The aim of this paper is to look into the human rights violations committed by the United States against the black men during the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment as well as touch on the broader concept of racial medicine. In addition, my goal is to dismantle the pretense society may hold about the United States and the moral high ground it claims to stand on. In order to accomplish this goal, I will make parallels about atrocities committed by the United States on the African-American population to those committed by the Nazis on the Jewish population in Germany. I will first briefly define the disease in order to provide an understanding of its severity. Then I will discuss the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (TSE) in its entirety. Next, I will discuss and analyze the specific human rights violated. I will then go through and break down aspects of the TSE and provide direct examples of crimes committed by the Nazis to dismantle the mask the United States wears. I will also attempt to investigate the physicians in order to get a thorough understanding of racial medicine and its application specifically in the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment as well as in general. In conclusion, I will synthesis the inability of the government to protect its people to the implications it presents today.
Thomas O. Raymond
A bacteriophage is a virus capable of infecting bacteria like ubiquitous soil-dwelling genus Bacillus. Within the Bacillus genus, there is the “ACT family” made up of B. thuringiensis, B. cereus, and B. anthracis, which are highly related but with different pathogenic characteristics. Because of this, phages isolated using a species in this group may have a broad host range encompassing several species from Bacillus. Since B. cereus and B. anthracis can result in fatal to mild sickness in humans, the non-pahtogenic B. thuringiensis kurstaki was used to discover and characterize novel phages. The phage OTooleKemple52 was isolated from a soil sample collected from Chesapeake, VA using “soil enrichment” to increase phage concentration and thus make detection more likely. A phage plaque was observed from this enrichment infection upon plating. The phage population was then purified until the morphology of the phage plaques was consistent (3 mm diameter with pinpoint clear centers). A large volume of phage stock (high titer lysate, HTL) was collected and was then used to obtain purified DNA for gel electrophoresis and genome sequencing. Additionally, an HTL sample was stained with 1% uranyl acetate and imaged using transmission electron microscopy to determine a myoviridae morphology with a head diameter of 80 nm and a tail length of 200 nm. The phage has a broad host range and was able to able to form plaques on 6 out of 8 Bacillus strains tested. The genome of the phage will be annotated and compared to other phage genomes.
Through studying phages we can work to better understand both phage diversity and the interrelatedness of the Bacillus genus. The benefits of studying bacteriophages have reaches from environmental to medical significance because of the ubiquitous and pathogenic characteristics of the host bacteria.
Incorporation of Interprofessional Education and Special Care Dentistry into Standard Dental School Curriculum
Marshall D. Adzima
According to dentistry, special needs is defined as individuals whose medical, physical, psychological, or social situations may make it necessary to modify normal dental routines in order to provide dental treatment for that individual. The population of special needs patients is increasing. The lack of educated professionals in special care dentistry is leading to severe and untreated systemic and oral health problems in the special needs population. The implementation of interprofessional treatment for special needs individuals has proven to be the most effective method of treatment within the special needs population. This study examines the current application of special care dentistry and interprofessional education curriculum through the analysis of case studies and surveys in order to establish a reform that provides a more comprehensive implementation of classes that train oral health professionals on how to treat special needs patients. Despite newly established accreditation standards, graduating dental students are adequately prepared to engage in the treatment of special needs patients. Some studies have suggested that a mandatory post graduate year for dental students will correct this problem, however, this is an expensive solution that would present a financial burden to dental students. A system that combines special care and interprofessional education courses into a didactic and hands-on learning curriculum that will fit into curricula and surpass the CODA accreditation standards. Forming a universal special care dentistry curriculum taught through an interprofessional approach, special needs patients will not only receive better care but cost and treatment will improve as well.
