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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Military Fighter Aircraft Selection Using Multiplicative Multiple Criteria Decision Making Analysis Method

Multiplicative multiple criteria decision making analysis (MCDMA) method is a systematic decision support system to aid decision makers reach appropriate decisions. The application of multiplicative MCDMA in the military aircraft selection problem is significant for proper decision making process, which is the decisive factor in minimizing expenditures and increasing defense capability and capacity. Nine military fighter aircraft alternatives were evaluated by ten decision criteria to solve the decision making problem. In this study, multiplicative MCDMA model aims to evaluate and select an appropriate military fighter aircraft for the Air Force fleet planning. The ranking results of multiplicative MCDMA model were compared with the ranking results of additive MCDMA, logarithmic MCDMA, and regrettive MCDMA models under the L2 norm data normalization technique to substantiate the robustness of the proposed method. The final ranking results indicate the military fighter aircraft Su-57 as the best available solution.

Discrete Breeding Swarm for Cost Minimization of Parallel Job Shop Scheduling Problem

Parallel Job Shop Scheduling Problem (JSSP) is a multi-objective and multi constrains NP-optimization problem. Traditional Artificial Intelligence techniques have been widely used; however, they could be trapped into the local minimum without reaching the optimum solution. Thus, we propose a hybrid Artificial Intelligence (AI) model with Discrete Breeding Swarm (DBS) added to traditional AI to avoid this trapping. This model is applied in the cost minimization of the Car Sequencing and Operator Allocation (CSOA) problem. The practical experiment shows that our model outperforms other techniques in cost minimization.

IntelligentLogger: A Heavy-Duty Vehicles Fleet Management System Based on IoT and Smart Prediction Techniques

Both daily and long-term management of a heavy-duty vehicles and construction machinery fleet is an extremely complicated and hard to solve issue. This is mainly due to the diversity of the fleet vehicles – machinery, which concerns not only the vehicle types, but also their age/efficiency, as well as the fleet volume, which is often of the order of hundreds or even thousands of vehicles/machineries. In the present paper we present “InteligentLogger”, a holistic heavy-duty fleet management system covering a wide range of diverse fleet vehicles. This is based on specifically designed hardware and software for the automated vehicle health status and operational cost monitoring, for smart maintenance. InteligentLogger is characterized by high adaptability that permits to be tailored to practically any heavy-duty vehicle/machinery (of different technologies -modern or legacy- and of dissimilar uses). Contrary to conventional logistic systems, which are characterized by raised operational costs and often errors, InteligentLogger provides a cost-effective and reliable integrated solution for the e-management and e-maintenance of the fleet members. The InteligentLogger system offers the following unique features that guarantee successful heavy-duty vehicles/machineries fleet management: (a) Recording and storage of operating data of motorized construction machinery, in a reliable way and in real time, using specifically designed Internet of Things (IoT) sensor nodes that communicate through the available network infrastructures, e.g., 3G/LTE; (b) Use on any machine, regardless of its age, in a universal way; (c) Flexibility and complete customization both in terms of data collection, integration with 3rd party systems, as well as in terms of processing and drawing conclusions; (d) Validation, error reporting & correction, as well as update of the system’s database; (e) Artificial intelligence (AI) software, for processing information in real time, identifying out-of-normal behavior and generating alerts; (f) A MicroStrategy based enterprise BI, for modeling information and producing reports, dashboards, and alerts focusing on vehicles– machinery optimal usage, as well as maintenance and scraping policies; (g) Modular structure that allows low implementation costs in the basic fully functional version, but offers scalability without requiring a complete system upgrade.

Slime Mould Optimization Algorithms for Optimal Distributed Generation Integration in Distribution Electrical Network

This document proposes a method for determining the optimal point of integration of distributed generation (DG) in distribution grid. Slime mould optimization is applied to determine best node in case of one and two injection point. Problem has been modeled as an optimization problem where the objective is to minimize joule loses and main constraint is to regulate voltage in each point. The proposed method has been implemented in MATLAB and applied in IEEE network 33 and 69 nodes. Comparing results obtained with other algorithms showed that slime mould optimization algorithms (SMOA) have the best reduction of power losses and good amelioration of voltage profile.

Computational Fluid Dynamics Study on Water Soot Blower Direction in Tangentially Fired Pulverized-Coal Boiler

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%.

Effect of Birks Constant and Defocusing Parameter on Triple-to-Double Coincidence Ratio Parameter in Monte Carlo Simulation-GEANT4

This project concerns with the detection efficiency of the portable Triple-to-Double Coincidence Ratio (TDCR) at the National Institute of Metrology of Ionizing Radiation (INMRI-ENEA) which allows direct activity measurement and radionuclide standardization for pure-beta emitter or pure electron capture radionuclides. The dependency of the simulated detection efficiency of the TDCR, by using Monte Carlo simulation Geant4 code, on the Birks factor (kB) and defocusing parameter has been examined especially for low energy beta-emitter radionuclides such as 3H and 14C, for which this dependency is relevant. The results achieved in this analysis can be used for selecting the best kB factor and the defocusing parameter for computing theoretical TDCR parameter value. The theoretical results were compared with the available ones, measured by the ENEA TDCR portable detector, for some pure-beta emitter radionuclides. This analysis allowed to improve the knowledge of the characteristics of the ENEA TDCR detector that can be used as a traveling instrument for in-situ measurements with particular benefits in many applications in the field of nuclear medicine and in the nuclear energy industry.

An Integrated Approach to Child Care Earthquake Preparedness through “Telemachus” Project

A lot of children under the age of five spend their daytime hours away from their home, in a kindergarten. Caring for children is a serious subject, and their safety in case of earthquake is the first priority. Being aware of earthquakes helps to prioritize the needs and take the appropriate actions to limit the effects. Earthquakes occurring anywhere at any time require emergency planning. Earthquake planning is a cooperative effort and childcare providers have unique roles and responsibilities. Greece has high seismicity and Ionian Islands Region has the highest seismic activity of the country. Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization (EPPO) is a national organization in Greece. The mission of EPPO is the seismic risk reduction by designing an earthquake management program of mitigation and preparedness. Among other actions EPPO has analyzed the needs and requirements of kindergartens on earthquake protection issues and has designed specific activities to familiarize the day care centers staff being prepared for earthquakes.  This research presents the results of a survey that detects the level of earthquake preparedness of kindergartens in all over the country and Ionian Islands too. A closed-form questionnaire of 20 main questions was developed for the survey in order to detect the aspects of participants concerning the earthquake preparedness actions at individual, family and day care environment level. 2668 questionnaires were gathered from March 2014 to May 2019, and analyzed by EPPO’s Department of Education. Moreover, this paper presents the EPPO’s educational activities targeted to the Ionian Islands Region that implemented in the framework of “Telemachus” Project. To provide safe environment for children to learn, and staff to work is the foremost goal of any State, community and kindergarten. This project is funded under the Priority Axis “Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development” of Operational Plan “Ionian Islands 2014-2020”. It is increasingly accepted that emergency preparedness should be thought of as an ongoing process rather than a one-time activity. Creating an earthquake safe daycare environment that facilitates learning is a challenging task. Training, drills, and update of emergency plan should take place throughout the year at kindergartens to identify any gaps and to ensure the emergency procedures. EPPO will continue to work closely with regional and local authorities to actively address the needs of children and kindergartens before, during and after earthquakes.

Threshold Concepts in TESOL: A Thematic Analysis of Disciplinary Guiding Principles

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).