ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0218.v1
Subject: Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Keywords: concrete; remote sensing; remaining life assessment; condition assessment
Online: 13 December 2021 (17:45:55 CET)
Concrete condition assessing penetrometers need to be able to distinguish between making contact with a hard (concrete) surface as opposed to a semi-solid (corroded concrete) surface. If a hard surface is mistaken for a soft surface, concrete corrosion may be over-estimated, with the potential for triggering unnecessary remediation works. Unfortunately, the variably-angled surface of a concrete pipe can cause the tip of a force-sensing tactile penetrometer to slip and thus to make this mistake. We investigated whether different shaped tips of a cylindrical penetrometer were better than others at maintaining contact with concrete and not slipping. We designed a range of simple symmetric tip shapes, controlled by a single superellipse parameter. We performed a finite element analysis of these parametric models in SolidWorks before machining in stainless steel. We tested our penetrometer tips on a concrete paver cut to four angles at 20∘ increments. The results indicate that penetrometers with a squircle-shaped steel tip (a=b=1,n=4) have the least slip, in the context of concrete condition assessment.
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: Pyrolysis; Life cycle assessment; Techno-economic assessment; sludge
Online: 26 July 2021 (10:06:50 CEST)
The increasing amount of municipal sludge in China requires safe and effective management to protect human health and ensure environmental sustainability. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical process that that decompose organic matter at elevated temperature and under anaerobic conditions, and it has attracted an increasing attention in sludge treatment in the recent years. However, comprehensive environmental and economic assessment of sludge pyrolysis in China's context is rare, due to the small quantities of full-scale sludge pyrolysis plant. In this paper, we applied our design and operation parameters of full-scale sludge pyrolysis plants to generate the material and energy consumptions of the pyrolysis system under various of conditions, including sludge organic content and moisture content, system size, system energy distribution, and whether or not heat substitution is applied. Life cycle assessment and techno-economic assessment were then applied to investigate the environmental and economic performance of the system Our results demonstrate the significant environmental and economic impacts associated with sludge properties and system size. Generally, sludge with higher organic content and lower moisture content requires less natural gas consumption, which leads to a simultaneous improvement of the system environmental and economic performance. The system economic performance is more sensitive to the system size, and centralized sludge handling using a larger pyrolysis is more economic favorable. In the most ideal case, the average global warming potential and minimum sludge handling price of sludge pyrolysis could be as low as -32.5 kg CO2-Eq/t DS and 188.8 $/t DS, respectively. Based on these results, we discussed the pathways that could be taken to further optimize the environmental and economic performances of the pyrolysis system.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0123.v2
Online: 9 December 2022 (10:10:08 CET)
(1) Background: This study aims to validate the use of Bloom's revised taxonomy as an instrument for the design of assessment tests; (2) Methods: A validation has been carried out by external judges, as well as by teachers and students, validating the instrument by means of Aiken's V; (3) Results: Judges, teachers and students consider Bloom's revised taxonomy as an effective tool for the design of assessment tests; (4) Conclusions: Using Bloom's revised taxonomy as a model for designing assessment tests promotes learning.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0372.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Organizational Economics & Management Keywords: Responsible Research and Innovation; responsibility; innovation; assessment; Technology Assessment; foresight
Online: 29 December 2019 (07:33:46 CET)
In the paper, the author takes stock of the conceptual reflection and empirical studies described in the current scientific literature on responsible innovation in the context of the emergence of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) concept. RRI has been promoted in the European Union as a part of the Europe 2020 strategy with the objective of making research and innovation more sustainable and inclusive. As more than half of the EU’s firms declare conducting innovation activities RRI problematic becomes more relevant than ever. There remain many open questions, unresolved dilemmas and empirical white spots that call for more research in this field. This paper’s main focus is the problem of RRI acceptance as a global framework for responsible innovation and the scarcity of suitable instruments that may help industry understand and adopt this concept. The main contribution of this paper are: the critical analysis of the RRI concept and its implications for industry, proposing a concept of RRI index for innovating enterprises.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0429.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Anguilla anguilla; complex model; participatory assessment; DISTATIS; Bayesian assessment model; GEREM
Online: 16 April 2021 (09:42:59 CEST)
Mistrust between scientists and non-scientist stakeholders is a key challenge in fishery management. This problem is exacerbated with the use of complex models to support management: these models suffer from difficulties in communicating their results and a lack of confidence from end users. The European eel is an illustrative example; its complex life cycle raises problems of coordination and discussion among the multiple actors involved in the management of the species. The GEREM model has been proposed as a tool for estimating recruitment, but its complexity, which is essential for addressing the characteristics of the species, makes it difficult to understand and accept by all stakeholders. In the context of the SUDOANG project, we proposed a co-parametrization of this assessment model to tackle this mistrust. Through the use of various questionnaires and appropriate statistical analyses, stakeholders were involved in two important choices for the model (zone definition and prior construction). Regular workshops and presentations were organised to explain the model rationales and to gather feedback and expectations. The results show that stakeholders have very similar perceptions of the potential definitions of sub-areas of recruitment in south-western Europe, and these perceptions are consistent with the underlying environmental conditions. On the other hand, the stakeholders have contrasting opinions about the exploitation rates of fisheries in different river basins, and the use of their knowledge currently has little effect on GEREM estimates. More importantly, the overall approach of this study is thought to have reconstructed the trust and confidence among participants.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0283.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: 24-hour recall; nutrition assessment; technology assisted dietary assessment; gestational diabetes
Online: 16 July 2018 (12:12:42 CEST)
myfood24 is a comprehensive self-completed online 24-hour dietary recall tool currently used for nutritional assessments in epidemiological research. However, its clinical application has been unexplored. This mixed methods prospective observational study explores the acceptability and usability of myfood24 in a clinical population, women with gestational diabetes (GDM). Women were recruited at their first diabetes antenatal clinic appointment. To assess acceptability and usability, they were asked to complete five 24-hour dietary recalls using myfood24 over two weeks and a user experience questionnaire; with a subset invited to participate in a one-to-one semi-structured interview. Of the 199 participants, mean maternal age was 33 years, mean booking BMI 29.7kg/m2, 36% primiparous, 57% White, 33% Asian. Of these 121 (61%) completed myfood24 at least once and 73 (37%) completed the user questionnaire; 15 were interviewed. Usability of myfood24 was measured using the System Usability Scale (SUS) and found to be good (mean 70.9, 95%CI 67.1, 74.6). Interviews identified several areas for improvement, including optimising its use for mobile devices. myfood24 appears to be acceptable and have potential to support self-management and behaviour change for women with GDM but requires adaptation to record blood glucose results alongside real-time tracking of diet.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0021.v1