Kunva S. Barot
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a traumatic, life-altering event, which presently, cannot be reversed. A key component of the secondary injury cascade of SCI is an inadequate blood supply (ischemia) present at the injury site, leading to a decrease in oxygen delivery (hypoxia), and possibly neuronal cell death (apoptosis). However, a third generation perfluorocarbon (OxycyteTM), at the appropriate dosage, can improve oxygenation of the injured tissue and overall motor behavior. To test this hypothesis, adult Long-Evans rats were divided into six experimental groups: a control group, a laminectomy group with no treatment, a 2 mL/kg and 5 mL/kg saline group, and a 2 mL/kg and 5 mL/kg Oxycyte group, with the focus on the 5mL/kg Oxycyte group. After performing a laminectomy on T9-T10 of the spinal cord, a 10g weight-dropping device was used at 25mm height, to mimic SCI, and the respective treatment was given. Post operation, rats were monitored and subjected to scoring according to the BBB scale and inclined plane test, to determine improvement on a functional level, day 1, 4, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 after surgery. After functional tests were conducted, rats were euthanized for various lab tests, including histopathology and immunohistochemical analyses, to determine the key apoptotic related proteins, including caspase-3, ERK1/2, and TNFα. The results indicated a statistically significant improvement in recovery, on a functional and molecular level, in rats receiving 5 mL/kg dosage Oxycyte. However, more research of the optimal safe, efficacious dose needs to be conducted to present this research in a clinical setting.
Film Tourism and Expectation: Using the Hallyu Wave to Model How Governments and Media Exports Influence National Image
Aishat O. Bello
Film tourism encompasses the interest, investment and influence that exported media products can contribute to cultural globalization, and subsequent visitation of a nation. The Korean Wave or Hallyu wave has been studied and commended for its rapid spread and growing popularity within Asia and more recently, on a more global scale. By comparing and contrasting the methods used by the Korean government to enhance Hallyu, with several trade deals made by the US government to support Hollywood, we can see how the effects of film tourism were directed towards modifying perspectives on Korean culture. A few consequences of making trade agreements with the US are also discussed, as these affected local film industries and global stereotyping through US cultural imperialism. Using peer-reviewed studies and primary sources, it can be said that the Korean Wave is a consequence of imitation of Hollywood practices. However, we can infer from similar successes in other nations, including New Zealand, that there are various reproducible methods to boost film tourism and influence national image.
Megan R. Bray
This project will be identifying the key factors that contribute to the significant lack of health care in prisons in the U.S., specifically in women’s correctional facilities. I will be lending my focus to disparities in mental health, HIV/AIDs care, reproductive health, trans health, and physical health issues among women who are either currently incarcerated or those who have completed their sentences and are at higher risk for re-entry after attempting re-integration. There is a lack of care, access, and proper treatment for women inmates in U.S. prisons and reform is needed. I foresee the best possible way to accomplish this change short-term is by reforming healthcare policies in prisons, creating competency trainings for healthcare professionals in correctional facilities, including individualized services and trauma informed care, creating community-based services on the outside, and advocating for policy reform outside of prisons until they are abolished altogether. By creating better access to care for women outside of prison, many crimes of necessity will decrease, as well as substance abuse among those coping with physical disabilities and/or mental illness.
Forensic Chemical Analysis of Synthetic Cathinones Using Portable Mass Spectrometric Instrumentation
Caitlin N. Cain
Forensic laboratories face issues with large backlogs on evidence needing to be analyzed is due to two reasons: budgeting issues and the emergence of designer drugs. Currently, forensic laboratory directors cite that there are a shortage of scientists to deal with the yearly increase in caseloads. Additionally, designer drugs like synthetic cathinones, commonly known as “bath salts,” have increased the backlog due to the changing chemical compositions and misidentification as other compounds. Therefore, the use of a portable mass spectrometer for on-site forensic chemical analysis of synthetic cathinones would reduce the backlog of suspected controlled substances in forensic chemistry laboratories. A comparison of research on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), typically used in forensic laboratories, and ambient mass spectrometry, an upcoming method, was conducted to determine which technique would be more suitable for on-site analysis of synthetic cathinones. Ambient mass spectrometry techniques are proven to successfully analyze these evidence samples without degradation and to be employed in the field without extensive power requirements at a low cost. Also, ambient mass spectrometry methods are able to be conducted by non-technical operators. Through use of portable ambient mass spectrometry techniques, synthetic cathinones would be accurately identified in the field, reducing the strain of the backlog in forensic laboratories. Future studies are needed to make the analysis of a spectrum coming from an ambient mass spectrometer easier for non-technical operators to identify synthetic cathinones.
