis of disciplinary guiding principles to identify nine candidate Threshold Concepts that appear to underpin effective TESOL practice. The relationship between these candidate TESOL Threshold Concepts, TESOL principles, and TESOL instructional techniques appears to be amenable to a schematic representation based on superordinate categories of TESOL practitioner concern and, as such, offers an alternative to the view of Threshold Concepts as a privileged subset of disciplinary core concepts. The paper concludes by exploring the potential of a Threshold Concepts framework to productively inform TESOL initial teacher education (ITE) and in-service education and training (INSET).
Abstract: In the modern world, ice-hockey (and in a broader sense, team sports) is becoming an increasingly popular field of entertainment. Although the main element is most likely perceived as the show itself, winning is an inevitable part of the successful operation of any sports team. In this paper, the author creates a research design allowing to develop and validate an ice-hockey team-focused diagnostics scale, which enables researchers and practitioners to identify the problems associated with underperforming teams. The construction of the scale starts with personal interviews with experts of the field, carefully chosen from Hungarian ice-hockey sector. Based on the interviews, the author is shown to be in the position to create the categories and the relevant items for the scale. When constructed, the next step is the validation process on a Hungarian sample. Data for validation are acquired through reaching the licensed database of the Hungarian Ice-Hockey Federation involving Hungarian ice-hockey coaches and players. The Ice-Hockey Team Diagnostics Scale is to be created to orientate practitioners in understanding both effective and underperforming team work.
Abstract: t-SNE is an embedding method that the data science community has widely used. It helps two main tasks: to display results by coloring items according to the item class or feature value; and for forensic, giving a first overview of the dataset distribution. Two interesting characteristics of t-SNE are the structure preservation property and the answer to the crowding problem, where all neighbors in high dimensional space cannot be represented correctly in low dimensional space. t-SNE preserves the local neighborhood, and similar items are nicely spaced by adjusting to the local density. These two characteristics produce a meaningful representation, where the cluster area is proportional to its size in number, and relationships between clusters are materialized by closeness on the embedding. This algorithm is non-parametric. The transformation from a high to low dimensional space is described but not learned. Two initializations of the algorithm would lead to two different embedding. In a forensic approach, analysts would like to compare two or more datasets using their embedding. A naive approach would be to embed all datasets together. However, this process is costly as the complexity of t-SNE is quadratic, and would be infeasible for too many datasets. Another approach would be to learn a parametric model over an embedding built with a subset of data. While this approach is highly scalable, points could be mapped at the same exact position, making them indistinguishable. This type of model would be unable to adapt to new outliers nor concept drift. This paper presents a methodology to reuse an embedding to create a new one, where cluster positions are preserved. The optimization process minimizes two costs, one relative to the embedding shape and the second relative to the support embedding’ match. The embedding with the support process can be repeated more than once, with the newly obtained embedding. The successive embedding can be used to study the impact of one variable over the dataset distribution or monitor changes over time. This method has the same complexity as t-SNE per embedding, and memory requirements are only doubled. For a dataset of n elements sorted and split into k subsets, the total embedding complexity would be reduced from O(n2) to O(n2/k), and the memory requirement from n2 to 2(n/k)2 which enables computation on recent laptops. The method showed promising results on a real-world dataset, allowing to observe the birth, evolution and death of clusters. The proposed approach facilitates identifying significant trends and changes, which empowers the monitoring high dimensional datasets’ dynamics.
Abstract: After 27 years, Malaysia reported polio cases in 2019 involving the children of the undocumented migrants living in Sabah. These undocumented migrants present a significant challenge in achieving the elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD). Due to the recent polio outbreak among the undocumented migrant children in Sabah, an in-depth interview was conducted among the caregivers of undocumented migrant children to identify the barriers and drivers towards vaccinating their children. Financial barriers, legal citizenship status, language barrier, the COVID-19 pandemic, and physical barriers have been the barriers to access vaccination services by undocumented migrants. Five significant drivers for undocumented migrants to vaccinate their children are social influence, fear of disease, parental trust in healthcare providers, good support, and vaccine availability. Necessary action should be taken immediately to address the problems of vaccinating the children of undocumented migrants to prevent the re-emergence of VPD.
Abstract: Technological advances in the construction sector are helping to make smart cities a reality by means of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). CPS integrate information and the physical world through the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT). An increasingly common goal in the built environment is to integrate Building Information Models (BIM) with Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technologies using CPS. Future advances could see the adoption of digital twins, creating new opportunities for CPS using monitoring, simulation and optimisation technologies. However, researchers often fail to fully consider the security implications. To date, it is not widely possible to assimilate BIM data and cybersecurity concepts and, therefore, security has thus far been overlooked. This paper reviews the empirical literature concerning IoT applications in the built environment and discusses real-world applications of the IoT intended to enhance construction practices, people’s lives and bolster cybersecurity. Specifically, this research addresses two research questions: (a) How suitable are the current IoT and CPS security stacks to address the cybersecurity threats facing digital twins in the context of smart buildings and districts? and (b) What are the current obstacles to tackling cybersecurity threats to the built environment CPS? To answer these questions, this paper reviews the current state-of-the-art research concerning digital twins in the built environment, the IoT, BIM, urban cities and cybersecurity. The results of the findings of this study confirmed the importance of using digital twins in both IoT and BIM. Also, eight reference zones across Europe have gained special recognition for their contributions to the advancement of IoT science. Therefore, this paper evaluates the use of digital twins in CPS to arrive at recommendations for expanding BIM specifications to facilitate IoT compliance, bolster cybersecurity and integrate digital twin and city standards in the smart cities of the future.
