79 research outputs found

    Modular System Synthesis

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    This paper describes a way to improve the scalability of program synthesis by exploiting modularity: larger programs are synthesized from smaller programs. The key issue is to make each "larger-created-from-smaller" synthesis sub-problem be of a similar nature, so that the kind of synthesis sub-problem that needs to be solved--and the size of each search space--has roughly the same character at each level. This work holds promise for creating program-synthesis tools that have far greater capabilities than currently available tools, and opens new avenues for synthesis research: how synthesis tools should support modular system design, and how synthesis applications can best exploit such capabilities

    Psychotherapeutic Techniques for Distressing Memories: A Comparative Study between EMDR, Brainspotting, and Body Scan Meditation

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    Objectives: We explored the effects of a single 40-min session of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Brainspotting (BSP), and Body Scan Meditation (BSM) in the processing of distressing memories reported by a non-clinical sample of adult participants. Design: A within-subject design was used. Methods: Participants (n = 40 Psychologists/MDs) reported four distressing memories, each of which treated with a single intervention. EMDR, BSP, and BSM were compared with each other, and with a Book Reading (BR) active control condition, using as dependent measures, SUD (Subjective Units of Disturbance) and Memory Telling Duration (MTD) on a 4-point timeline: Baseline, Pre-Intervention, Post-Intervention, Follow-up. Results: SUD scores associated with EMDR, BSP, and BSM significantly decreased from Pre-to Post-Intervention (p < 0.001). At Post-Intervention and Follow-up, EMDR and BSP SUD scores were significantly lower than BSM and BR scores (p < 0.02). At both Post-Intervention and Follow-up, BSM SUD scores were lower than BR scores (p < 0.01). A reduction in MTD was observed from Pre-to Post-Intervention for EMDR and BSP conditions (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Overall, results showed beneficial effects of single sessions of EMDR, BSP, or BSM in the processing of healthy adults’ distressing memories. Study limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed

    Culture of Human iPSC-Derived Motoneurons in Compartmentalized Microfluidic Devices and Quantitative Assays for Studying Axonal Phenotypes

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    In order to use induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) to model neurodegenerative diseases, efficient and homogeneous generation of neurons in vitro represents a key step. Here we describe a method to obtain and characterize functional human spinal and cranial motoneurons using a combined approach of microfluidic chips and programs designed for scientific multidimensional imaging. We have used this approach to analyze axonal phenotypes. These tools are useful to investigate the cellular and molecular bases of neuromuscular diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy

    Mindfulness meditation leads to increased dispositional mindfulness and interoceptive awareness linked to a reduced dissociative tendency

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    Dissociation is an involuntary defensive mechanism to protect oneself by avoiding unbearable internal conflicts or overwhelming emotions. Cultivating mindful awareness could allow the development of voluntary processes that can offer part of the self-protective function of dissociation while favoring internal integration processes. The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of a 7-week Mindfulness Oriented Meditation (MOM) training on healthy individuals’ self-reported dissociative experience, mindfulness skills and interoceptive awareness. After the training, in comparison to a waiting-list control group (N&nbsp;=&nbsp;102), the MOM group (N&nbsp;= 110) showed reduced dissociative tendencies (p &lt;.05), increased dispositional mindfulness (p &lt;&nbsp;.001) and increased interoceptive awareness (in the aspects of not-worrying, self-regulation and body listening; p &lt;&nbsp;.001). Moreover, correlational evidence showed that the more MOM participants increased in mindfulness skills after the training the more they reported increased interoceptive awareness and decreased dissociative functioning (p &lt;&nbsp;.05). Mindfulness skills also improved with more home meditation practice executed by MOM participants (p &lt;&nbsp;.05). These findings were attributed to a possible role of mindfulness meditation in enabling the development of volitional processes that afford psychological safety and integration, in contrast with the involuntary nature of dissociation

    Healthcare personnel exposure to covid-19: An observational study on quarantined positive workers

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    Background and aim of the study. COVID-19 is characterized by super spread events occurring in communities, e.g., hospitals. To limit virus diffusion among healthcare workers the use of personal protective equipment and screening tests are highly advised; also, isolation of virus positive professionals while moni-toring their health condition is recommended. This study aims to assess, in a cohort of COVID-19 positive quarantined healthcare workers, the perceived source of infection and exposure risk as well as the clinical evolution of the disease through a surveillance interview. Methods. A retrospective observational study ac-counting 896 observations on 93 healthcare professionals tested positive for COVID-19. Data were collected from the Nursing and Technical Directorate of Romagna, Ravenna, Local Health Company, Italy. Results. 99.5% of the positive workers accepted phone interviews with management staff. 2.6% of workers were positive with increasing records in the specialist medical area. Nurses and social health professionals were mostly affected. Patient exposure at a distance &lt;1 m and a contact time &gt; 2 hours was the first cause of positivity. In COVID-19 and territorial emergency departments, the first cause was the contact with colleagues. At the time of the infection, most of the staff wore a surgical mask. Cough, asthenia, fever, anosmia, dysgeusia, and rhinitis were common symptoms. Asymptomatic percentage was about 10%. The self-perceived physical condition was high (&gt;7) and improved during the observation period. Conclusions. The diffusion rate of COVID-19 among healthcare workers is relatively low, probably due to the use of personal protective equip-ment. The distancing, also among colleagues, is a fundamental measure to reduce the possibility of infection. Symptoms are mild and can be controlled by surveillance measures. Constant contact with the organization is an essential strategy for promoting recovering of workers and reducing the spread of the virus within the healthcare organization. (www.actabiomedica.it)

    Barriers and facilitators to health visiting teams delivering oral health promotion to families of young children: a mixed methods study with vignettes.