Online: 1 July 2019 (15:22:25 CEST)
This article is about school evaluation. The objective was to explain critically the mediating relationships between educational evaluation and the production of school knowledge from the perspective of the Dialectical Historical Materialism. With this interest, a documentary analysis was made, obtaining as result four explanatory categories: production, subsumption, distribution and exchange of knowledge, which form a concrete totality with distinctions and antagonistic relationships between them, limited by their opposite. It is concluded that the evaluation as a mediating form lacks antagonistic pair and consequently of control by opposition, emerging from the school daily as autonomous and sovereign entity, oppressive of school subjects.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0449.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: groundwater; sustainability assessment; small islands; Caribbean islands; sustainability assessment indicators; water management
Online: 24 July 2018 (08:12:19 CEST)
Groundwater is an important resource for many countries and its scarcity is a major concern in small territories, especially in the islands where the constant extraction is creating a high risk of public calamity. This issue has been increasing because of the anthropogenic activities and the climate change and it has called the attention of scientists and stakeholders in order to assess the sustainability of the water management system, and therefore, to establish strategies for a more sustainable water use. San Andres island was taking as case study and a description of the water balance was carried out in order to understand the management system. Then, a water system sustainability assessment was performed with indicators such as water security, water quality, drinking water, sanitation, infrastructure, climate robustness, biodiversity, attractiveness, and governance, according to the City Blueprint Methodology. The result for the 24 evaluated indicators was a score of 3.2, whose interpretation is “an unsustainable water management”. The qualitative assessment was the base to propose water security, water quality, and governance strategies to improve the water management in the island. The assessment and its discussions are relevant for the water management in small islands across the world whose economy is based on the tourism and whose water security is at a high risk.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201711.0152.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Urban road dust, Functional areas, Heavy metals, Pollution assessment, Health risk assessment, Jeddah
Online: 23 November 2017 (10:20:50 CET)
Data dealing with the assessment of heavy metal pollution in road dusts in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and its implication to human health risk of human exposure to heavy metals, are scarce. Road dusts were collected from five different functional areas (traffic areas TA, parking areas PA, residential areas RA, mixed residential commercial areas MCRA and suburban areas SA) in Jeddah and one in rural area (RUA) in Hada Al Sham. We aimed to measure the pollution levels of heavy metals and estimate their health risk of human exposure applying risk assessment models described by USEPA. Using geo-accumulation index (Igeo), the pollution level of heavy metals in urban road dusts was in the following order Cd > As > Pb > Zn > Cu > Ni > Cr > V > Mn > Co > Fe. Urban road dust was found to be moderately to heavily contaminated with As, Pb and Zn, and heavily to extremely contaminated with Cd. Calculation of enrichment factor (EF) revealed that heavy metals in TA had the highest values compared to that of the other functional areas. Cd, As, Pb, Zn and Cu were severely enriched, while Mn, V, Co, Ni and Cr were moderately enriched. Fe was consider as a natural element and consequently excluded. The concentrations of heavy metals in road dusts of functional areas were in the following order: TA > PA > MCRA > SA > RA > RUA. The study revealed that both children and adults in all studied areas having health quotient (HQ) < 1 are at negligible non-carcinogenic risk. The only exception was for children exposed to As in TA. They had an ingestion health quotient (HQing) 1.18 and a health index (HI) 1.19. The most prominent exposure route was ingestion. The cancer risk for children and adults from exposure to Pb, Cd, Co, Ni, and Cr was found to be negligible (< 1 x 10-6).
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0234.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pharmacology & Toxicology Keywords: neurobehavioral assessment; ecotoxicology; zebrafish; neurotoxicology
Online: 10 June 2020 (05:24:07 CEST)
The industry is increasingly relying on fish for toxicity assessment. However, current guidelines for toxicity assessment focus on teratogenicity and mortality. From an ecotoxicological point of view, however, these endpoints may not reflect the “full picture” of possible deleterious effects that can nonetheless result in decreased fitness and/or inability to adapt to a changing environment, affecting whole populations. Therefore, assessing sublethal effects add relevant data covering different aspects of toxicity at different levels of analysis. Impacts of toxicants on neurobehavioral function have the potential to affect many different life-history traits, and are easier to assess in the laboratory than in the wild. We propose that carefully-controlled laboratory experiments on different behavioral domains – including anxiety, aggression, and exploration – can increase our understanding of the ecotoxicological impacts of contaminants, since these domains are related to traits such as defense, sociality, and reproduction, directly impacting life-history traits. The effects of selected contaminants on these tests are reviewed, focusing on larval and adult zebrafish, showing that these behavioral domains are highly sensitive to small concentrations of these substances. These strategies suggest a way forward on ecotoxicological research using fish.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0455.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: energy modeling; biomass transformation efficiency; global change assessment model; integrated assessment model; cooking fuel
Online: 31 January 2022 (12:45:00 CET)
The building sector of most tropical countries still use predominantly primary biomass as the principal fuel. This has adverse effects like CO2 emission and deforestation and is associated with issues like poverty, ill-health, and low standard of living. Therefore, energy policies try to improve on the efficiency of firewood and charcoal end-use technologies, to palliate the negative effects. In this research, the global change assessment model (GCAM) is used, to investigate the impact of efficiency improvement on the energy consumption pattern of the building sector of developing countries. The aim of the study is to provide empirical data that would better inform policymakers on the effects of modernizing these primary fuels. The study developed three scenarios with different levels of efficiency improvements. The results show that efficiency improvement rather increases primary biomass consumption and CO2 emission. However, there is a fall in the consumption of traditional biomass in the second half of the modelling period. The increase in biomass-based fuels consumption was seen to be linked to their affordability. Therefore, policymakers need not only elaborate policies that improve biomass efficiency, but also introduce and motivate other clean cooking fuels like butane, biogas, and electricity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201903.0109.v2
Subject: Engineering, Control & Systems Engineering Keywords: Cyber risk; Internet of Things cyber risk; Digital Economy Risk Assessment; Economic Impact Assessment.