Brenna C. Davis
With the accessibility of television programs provided by popular streaming platforms, like Netflix, consumers can watch episodes or seasons of their favorite programming in just one sitting. This new practice of watching television has been referred to as binge-watching, and is defined by Netflix as watching two to six episodes of the same show in one sitting. Netflix’s definition is the most widely used definition of binge-watching, but does not account for the varying lengths of episodes for the different types of programming. There is a lack of standardization in what constitutes a television binge, like the standards that exist for other binge behaviors, and a lack of research conducted about how these new television watching practices affect health and wellness. To bring awareness to television binging habits and encourage further research of this subject, I studied the neurocognitive and behavioral motivations and effects of excess indulgence to propose a new definition for binge-watching. I found high patterns of television use were associated with increased risk for heart disease and all-cause mortality, poorer cognitive function in midlife, shortened leukocyte telomere length, and disrupted circadian rhythm patterns, independent of factors such as physical activity and family history. I assessed binge-watching in comparison to binge-drinking and used the format of a study on the perceptions of binge-drinking to conduct a survey of college students on their television practices and perceptions of what constitutes binge-watching. Using these results and the research discussed, I will propose a standard definition for binge-watching television.
Due to the prevalence of chemical warfare, soldiers often carry chemical sensing devices, to warn of oncoming nerve agents. However, these devices are cumbersome. A lightweight, wearable chemical sensing fabric that doubles as a protectant against toxins would be beneficial. This fabric can be created by incorporating (1) organophosphate hydrolase, an enzyme capable of degrading organophosphates and releasing an acidic by product, and (2) polyaniline, a color changing polymer that changes from purple to green in the presence of acid, into nylon or polyvinyl alcohol nanofibers. The first step is to produce fabrics containing polyaniline and demonstrate that the fabrics change color in the presence of an acid.
Specifically, we have incorporated polyaniline into the fabrics using two methods. In one method, the polyaniline dispersions are blended with polyvinyl alcohol and electrospun into nanofibers. In the second method, polyaniline is grafted to the surface of nylon nanofibers.
Currently, the sensitivity over numerous cycles is under investigation. The lowest sensitivity of instantaneous color change for the nylon grafted fabrics was 1.6μM HCl. Further research will be conducted to establish a standard detection sensitivity and to incorporate organophosphate hydrolase into the fabric.
Joshua Frank, Dr. Amy Adkins, Nathan Thomas, and Dr. Danielle Dick
The literature shows an inverse association between exercise and mental disorders. The aim of this study is to further elaborate on this association with regards to exercise and its relationship with anxiety and depression in a college sample. The subject group focused on seniors in the Spit for Science data set which incorporated a total of 821 students. Physical activity was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) to estimate the overall metabolic equivalents (MET’s) each student spent in walking, moderate, or vigorous activity levels in the previous week. Sum scores were used to measure depression and anxiety. Overall,the data showed that students 124 students had a walking or low activity level, 255 had a moderate activity level, and 442 had a vigorous or high activity level. There is a significant mean difference in anxiety and depression sum scores between moderate compared to vigorous and moderate compared to low exercise classifications, however no significant mean differences were found between vigorous compared to low exercise groups. Tests showed the correlation between overall MET’s per week compared to anxiety and depression was significant, with an inverse association between the two. This inverse relationship showed that as the overall MET’s increased, the sum score of depression and anxiety both decrease and vice versa. Regression analyses are underway, and covariates are being assessed, for further analyses to determine the relationship between exercise and depression and anxiety. The results of this study can lead to understanding the link between how much exercise is needed to derive a mental benefit as well as where the threshold amount of exercise needed to reverse detrimental effects of inactivity is.
