29,525 research outputs found

    Comparison of physical fitness between healthy and mild‐to‐moderate asthmatic children with exercise symptoms: A cross‐sectional study

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    .Objective Asthma is a chronic disease that may affect physical fitness, although its primary effects on exercise capacity, muscle strength, functionality and lifestyle, in children and adolescents, are still poorly understood. This study aimed to evaluate the differences in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, lifestyle, lung function, and functionality between asthmatics with exercise symptoms and healthy children. In addition, we have analyzed the association between clinical history and the presence of asthma. Study Design Cross-sectional study including 71 patients with a diagnosis of asthma and 71 healthy children and adolescents (7–17 years of age). Anthropometric data, clinical history, disease control, lifestyle (KIDMED and physical activity questionnaires), lung function (spirometry), exercise-induced bronchoconstriction test, aerobic fitness (cardiopulmonary exercise test), muscle strength and functionality (timed up and go; timed up and down stairs) were evaluated. Results Seventy-one patients with asthma (mean age 11.5 ± 2.7) and 71 healthy subjects (mean age 10.7 ± 2.5) were included. All asthmatic children had mild to moderate and stable asthma. EIB occurred in 56.3% of asthmatic children. Lung function was significantly (p < .05) lower in the asthmatic group when compared to healthy peers, as well as the cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, lifestyle and functionality. Moreover, asthmatic children were more likely to have atopic dermatitis, allergic reactions, food allergies, and a family history of asthma when compared to healthy children. Conclusions Children with mild-to-moderate asthma presenting exercise symptoms show a reduction in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, lung function, functionality, and lifestyle when compared to healthy peers. The study provides data for pediatricians to support exercise practice aiming to improve prognosis and quality of life in asthmatic children.S

    Identification of Hindbrain Neural Substrates for Motor Initiation in the hatchling Xenopus laevis Tadpole

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    Animal survival profoundly depends on the ability to detect stimuli in the environment, process them and respond accordingly. In this respect, motor responses to a sensory stimulation evolved into a variety of coordinated movements, which involve the control of brain centres over spinal locomotor circuits. The hatchling Xenopus tadpole, even in its embryonic stage, is able to detect external sensory information and to swim away if the stimulus is considered noxious. To do so, the tadpole relies on well-known ascending sensory pathway, which carries the sensory information to the brain. When the stimulus is strong enough, descending interneurons are activated, leading to the excitation of spinal CPG neurons, which causes the undulatory movement of swimming. However, the activation of descending interneurons that marks the initiation of motor response appears after a long delay from the sensory stimulation. Furthermore, the long-latency response is variable in time, as observed in the slow-summating excitation measured in descending interneurons. These two features, i.e. long-latency and variability, cannot be explained by the firing time and pattern of the ascending sensory pathway of the Xenopus tadpole. Therefore, a novel neuronal population has been proposed to lie in the hindbrain of the tadpole, and being able to 'hold' the sensory information, thus accounting for the long and variable delay of swim initiation. In this work, the role of the hindbrain in the maintenance of the long and variable response to trunk skin stimulation is investigated in the Xenopustadpole at developmental stage 37/38. A multifaceted approach has been used to unravel the neuronal mechanisms underlying the delayed motor response, including behavioural experiments, electrophysiology analysis of fictive swimming, hindbrain extracellular recordings and imaging experiments. Two novel neuronal populations have been identified in the tadpole's hindbrain, which exhibit activation patterns compatible with the role of delaying the excitation of the spinal locomotor circuit. Future work on cellular properties and synaptic connections of these newly discovered populations might shed light on the mechanism of descending control active at embryonic stage. Identifying supraspinal neuronal populations in an embryonic organism could aid in understanding mechanisms of descending motor control in more complex vertebrates

    Interactive Sonic Environments: Sonic artwork via gameplay experience

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    The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of video-game technology in the design and implementation of interactive sonic centric artworks, the purpose of which is to create and contribute to the discourse and understanding of its effectiveness in electro-acoustic composition highlighting the creative process. Key research questions include: How can the language of electro-acoustic music be placed in a new framework derived from videogame aesthetics and technology? What new creative processes need to be considered when using this medium? Moreover, what aspects of 'play' should be considered when designing the systems? The findings of this study assert that composers and sonic art practitioners need little or no coding knowledge to create exciting applications and the myriad of options available to the composer when using video-game technology is limited only by imagination. Through a cyclic process of planning, building, testing and playing these applications the project revealed advantages and unique sonic opportunities in comparison to other sonic art installations. A portfolio of selected original compositions, both fixed and open are presented by the author to complement this study. The commentary serves to place the work in context with other practitioners in the field and to provide compositional approaches that have been taken

