38,498 research outputs found

    Assessing performance of artificial neural networks and re-sampling techniques for healthcare datasets.

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    Re-sampling methods to solve class imbalance problems have shown to improve classification accuracy by mitigating the bias introduced by differences in class size. However, it is possible that a model which uses a specific re-sampling technique prior to Artificial neural networks (ANN) training may not be suitable for aid in classifying varied datasets from the healthcare industry. Five healthcare-related datasets were used across three re-sampling conditions: under-sampling, over-sampling and combi-sampling. Within each condition, different algorithmic approaches were applied to the dataset and the results were statistically analysed for a significant difference in ANN performance. The combi-sampling condition showed that four out of the five datasets did not show significant consistency for the optimal re-sampling technique between the f1-score and Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve performance evaluation methods. Contrarily, the over-sampling and under-sampling condition showed all five datasets put forward the same optimal algorithmic approach across performance evaluation methods. Furthermore, the optimal combi-sampling technique (under-, over-sampling and convergence point), were found to be consistent across evaluation measures in only two of the five datasets. This study exemplifies how discrete ANN performances on datasets from the same industry can occur in two ways: how the same re-sampling technique can generate varying ANN performance on different datasets, and how different re-sampling techniques can generate varying ANN performance on the same dataset

    Building body identities - exploring the world of female bodybuilders

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    This thesis explores how female bodybuilders seek to develop and maintain a viable sense of self despite being stigmatized by the gendered foundations of what Erving Goffman (1983) refers to as the 'interaction order'; the unavoidable presentational context in which identities are forged during the course of social life. Placed in the context of an overview of the historical treatment of women's bodies, and a concern with the development of bodybuilding as a specific form of body modification, the research draws upon a unique two year ethnographic study based in the South of England, complemented by interviews with twenty-six female bodybuilders, all of whom live in the U.K. By mapping these extraordinary women's lives, the research illuminates the pivotal spaces and essential lived experiences that make up the female bodybuilder. Whilst the women appear to be embarking on an 'empowering' radical body project for themselves, the consequences of their activity remains culturally ambivalent. This research exposes the 'Janus-faced' nature of female bodybuilding, exploring the ways in which the women negotiate, accommodate and resist pressures to engage in more orthodox and feminine activities and appearances

    Towards a sociology of conspiracy theories: An investigation into conspiratorial thinking on Dönmes

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    This thesis investigates the social and political significance of conspiracy theories, which has been an academically neglected topic despite its historical relevance. The academic literature focuses on the methodology, social significance and political impacts of these theories in a secluded manner and lacks empirical analyses. In response, this research provides a comprehensive theoretical framework for conspiracy theories by considering their methodology, political impacts and social significance in the light of empirical data. Theoretically, the thesis uses Adorno's semi-erudition theory along with Girardian approach. It proposes that conspiracy theories are methodologically semi-erudite narratives, i.e. they are biased in favour of a belief and use reason only to prove it. It suggests that conspiracy theories appear in times of power vacuum and provide semi-erudite cognitive maps that relieve alienation and ontological insecurities of people and groups. In so doing, they enforce social control over their audience due to their essentialist, closed-to-interpretation narratives. In order to verify the theory, the study analyses empirically the social and political significance of conspiracy theories about the Dönme community in Turkey. The analysis comprises interviews with conspiracy theorists, conspiracy theory readers and political parties, alongside a frame analysis of the popular conspiracy theory books on Dönmes. These confirm the theoretical framework by showing that the conspiracy theories are fed by the ontological insecurities of Turkish society. Hence, conspiracy theorists, most readers and some political parties respond to their own ontological insecurities and political frustrations through scapegoating Dönmes. Consequently, this work shows that conspiracy theories are important symptoms of society, which, while relieving ontological insecurities, do not provide politically prolific narratives