Abstract: In Nigeria, enormous efforts/resources had, over the years, been expended on promoting financial inclusion (FI); however, it is seemingly discouraging that many of its self-declared targets on FI remained unachieved, especially amongst the Rural Dwellers and Actors in the Informal Sectors (RDAIS). Expectedly, many reasons had been earmarked for these failures: low literacy level, huge informal/rural sectors etc. This study posits that in spite of these truly-debilitating factors, these FI policy failures could have been avoided or mitigated if the principles of active and better-managed citizens’ participation had been strictly followed in the (re)design/implementation of its FI policies. In other words, in a bid to mitigate the prevalent financial exclusion (FE) in Nigeria, this study hypothesizes the significant positive impact of involving the RDAIS in policy-wide decision making in the FI domain, backed by a preliminary empirical validation. Also, the study introduces the RDAIS-focused Participatory Financial Inclusion Policy (PFIP) as a major FI policy regeneration/improvement tool. The three categories of respondents that served as research subjects are FI experts in Nigeria (n = 72), RDAIS from the very rural/remote village of Unguwar Dogo in Northern Nigeria (n = 43) and RDAIS from another rural village of Sekere (n = 56) in the Southern region of Nigeria. Using survey design (5-point Likert scale questionnaires), random/stratified sampling, and descriptive/inferential statistics, the study often recorded independent consensus (amongst these three categories of respondents) that RDAIS’s active participation in iterative FI policy initiation, (re)design, implementation, (re)evaluation could indeed give improved FI outcomes. However, few questionnaire items also recorded divergent opinions and various statistically (in)significant differences on the mean scores of these three categories. The PFIP (or any customized version of it) should then be carefully integrated into the NFIS of Nigeria (and possibly in the NFIS of other developing countries) to truly/fully provide FI policy integration for these excluded RDAIS and arrest the prevalence of FE.
Abstract: A great number of children in mainstream schools across Libya is currently living with emotional, behavioural difficulties. This study aims to explore teachers’ perceptions of children’s emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) and their attributions of the causes of EBD. The relevance of this area of study to current educational practice is illustrated in the fact that primary school teachers in Libya find classroom behaviour problems one of the major difficulties they face. The information presented in this study was gathered from 182 teachers that responded back to the survey, of whom, 27 teachers were later interviewed. In general, teachers’ perceptions of EBD reflect personal experience, training, and attitudes. Teachers appear from this study to use words such as indifferent, frightened, withdrawn, aggressive, disobedient, hyperactive, less ambitious, lacking concentration, and academically weak to describe pupils with EBD. The implications of this study are envisaged as being extremely important to support teachers addressing children’s EBD and shed light on the contributing factors to EBD for a successful teaching-learning process in Libyan primary schools.
Abstract: With the advent of complex software and increased connectivity, security of life-critical medical devices is becoming an increasing concern, particularly with their direct impact to human safety. Security is essential, but it is impossible to develop completely secure and impenetrable systems at design time. Therefore, it is important to assess the potential impact on security and safety of exploiting a vulnerability in such critical medical systems. The common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS) calculates the severity of exploitable vulnerabilities. However, for medical devices, it does not consider the unique challenges of impacts to human health and privacy. Thus, the scoring of a medical device on which a human life depends (e.g., pacemakers, insulin pumps) can score very low, while a system on which a human life does not depend (e.g., hospital archiving systems) might score very high. In this paper, we present a Medical Vulnerability Scoring System (MVSS) that extends CVSS to address the health and privacy concerns of medical devices. We propose incorporating two new parameters, namely health impact and sensitivity impact. Sensitivity refers to the type of information that can be stolen from the device, and health represents the impact to the safety of the patient if the vulnerability is exploited (e.g., potential harm, life threatening). We evaluate 15 different known vulnerabilities in medical devices and compare MVSS against two state-of-the-art medical device-oriented vulnerability scoring system and the foundational CVSS.