    Balancing the urban stomach: public health, food selling and consumption in London, c. 1558-1640

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    Until recently, public health histories have been predominantly shaped by medical and scientific perspectives, to the neglect of their wider social, economic and political contexts. These medically-minded studies have tended to present broad, sweeping narratives of health policy's explicit successes or failures, often focusing on extraordinary periods of epidemic disease viewed from a national context. This approach is problematic, particularly in studies of public health practice prior to 1800. Before the rise of modern scientific medicine, public health policies were more often influenced by shared social, cultural, economic and religious values which favoured maintaining hierarchy, stability and concern for 'the common good'. These values have frequently been overlooked by modern researchers. This has yielded pessimistic assessments of contemporary sanitation, implying that local authorities did not care about or prioritise the health of populations. Overly medicalised perspectives have further restricted historians' investigation and use of source material, their interpretation of multifaceted and sometimes contested cultural practices such as fasting, and their examination of habitual - and not just extraordinary - health actions. These perspectives have encouraged a focus on reactive - rather than preventative - measures. This thesis contributes to a growing body of research that expands our restrictive understandings of pre-modern public health. It focuses on how public health practices were regulated, monitored and expanded in later Tudor and early Stuart London, with a particular focus on consumption and food-selling. Acknowledging the fundamental public health value of maintaining urban foodways, it investigates how contemporaries sought to manage consumption, food production waste, and vending practices in the early modern City's wards and parishes. It delineates the practical and political distinctions between food and medicine, broadly investigates the activities, reputations of and correlations between London's guild and itinerant food vendors and licensed and irregular medical practitioners, traces the directions in which different kinds of public health policy filtered up or down, and explores how policies were enacted at a national and local level. Finally, it compares and contrasts habitual and extraordinary public health regulations, with a particular focus on how perceptions of and actual food shortages, paired with the omnipresent threat of disease, impacted broader aspects of civic life

    Structural and Attitudinal Barriers to Bicycle Ownership and Cycle-Based Transport in Gauteng, South Africa

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    Policies that aim to facilitate and promote non-motorised transport (NMT), and in particular cycling, have been developed by many high-income countries facing increasingly congested roads and saturated public transport systems. Such policies are also emerging in many low- and middle-income settings where high rates of urbanisation have led to similar problems with motorised transport. The aim of the present study was to better understand the potential structural and attitudinal barriers to cycle-based transport in one such context: South Africa’s Gauteng Province, the industrial powerhouse of sub-Saharan Africa that has recently made a firm commitment to NMT. The study focussed on demographic and socioeconomic variation in bicycle and car ownership, and related this to: (1) the reported use of motorised and non-motorised transport (both private and public); and (2) perceived ‘problems’ with cycling. The analyses drew on interviews with key respondents from n = 27,490 households conducted in 2013 as part of the third Quality of Life survey undertaken by the Gauteng City Regional Observatory. The survey contained items on three outcomes of interest: household vehicle ownership (bicycles and cars); modes of transport used for the “trips” most often made; and respondents’ “single biggest problem with… cycling”. Respondent- and household-level demographic and socioeconomic determinants of these outcomes were examined using descriptive and multivariable statistical analyses, the latter after adjustment for measured potential confounders identified using a theoretical causal path diagram (in the form of a directed acyclic graph). Of the n = 26,469 households providing complete data on all of the variables examined in the present study, only n = 8722 (32.9%) owned a car and fewer still (n = 2244; 8.4%) owned a bicycle. The ownership of these assets was commonest amongst wealthier, economically active households; and those that owned a car had over five times the odds of also owning a bicycle, even after adjustment for potential confounding (OR 5.17; 95% CI 4.58, 5.85). Moreover, of household respondents who reported making ‘trips’ during the preceding month (n = 18,209), over two-thirds of those whose households owned a car (70.1%) reported private car-based transport for such trips, while only 3.2% of those owning a bicycle reported cycling. Amongst the specific responses given to the item requesting the “single biggest problem with… cycling” by far the commonest was “Don’t know how to cycle” (32.2%), less than half as many citing “Vehicle accident risk” (15.9%), and fewer still: “Destination is too far” (13.9%); “Crime” (10.3%); “Too much effort” (9.2%); or “Lack of good paths” (4.6%). While the first of these reasons was commonest amongst poorer households, concerns about risk and effort were both most common amongst better educated, economically active and wealthier/better serviced households. In contrast, concerns over (cycle) paths were only common amongst those owning bicycles. The low prevalence of household bicycle ownership, and the disproportionate number of households owning bicycles that also owned cars, might explain the very small proportion of the ‘the trips most often made’ that involved cycle-based transport (0.3%), and the preferential use of cars amongst households owning both bicycles and cars. Low levels of bicycle ownership might also explain why so many respondents cited “Don’t know how” as the “single biggest problem with… cycling”; although risk and effort were also substantial concerns (presumably for many who did, and some who did not, know how to cycle); the lack of suitable cycle lanes being only primarily a concern for those who actually owned bicycles. Structural and attitudinal barriers to cycle-based transport limit the use of cycle-based transport in Gauteng, not only amongst the vast majority of household respondents who lack the means to cycle (and the means to learn how), but also amongst those dissuaded from learning to cycle, purchasing a bicycle and/or using a bicycle they own by: the risks and effort involved; the lack of suitable cycle paths; and/or because they also own a car and prefer to drive than cycle