    The temporality of rhetoric: the spatialization of time in modern criticism

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    Every conception of criticism conceals a notion of time which informs the manner in which the critic conceives of history, representation and criticism itself. This thesis reveals the philosophies of time inherent in certain key modern critical concepts: allegory, irony and the sublime. Each concept opens a breach in time, a disruption of chronology. In each case this gap or aporia is emphatically closed, elided or denied. Taking the philosophy of time elaborated by Giorgio Agamben as an introductory proposition, my argument turns in Chapter One to the allegorical temporality which Walter Benjamin sees as the time of photography. The second chapter examines the aesthetics of the sublime as melancholic or mournful untimeliness. In Chapter Three, Paul de Man's conception of irony provides an exemplary instance of the denial of this troubling temporal predicament. In opposition to the foreclosure of the disturbing temporalities of criticism, history and representation, the thesis proposes a fundamental rethinking of the philosophy of time as it relates to these categories of reflection. In a reading of an inaugural meditation on the nature of time, and in examining certain key contemporary philosophical and critical texts, I argue for a critical attendance to that which eludes those modes of thought that attempt to map time as a recognizable and essentially spatial field. The Confessions of Augustine provide, in the fourth chapter, a model for thinking through the problems set up earlier: Augustine affords us, precisely, a means of conceiving of the gap or the interim. In the final chapter, this concept is developed with reference to the criticism of Arnold and Eliot, the fiction of Virginia Woolf and the philosophy of cinema derived from Deleuze and Lyotard. In conclusion, the philosophical implications of the thesis are placed in relation to a conception of the untimeliness of death

    Clinicians' experiences of using the MCA (2005) with people with intellectual disabilities

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    Section A is a narrative synthesis of the empirical literature of professionals’ knowledge of the MCA and how they apply it when working with people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Eleven papers were identified for inclusion in this review. Four themes, with subthemes, were identified: ‘processes involved’, ‘working with complexity’, ‘knowledge gaps and variability’ and ‘assessor needs’. Methodological strengths and weaknesses are also considered. Findings are discussed in relation to clinical implications and recommendations for future research are outlined. Section B is an empirical study using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore the experiences of clinicians using the MCA (2005) with people with ID to assess capacity to consent to sex. Eight clinicians, who had completed between 2 and 40-50 (mode=2) MCA assessments regarding consent to sex. Three superordinate themes, with subthemes, are outlined and discussed in relation to the existing literature. Limitations, clinical implications and areas of future research are considered

    Exploring the effects of spinal cord stimulation for freezing of gait in parkinsonian patients

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    Dopaminergic replacement therapies (e.g. levodopa) provide limited to no response for axial motor symptoms including gait dysfunction and freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Richardson’s syndrome progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP-RS) patients. Dopaminergic-resistant FOG may be a sensorimotor processing issue that does not involve basal ganglia (nigrostriatal) impairment. Recent studies suggest that spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has positive yet variable effects for dopaminergic-resistant gait and FOG in parkinsonian patients. Further studies investigating the mechanism of SCS, optimal stimulation parameters, and longevity of effects for alleviating FOG are warranted. The hypothesis of the research described in this thesis is that mid-thoracic, dorsal SCS effectively reduces FOG by modulating the sensory processing system in gait and may have a dopaminergic effect in individuals with FOG. The primary objective was to understand the relationship between FOG reduction, improvements in upper limb visual-motor performance, modulation of cortical activity and striatal dopaminergic innervation in 7 PD participants. FOG reduction was associated with changes in upper limb reaction time, speed and accuracy measured using robotic target reaching choice tasks. Modulation of resting-state, sensorimotor cortical activity, recorded using electroencephalography, was significantly associated with FOG reduction while participants were OFF-levodopa. Thus, SCS may alleviate FOG by modulating cortical activity associated with motor planning and sensory perception. Changes to striatal dopaminergic innervation, measured using a dopamine transporter marker, were associated with visual-motor performance improvements. Axial and appendicular motor features may be mediated by non-dopaminergic and dopaminergic pathways, respectively. The secondary objective was to demonstrate the short- and long-term effects of SCS for alleviating dopaminergic-resistant FOG and gait dysfunction in 5 PD and 3 PSP-RS participants without back/leg pain. SCS programming was individualized based on which setting best improved gait and/or FOG responses per participant using objective gait analysis. Significant improvements in stride velocity, step length and reduced FOG frequency were observed in all PD participants with up to 3-years of SCS. Similar gait and FOG improvements were observed in all PSP-RS participants up to 6-months. SCS is a promising therapeutic option for parkinsonian patients with FOG by possibly influencing cortical and subcortical structures involved in locomotion physiology

    Examination of a Brief, Self-Paced Online Self-Compassion Intervention Targeting Intuitive Eating and Body Image Outcomes among Men and Women