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    OBJECTIVE:To explore the potential barriers and facilitators to health visiting (HV) teams delivering oral health promotion during the 9-12-month old child mandated visit in Ealing, England. BACKGROUND:HV schemes and their counterparts worldwide share similar priorities to discuss oral health at 6-12 months of age. The HV programme in England stipulates at 9-12 months old, diet and dental health should be discussed. HVs believe dental decay is important however oral health knowledge is varied. Further, little is understood about what drives HVs to deliver oral health advice. An appropriate theoretical model to explore these factors is the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF). METHODS:An opportunistic sample of HV team members was drawn from three hubs to allow for maximum variation. First, participants completed a questionnaire to establish baseline knowledge. Secondly, participants were invited to take part in focus groups (FGs) with vignettes. Thirdly, face-to-face interviews were conducted. FGs were subject to thematic analysis and the interviews to framework analysis. RESULTS:Thirty-six participants provided written informed consent and completed baseline questionnaires. Three FGs were conducted with an average of seven participants (n=21) followed by 13 interviews. Perceived facilitators: good levels of knowledge and skills, sense of professional role, emotions, belief in capability, organisational structure and resources. Perceived barriers: gaps in knowledge, conflicting advice from other professionals, conflicting issues for parents/ carers, use of interpreters. CONCLUSIONS:These findings can be harnessed to support oral health promotion delivered by HV teams

    Effects of Mindfulness Training on School Teachers\u2019 Self-Reported Personality Traits As Well As Stress and Burnout Levels

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    Among a sample of only female school teachers, we compared a mindfulness meditation (MM) training group (n = 19) with a waiting-list control group (n = 20) on several participant-completed questionnaires: the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, the Big Five Personality Inventory, the Teacher Stress Inventory, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. With these measures, we assessed the participants\u2019 dispositional mindfulness, personality styles, and their stress and burnout. Following mindfulness training, teachers in the MM group showed higher trait mindfulness and conscientiousness and lower neuroticism and stress and burnout levels than teachers in the waiting-list control group. These results support the beneficial role of MM in individuals\u2019 effective management of stressful conditions in the workplace

    Aberrant mitochondrial bioenergetics in the cerebral cortex of the Fmr1 knockout mouse model of fragile X syndrome

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    Impaired energy metabolism may play a role in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders including fragile X syndrome (FXS). We checked brain energy status and some aspects of cell bioenergetics, namely the activity of key glycolytic enzymes, glycerol-3-phosphate shuttle and mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) complexes, in the cerebral cortex of the Fmr1 knockout (KO) mouse model of FXS. We found that, despite a hyperactivation of MRC complexes, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production via mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) is compromised, resulting in brain energy impairment in juvenile and late-adult Fmr1 KO mice. Thus, an altered mitochondrial energy metabolism may contribute to neurological impairment in FXS

    Providing psychological support to people in intensive care: development and feasibility study of a nurse-led intervention to prevent acute stress and long-term morbidity

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    OBJECTIVES: Adverse psychological outcomes, following stressful experiences in critical care, affect up to 50% of patients. We aimed to develop and test the feasibility of a psychological intervention to reduce acute stress and prevent future morbidity. DESIGN: A mixed-methods intervention development study, using two stages of the UK Medical Research Council framework for developing and testing complex interventions. Stage one (development) involved identifying an evidence base for the intervention, developing a theoretical understanding of likely processes of change and modelling change processes and outcomes. Stage two comprised two linked feasibility studies. SETTING: Four UK general adult critical care units. PARTICIPANTS: Stage one: former and current patients, and psychology, nursing and education experts. Stage two: current patients and staff. OUTCOMES: Feasibility and acceptability to staff and patients of content and delivery of a psychological intervention, assessed using quantitative and qualitative data. Estimated recruitment and retention rates for a clinical trial. RESULTS: Building on prior work, we standardised the preventative, nurse-led Provision Of Psychological support to People in Intensive Care (POPPI) intervention. We devised courses and materials to train staff to create a therapeutic environment, to identify patients with acute stress and to deliver three stress support sessions and a relaxation and recovery programme to them. 127 awake, orientated patients took part in an intervention feasibility study in two hospitals. Patient and staff data indicated the complex intervention was feasible and acceptable. Feedback was used to refine the intervention. 86 different patients entered a separate trial procedures study in two other hospitals, of which 66 (80% of surviving patients) completed questionnaires on post-traumatic stress, depression and health 5 months after recruitment. CONCLUSION: The 'POPPI' psychological intervention to reduce acute patient stress in critical care and prevent future psychological morbidity was feasible and acceptable. It was refined for evaluation in a cluster randomised clinical trial. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN61088114; Results
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