    Responding to research evidence in Parliament: a case study on selective education policy

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    This research focusses on how members of the UK Parliament engaged with evidence in relation to the policy decision leading to the Selective Schools Expansion Fund, a policy designed to enable the existing 163 English Grammar Schools to apply for additional funds to expand their intake. Although a small case study, the narrow focus provides a fertile setting for analysis of the relationship between research evidence, Parliamentary debates, and policy decisions. The article provides contextual background in relation to the dominant political parties’ (Conservative and Labour) education policy manifesto statements and a discussion on the nature and understanding of evidence. Particular attention is given to how evidence can be used to support claims and the importance of justified warrants. Using NVivo software, we identified the thematic content of 11 Parliamentary debates and analysed the findings using descriptive statistics, which we tested with a playful, carnivalesque extrapolation of the data. Argumentative analysis shows that within the debates a number of rhetorical tools are used to avoid empirical evidence, including the deployment of a ‘moral sidestep’ which discourse analysis reveals in this case to be the repeated communication that grammar schools are ‘good’. In this way, Ofsted ratings are conflated with moral goodness, leading to a disproportionate diversion of school funding in their favour. This case study exposes strengths and weaknesses of Parliamentary debate, which might be relevant to educational researchers who focus on evidence-based policy and to the policy makers and other stakeholders who engage with the evidence such researchers offer

    The applied psychology of addictive orientations : studies in a 12-step treatment context.

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    The clinical data for the studies was collected at The PROMIS Recovery Centre, a Minnesota Model treatmentc entre for addictions,w hich encouragesth e membership and use of the 12 step Anonymous Fellowships, and is abstinence based. The area of addiction is contextualised in a review chapter which focuses on research relating to the phenomenon of cross addiction. A study examining the concept of "addictive orientations" in male and female addicts is described, which develops a study conductedb y StephensonM, aggi, Lefever, & Morojele (1995). This presents study found a four factor solution which appeared to be subdivisions of the previously found Hedonism and Nurturance factors. Self orientated nurturance (both food dimensions, shopping and caffeine), Other orientated nurturance (both compulsive helping dimensions and work), Sensation seeking hedonism (Drugs, prescription drugs, nicotine and marginally alcohol), and Power related hedonism (Both relationship dimensions, sex and gambling. This concept of "addictive orientations" is further explored in a non-clinical population, where again a four factor solution was found, very similar to that in the clinical population. This was thought to indicate that in terms of addictive orientation a pattern already exists in this non-clinical population and that consideration should be given to why this is the case. These orientations are examined in terms of gender differences. It is suggested that the differences between genders reflect power-related role relationships between the sexes. In order to further elaborate the significance and meaning behind these orientations, the next two chapters look at the contribution of personality variables and how addictive orientations relate to psychiatric symptomatology. Personality variables were differentially, and to a considerable extent predictably involved with the four factors for both males and females.Conscientiousness as positively associated with "Other orientated Nurturance" and negatively associated with "Sensation seeking hedonism" (particularly for men). Neuroticism had a particularly strong association with the "Self orientated Nurturance" factor in the female population. More than twice the symptomatology variance was explained by the factor scores for females than it was for males. The most important factorial predictors for psychiatric symptomatology were the "Power related hedonism" factor for males, and "Self oriented nurturance" for females. The results are discussed from theoretical and treatment perspectives

    The company she keeps : The social and interpersonal construction of girls same sex friendships

