1,289 research outputs found

    Assistive technology, human rights and poverty in developing countries. Perspectives based on a study in Bangladesh

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    Deprived of human rights, more than half of all people with disabilities in developing countries live in extreme poverty. Although considered a prerequisite for equalization of opportunities, about nine out of ten of those who need assistive technologies do not have access to them. Little is known about the socioeconomic benefits of using assistive technology in low-income countries that can inform policies and strategies. The aim of this thesis is therefore to expand the understanding of the relation of assistive technology use to human rights and poverty in these countries. This is approached theoretically and empirically. Poverty is studied in terms of deprivation of capabilities as defined by Amartya Sen. The development of the Friction Model offers an explanation of the dynamic role of assistive technology in facilitating the enjoyment of human rights and in enhancing capabilities. A content analysis of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities concludes that it entitles them to affordable assistive technology. Ensuring this is not only a national responsibility, but a matter of international cooperation. Data from 583 people with hearing or ambulatory impairments was collected and analyzed. The use of assistive technology was found to be predictive of enjoyment of human rights and increased capabilities, particularly among hearing aid users. User involvement in the provision of assistive technology was associated with higher outcomes. The findings offer support for addressing human rights deprivation and poverty among people with disabilities through provision of assistive technology on theoretical, legal and empirical grounds

    Identifying growth criteria and sediment movement mechanisms of needle ice using high-frequency environmental and visual monitoring

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    Environmental growth conditions and mechanisms involved in sediment transport by needle ice have historically been difficult to assess and are poorly documented. The spatial and temporal dynamics that relate to the environment, growth and decay of needle ice are not fully understood. This study monitored needle ice growth, melt and visually identified sediment displacement mechanisms by needle ice, with the aim of revealing environmental growth criteria, timing of growth/melt, ground-surface-air energy balance and sediment displacement mechanisms. Furthermore, the impact of needle ice displacement on vegetation and patterned ground formation was analysed. High-frequency visual monitoring, using three cameras, supplemented by high-frequency measurements of air temperature, soil moisture and wind speed was used to investigate needle ice growth and decay dynamics. Results from visual and environmental monitoring of needle ice growth, showed that the needle ice growing environment was more dynamic, especially in terms of surface temperature, than previously argued. Needle ice growth was observed to occur during surface temperatures from -2.0°C to 2.2°C, soil moisture levels from 0.4% to 37.4% and in winds speeds of 0 m/s to 12.6 m/s. Needle ice initiation was documented a few minutes to hours before or after the onset of surface temperature dropping to below 0°C. Imagery displayed that the depth of ice nucleation was variable within the soil column, possibly relating to the energy balance of radiative cooling, convective heat loss, ground conductivity and latent heat release at the air-surface-ground boundary. Heaving and resettling, toppling and rolling were identified as slope displacement mechanisms when needle ice decayed. Animal trampling and hail were additionally documented as substantial surface altering processes. Furthermore, no impact of needle ice reducing vegetation stability was identified, although a tendency to hinder vegetation expansion was noted. Also, no creation of patterned ground was observed as a result of needle ice decay

    Energimodellering av vÀxthus : Del 3 av 4. Rapportserie frÄn projektet AKTIV

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    I projektet AKTIV har mĂ„lsĂ€ttningen varit att kartlĂ€gga alternativa lösningar, ta fram data för kyl- och avfuktningsbehovet i ett vĂ€xthus, berĂ€kna de energimĂ€ssiga konsekvenserna av alternativa lösningar och göra en totalekonomisk bedömning av lönsamheten för de alternativa lösningarna. För att fĂ„ underlag för en sĂ„dan analys inhyrdes och anvĂ€ndes en kyl- och avfuktningsanlĂ€ggning i ett vĂ€xthus i Övermark under tvĂ„ Ă„rs tid, 2010 − 2012. Under denna tid gjordes mĂ€tningar kring denna anlĂ€ggnings funktion och mer generellt av de centrala storheterna som behövs för att analysera vĂ€xthusklimat och energiflöden. Den inhyrda anlĂ€ggningen levererades av Novarbo (www.novarbo.fi). Resultatet redovisas i serie bestĂ„ende av fyra rapporter, vilka kommer att publiceras i Novias publikationsserie Ă„r 2015. I den första rapporten ges en översikt av tillgĂ€ngliga metoder och tekniska lösningar för kylning och avfuktning. I den andra rapporten utvĂ€rderas den undersökta kyl- och avfuktningsanlĂ€ggningen. I den tredje rapporten beskrivs modellering av vĂ€xthus. I den fjĂ€rde rapporten presenteras en lönsamhetskalkyl för olika kyl- och avfuktningsmetoder. I denna rapport, den tredje i serien, ges först en generell översikt över modelleringsmetoder för vĂ€xthus. DĂ€refter redovisas teori för fysikalisk modellering, med en sĂ€rskild tonvikt pĂ„ fuktmodellering. Sedan presenteras uppmĂ€tta data gĂ€llande vĂ€rmeflöden i det undersökta vĂ€xthuset, benĂ€mnt NorrĂ„s. Dessa data jĂ€mförs ocksĂ„ med teorin. Slutligen presenteras en empirisk modellering av energiflödena i vĂ€xthuset. Den framtagna modellen anvĂ€nds sedan som grund för lönsamhetskalkylen i den fjĂ€rde rapporten i serien