Online: 9 April 2019 (12:26:13 CEST)
We present an updated design process for adapting and integrating existing cyber risk assessment approaches for impact assessment for the risk from IoT to the digital economy. The new design process includes a set of changes to the original standards (e.g. NIST) that are adapted for the IoT cyber risk in this paper. This paper also presents a new framework for impact assessment of IoT cyber risk, specific for the digital economy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0015.v1
Subject: Keywords: characterization; life cycle assessment; life cycle impact assessment; normalization; particulate matter; respiratory inorganics; water vapor
Online: 1 July 2021 (11:16:42 CEST)
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is being included formally in EcoDesign regulations. Especially product carbon footprint will be mandatory in Europe. However, life cycle impact assessment including global warming potential (GWP) in LCA is hampered by several challenges. One of these is lack of water vapor characterization indexes for GWP. A life cycle inventory profile for air transport fuel including water vapor emissions is evaluated with state-of-the-art practice, i.e. EF Method and ILCD 2011 Midpoint+ and neglecting water vapors high altitude GWP compared to carbon dioxide. Then the characterization factor in GWP100 for water vapor and alternate normalization for particulates are introduced. The results are compared. The main findings are that the EF method and ILCD both generate rather realistic results for Particulate Matter and Respiratory Inorganics mid-point indicators, respectively, but the amount of premature deaths should be better allocated to different specific emissions, and that water vapor may dominate the GWP100 result over the usual carbon dioxide. LCIA mid-points need measurable and understandable bases. The common knowledge of water vapor’s GWP100 should not be neglected in LCIA for air transport and beyond where relevant.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0298.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Other Keywords: Cybersecurity; Security Awareness Assessment; Machine Learning
Online: 20 July 2022 (08:22:30 CEST)
Cyber-threat is now a global concern to all internet users, as the rate of crimes has tremendously changed from physical to virtual. Implementing awareness programs at various organization levels is required, Also there is a need to know the methodologies used in measuring cybersecurity awareness program effectiveness. The paper aims to review and explore the previous methodologies applied, target organizations, and application of Machine Learning techniques in the assessment of awareness programs. Systematic literature review techniques were used to conduct the search using pre-defined keywords and published papers from 2006 to 2019, the information was used in providing an answer to the research questions. The finding shows questionnaire was widely used as a method of evaluating cybersecurity awareness and also organizations implement more awareness programs, the gap found is the lack of using ML in assessing the effectiveness of design, and implemented cybersecurity awareness programs
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0071.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: nutrition screening tools; malnutrition; nutritional assessment
Online: 6 May 2022 (10:01:24 CEST)
Malnutrition is a serious problem with negative impact on the quality of life and the evolution of our patients, contributing to an increase in morbidity, hospital stay, mortality and health spending. Early identification is fundamental to implement the necessary therapeutic actions involving adequate nutritional support to prevent or reverse malnutrition. This review presents two complementary methods of fighting malnutrition: nutritional screening and nutritional assessment. Nutritional risk screening is conducted using simple, quick-to-perform tools and is the first line of action in detecting at-risk patients. It should be implemented systematically and periodically on admission to hospital or residential care, as well as on an outpatient basis for patients with chronic conditions. Once patients with a nutritional risk have been detected they should undergo a more detailed nutritional assessment to identify and quantify the type and degree of malnutrition. This should include health history and clinical examination, dietary history, anthropometric measurements, evaluation of the degree of aggression determined by the disease, functional assessment and, whenever possible, some method of measuring body composition.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0328.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Sport Sciences & Therapy Keywords: muscle strength; knee assessment; isometric contraction
Online: 21 December 2021 (12:32:53 CET)
The objective was to assess the instrumental validity and the test-retest reliability of a low-cost hand-held push dynamometer adapted from a load-cell based hanging scale (tHHD) to collect compressive forces in different ranges of compressive forces. Three independent raters applied 50 pre-established compressions each on the tHHD centered on a force platform in 3 distinct ranges: ~70 N, ~160 N, ~250 N. Knee isometric strength was also assessed on 19 subjects in two sessions (48h apart) using the tHHD anchored by an inelastic adjustable strap. Knee extension and flexion were assessed with the participant seated on a chair with the feet resting on the floor, knees, and hips flexed at 90°. The isometric force peaks were recorded and compared. The ICC and the Cronbach’s α showed excellent consistency and agreement for both instrumental validity and test-retest reliability, as the correlation and determination coefficients. The SEM and the MDC analysis returned adequate low values with a coefficient of variation less than 5%. The Bland-Altman results showed consistency and high levels of agreement. The tHHD is a valid method to assess the knee isometric strength, showing portability, cost-effectiveness, and user-friendly interface to provide an effective form to assess the knee isometric strength.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0196.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Information Technology & Data Management Keywords: Speech Rehabilitation; Speech Quality Assessment; LSTM
Online: 13 December 2021 (10:10:36 CET)