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    This thesis begins a critical analysis of girls' 'private' interpersonal and social relations as they are enacted within two school settings. It is the study of these marginal subordinated worlds productivity of forms of femininity which provides the main narrative of this project. I seek to understand these processes of (best) friendship construction through a feminist multi-disciplinary frame, drawing upon cultural studies, psychoanalysis and accounts of gender politics. I argue that the investments girls bring to their homosocial alliances and boundary drawing narry a psychological compulsion which is complexly connected to their own experiences within the mother/daughter bond as well as reflecting positively an immense social debt to the permissions girls have to be nurturant and ; negatively their own reproduction of oppressive exclusionary practices. Best friendship in particular gives girls therefore, the experience of 'monogamy' continuous of maternal/daughter identification, reminiscent of their positioning inside monopolistic forms of heterosexuality. But these subcultures also represent a subversive discontinuity to the public dominance of boys/teachers/adults in schools and to the ideologies and practices of heterosociality and heterosexuality. By taking seriously their transmission of the values of friendship in their chosen form of notes and diaries for example, I was able to access the means whereby they were able to resist their surveillance and control by those in power over them. I conclude by arguing that it is through a recognition of the valency of these indivisiblly positive and negative aspects to girls cultures that Equal Opportunities practitioners must begin if they are serious about their ambitions. Methods have to be made which enable girls to transfer their 'private' solidarities into the 'public' realm, which unquestionably demands contesting with them the causes and consequences of their implication in the divisions which also contaminate their lives and weaken them

    Strung pieces: on the aesthetics of television fiction series

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    As layered and long works, television fiction series have aesthetic properties that are built over time, bit by bit. This thesis develops a group of concepts that enable the study of these properties, It argues that a series is made of strung pieces, a system of related elements. The text begins by considering this sequential form within the fields of film and television. This opening chapter defines the object and methodology of research, arguing for a non-essentialist distinction between cinema and television and against the adequacy of textual and contextual analyses as approaches to the aesthetics of these shows. It proposes instead that these programmes should be described as televisual works that can be scrutinised through aesthetic analysis. The next chapters propose a sequence of interrelated concepts. The second chapter contends that series are composed of building blocks that can be either units into which series are divided or motifs that unify series and are dispersed across their pans. These blocks are patterned according to four kinds of relations or principles of composition. Repetition and variation are treated in tandem in the third chapter because of their close connection, given that variation emerges from established repetition. Exception and progression are also discussed together in the fourth chapter since they both require a long view of these serial works. The former, in order to be recognised as a deviation from the patterns of repetition and variation. The latter, In order to be understood in Its many dimensions as the series advances. Each of these concepts is further detailed with additional distinctions between types of units, motifs, repetitions, variations, and exceptions, using illustrative examples from numerous shows. In contrast, the section on progression uses a single series as case study, Carnivàle (2003-05), because this is the overarching principle that encompasses all the others. The conclusion considers the findings of the research and suggests avenues for their application

    Self-help/mutual aid groups in mental health : ideology, helping mechanisms and empowerment

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    In the last quarter of the twentieth century, self-help/mutual aid groups for mental health issues started to emerge in growing numbers, mainly in Western societies, offering and/or advocating for alternative non-traditional forms of support, and attracted the attention of many researchers and clinicians for their unique characteristics. Among the subjects of interest are typologies of groups, helping mechanisms and benefits from participation. However, there is lack of systematic research in the area and existing studies have been largely confined to the therapeutic value of these groups instead of acknowledging their socio-political meaning and subsequent psychosocial benefits for their members like personal empowerment. The present study was conducted during the transitional years from a Conservative to a newly elected Labour Government (1996 -1998), with subsequent policy shifts taking place in the welfare sector. The purpose of the study was to explore the potential of self-help groups as part of a broader new social movement, the service user movement, focussing on the English scene. It addressed this issue examining the relevance of a group typology based on political ideology and focus of change. To test the validity of this classification for members, a set of individual characteristics and group mechanisms as well as their change through time were examined. The sample consisted of fourteen mental health selfhelp/mutual aid groups from London and South East England, with a variety of structural and organisational features. The methodology used was a combination of both quantitative (self-completion questionnaires) and qualitative techniques (analysis of written material, participant observation and interviews). Measurements were repeated after a one-year interval (Time 1N=67, Time 2 N=56). Findings showed that, indeed, political ideology of self-help/mutual aid groups provided the basis of a meaningful typology and constitutes a comprehensive way of categorising them. Group ideology was related to specific helping mechanisms and aspects of personal empowerment. Specifically, conservative and combined group members reported more expressive group processes like sharing of feelings and self-disclosure, while radical group members were more empowered and optimistic. Group identification was also associated with specific helping activities and aspects of empowerment in the three group categories. The psychosocial character of group types and the beneficial outcomes for members remained stable through time. In general, prolonged participation was reflected in greater member identification with the group and resulted in improved mental wellbeing, increased social support, companionship and optimism for the future
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