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    Ideals for appearance and body image are pervasive in Western culture in which men and women are portrayed with unrealistic and often unattainable standards (Ferguson, 2013; Martin, 2010). Exposure and reinforcement have created a culture of social acceptance and internalization of these ideals, contributing to pervasive body image disturbance (i.e., body dissatisfaction; Fallon et al., 2014; Stice, 2001; Thompson & Stice, 2001; Thompson et al., 1999). Research has suggested that body dissatisfaction is expressed differently across sexes (Grossbard et al., 2008), with attention to thin ideals among women and muscular ideals among men. Body dissatisfaction has been linked to numerous poor outcomes, including dieting, unhealthy weight control behaviors, disordered eating, and increased psychopathology. Although dieting is one of the primary mechanisms employed to reduce body dissatisfaction (Thompson & Stice, 2001), research has shown that such efforts are contraindicated as dieting predicts weight gain over time (Pietiläinen et al., 2012) as well as preoccupation with food, disordered eating, eating disorders, emotional distress, and higher body dissatisfaction (Grabe et al., 2007; Johnson & Wardle, 2005; Neumark- Sztianer et al., 2006; Paxton et al., 2006; Tiggemann, 2005). Restrictive dietary behaviors suppress physiological cues to eat (e.g., hunger) that presents a vulnerability to eating in response to alternative cues, both internal (e.g., emotions) and external (e.g., availability of food). Intuitive eating is a non-restrictive approach to eating that encourages adherence to internal physiological cues to indicate when, what, and how much to eat (Tylka, 2006) and has demonstrated an inverse relationship with disordered eating, restrained eating, food preoccupation, dieting, body dissatisfaction, and negative affect (Bruce & Ricciardelli, 2016). Self-compassion, relating to oneself in a caring and supportive manner (Neff, 2003a), has been proposed as a pathway to increase intuitive eating and reduce body dissatisfaction (Neff & Knox, 2017; Schoenefeld & Webb, 2013; Webb & Hardin, 2016). Research has highlighted the efficacy of self-compassion interventions in addressing weight-related concerns (Rahimi-Ardabili et al., 2018) as well as brief experiential exercises for reducing body dissatisfaction (Moffitt et al., 2018). Additionally, there is a growing body of evidence supporting the efficacy of internet-based self-compassion interventions (Mak et al., 2018; Kelman et al., 2018; Nadeau et al., 2020). The purpose of the current study was to examine the effectiveness of a brief, self-paced online self-compassion intervention targeting body image and adaptive eating behaviors and potential mechanisms of change (e.g., self-compassion and psychological flexibility) among undergraduate men and women. This study also examined outcomes among men and women in the area of self-compassion, body dissatisfaction, and intuitive eating as research has highlighted the need to determine who benefits more from self-compassion interventions (Rahimi-Ardabili et al., 2018). The study compared a one-hour, self-guided online self-compassion intervention to an active control condition. The intervention was comprised of psychoeducation, experiential exercises, and mindfulness practice designed to increase self-compassion surrounding body image and eating behaviors. In contrast, the active control condition consisted of self-care recommendations and self-assessments for nutrition, exercise, and sleep. The study was administered over three parts (e.g., baseline, intervention, and follow-up) in which variables of interest were assessed at each time point. Outcome variables included self-compassion, intuitive eating, disordered eating, body appreciation, muscle dysmorphia, internalized weight bias, fear of self-compassion, and psychological inflexibility. Participants were randomized on a 2:1 intervention to control ratio at the second time point in order to make comparisons between groups while simultaneously having sufficient power for examining mediation and moderation within the treatment condition. Overall, 1023 individuals (64% women, Mage = 18.9, 67.4% white) signed informed consent and participated in at least one part of the study whereas 101 participants (71% women, Mage = 19.3, 71% white) completed all three study portions. As predicted, self-compassion was correlated with all variables of interest, and all study variables were correlated with each other (p < .01). In contrast to hypothesized outcomes, the self-compassion condition failed to demonstrate improvements across time or between conditions on all study outcomes. These results persisted when participants were screened for levels of intuitive eating as well. Contrary to prediction, internalized weight bias, muscle dysmorphia, and fear of self-compassion demonstrated increased levels within the intervention condition and decreases in the control condition. There were significant gender differences on multiple outcome variables, with men demonstrating higher levels of self-compassion and body appreciation whereas women endorsed higher levels of disordered eating, internalized weight bias, muscle dysmorphia, and psychological inflexibility. Additionally, there were significant gender interactions for internalized weight bias, body appreciation, and muscle dysmorphia. The interactions existed such that men demonstrated increased internalized weight bias and muscle dysmorphia across time whereas women displayed decreased weight bias and muscle dysmorphia. The opposite pattern was found within body appreciation; women demonstrated increased body appreciation across time while men reported decreased levels of body appreciation. Despite this study’s intent to examine underlying mechanisms of change, the condition in which participants were randomly selected did not have any relationship, positive or negative, with the outcome variables of interest. As such, mediation within the current study was not conducted as it would violate statistical assumptions required to examine this hypothesis. Finally, upon examining the moderating relationship of fear of self-compassion between self-compassion and outcome variables, there were main effects for self-compassion on intuitive eating, emotional eating, internalized weight bias, body appreciation, and psychological inflexibility as well as main effects of fear of self-compassion on psychological inflexibility. There were significant interactions for intuitive eating and emotional eating, such that as fear of self-compassion increased, the effect of self-compassion on intuitive eating decreased, and the effect of self-compassion on reducing emotional eating behaviors decreased. Overall, the brief, self-paced online intervention delivered in the current study did not prove to be an effective means for improving self-compassion, intuitive eating, body appreciation, disordered eating, muscle dysmorphia, and psychological inflexibility. Nevertheless, the relationships between self-compassion and outcome variables of interest throughout the study mirror that of the existing literature. Findings from this study, in general, were also consistent with differences between men and women despite a gap in the research for intervention outcomes. Although fear of self-compassion demonstrated a moderating effect on the relationship between self-compassion and intuitive eating as well as emotional eating, this does not account for the lack of significant findings. The context surrounding this study, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, provided a considerable challenge to examining the efficacy of the current intervention. However, the findings of this study suggest future research will likely need to identify ways to enhance the delivery of experiential exercises that encourage engagement, provide a safe and warm environment for participants, and create flexibility and willingness surrounding painful and difficult experiences in order to undermine internalized and socially accepted beliefs about body image and eating behaviors