The article considers an approach to the problem of assessing the quality of speech during speech rehabilitation as a classification problem. For this, a classifier is built on the basis of an LSTM neural network for dividing speech signals into two classes: before the operation and immediately after. At the same time, speech before the operation is the standard to which it is necessary to approach in the process of rehabilitation. The metric of belonging of the evaluated signal to the reference class acts as an assessment of speech. An experimental assessment of rehabilitation sessions and a comparison of the resulting assessments with expert assessments of phrasal intelligibility were carried out.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0441.v1
Subject: Engineering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment; Blockchain; Supply Chain
Online: 28 October 2021 (14:56:20 CEST)
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely recognized tool used to evaluate environmental impacts of a product or process, based on the environmental inventory database and bills of material. Data quality is one of the most significant factors affecting the analysis results. However, currently most datasets in inventory databases are generic i.e., they may represent material and energy flow of a process at market average, instead of a specific process used by a manufacturer. As a result, stockholders are unable to track their supply chain to find out the actual environmental impact from each supplier and to compare the environmental performance of alternative options. In this paper, we developed a new framework i.e., blockchain based LCA (BC-LCA), where block-chain technology is adapted to secure and transmit inventory data from upstream suppliers to downstream manufacturers. With BC-LCA, more specific data can be acquired along the supply chain in a real-time manner. Moreover, the availability, accuracy, privacy, and automatic update of inventory data can be improved. A case study is provided based on an industrial supply chain, to demonstrate the utilization of BC-LCA.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0171.v1
Online: 14 June 2020 (12:57:23 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world of medical education, moving it years ahead of time into the future. Many concepts needed to be changed, so did the methodologies. Nevertheless, clinical assessment remained tricky. This work highlights the outcome of the work of College of Medicine and Medical Sciences at the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain in performing virtual clinical examination using Zoom™. Tips in this article are meant to help plan, implement and evaluate clinical assessments virtually.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0011.v1
Subject: Chemistry, Applied Chemistry Keywords: thiazolyl dyes; anticancer; antioxidant; colour assessment
Online: 2 November 2018 (04:28:50 CET)
This work is aiming to motivation on the prospect of evolving new thiazole dyes with respectable application properties, expected pharmacological activities. Curcumin Coupling with diverse diazonium salts of 2-amino thiazole derivatives as 2-aminobenzothiazole, 2- amino-5-phenylthiazole, 2 amino-5-methylthiazole and 2 amino-5-nitrothiazole to produce novel azo dyes. All synthesised dyes were completely confirmed their structures via elemental and spectroscopic techniques. The synthesised thiazole derivatives were examined for their “antimicrobial, anticancer and antioxidant” activities. All of the synthesized dyes were applied on synthetic fabrics as polyester and successively their dyeing properties, “light, washing, perspiration, rubbing and sublimation” fastness were evaluated. Prepared dyestuffs are suitable for dyeing polyester fabrics. It was initiate that all of prepared dyes own extraordinary colour hue, along with respectable fastness properties. Also the synthesised thiazole derivatives display moral pharmacology activity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201712.0089.v1
Online: 14 December 2017 (11:06:18 CET)
The current study aimed to: i) Monitor levels of PM10, at Shebika, Haram, Masfala, Azizia, Awali and Mina in Makkah city, KSA during the period of 01 Shawwal 1436H – 27 Rabi Al-Awwal 1437H, by using LVS instruments; and; 2) assess health risk (non-cancer and cancer risks) on humans (children and adult) exposed to PM10 in ambient air of Makkah city.The results showed that: the high PM10 levels were found in Haram site, while the lower levels were found in Awali site. These levels were lower than that set for PM10 by PME (Daily limit of 340 µg/m3). Vehicles emissions and constructions sources may be the main source of PM10 levels in Makkah city. The human health risk assessments showed that: the daily exposure doses of PM10 were ranked in the order: Ding > Ddermal > Dinh for children and adult in Makkah city. Ingestion of PM10 particles was the main exposure pathway for both children and adults. The HIs and cancer risk values were within the safe level, indicating that (non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic) risks for humans exposed to PM10 in Makkah city were negligible.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201711.0060.v1
Subject: Engineering, Biomedical & Chemical Engineering Keywords: ECG quality assessment; complexity; entropy; ROC
Online: 9 November 2017 (05:47:22 CET)
We compared performance of a novel encoding Lempel-Ziv complexity (ELZC) with approximate entropy (ApEn), sample entropy (SmpEn) and permutation entropy (PerEn) as nonlinear metric to assess ECG quality. Firstly to compare performance of discerning randomness and inherent nonlinear properties within time series, this study calculated the aforementioned four nonlinear complexity values on several typical artificial time series i.e., Gauss noise, two kinds of noisy time series, two kinds of Logistic series and periodic series, respectively. Then for analyzing sensitivity of the aforementioned four complexity methods to content level of different types noise within ECG recordings, we investigated variation trend of ELZC, ApEn, SmpEn and PerEn in several synthetic ECG recordings containing different types noise (i.e., baseline wander, muscle artefacts, electrode motion, power line and mixed noise) and different signal noise ratios (i.e., 15, 10, 5, 0, −5 and −10 dB). Finally, the four complexity methods were employed to classify the quality of real ECG recordings from the PhysioNet/Computing in Cardiology Challenge 2011 (CINC 2011) of the MIT databases, then receiver operating characteristic curves (ROC) and their corresponding area under curve (AUC) were yielded. The results showed ELZC could not only distinguish randomness and chaotic within time series but also reflect content level of noise within time series, and the highest AUC of PerEn, ELZC, SmpEn and ApEn were 0.850, 0.695, 0.474 and 0.461, respectively. The results demonstrated PerEn and ELZC were more effectively than ApEn and SmpEn for assessing ECG quality.