    Non-coding antisense transcription detected by conventional and single-stranded cDNA microarray

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Recent studies revealed that many mammalian protein-coding genes also transcribe their complementary strands. This phenomenon raises questions regarding the validity of data obtained from double-stranded cDNA microarrays since hybridization to both strands may occur. Here, we wanted to analyze experimentally the incidence of antisense transcription in human cells and to estimate their influence on protein coding expression patterns obtained by double-stranded microarrays. Therefore, we profiled transcription of sense and antisense independently by using strand-specific cDNA microarrays.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Up to 88% of expressed protein coding loci displayed concurrent expression from the complementary strand. Antisense transcription is cell specific and showed a strong tendency to be positively correlated to the expression of the sense counterparts. Even if their expression is wide-spread, detected antisense signals seem to have a limited distorting effect on sense profiles obtained with double-stranded probes.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Antisense transcription in humans can be far more common than previously estimated. However, it has limited influence on expression profiles obtained with conventional cDNA probes. This can be explained by a biological phenomena and a bias of the technique: a) a co-ordinate sense and antisense expression variation and b) a bias for sense-hybridization to occur with more efficiency, presumably due to variable exonic overlap between antisense transcripts.</p

    Procurement of Railway Infrastructure Projects – A European Benchmarking Study

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    This benchmarking study compares how railway investments are procured in five European countries: Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. In total, 19 procurement managers and project managers were interviewed. This study compares the national rail clients’ procurement strategies regarding: delivery system, reward system, contractor selection, and collaboration model. Historically, these clients have used in-house production. The first step towards a gradually increased usage of the market was to outsource the construction activities while keeping the design and development competence in-house. All five countries have mainly used Design-Bid-Build contracts in their initial outsourcing. However, the last few years there is a discernible trend in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK towards allocating more design and development responsibilities to contractors (i.e. Design-Build contracts) and increasing the strategic focus on cooperation. The UK and the Netherlands are forerunners in this trend that can be viewed as a third step in the transition towards a market oriented railway sector. Norway and Sweden is in the middle of this transition, whereas Germany has not initiated this change. The transition towards a gradually increased usage of the market has two main dimensions; degree of cooperation and degree of contractor freedom, which differs among the countries. The UK and Sweden focus on increasing both these dimensions, while The Netherlands and Norway mostly focus on increasing the degree of contractor freedom. Germany still limits both dimensions by performing design and development in-house and letting contractors compete for construction work in Design-Bid-Build contracts. Due to historical and cultural reasons, Deutsche Bahn in Germany is very hesitant to engage in collaboration with external suppliers; focusing on competition is considered more appropriate and less controversial

    Attityds, norms och kontrolls samband med intention till trÀning. En jÀmförelse mellan fyra trÀningsformer.

