131 research outputs found

    Using affective avatars and rich multimedia content for education of children with autism

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    Autism is a communication disorder that mandates early and continuous educational interventions on various levels like the everyday social, communication and reasoning skills. Computer-aided education has recently been considered as a likely intervention method for such cases, and therefore different systems have been proposed and developed worldwide. In more recent years, affective computing applications for the aforementioned interventions have also been proposed to shed light on this problem. In this paper, we examine the technological and educational needs of affective interventions for autistic persons. Enabling affective technologies are visited and a number of possible exploitation scenarios are illustrated. Emphasis is placed in covering the continuous and long term needs of autistic persons by unobtrusive and ubiquitous technologies with the engagement of an affective speaking avatar. A personalised prototype system facilitating these scenarios is described. In addition the feedback from educators for autistic persons is provided for the system in terms of its usefulness, efficiency and the envisaged reaction of the autistic persons, collected by means of an anonymous questionnaire. Results illustrate the clear potential of this effort in facilitating a very promising autism intervention

    M&A Performance of European Banks: An event study analysis

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    M&As in the European banking sector have been in the centre of heated debate due to their unique policy dimension and controversial arguments regarding their effect on the banks’ performance. This study investigates the impact of M&As on bank performance using a sample of 64 completed M&A deals that took place in the 28 EU members plus Norway and Switzerland between 2000 and 2018. The event study methodology was used to analyse the stock market reaction around the deal announcement for the bidders and the targets. Consistent with previous studies, the targets’ shareholders earned significantly positive returns around the announcement when their significance was tested using non-parametric tests. However, when the z-test was used to assess the magnitude of the abnormal returns they turned out to be insignificant. Furthermore, despite the common finding in the majority of US studies that bidders experience losses after the transaction announcement, the evidence indicates that bidders are not harmed but neither gain. Additionally, the effect of relative pre-merger profitability, relative size, geographic focus and method of payment on the short-term price effect was investigated using an Ordinary Least Squares multiple regression. Nevertheless, the effects were not robust enough to explain the variation in cumulative abnormal returns around the event

    Rating of Patient Satisfaction Factors in a Clinical Hyperbaric Centre of a Greek Navy Hospital

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    Background: Modern medical technology has promoted the creation and improved the organization of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Units (DHMU).Objective: This study evaluates patient satisfaction regarding services provided by the DHMU’s in Attica, Greece.Material and Method: This is a descriptive study, its sample constitutes of 91 patients admitted at the DHMU of Navy for Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) therapy. For the collection of data an anonymous selfadministered, 2-part questionnaire was utilized. The first part consisted of questions recording sociodemographicdata, while the second constituted of questions investigating the satisfaction of patients from the DHMU with a five-point Likert scale. The data was analyzed using SPSS (ver 17).Results: A total of 91 patients (53 male, 38 female) with a mean age of 35.5 years, sd=+/-7.245 participated in the study. Most of them 44% were university graduates. Patients’ satisfaction from theservices provided at DHMU was up to 85.7%, while 87.6% of them highly appreciated the prompt initiating and availability of sessions and rated telephone communication with the DHMU as exceptional. Personnel were described by patients as polite (94.4%), respectful (95.6%) and discrete (94.5%). The 92% of patients understood the importance of abiding by the rules of safety from nurses. Gender, age and the number or treatments were the characteristics that correlated statistically withpatients’ satisfaction from the services provided at a Greek Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Unit.Conclusion: The patients rated care and access to the particular D.H.M.U. as most excellent. Greek patients experience great satisfaction from the Naval Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Unit

    Successful management of acute thromboembolic disease complicated with heparin induced thrombocytopenia type II (HIT II): a case series

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    Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia type II (HIT II) is a rare immune-mediated complication of heparin. The diagnosis of HIT is considered in patients exposed to heparin, presenting with thrombocytopenia and thrombosis

    Information and communication technologies (ICT) for enhanced education of children with autism spectrum disorders

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    Recent developments in the area of information and communication technologies for people with special needs has led to significant changes in the way specialists and educators can address the daily impairments posed by people with abnormal behaviour, such as autism. Computer based educative methods are increasingly being considered as a key tool for educating people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs). Recent research has demonstrated that persons with autism, especially children, enjoy interacting with computers particularly as they are free from the expectations and judgments that make social interaction problematic. Virtual Environments (VEs), usually accompanied by three dimensional (3D) humanoid characters have been proven to play an essential role in special education and social interventions. Emotionally expressive avatars (a computer user’s representation of himself/ herself or alter ego), can advance the quality of tutor-learner interaction, with unobtrusive wireless sensors integrating an autistic person’s feedback and reaction. In this paper we review some developments in information and communication technology (ICT) for managing children with ASDs and also describe the approach we are taking to developing a platform to enhance and mediate the teacher-child educational process

    Inflammatory Markers in Middle-Aged Obese Subjects: Does Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome Play a Role?