DATA DESCRIPTOR | doi:10.20944/preprints201708.0088.v3
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: pesticide dissipation; risk assessment; environmental fate
Online: 28 August 2017 (16:51:22 CEST)
Data relating to the rate at which pesticide active substances dissipate on or within various plant matrices are important for a range of different risk assessments; however, despite the importance of this data, dissipation rates are not included in the most common online data resources. Databases have been collated in the past, but these tend not to be maintained or regularly updated. The purpose of the exercise described herein was to collate a new database in a format compatible with the main online pesticide database resource (the Pesticide Properties Database, PPDB), to validate this database in line with the Pesticide Properties Database protocols and thus ensure that the data is maintained and updated in future. Data was collated using a systematic review approach using several scientific databases. Collated literature was subjected to a quality assessment, and then data was extracted into an MS Excel spreadsheet. The outcome of the study is a database based on data collated from 1390 published articles covering over 400 pesticides and over 200 crops across a wide variety of different matrices (leaves, fruits, seeds etc.) for pesticide residues on the crop surface, as well as residues absorbed within the plant material. This data is now fully incorporated into the PPDB.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201611.0054.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Information Technology & Data Management Keywords: Risk assessment; Evidential reasoning; Fire/explosion
Online: 9 November 2016 (10:29:29 CET)
This paper aims to develop a hierarchical risk assessment model using the newly-developed evidential reasoning (ER) rule, which constitutes a generic conjunctive probabilistic reasoning process. In this paper, we first provide a brief introduction to the basics of the ER rule and emphasize the strengths for representing and aggregating uncertain information from multiple experts and sources. Further, we discuss the key steps of developing the hierarchical risk assessment framework systematically, including (1) formulation of risk assessment hierarchy, (2) representation of both qualitative and quantitative information, (3) elicitation of attribute weights and information reliabilities, (4) aggregation of assessment information using the ER rule and (5) quantification and ranking of risks using utility-based transformation. The proposed hierarchical risk assessment framework can potentially be implemented to various complex and uncertain systems. A case study on the fire/explosion risk assessment of marine vessels demonstrates the applicability of the proposed risk assessment model.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0099.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: offshore structures; reliability-based design assessment; global ultimate strength assessment; reserve strength ratio; probability of failure
Online: 3 August 2021 (16:19:56 CEST)
The oil and gas sector has recognised structural integrity assessment of ageing platform for prospective life extension as a rising concern, particularly in encountering the randomness of the harsh ocean environments. This condition leads to uncertainty in wave-in-deck load estimates and a high load level being imposed on offshore structures. This emphasises the necessity of enhanced reliability, as failure might result in inaccessibility because of the uncertainties related to long-distance services, such as accuracy of predictions of loads and responses. Even though the established guidelines present a fundamental assessment, additionally, comprehensive rules are required. This paper performed a reliability analysis incorporating practical approaches that can more accurately represent time-dependent structural deterioration. The following two procedures have been adopted by a majority of significant oil and gas operators to monitor the safety and integrity of these structures: a) Ultimate Strength Assessment (USA) method and b) Reliability Design Assessment (ReDA) method. A comparison of these two reliability approaches was performed on selected ageing jacket structures in the region of the Malaysian sea. The comparative findings, namely, reserve strength ratio (RSR) at various years of the return period (RP) and ratio value for risk of failure regarding the probability of failure (POF), provided a check and balance in strengthening confidence in the results. The findings showed that the structural components might safely survive either using the USA and ReDA method in such conditions, as the reliability indexes were determined to be satisfactory compared to allowable values from ISO 19902 design specifications. Therefore, these evaluations were determined to control the risk level of the structure during the remaining of its lifetime and undertake cost-effective inspections or mitigation strategies when necessary.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0086.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: Buildings; earthquake safety assessment; extreme events; urban sustainability; seismic 16 assessment; rapid visual screening; reinforced concrete buildings
Online: 6 February 2020 (10:50:33 CET)
Earthquake is among the most devastating natural disasters causing severe economic, environmental, and social destruction. Earthquake safety assessment and building hazard monitoring can highly contribute to urban sustainable development through identification and insight into optimum materials and structures. While the vulnerability of structures mainly depends on the structural resistance, the safety assessment of buildings can be highly challenging. In this paper, we consider Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) method which is a qualitative procedure for estimating structural scores for buildings suitable for medium- to high-seismic cases. This paper presents an overview of the common RVS methods, i.e., FEMA P-154, IITK-GGSDMA, and EMPI. To examine the accuracy and validation, a practical comparison is performed between their assessment and observed damage of reinforced concrete buildings from a street survey in the Bingöl region, Turkey, after the 11 May 2003 earthquake. The results demonstrate that the application of RVS methods for preliminary damage estimation is a vital tool. Furthermore, the comparative analysis showed that FEMA P-154 creates an assessment that overestimates damage states and is not economically viable while EMPI and IITK-GGSDMA provide for more accurate and practical estimation, respectively.
TECHNICAL NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0584.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: Wind statistics assessment; Weibull distribution; Rayleigh distribution.