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    Recent research on physical activity and exercise reveals a clear picture of its positive effects on both body and mind. Despite this, a large part of the population is stuck in a sedentary lifestyle. This study has examined factors behind one’s motivation to exercise. By using the Expectancy-Value Theory we’ve examined which exercise-related goals people value most, and to what degree they think four popular forms of exercise (strength training, cardio, yoga and team sports) will lead to these goals. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) has also been used to find out what influence the three factors attitudes, norms and control have on the intention to engage in the different types of exercise. The sample consisted of 140 people who responded to a questionnaire survey. The results show that psychological well-being is the goal that is most valued. TPB is found to be a reliable model to explain intention to exercise with. Attitude is the strongest predictor for all forms of our investigated forms of training except team sports where the factor norm is dominant. This papers focus on the comparisons between different forms of training is unique and shows differences in motivations to pursue them. Efforts to increase training frequency should primarily focus on creating positive attitudes towards exercise.Senare forskning kring fysisk aktivitet och trĂ€ning visar en klar bild av dess positiva effekter pĂ„ sĂ„vĂ€l kropp som sinne. Trots detta Ă€r en stor del av befolkningen fast i en stillasittande vardag. Denna studie har undersökt faktorer som ligger bakom ens motivation att trĂ€na. Denna uppsats har med hjĂ€lp av Expectancy-Value-teorin undersökt vilka trĂ€ningsrelaterade mĂ„l som urvalet vĂ€rderar högt och vidare i vilken grad fyra populĂ€ra trĂ€ningsformer (styrketrĂ€ning, konditionstrĂ€ning, yoga och lagsport) förvĂ€ntas leda till dessa. Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) har sen anvĂ€nts för att ta reda pĂ„ faktorerna attityd, norm och kontrolls pĂ„verkan pĂ„ intentionen att utföra de olika trĂ€ningsformerna. Urvalet bestod av 140 personer som svarade pĂ„ en enkĂ€tundersökning. Resultaten visar att psykiskt vĂ€lbefinnande Ă€r det mĂ„l som vĂ€rderas som viktigast av urvalet. TPB visar sig vara en pĂ„litlig modell att förklara intention till trĂ€ning med. Attityd Ă€r den starkaste prediktorn för samtliga trĂ€ningsformer utom för lagsport dĂ€r norm Ă€r dominerande. Uppsatsens fokus pĂ„ jĂ€mförelser mellan trĂ€ningsformer Ă€r unikt och visar skillnader i vilka drivkrafter som föranleder dessa. Insatser för att öka trĂ€ningsfrekvensen bör frĂ€mst fokusera pĂ„ att skapa positiva attityder till trĂ€ning

    Normalization of Illumina Infinium whole-genome SNP data improves copy number estimates and allelic intensity ratios

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Illumina Infinium whole genome genotyping (WGG) arrays are increasingly being applied in cancer genomics to study gene copy number alterations and allele-specific aberrations such as loss-of-heterozygosity (LOH). Methods developed for normalization of WGG arrays have mostly focused on diploid, normal samples. However, for cancer samples genomic aberrations may confound normalization and data interpretation. Therefore, we examined the effects of the conventionally used normalization method for Illumina Infinium arrays when applied to cancer samples.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>We demonstrate an asymmetry in the detection of the two alleles for each SNP, which deleteriously influences both allelic proportions and copy number estimates. The asymmetry is caused by a remaining bias between the two dyes used in the Infinium II assay after using the normalization method in Illumina's proprietary software (BeadStudio). We propose a quantile normalization strategy for correction of this dye bias. We tested the normalization strategy using 535 individual hybridizations from 10 data sets from the analysis of cancer genomes and normal blood samples generated on Illumina Infinium II 300 k version 1 and 2, 370 k and 550 k BeadChips. We show that the proposed normalization strategy successfully removes asymmetry in estimates of both allelic proportions and copy numbers. Additionally, the normalization strategy reduces the technical variation for copy number estimates while retaining the response to copy number alterations.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>The proposed normalization strategy represents a valuable tool that improves the quality of data obtained from Illumina Infinium arrays, in particular when used for LOH and copy number variation studies.</p

    Reporting of Harm in Randomized Controlled Trials of Therapeutic Exercise for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review