Reduction of Oxidative Stress and Storage Lesions (RCSL) in Red Blood Cells - Analysis of Ascorbic Acid (AA), N-Acetylcysteine amide (AD4), and Serotonin (5-HT)
Oxidative stress is a common occurrence in red blood cell (RBC) storage in blood banks throughout the world. Typically RBC units stored under routine standard protocol (stored in SAGM-CPD additive solution) can only be kept up to 42 days for transfusion usage before being discarded. I am studying the effects of Ascorbic Acid (AA), N-acetylcysteine amide (AD4), and Serotonin (5-HT) as additives in blood bank storage because I want to find out if these additives can reduce storage-induced oxidative stress on red blood cells (RBCs), in order to help my reader understand how potential blood storage additives can affect the shelf life of blood and post-transfusion recovery in patients. I conducted literature review by studying various journal articles that looked from metabolism to proteomics and the synergy of the different additives. These various additives significantly alleviated a range of signs of oxidative stress on RBCs including but not limited to replenishing GSH, decreasing percent hemolysis and lysis, inhibiting the phospholipid rearrangement, and encouraging ATP production. By reducing these symptoms of oxidative stress, RBCs are able to last longer without any significant changes biochemically, and decrease the chances of post-transfusion complications such as Graft vs Host disease (GVHD). The new additive solution could potentially increase the patient’s outage post-transfusion recovery rates as well as increase the shelf life of RBC storage units past the standard 42 days. Future research should be examined at other additives such as DHA, which RBCs actual transporters in the membrane.
Ashley Grupenhoff and Lesley Bulluck
Climate change is of rising concern especially due to how and if this changing climate affects individual species and their fitness. Migratory species, especially long-distance migrants, are ideal models for exploring the relationship between warming temperatures on temperate breeding grounds and decreased precipitation on tropical wintering areas. Few studies have long term data sets to observe species-specific assessments of fitness in relation to changing precipitation and temperature patterns, and those that have assessed these relationships show inconsistent results. We analyzed long-term data of a neo-tropical migratory songbird (Protonotaria citrea) to assess the potential relationships between indices of reproductive success and variation in tropical rainfall and breeding season temperature. We found that the species tended to have longer breeding seasons in years with increased annual temperatures and increased rates of double brooding with increased precipitation in the wintering grounds. Prothonotary warblers had smaller first clutches in stronger El Nino years, though this relationship was weak. Breeding ground precipitation was not correlated with any index of reproductive success. Results suggest that a combination of breeding ground temperature and wintering grounds precipitation play a role in the timing of spring breeding and the prevalence of double brooding, respectively. These findings are important for predicting the sensitivity of long-distance migratory birds to changes in climate, and provides additional evidence for carry over effects between portions of the annual cycle in migratory songbirds.
It is estimated that 2.6 million adolescents suffer from major depressive episodes each year. Research has noted that symptoms in youth have become indicators of mental health complications later in life. Studies reveal that low income is a risk factor for depression and that socioeconomically-disadvantaged teenagers are more than twice as likely to develop mental illnesses. Only roughly 25% of children with mental illnesses receive adequate help and 80% of these resources come from schools. This study focuses on establishing the importance of depression intervention programs in low-income high schools and on designing novel guidelines for effective protocols. A compilation of expert opinion on depression screening, education, and treatment, as well as analysis of previously implemented school screening and/or awareness programs, was examined in order to understand key strategies. This study found that a multi-layered approach that includes screening, universal education, and high-risk intervention is most effective in addressing mental health needs of low-income adolescents. To ensure feasibility and efficacy, screening should be conducted with a modified PHQ-a test and followed-up with timely clinical interviews by school psychologists. All students should receive universal depression education curriculum consisting of principles like depression literacy, asset theory, and promotion of help-seeking behaviors. Extending universal education to teachers would also be beneficial in promoting mental health communication and positive classroom environments. It is vital that students screened positively for depression or suicidality then receive high-risk protocols, ranging from group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to facilitated mental health center referrals based on individual severity. Effectively addressing depression in school systems requires integration of mental health promotion, depression prevention, and psychotherapy. By taking a multidimensional approach addressing all three aspects, public health officials and school administrations can ensure that adequate resources are being directed to those most in need.