Online: 31 January 2023 (11:30:30 CET)
SStatistical characteristics of the wind speed in Samaria region of Israel have been analyzed by processing 11 years of wind data provided by the Israeli Meteorological Service, recorded at 10 m height above the ground. The cumulative mean wind speed at measurement height was shown to be 4.53 m/s with standard deviation of 2.32 m/s. Prevailing wind direction is shown to be char-acterized by cumulative mean azimuth of 226° with standard deviation of 79.76°. The results were extrapolated to 70-meter height in order to estimate wind characteristics at hub height of a me-dium-scale wind turbine. Moreover, Weibull distribution parameters were calculated annually, monthly and seasonally, demonstrating a good match with histogram-based statistical repre-sentations. Shape parameter of the Weibull distribution was shown to reside within a narrow range of 1.93 to 2.15, allowing us to assume a Rayleigh distribution, thus simplifying wind tur-bines energy yield calculations. The novelty of the current paper is related to gathering wind statistics for a certain area (Samaria) we are not aware of any published statistics regarding wind velocity and direction in this area. The data may be interesting for potential regional wind energy development in which the obtained Weibull distribution can be used in calculations of expected power generation of particular turbines with known power dependence on velocity. We also point out that the fact that realistic wind velocity statistics is well described by an analytic formula (Weibull distribution) is not trivial, and in fact the fit may have been poor.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0210.v2
Subject: Engineering, Construction Keywords: Sustainability Assessment; Urban Housing Sustainability; Sustainability Indicator
Online: 12 August 2022 (04:37:59 CEST)
Housing is always crucial for the sustainable development of communities, specifically in urban areas, due to the population density of cities. The present study constructs its own structure on the basis of the recent papers investigating various sustainability factors for the urban housing sector. By doing a comprehensive systematic literature review, one of the most extensive lists of urban housing sustainability factors is gathered from 118 recent related papers. The factors are prioritized by their frequency of investigation and categorized by their scale(s) and sector(s) of influence. According to the results, the top three significant factors affecting urban housing sustainability are “natural resource or energy consumption/efficiency of the building/equipment (during the construction, operation, etc.)”, “materials performance (durability, cost, thermal capacity, permeability, ability to re-use, recycled, eco-friendly materials)”, and “access to public services/infrastructure: availability/quality of services and/or distance/time of travel time to the services (public transport, education/health/shopping/leisure facilities, parks, etc.)”. By analyzing the results with an integrative approach, it is understood that environmental factors are the most considered ones (more considered than the factors with influence on all sustainability sectors) where institutional factors received the least attention. Also, the most significant measures are the ones that have impacts on both ‘building’ and ‘neighborhood/community’ scales. It should be noticed that the neighborhood/community scale indicators are seen, almost, as important as the measures that affect the building itself. The results of this study can be helpful in establishing future housing-related policies, and also in having more efficient housing sustainability assessment tools.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0134.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: frailty; older people; cognitive impairment; assessment; gait
Online: 14 April 2022 (12:19:35 CEST)
Background: This study aims to set out key clinical features of different Motoric Cognitive Risk (MCR) subtypes based on individual quantitative measures of cognitive impairment and to compare their predictive power on survival over an 8-year observation time. Methods: We analyzed data from a population-based study of 1138 subjects aged 65 years and older in south Italy. These individuals were targeted and allocated to subtypes of the MCR phenotype according to the slowness criterion plus one other different cognitive domain for each characterized phenotype. Clinical evaluation and laboratory assays, along with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological and physical tests, completed the sample investigation. Results: MCR prevalence was found to be 9.8% (N=112), 3.6% (N=41), 3.4% (N=39), and 1.8% (N=21) for the MCR, MCR-GlobalFunction, MCR-StructuredSCC, and MCR-SCC&GlobalFunction, respectively. Univariate Cox survival analysis showed an association only of the MCR-GlobalFunction subtype with a significant, 1.5-fold increased risk of overall death as compared to the other counterparts (HR 2.53, 95%CI 1.28 to 4.99, P-value<0.01) over an 8-year observation period, even after major adjustment (HR 2.02, 95%CI 1.02 to 4.02). Conclusions: MCR phenotypes assigned to the MMSE cognitive domain are more likely to have an increased risk of overall mortality, 1.5-fold higher than counterparts, over 8-year observation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0190.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: sustainability; concrete; assessment; performance; service life; environment.
Online: 10 December 2021 (14:40:53 CET)
The article presents an original method to assess the sustainability of concrete. The method uses three parameters, namely: performance, lifetime and environmental impact, to calculate a sustainability index. The originality and the simplicity of the proposed method presented in the article consists in the fact that by applying the relation to determine the sustainability index, the first two factors service life and performance are constant. This approach is possible in the context of the new proposals to specify the durability of structural concrete in EN 1992 and EN 206. That allows classification of concrete according to its performance, through Environmental action Resistance Classes (ERC). For this purpose, specific experimental methods were used in order to determine the performance of concrete exposed to carbonation. The concretes were prepared with two cement types with additions (CEM II / A-S and CEM II / A-M (S-LL)). Based on the carbonation resistance classes (the first constant - the performance) and exposure classes, the thickness of the concrete cover layer was determined to ensure a certain service lifetime (second constant - the service lifetime). Finally, the global warming potential was calculated for each composition, consequently allowing the users of the method, to select the compositions with the lowest impact on the environment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0232.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: sustainability; concrete; assessment; performance; service life; environment.
Online: 12 November 2021 (15:12:23 CET)
This article presents a method to assess the sustainability of concrete based on three elements: service life, performance and environmental impact. The method proposes - to achieve similar performance and service life times, regardless of the component materials used, so that the sustainability assessment ultimately depends on the environmental impact criterion. To this end, specific experimental methods are used to determine the performance of concrete in terms of compressive strength and carbonation resistance for concrete cast with two blended cement types. The procedure needed to classify the concrete through carbonation resistance is detailed, in relationship with the performance obtained for compressive strength. The obtained results highlight the concrete formulations to be used to ensure similar performances regardless of the cement type used. In conclusion, the simplicity in the application of the method, which is closely related to the performance approach on concrete durability in the revision proposals of the European standards, is highlighted. The method is also a useful tool to encourage the widespread use in concrete formulation of blended cements with low environmental impact, without reducing the performance or service life time of the constructions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0063.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: UAS; UAV; Risk assessment; SORA; disaster management