    Qualitatively Exploring the Intersection of Health and Housing Needs in Canadian Crowdfunding Campaigns

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    Background Online crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe fundraise millions of dollars annually for campaigners. Medical crowdfunding is a very popular campaign type, with campaigners often requesting funds to cover basic health and medical care needs. Here we explore the ways that health needs intersect with housing needs in Canadian crowdfunding campaigns. In Canada, both health and housing needs may be addressed through legislative or policy intervention, are public health priorities, and are perceived as entitlements related to people’s basic human rights. We specifically develop a classification scheme of these intersections. Methods We extensively reviewed Canadian crowdfunding campaigns on GoFundMe, the largest charitable crowdfunding platform, using a series of keywords to form the basis of the classification scheme. Through this process we identified five categories of intersection. We extracted 100 campaigns, 20 for each category, to ascertain the scope of these categories. Results Five categories form the basis of the classification scheme: (1) instances of poor health creating the need to temporarily or permanently relocate to access care or treatment; (2) house modification funding requests to enhance mobility or otherwise meet some sort of health-related need; (3) campaigns posted by people with health needs who were not able to afford housing costs, which may be due to the cost of treatment or medication or the inability to work due to health status; (4) campaigns seeking funding to address dangerous or unhealthy housing that was negatively impacting health; and (5) people describing an ongoing cyclical relationship between health and housing need. Conclusions This analysis demonstrates that health and housing needs intersect within the crowdfunding space. The findings reinforce the need to consider health and housing needs together as opposed to using a siloed approach to addressing these pressing social issues, while the classification scheme assist with articulating the breadth of what such co-consideration must include

    The Cerebral Plasticity Prospect of Stingless Bee Honey-Polyphenols Supplementation in Rehabilitation of Post-Stroke Vascular Cognitive Impairment

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    The neuroprotective potential of stingless bee honey (SBH) is still to be documented from numerous studies including that of its effect on cerebrovascular event. This review should guide stroke rehabilitation specialties to a high understanding of the overall circuit changes post-stroke, the clinical relevance of this change in stroke to cognitive impairment and dementia, and SBH as a supplementation in modern stroke rehabilitation in progresses. However, the potential of SBH as a supplementation therapy and highlights treatment to induced plasticity for post-stroke vascular cognitive impairment (PSVCI) remains largely unexplored. This Chapter attempts to deliberate on recent evidence that highlight the therapeutic properties of honey and SBH, the features of PSVCI, and proposing the plausible mechanism of action for SBH as a supplementation during stroke rehabilitation that could halt the progression of PSVCI. It is hoped that such an approach could complement the existing evidence-based stroke care, and which will help in the development of future direction of brain plasticity to delay the progression of cognitive impairment post-stroke
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