Potential for Aerobic Exercise to Release Growth Factors to Induce Cognitive Changes in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is becoming increasingly prevalent among adolescents, and while the number of individuals diagnosed with the disorder grows, there continues to be no cure or even a clear treatment path for ASD. This study analyzes the biological stimulations that create cognitive changes—which are induced by intensive aerobic exercise—within the brains of individuals ages 8-18 diagnosed with autism. I studied journal articles on the current treatments available for ASD, the increasing prevalence of the disease, the cognitive alterations of the autistic brain relative to the brains of individuals without the disease, the release of growth factors due to aerobic exercise, and the benefits of brain derived neurotic factors (BDNF) on the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. I identified that aerobic exercise stimulates the release of growth factors such as BDNF, which target primarily the cerebral cortex and the hippocampal regions of the brain essential for learning and memory processes along with synaptic plasticity. Since adolescents with ASD have a higher risk for obesity and overall tend to have thinner myelin sheaths and shorter axon lengths, aerobic exercise as a physical component and the protein growth factors that are produced as a result of aerobic exercise as a chemical component will prove to be a possible treatment option for ASD. Since there are no current treatments that have a guaranteed benefit for reducing of symptoms of ASD, the identification of aerobic exercise as a viable treatment option will provide to be a safe and healthy alternative to medications that are currently available.
Madeline R. Hays
Although education holds implications for economic growth, scientific progress, and political participation, the United States remains on the lower end of educational quality compared to other industrial and first-world nations. Despite substantial efforts by the American government to mend this issue, reforms have yielded minimal improvement in results. Identifying the reasons for the declining nature of US education is essential in understanding how to improve the current academic state. Why has there been a decline in education quality in America compared to other first-world countries since World War II? In order to distinguish the characteristics correlating with low-achievement in the US, I examined cross-cultural comparisons between America and top-achieving nations. Once the absent or abnormal markers of American education were identified, I investigated possible roots through economic, social, and political perspectives. Results suggest the decline in American education is the consequence of lingering effects of the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Standards Movement. These major societal events created a state of argument between levels of government and their partisan groups. Their products—misled reforms, drains of educational funding, poor curriculum decisions, and attempts at privatization—have contributed to poor academic achievement. Additionally, there are implications for the treatment of teachers and lacking precedence for core studies among the United States general population affecting academic success. With the knowledge of the issues and their roots facing American schooling today, the road to a more holistic and effective treatment of United States education becomes much more clear.
Keith B. Herbert
UMLS::Association - A Semantic Association Framework for Biomedical Texts
Natural Language Processing Lab, Department of Computer Science
We present UMLS::Association, a software package to explore the semantic association of biomedical terms with applications for literature-based discovery. Literature-based discovery is an endeavour to ”connect the dots” for scientists between the topics of their research and those of unexpected relevance. However, many approaches rely on the exact wording for the ideas in the research papers being analyzed. The Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) provides a way to map natural language phrases in these papers to sequences of abstract yet very specific concepts. These concepts are referred to as Concept Unique Identifiers (CUIs). We can identify which concepts are strongly associated by measuring how often they occur together within a corpus of biomedical texts and applying statistical techniques.
We measure the semantic association of CUIs with bigrams: pairs of CUIs that follow each other in some string of symbols. Research articles and clinical studies were first preprocessed by a UMLS tool that generates sequences of CUIs for every phrase within each sentence of the papers. Our framework then extracts bigrams from the CUI sequences to build a database from which we can calculate meaningful statistics for the association of two CUIs. We developed a utility to quickly return a variety of statistical association measures for any two concepts as well as an application programming interface to allow these association measures to be incorporated into new software packages.
We evaluated UMLS::Association’s predictive performance for semantic association by running it on four datasets which had been tagged by human judges for semantic similarity and relatedness. The results show our semantic association measures to match human judgements on the association between concepts as well or better than current state-of-the art semantic similarity and relatedness measures.