Online: 5 May 2021 (13:28:27 CEST)
Worldwide, there is a significant increase in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by emergency services. They offer a lot of possibilities during the rescue operation. Such a wide application for various purposes and environments causes many threats related to their use. To minimize the risks associated with conducting air operations with UAVs, the SORA methodology will be important. Due to its level of detail, it is a methodology adapted to civilian use. In this article, the authors' team will try to develop guidelines and directions for adapting SORA to the requirements of the operational work of emergency services. Thus following article aims to present the most important risks related to conducting operations with the use of UAVs by First Responders (FRs) and to show the sample risk analysis performed for this type of operation on the example of the ASSISTANCE project. The paper describes, on the one hand, possibilities offered by UAVs in crisis or disaster management and step-by-step Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) and on the other hand, presents possible threats, consequences and methods of their mitigation during FRs missions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0378.v1
Subject: Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry Keywords: DON; corn; corn products; exposure; risk assessment
Online: 15 March 2021 (12:04:05 CET)
The study focused on investigating the natural incidence of deoxynivalenol (DON) in corn and products from corn producing districts of Punjab, Pakistan. The analysis was carried out using HPLC with UV detector and immunoaffinity cleanup columns. The detection limit (LOD) and limit of quantification were 25 and 50 µg/kg, respectively. Total 1220 samples of corn and products were analyzed to detect the DON, and 539 (44.2%) samples were observed to be contaminated with DON (n ≥ LOD). Furthermore, 92 (7.5%) samples of corn & products have DON levels, elevated than the proposed limits of the EU. The data is significantly different from a normal distribution for DON in corn and products samples and from different locations (p < 0.05) for Shapiro-Wilk and Kolmogorov-Smirnov values. However, a significant difference in DON levels was found between corn and corn derived-products types (p ≤ 0.05). The lowest and highest exposure & hazard quotient (HQ) of 0.92 and 9.68 µg/kg bw/d were documented in cornflour samples.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0009.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Microeconomics And Decision Sciences Keywords: sustainability assessment; farm level; AHP methodology; Greece
Online: 1 March 2020 (11:40:37 CET)
In recent years, farmers and policymakers have faced ample challenges and have struggled to support the sustainability of the agricultural sector. Sustainable agriculture encompasses multiple concepts, and its performance produces extensive debate about data requirements, appropriate indicators, evaluation methods, and tools. Under the European Union (EU) financed project FLINT (Farm Level Indicators for New Topics in policy evaluation), detailed data have been collected at the farm level to provide broader coverage of sustainability indicators on a wide range of relevant topics to facilitate the assessment of sustainability performance. The approach has been applied in a pilot network of representative farms at the EU level, considering the heterogeneity of the EU farming sector to provide data infrastructure with up to date information for sustainability indicators. This study aims to assess sustainability performance at the farm level in Greece. Representative and dominant agricultural systems, such as permanent crops, olive trees, arable crops, and livestock (sheep) farms, comprise the Greek sample. It uses the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) methodology and attempts to gain insights into the sustainability performance of agricultural systems. The outcome of the sustainability assessment reveals knowledge and develops support for strategic farm choices in order to support both farmers and policymakers towards more sustainable development plans. The results indicate that three typical Mediterranean farming systems, like permanent crops, olive trees, and extensive livestock systems (sheep farms), are more sustainable in contrast to intensive and arable crop farms.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0303.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: ventilatory assessment; physiotherapy; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Online: 29 August 2019 (04:52:15 CEST)
Background and objective: Addressing the global morbidity associated with pulmonary disease is an important need for the respiratory community. However, there is also a growing momentum to show the efficacy of new tools of diagnosis. Despite this, there are few physiotherapeutic tools that help identify and categorize these conditions. The aim was to analyze the variables of physiotherapy index of the ventilatory workload (PIVW) in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during stability and exacerbation in an outpatient setting. Material and Methods: Analyzed retrospectively of 198 clinical records were reviewed. The PIVW was extracted in stability and exacerbation of these patients with COPD. After applying the exclusion and inclusion criteria; 54 patients were classified. Through the statistical analysis of chi-square, a significant association was reported for each of the variables and the total PIVW score. Results: when analyzing the baseline with the peak of PIVW, there was a significant increase in patients COPD exacerbation. Similarly, the variables that constitute the loads, translations and supports underwent a significant increase from baseline to exacerbation (p<0.0001), except for the additional oxygen contribution, where the frequency of patients was the same in basal and exacerbation as well. Conclusions: the PIVW, serves to determine ventilatory problemas in outpatients, characterizing the specific changes of loads, translators or assistance.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0010.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: geomorphosites; geomorphosites assessment; Alvão (north of Portugal)
Online: 1 June 2018 (08:27:44 CEST)
The analysis of the morphological features can be framed in different temporal and spatial scales, depending on the specific objectives and methodologies of the various scientific fields that find in them a valuable source of information. The inventory and assessment of the geomorphological heritage may be based not exclusively in geophysical factors, but also in its contribution to the structuring of the biosphere, in its interrelation with other types of heritage or even in its potential for research or education purposes. In this article, we proceeded to the selection of a set of geomorphosites, at different scales, in Serra do Alvão (northern Portugal), seeking to demonstrate the importance of the broad lines of relief and intermediate and detailed landforms to the organization of the cultural landscape. Based on a questionnaire applied to a sample of 104 persons, it was intended to assess the value of the geomorphosites, concerning the scientific, preservation, use, cultural and educational dimensions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0199.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Water Security, Groundwater assessment, Groundwater quality, India
Online: 31 May 2018 (16:47:27 CEST)
Achieving water security and availability for all is among the principle agenda of the UN-Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve the goal of water security, particularly in rapidly expanding cities, identification of safe and sustainable water resources is an absolute necessity. The paper conducts an exploratory investigation in the hydro geochemical characteristics of groundwater and thereby, assess the suitability of groundwater as an alternative and reliable resource for public water supply in the Indian city of Surat. A total of 33-groundwater samples, selected on the basis of aquifer depth, land use signatures, were collected from open, bore, dug wells and hand pumps. After the hydrogeochemical analysis, the study evaluated the present state of the groundwater quality and determined the spatial distribution of groundwater quality parameters such as hardness, electrical conductivity, Cl −, pH, SO42-, and NO3 − concentrations. An interpolation technique, known as ordinary kriging, was used to acquire the spatial distribution of parameters of groundwater quality parameters. Based on the permeability index, result showed that 80% of the sampled groundwater quality falls under excellent class i.e. category I with PI value ranging from 1-24%, whereas the rest 20% of the samples has fallen under good class i.e. category II with PI value ranging from 25 to 75% on the suitability of water for irrigation. The results of this study outlines the unsustainability of groundwater for direct consumption, especially without any improved onsite water treatment, but it is appropriate for the irrigation purposes.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0042.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: geospatial economic supply; biomass; risk assessment; vulnerability