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    Background. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is associated with inflammation, but obesity may be a confounding factor. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore differences in serum levels of inflammation markers between obese individuals with or without OSAS. Methods. Healthy individuals (n = 61) from an outpatient obesity clinic were examined by polysomnography and blood analysis, for measurement of TNF-α, IL-6, CRP, and fibrinogen levels. According to Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), participants were divided into two BMI-matched groups: controls (AHI < 15/h, n = 23) and OSAS patients (AHI ≥ 15/h, n = 38). Results. OSAS patients had significantly higher TNF-α levels (P < .001) while no other difference in the examined inflammation markers was recorded between groups. Overall, TNF-α levels were correlated with neck circumference (P < .001), AHI (P = .002), and Oxygen Desaturation Index (P = .002). Conclusions. Obese OSAS patients have elevated TNF-α levels compared to BMI-matched controls, suggesting a role of OSAS in promoting inflammation, possibly mediated by TNF-a

    Diet and Oral Health Coaching Methods and Models for the Independent Elderly

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    Health-related behavior based on diet is an important determinant of oral health in independent elderly. Aging impairs senses, mastication, oral status, and function, causing nutritional needs and diet insuciencies that contribute to a vicious circle of impairment. But the present needs of independent older adults suggest that health research and oral health care should shift from disease management and therapy to integral customized and personal treatment plans, including lifestyle, psychological, nutritional, and oral health coaching approaches. In this paper health coaching approaches in medical and dental settings are valued as to their eectiveness for older adults. Furthermore, coaching approaches for seniors are discussed and coaching models for better senior patient-dentist cooperation on the diet issue are suggested. Diet and oral health coaching is proven to be a modern senior patient-centered approach that needs to be incorporated at all relevant settings. It should aim to empower older adults in co-management of their oral diseases or bad diet habits aecting their oral health. This can be carried out through an incorporated educational plan for dentists either at the postgraduate or professional level since advantages seem to enhance the quality of life of the independent elderly

    Effect of continuous positive airway pressure therapy on a large hemangioma complicated with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: a case report

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Introduction</p> <p>Hemangiomas involving the upper airway can be an uncommon cause of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.</p> <p>Case presentation</p> <p>A 26-year-old Caucasian man with a known history of a large hemangioma of his head and neck presented with sleep-disordered breathing to the sleep unit of our hospital. Severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome was revealed on polysomnography. Nasal continuous positive airway pressure was implemented effectively, reducing daytime hypersomnolence and significantly improving sleep parameters. After three years of adherent use, the patient remains in a good condition and the hemangioma is stable.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Application of continuous positive airway pressure can be an effective treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome complicated with vascular tumors. Periodic follow-up of these patients is necessary, as little is known about the long-term effects of continuous positive airway pressure therapy.</p

    Real-world effectiveness of molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir/ritonavir as treatments for COVID-19 in patients at high risk

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    Background Using a retrospective cohort study design, we aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir/ritonavir in patients with SARS-CoV-2 who were highly vulnerable. Methods The impact of each drug was determined via comparisons with age-matched control groups of patients positive for SARS-CoV-2 who did not receive oral antiviral therapy. Results Administration of molnupiravir significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization (odds ratio [OR], 0.40; P < .001) and death (OR, 0.31; P < .001) among these patients based on data adjusted for age, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, vaccination status, and time elapsed since the most recent vaccination. The reductions in risk were most profound among elderly patients (≥75 years old) and among those with high levels of drug adherence. Administration of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir also resulted in significant reductions in the risk of hospitalization (OR, 0.31; P < .001) and death (OR, 0.28; P < .001). Similar to molnupiravir, the impact of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir was more substantial among elderly patients and in those with high levels of drug adherence. Conclusions Collectively, these real-world findings suggest that although the risks of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 have been reduced, antivirals can provide additional benefits to members of highly vulnerable patient populations

    Overview of the conservation status of Mediterranean anthozoans

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    The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM – Regional AssessmentThis report presents the conservation status of the anthozoans occurring in the Mediterranean Sea, based on the assessment of 136 species using the IUCN Red List methodology. It identifies those species that are threatened with extinction at the regional level to guide appropriate conservation actions in order to improve their statusVersión del edito
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