UMLS::Association provides an easy to use framework for the semantic association of concepts within biomedical literature. Work is in progress to extend the reach of the bigram model with a directed graph representation of the many unique CUI sequences generated for each phrase in a sentence. A user friendly web application interface to our framework is also under development. Besides access to existing functions, it will also feature a directed graph visualization for the search results for concepts strongly associated with some query concept. This will allow any researcher to explore the semantic associations between concepts in a simple and intuitive way.
Tiffany K. Ho and Divya Krishna
Previous research has shown that a variety of factors can impact college student’s academic performance, including healthy nutrition, physical activity, substance use, smoking, early sexual activity, bullying, excessive television watching, internet use, and playing video games. The purpose of the current study was to explore possible predictors of dropout in students after their first year of college. Data came from the Spit for Science sample and were limited to individuals in the first three cohorts that answered the survey during the fall of their freshmen year (N=6105). Logistic regression was used to test a variety of risk factors, including mental/behavior risk factors, familial risk factors, stress/trauma exposure, and personality factors, in order to see whether or not there was a correlation between risk factors and dropout rates. Initially, multiple risk factors were found to be significantly associated with dropout. However, depression (OR = 1.04, p < 0.05) was the only factor associated with dropout after we included GPA (OR = 0.395, p < 0.001) as a covariate. Supplementary analyses revealed that many of the factors that were found to be significantly associated with dropout rates were significantly related to GPA, suggesting that these risk factors may influence dropout through their effect on GPA.
Hortance E. Houngbeke
Due to discrimination, waiters are less likely to provide good customer service to their black dinners solely based on the assumption that they are poor tippers. The theory of discrimination is the foundation of this observational study where attentiveness is measured to reflect waiters’ avoidance of African American diners. Assuming waiters start with their preconceived notions about Black customers, this research will use the critical race theory to determine if waiters are less attentive to African American diners. To further understand the subtle discriminatory behavior of waiters toward African Americans, this study analyzes observational data from a sample of waiters (N=40). Findings reveal a subtle difference in attentiveness between races and a higher frequency of waiters’ interaction with White diners compared to African American diners. The study contributes to our understanding of social context of discrimination and the experiences of African Americans in restaurants.
Dani Jabado, Cristina Stanciu, and Christopher Ehrhardt
Chemical signatures that can indicate growth medium recipes or other key aspects of the production conditions are an important goal for forensic and biodefense agencies. In this study, Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) profiles were analyzed from Bacillus thuringiensis spores grown five different published medium recipes. B. thuringiensis was chosen due to its biochemical, structural, and genetic similarity to B. anthracis, a Biosafety Level III select agent and the organisms used in the Amerithrax attacks in 2001. The relative abundance of 13 different fatty acid biomarkers, spanning four structure classes, was compared across all spore samples. Differences in the types and relative abundance of specific fatty acids was observed across each medium formulation, particularly within branched-odd and anteiso structure classes (e.g.15:0 iso, 17:0 iso, 15:0 anteiso). Spore cultures also varied in the proportion of unsaturated and saturated fatty acid biomarkers. When examining specific FAME biomarkers, CAD medium showed an average abundance of 30% for 15:0 iso, whereas LD 97 and Sch media showed average abundances of 23% and 27% respectively, and G-medium and G+Peptone exhibited average abundances of 22.5% and 23% respectively for the same fatty acid. Examination of the 17:0 iso fatty acid showed higher average abundances of 12% in CAD and 13.5% in G+Peptone, while showing lower average abundances of 10%, 8.5%, and 6% in LD, G-Medium, and Sch media respectively. Further differences in fatty acid content were also noted across the sporulation media, whereby CAD, G-Medium, and G+Peptone media exhibited an average abundance of 11.8%, 11.5%, and 11% respectively for 15:0 anteiso meanwhile lower abundances of the same fatty acid were noted in LD (8.5%) and Sch (9%) media. The results indicate that determining FAME profiles can be used to discriminate between a Bacillus thuringiensis species grown in different mediums, and that the amino acid content of each medium affects the FAME profile of the species in question.