Abstract: Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have been observing in some seaside resorts aging demography, combined with an increase in second homes. These seaside resorts are said to have become places undergoing profound changes, leading to hybridization of functions (personal services, health, residential, etc.) and practices. All of these issues are part of the challenges of silver tourism, which stems from the silver economy. The Hauts-de-France region is made up of numerous seaside resorts that have a significant proportion of second homes in their real estate stock. The seaside resorts have tourist offers based on sports and leisure activities. They also offer a suitable environment for the installation of this category of the population. This set of attractive criteria in the choice of installation in seaside resorts is likely to be replaced by personal and health services due to the advanced age of the population. The resorts of Le Touquet Paris-Plage, Bray-Dunes, Neufchâtel-Hardelot and Le Crotoy seem to be evolving towards other functions of residential resorts, as opposed to seaside resorts This paper will be an opportunity to present the results of the surveys we conducted in 4 seaside resorts in the Hauts-de-France region, where more than 420 retired secondary residents were questioned. The results show that nearly 90% of retirees spend their time in their second home at any time of the year. The criteria that lead them there are school vacations and the weather. More than 40% of them have been living there for more than 20 years. The reasons for the installations are the living environment (83%) and the quality of life (79%). Their activities are walking and strolling, as well as sports. More than 99% of the respondents do not take into account the health service offers. Personal services are also little taken into account - around 60% of respondents say they do not know whether personal services exist in the resort. 80% of respondents answer that their grandchildren benefit from activities organized by the commune and the tourist offices during their stay. To conclude, the influx of retired secondary residents will not lead to a change in the functions of the seaside resorts. Their classic tourist offers - leisure and sports activities, the environment - will remain the attractive criteria of the seaside resorts. The results of the study prove that personal services and health services are not the first choice criteria in the installation of retired secondary residents, quite the contrary. We can even complete that retirees in secondary residences are demanding and concerned about living in a calm, safe and clean environment and quality of life.
Abstract: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been proven an effective tool to address anger and anxiety issues in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Robot-enhanced therapy has been used in psychosocial and educational interventions for children with ASD with promising results. Whenever CBT-based techniques were incorporated in robot-based interventions, they were mainly performed in group sessions. Objectives: The study’s main objective was the implementation and evaluation of the effectiveness of a relaxation training intervention for children with ASD, delivered by the social robot NAO. Methods: 20 children (aged 7–12 years) were randomly assigned to 16 sessions of relaxation training implemented twice a week. Two groups were formed: the NAO group (children participated in individual sessions with the support of NAO) and the control group (children participated in individual sessions with the support of the therapist only). Participants received three different relaxation scenarios of increasing difficulty (a breathing scenario, a progressive muscle relaxation scenario and a body scan medication scenario), as well as related homework sheets for practicing. Pre- and post-intervention assessments were conducted using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for parents (SDQ-P). Participants were also asked to complete an open-ended questionnaire to evaluate the effectiveness of the training. Parents’ satisfaction was evaluated via a questionnaire and children satisfaction was assessed by a thermometer scale. Results: The study supports the use of relaxation training with the NAO robot as instructor for children with ASD. Parents of enrolled children reported high levels of satisfaction and provided positive ratings of the training acceptability. Children in the NAO group presented greater motivation to complete homework and adopt the learned techniques at home. Conclusions: Relaxation training could be effectively integrated in robot-assisted protocols to help children with ASD regulate emotions and develop self-control.
Abstract: With the advancement of artificial intelligence technology, most companies are aware of the profound potential of artificial intelligence in commercial marketing. Man-machine dialogue has become the latest trend in marketing customer service. However, chatbots are often considered to be lack of intelligent or unfriendly conversion, which instead reduces the communication effect of chatbots. To ensure that chatbots represent the brand image and provide a good user experience, companies and users attach great importance. In this study, customer service chatbot was used as the research sample. The research variables are based on the theory of artificial intelligence emotions, integrating the technology acceptance model and innovation diffusion theory, and the three aspects of pleasure, arousal, and dominance of the human-machine PAD (Pleasure, Arousal and Dominance) dimension. The results show that most of the participants have a higher acceptance of innovative technologies and are high pleasure and arousal in the user experience. Participants still have traditional gender (female) service stereotypes about customer service chatbots. Users who have high trust in using chatbots can easily enhance brand acceptance and easily accept brand messages, extend the trust of chatbots to trust in the brand, and develop a positive attitude towards the brand.
Abstract: Small cell deployment in 5G networks is a promising technology to enhance the capacity and coverage. However, unplanned deployment may cause high interference levels and high number of unnecessary handovers, which in turn result in an increase in the signalling overhead. To guarantee service continuity, minimize unnecessary handovers and reduce signalling overhead in heterogeneous networks, it is essential to properly model the handover decision problem. In this paper, we model the handover decision problem using Multiple Attribute Decision Making (MADM) method, specifically Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution (TOPSIS), and propose a hybrid TOPSIS method to control the handover in heterogeneous network. The proposed method adopts a hybrid weighting policy, which is a combination of entropy and standard deviation. A hybrid weighting control parameter is introduced to balance the impact of the standard deviation and entropy weighting on the network selection process and the overall performance. Our proposed method show better performance, in terms of the number of frequent handovers and the mean user throughput, compared to the existing methods.