Queen's University Belfast Research Portal

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    Using online photovoice to explore food decisions of families on low income: lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic

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    The method of photovoice has been previously used to effectively engage with socioeconomically disadvantaged groups and explore their eating behaviours. In this methodological article, we draw on our experiences from using photovoice through online interviews with families on low income about their food decisions. A purposive recruitment approach targeted parents of children 2–17 years old who lived on a tight budget across the island of Ireland. Participants provided demographic information and were invited to take photographs of food-related decisions and activities for 1 week during the COVID-19 lockdown. The photographs were then discussed through an online communication platform to generate qualitative data. A total of 28 parents participated in the photo-elicited interviews and shared a total of 642 photographs of factors that influenced their food decisions. Following the interviews, the researchers documented their reflections which focused on (1) participants’ engagement with the online photo-elicitation and (2) practical aspects around participant consent and data safety. The participants in our study engaged well with the online photovoice method and shared a variety of photos which provided ample material to facilitate the conversations around their food environment and its impact on their food decisions. Our experiences can provide novel insights into using photovoice in a virtual environment and useful considerations around ethics and data collection for researchers who work with socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. Photo-elicited interviews offer an engaging and flexible data collection technique that can highlight issues informing future priorities of healthcare policy

    The enhanced dew-point evaporative cooling with a macro-roughened structure

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    Dew-point evaporative cooling (DPEC) is renowned for its great cooling effectiveness and energy savings. However, to improve its cooling performance by optimizing the cooler's common design parameters (e.g., operating conditions and channel dimensions) has reached a bottleneck where further breakthroughs are difficult to make. Although macro-roughened structures have been found effective to enhance the heat transfer in many devices, the lack of fundamental studies and understanding on the enhanced heat and mass transfer limits their utilization in DPEC. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the enhanced DPEC with rib-roughened dry channels. A dew-point evaporative cooler with seven pairs of dry-wet air channels was constructed and tested under varying supply air and operating conditions, which demonstrated excellent cooling performance particularly at high air velocities. Concurrently, a novel low-Reynolds number computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed to capture the turbulent heat and mass transfer mechanism, validated with a maximum discrepancy of 8% by the experimental data. An in-depth theoretical investigation of the rib-roughened channels show that detached vortices found near the ribs can enhance the convective heat transfer in the dry channel, as well as heat and mass transfer in the wet channel. The average Nusselt number in the dry and wet channels can reach 4 and 1.13 times of that in flat channels, respectively, and the average Sherwood number in the wet channel can reach 1.14 times. More enhanced cooling effect is observed under high air velocity conditions, leading to a reduction of product air temperature by 2.3–3.0 °C and an increase in dew-point effectiveness by 0.14–0.18. The fundamentally enhanced heat and mass transfer in the macro-structured channels provides a new research direction for the development of DPEC.<br/

    Urban Planning During Socialism:Views from the Periphery

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    Clinician views on actionable processes of care for prolonged stay intensive care patients and families: A descriptive qualitative study

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    To explore clinician perspectives on key actionable processes of care that may improve outcomes and experience of patients experiencing a prolonged (over 7 days) intensive care unit stay, and their family members. A descriptive qualitative interview study in the United Kingdom. We conducted online semi-structured interviews using video conferencing software (October 2020-August 2022). We used purposive sampling ensuring participation from a broad range of professions representing the interprofessional team in the United Kingdom. We used Framework Analysis methods to group actionable processes into the six themes of person-centred care. Analyses were informed by our previous scoping review and previous interviews with former patients and family members. We interviewed 24 staff participants and identified 36 actionable processes of care under six themes of person-centred care. Processes relating to communication (both establishing an effective communication method for the patient and staff communication with the patient and family), continuity of staff and care plans, and personalising the environment and routines, and allowing flexible family visiting were most frequently articulated. These processes were perceived as having a multifaceted impact on patient and family wellbeing, for example family visiting helping patient and family emotional wellbeing and staff communication with family; and establishing an effective communication method for patients reduced their anxiety, enhanced their involvement in their care and allowed staff to include them in ward rounds more efficiently. We identified 36 actionable processes of care from interviews with intensive care staff, with an emphasis on enhancing patient autonomy through optimising communication and involvement in decision-making, participation of family, and continuity of staff and care plans. These 36 actionable processes of care will contribute to future development of quality improvement tools, which will be used to standardise the care of prolonged-stay intensive care patients and their families

    Main mechanisms of remote monitoring programs for cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention: a systematic review

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    Purpose: The objective of this report was to identify the main mechanisms of home-based remote monitoring programs for cardiac rehabilitation (RM CR) and examine how these mechanisms vary by context.Methods: This was a systematic review using realist synthesis. To be included, articles had to be published in English between 2010 and November 2020 and contain specific data related to mechanisms of effect of programs. MEDLINE All (1946-) via Ovid, Embase (1974-) via Ovid, APA PsycINFO (1806-), CINAHL via EBSCO, Scopus databases, and gray literature were searched.Results: From 13 747 citations, 91 focused on cardiac conditions, with 23 reports including patients in CR. Effective RM CR programs more successfully adapted to different patient home settings and broader lives, incorporated individualized patient health data, and had content designed specifically for patients in cardiac rehabilitation. Relatively minor but common technical issues could significantly reduce perceived benefits. Patients and families were highly receptive to the programs and viewed themselves as fortunate to receive such services. The RM CR programs could be improved via incorporating more connectivity to other patients. No clear negative effects on perceived utility or outcomes occurred by patient age, ethnicity, or sex. Overall, the programs were seen to best suit highly motivated patients and consolidated rather than harmed existing relationships with health care professionals and teams.Conclusions: Remote monitoring CR programs are perceived by patients to be beneficial and attractive. Future RM CR programs should consider adaptability to different home settings, incorporate individualized health data, and contain content specific to patient needs