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    Objective: The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) recommends reporting adverse events (AEs) and dropouts (DOs) with their definitions. The purpose of this study was to identify how AEs and DOs were reported in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of therapeutic exercise for knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: Data sources were the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, PUBMED, and CINAHL. Databases were searched to identify RCTs of therapeutic exercise for Knee OA published from January 1, 1980, through July 23, 2020. Researchers independently extracted participant and intervention characteristics and determined whether a clear statement of and reasons for AEs and DOs existed. The primary outcome was exercise-related harm. Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scoring described study quality and risk of bias. Descriptive and inferential statistics characterized results. Meta-analysis was not performed due to data heterogeneity. Results: One hundred 13 studies (152 arms) from 25 countries were included with 5909 participants exercising. PEDro scores ranged from 4 to 9. Exercise intensity was not specified in 57.9% of exercise arms. Fifty studies (44.2%) included an AE statement and 24 (21.2%) reported AEs, yielding 297 patients. One hundred three studies (91.2%) had a DO statement. Sixteen studies (15.5%) provided reasons for DOs that could be classified as AEs among 39 patients, yielding a 13.1% increase in AEs. Thus, 336 patients (6.0%) experienced exercise-related harm among studies with a clear statement of AEs and DOs. A significant difference existed in misclassification of DOs pre- and post-CONSORT 2010 (12.2% vs 3.1%; X21 = 21.2). Conclusions: In some studies, the reason for DOs could be considered AEs, leading to potential underreporting of harm. Improvements in reporting of harm were found pre-and post-CONSORT 2010. Greater clarity regarding AE and DO definitions and TherEx intensity are needed to determine safe dosing and mode of therapeutic exercise for knee OA. Impact: More adherence to the CONSORT statement is needed regarding reporting of and defining AEs, DOs, and therapeutic exercise intensity; however, despite this, therapeutic exercise seems to be associated with minimal risk of harm

    The gene expression landscape of breast cancer is shaped by tumor protein p53 status and epithelial-mesenchymal transition

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    Introduction: Gene expression data derived from clinical cancer specimens provide an opportunity to characterize cancer-specific transcriptional programs. Here, we present an analysis delineating a correlation-based gene expression landscape of breast cancer that identifies modules with strong associations to breast cancer-specific and general tumor biology. Methods: Modules of highly connected genes were extracted from a gene co-expression network that was constructed based on Pearson correlation, and module activities were then calculated using a pathway activity score. Functional annotations of modules were experimentally validated with an siRNA cell spot microarray system using the KPL-4 breast cancer cell line, and by using gene expression data from functional studies. Modules were derived using gene expression data representing 1,608 breast cancer samples and validated in data sets representing 971 independent breast cancer samples as well as 1,231 samples from other cancer forms. Results: The initial co-expression network analysis resulted in the characterization of eight tightly regulated gene modules. Cell cycle genes were divided into two transcriptional programs, and experimental validation using an siRNA screen showed different functional roles for these programs during proliferation. The division of the two programs was found to act as a marker for tumor protein p53 (TP53) gene status in luminal breast cancer, with the two programs being separated only in luminal tumors with functional p53 (encoded by TP53). Moreover, a module containing fibroblast and stroma-related genes was highly expressed in fibroblasts, but was also up-regulated by overexpression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition factors such as transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta1) and Snail in immortalized human mammary epithelial cells. Strikingly, the stroma transcriptional program related to less malignant tumors for luminal disease and aggressive lymph node positive disease among basal-like tumors. Conclusions: We have derived a robust gene expression landscape of breast cancer that reflects known subtypes as well as heterogeneity within these subtypes. By applying the modules to TP53-mutated samples we shed light on the biological consequences of non-functional p53 in otherwise low-proliferating luminal breast cancer. Furthermore, as in the case of the stroma module, we show that the biological and clinical interpretation of a set of co-regulated genes is subtype-dependent

    A conceptual framework to assess effectiveness in wheelchair provision

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    Background: Currently, inadequate wheelchair provision has forced many people with disabilities to be trapped in a cycle of poverty and deprivation, limiting their ability to access education, work and social facilities. This issue is in part because of the lack of collaboration among various stakeholders who need to work together to design, manufacture and deliver such assistive mobility devices. This in turn has led to inadequate evidence about intervention effectiveness, disability prevalence and subsequent costeffectiveness that would help facilitate appropriate provision and support for people with disabilities. Objectives: In this paper, we describe a novel conceptual framework that can be tested across the globe to study and evaluate the effectiveness of wheelchair provision. Method: The Comparative Effectiveness Research Subcommittee (CER-SC), consisting of the authors of this article, housed within the Evidence-Based Practice Working Group (EBP-WG) of the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP), conducted a scoping review of scientific literature and standard practices used during wheelchair service provision. The literature review was followed by a series of discussion groups. Results: The three iterations of the conceptual framework are described in this manuscript. Conclusion: We believe that adoption of this conceptual framework could have broad applications in wheelchair provision globally to develop evidence-based practices. Such a perspective will help in the comparison of different strategies employed in wheelchair provision and further improve clinical guidelines. Further work is being conducted to test the efficacy of this conceptual framework to evaluate effectiveness of wheelchair service provision in various settings across the globe
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