Over the past few decades, much of the world has continued to experience economic development largely due to rapid growth in technology. Despite this progress, there are still areas that remain untouched by advanced technologies. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest nations in the world with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty (CIA, 2013). Many Haitians have no clean running water, about 21% have access to electricity, and almost 50% of the country is illiterate (Bank, 2012). The intense levels of poverty have resulted in lack of investment in human capital and lack of educational infrastructure.
The Information and Communication Technologies for Education (ICTE) initiative in Haiti is a “Project of Hope.” ICTE can facilitate the acquisition of basic technological skills, while simultaneously contributing to poverty reduction and human development. In order for Haiti to succeed in the 21st century, students, young adults, and teachers need to develop technological knowledge and skills. Developing technological literacy and computer familiarity will help young Haitians participate in the digital economy and/or obtain jobs.
Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Cataract-related Blindness Treatment in Women in Rural Regions of Andhra Pradesh
Kiranpreet Kaur 4198353
Despite efforts of Vision 2020 in India, the Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study (APEDS) extrapolated, in 2000, approximately 18.7 million blind people in India and also, projected an increase to 31.6 million blind people by 2020. Within the state Andhra Pradesh itself, preventable corneal blindness increased to 1.84% from 1.5% in the late 1980s.
Numerous public health studies have been conducted to outline factors that cause and preclude treatment of avoidable corneal blindness in the India. Conclusively, the escalation of corneal blindness can be largely attributed to personal, social, and economic barriers in utilizing available eye-care services. However, due to the heterogeneity among regions in India, the degree and specificity of these respective barriers varies. Accordingly, no single approach can be implemented to effectively ameliorate eye health. Instead, population-based studies are required to understand individual regions and their varying levels of need.
Accordingly, this research is an examination of the female population in rural regions of Andhra Pradesh through the analysis of two major studies (1) the impact of private/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on economic development and (2) sociological factors, namely economic and social aspects, engendering lack of utilization of eye-care services, in order to find a correlation between these two seemingly disparate studies.
Overwhelmingly, the presence of private/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) increases economic status of regions by increasing access to both education and employment opportunities. In comparison to developed, urban areas, NGOs presence in rural regions is significantly limited leading to discrepancies in economic development, and thereafter, lack of opportunity for economic and social growth for females. Correspondingly, for years, higher incidences of corneal blindness have plagued the female population residing in underdeveloped, rural areas of India, especially in comparison to female counterparts in urban areas. I found this to be significantly attributed to an intermittent and cyclic combination of sociological limitations, specifically lack of education/employment opportunities and cultural/societal restrictions, which, in turn, are linked to comparably diminished levels of private/NGO sector involvement.
Only through understanding the correlation between these two aspects can intervention efforts be appropriately pursued to effectively reduce corneal blindness rates in this at-risk demographic group. This work increases our understanding of the limitations that exist in accessing treatment options for females and furthermore, obtained results can potentially be extended to other regions of India to create and implement similar public policies.
Marlene A. Michniak
Lack of sleep is a common theme throughout college students’ lives. Additionally, college students report being dependent on caffeine to perform their best.The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a link between how much caffeine students are using and how much sleep they are getting. The sample contained data from the 2011-2014 cohorts of the Spit for Science dataset. Both sleep and caffeine use data were collected at several points: first year fall semester (n=1799), third year spring semester (n=1918), and fourth year spring semester (n=859). Sleep data included the hours and minutes of sleep that students typically get per night. Caffeine use was asked by a simple yes or no “Do you drink any caffeinated beverages?” Independent sample t-tests were performed for each of the stated survey waves for caffeine use vs. the total hours of sleep of each cohort. The relationship between caffeine use and the total hours of sleep of the third year and fourth year spring surveys was found to be statistically significant (p=0.041 and p=0.034, respectively), with caffeine consumption related to decreased sleep. Additionally, linear regression was performed on both coffee and caffeinated soda use vs. total hours of sleep per week. Only first year fall semester (coffee) was found to be statistically significant (B= -0.514, p=<0.01). Sleep is an important part of well being, so additional research is needed to figure out how students’ sleep cycles are being affected in relation to their caffeine consumption.