    On code example-aided just-in-time learning for programming education

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    Context: Programming education keeps facing challenges. A significant challenge is the mismatch between the increasing student demand and the shortage of teaching workforce on personal tutoring. Objective: The aim of this research is to address the demand workforce mismatch and relieve the challenges of programming education. Method: After theoretically discussing a set of methodological principles (e.g., active learning from suitable code examples), a prototyping research method is employed to iteratively verify whether or not the proposed principles can be practically implemented. Results: A methodology, namely code example-aided just-in-time learning, gradually emerged. A code example hunting tool was developed for enabling this methodology. Conclusion: The code example-aided just-in-time learning can effectively and efficiently facilitate both experienced learners and beginners to study programming by practising, without requiring extensive guidance from teachers.<br/

    Towards receiver-agnostic and collaborative radio frequency fingerprint identification

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    Radio frequency fingerprint identification (RFFI) is an emerging device authentication technique, which exploits the hardware characteristics of the RF front-end as device identifiers. The receiver hardware impairments interfere with the feature extraction of transmitter impairments, but their effect and mitigation have not been comprehensively studied. In this paper, we propose a receiver-agnostic RFFI system by employing adversarial training to learn the receiver-independent features. Moreover, when there are multiple receivers, collaborative inference are designed to enhance classification accuracy. Finally, we show how it is possible to leverage fine-tuning for further improvement with fewer collected signals. To validate the approach, we have conducted extensive experimental evaluation by applying the approach to a LoRaWAN case study involving ten LoRa devices and 20 software-defined radio (SDR) receivers. The results show that receiver-agnostic training enables the trained neural network to become robust to changes in receiver characteristics. The collaborative inference improves classification accuracy by up to 20% beyond a single-receiver RFFI system and fine-tuning can bring a 40% improvement for underperforming receivers. The system is further evaluated on a more practical testbed. By making additional use of online augmentation and multi-packet inference, the identification accuracy is improved from 50% to 90% at 10 dB

    A potential biomarker of radiosensitivity in metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer patients treated with combination external beam radiotherapy and radium-223

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    PurposeThe ADRRAD trial reported the safety and feasibility of the combination of external beam radiotherapy and radium-223 in the treatment of de novo bone metastatic prostate. This study aimed to determine if any biomarkers predictive of response to these treatments could be identified.Experimental design30 patients with newly diagnosed bone metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer were recruited to the ADRRAD trial. Blood samples were taken pre-treatment, before cycles 2 to 6 of radium-223, and 8 weeks and 6 months after treatment. Mononuclear cells were isolated and DNA damage was assessed at all timepoints.ResultsDNA damage was increased in all patients during treatment, with bigger increases in foci observed in patients who relapsed late compared to those who relapsed early. Increases in DNA damage during the radium-223 only cycles of treatment were specifically related to response in these patients. Analysis of hematology counts also showed bigger decreases in red blood cell and hemoglobin counts in patients who experienced later biochemical relapse.ConclusionsWhile some patients responded to this combination treatment, others relapsed within one year of treatment initiation. This study identifies a biomarker based approach that may be useful in predicting which patients will respond to treatment, by monitoring both increases in DNA damage above baseline levels in circulating lymphocytes and decreases in red blood cell and hemoglobin counts during treatment.<br/

    Hypertension: pharmacological management

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    An overview of the pharmacological management of hypertension and the role of the pharmacist prescriber in general practice

    Insights into the influence of diet and genetics on feed efficiency and meat production in sheep

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    Feed costs and carcass yields affect the profitability and sustainability of sheep production. Therefore, it is crucial to select animals with a higher feed efficiency and high-quality meat production. This study focuses on the impact of dietary and genetic factors on production traits such as feed efficiency, carcass quality, and meat quality. Diets promote optimal sheep growth and development and provide sufficient protein can lead to higher-quality meat. However, establishing an optimized production system requires careful consideration and balance of dietary parameters. This includes ensuring adequate protein intake and feeding diets with higher intestinal absorption rates to enhance nutrient absorption in the gut. The study identifies specific genes, such as Callipyge, Calpastatin, and Myostatin, and the presence of causal mutations in these genes, as factors influencing animal growth rates, feed efficiency, and meat fatty acid profiles. Additionally, variants of other reported genes, including PIGY, UCP1, MEF2B, TNNC2, FABP4, SCD, FASN, ADCY8, ME1, CA1, GLIS1, IL1RAPL1, SOX5, SOX6, and IGF1, show potential as markers for sheep selection. A meta-analysis of reported heritability estimates reveals that residual feed intake (0.27 ± 0.07), hot carcass weight (0.26 ± 0.05), dressing percentage (0.23 ± 0.05), and intramuscular fat content (0.45 ± 0.04) are moderately to highly heritable traits. This suggests that these traits are less influenced by environmental factors and could be improved through genetic selection. Additionally, positive genetic correlations exist between body weight and hot carcass weight (0.91 ± 0.06), dressing percentage (0.35 ± 0.15), and shear force (0.27 ± 0.24), indicating that selecting for higher body weight could lead to favorable changes in carcass quality, and meat quality.</p

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