Are Parental Involvement, Religiosity, and Relationship Quality Associated with Substance Use Messages in South African Families?
Jerry L. Mize II and Wendy Kliewer
Using transcribed interviews from a GEO- and UKZN-funded study with a low-income, multi-ethnic sample in Durban, South Africa (N = 272), messages regarding what caregivers recall saying to their children about drug use were coded into one of eight categories by a trained research team. Categories included: Just the Facts, Real Examples, Resistance Tactics, Drugs are Bad, Negative Consequences, Encouraging Abstinence, Zero Tolerance, and Use Responsibly. The contributions of 1) parent religiosity, 2) parental involvement, and 3) parent-adolescent relationship quality to the message content were examined. Few overall differences in message content were found across the predictors suggesting that alternative approaches to analyses might be beneficial.
Axon Initial Segment Loss is not Observed in the Hippocampus of a Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Mouse Model
The axon initial segment (AIS) is fundamental for neuronal communication and action potential initiation, a characteristic which has been shown to be disrupted in inflammatory diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Previous work from our lab has shown AIS breakdown in layer 5 of the cortex in a mouse model of MS known as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Moreover, it was shown that AIS breakdown was independent of demyelination but temporally correlated with microglial inflammatory reactivity. In order to determine if this pathology is specific to the cortex or affects other regions of the brain, we exploited these EAE induced mice and investigated AIS integrity in the hippocampus, a region associated with cognitive dysfunction in inflammatory diseases. Additionally, we used a second model of microglial activation that was shown to have AIS breakdown in the cortex. This model relies on the injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Although LPS activates microglia, there is little to no direct effect on other immune cells, which is not the case for EAE. To test AIS stability in the hippocampus, EAE was induced in 12 week old c57bl/6 mice; LPS was injected into 11-12 week old c57bl/6 mice. AnkyrinG, which is an essential cytoskeletal scaffolding protein necessary for proper AIS structure and function, was used to examine AIS integrity through immunohistochemistry (IHC) combined with laser scanning confocal microscopy. Qualitative analysis of AIS produced by confocal imaging, displayed no prevalent signs of AIS shortening in early or late stages of inflammation in the EAE mouse model. The breakdown of βIV spectrin, a cytoskeletal protein that is also clustered in the AIS and is known to link ankyrinG-NaV to the actin cytoskeleton, was correlated with structural disruption of AIS. βIV spectrin breakdown products can be assessed by western blot analysis; however, no breakdown products were observed from the hippocampus of either LPS injected or EAE induced mice. These findings are preliminary but they indicate that the AIS has differential stabilities throughout the CNS, which may provide a tentative explanation for regional differences within the brain. Future studies will include quantification of microglial activation; we believe the depletion of microglial cells play a vital role in both maintaining AIS stability and AIS disruption. These cells are enigmatic and are known to play different roles in different regions of the brain. We are also interested in isolating these cells from the hippocampus and from the cortex in order to compare their expression profiles. Findings from these studies should shed light on the role microglia play in different brain regions during disease.
Dung N. Nguyentran, Marlene A. Michniak, James J. Jung, and Christine Q. Do
Rates of anxiety and depression are prevalent in college students and can be attributed in part to stress and trauma-related events. However, studies suggest that pet ownership has the possibility of alleviating symptoms of anxiety, depression, negative emotions, and suicide. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between pet ownership and levels of anxiety and depression among those who have experienced a traumatic event. The sample was comprised of five hundred and forty-seven VCU students who completed an online survey from Spit for Science during their junior year. Linear regressions were performed to determine the nature and strength of the relationship between our two variables. After controlling for gender, race/ethnicity, personality, social support, and resiliency, we found statistically significant lower levels of anxiety and depression among pet owners compared to non-pet owners (p=0.004). This study reinforces how pets can impact our mental health, and lends further research to support programs such as VCU’s Center for Human-Animal Interaction (CHAI) and their Dogs on Call program.