Online: 4 April 2018 (04:17:33 CEST)
Assessing the economic supply of biomass in a geospatial context while accounting for risk from natural disasters was studied. Risk levels were estimated from a component of factors which included: population density, road density, federal ownership, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ecoregions, and Presidential Disaster Declarations. The Presidential Disaster Declarations included risks due to: coastal storm, drought, fire, flood, freezing, hurricane, mud land slide, severe ices, severe storms, snow, tornado, and tropical storm. Presidential Disaster Declarations included summaries based on a short-term time period from 2000-2011, and on a long-term time period from 1964-2011. Risk categories were developed as a function of the number of disaster declarations, agricultural-to-forest land ratio, average road density, and average population density. A significant contribution of the research was the allocation of spatially explicit data using GIS technology at the 5-digit zip code tabulation area. The average area for 5-digit ZCTAs in the Eastern U.S. study region was approximately 169 kilometers2. Long-term risk (1964-2011) from disaster declarations had a greater impact on the economic availability of biomass supply relative to short-term declarations (2000-2011). The greatest risk to biomass supply came from population density relative to the other risk factors studies. Of the 25,044 total ZCTAs, 12,256 ZCTAs were in locations that did not include population density ≥ 150/km2, road density ≥ 14 km/km2, federal ownership, and US Environmental Protection Agency Level III ecoregions. Of the remaining 12,256 ZCTAs, 26.8% were considered to be moderate-to-high risk based on short-term declarations (2000-2011) and 29.4% were considered to be moderate-to-high risk based on long-term declarations (1964-2011). Lower risk locations for procuring biomass supply for both short-term and long-term declarations, across all risk factors, were in southern Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201712.0120.v2
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: water distribution; management; mechanical reliability; risk assessment
Online: 13 February 2018 (16:04:12 CET)
The management of existing water distribution system (WDS) is challenged by ageing of infrastructure, population growth, increasing of urbanization, climate change impacts and environmental pollution. Therefore, there is a need for integrated solutions that support decision makers to plan today, while taking into account the effect of these factors in the mid and long term. The paper is part of a more comprehensive project, where advanced hydraulic analysis for WDS is coupled with a dynamic resources input-output analysis model. The proposed modeling solution can be used to optimize the performance of a water supply system while considering also the energy consumption and consequently the environmental impacts. Therefore, as a support tool in the management of a water supply system also in the intervention planning. Here a possible application is presented for rehabilitation/replacement planning while maximizing the network mechanical reliability and minimizing risk of unsupplied demand and pressure deficit, under given economic constraints.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201706.0118.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: dietary assessment; FFQ; recall; nutritional biomarker; validation
Online: 27 June 2017 (04:58:14 CEST)
The development of reliable Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQs) requires detailed information about the level and variation of dietary food intake of the target population. However, these data are often limited. To facilitate the development of new high quality FFQs and validation of existing FFQs, we developed a comprehensive National Dietary Assessment Reference Database (NDARD) detailing information about the level and variation in dietary food intake of people 20-70 years old in the general Dutch population. This paper describes the methods and characteristics of the population included in the NDARD database. 1063 men and 985 women agreed to participate in this research. Dietary intake data were collected using different FFQs, web-based and telephone-based 24-hour recalls, as well as blood and urine-based biomarkers. The baseline FFQ was completed by 1647 participants whose mean BMI was 26±4 kg/m2; 1117 participants completed telephone-based recalls and 1781 participants completed web-based recalls. According to the baseline FFQ, the mean energy intake was 2051±605 kcal/day. The percentage of total energy intake from protein was 15±2 En%, from carbohydrates was 43±6 En%, and from fat was 36±5 En%. This database will enable researchers to validate existing FFQs and to develop new high quality dietary assessment methods.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201611.0006.v4
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: biomonitor; environmental assessment; elemental competition; bioconcentration factor
Online: 9 December 2016 (16:31:32 CET)
Levels of trace element pollution in surface soil can be estimated using soil analyses and leaching tests. These methods may reveal different results due to the effect of soil properties, such as grain size and mineral composition, on elemental availability. Therefore, this study advocates an alternative method for monitoring and assessment of trace element pollution in surface soil using terricolous fruticose lichens. Lichens growing at abandoned mine sites and unpolluted areas in southwest Japan and their substrata were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to clarify the relationships between Cu, Zn, As, and Pb concentrations in lichens and soils, including their absorption properties. Concentrations of these elements in the lichens were positively correlated with those in the soils regardless of lichen species, location, habitat, or conditions of soils. The analyzed lichens had neither competitive nor antagonistic properties in their elemental absorption, which made them good biomonitors of trace element pollution in surface soil. The distribution maps of average Cu, Zn, As, and Pb concentrations at each sampling region detected almost all of the Cu, Zn, and As pollution of the soils. Therefore, lichens could be used in practical applications to monitor Cu, Zn, and As pollution in surface soils.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201904.0304.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: assessment; bridge evaluation; compressive membrane action; concrete bridges; fatigue; fatigue assessment; live loads; prestressed concrete; punching shear; scale model
Online: 28 April 2019 (08:38:27 CEST)
In the Netherlands, the assessment of existing prestressed concrete slab-between-girder bridges showed that the thin, transversely prestressed slabs may be critical for static and fatigue punching when evaluated using the recently introduced Eurocodes. On the other hand, compressive membrane action increases the capacity of these slabs and changes the failure mode from bending to punching shear. To improve the assessment of the existing prestressed slab-between-girder bridges in the Netherlands, two 1:2 scale models of an existing bridge, the Van Brienenoord Bridge, were built in the laboratory and tested monotonically as well as under cycles of loading. The result of these experiments is: 1) the static strength of the decks, showing that compressive membrane action significantly enhances the punching capacity, and 2) the Wöhler curve of the decks, showing that compressive membrane action remains under fatigue loading. The experimental results can then be used for the assessment of the most critical existing slab-between-girder bridge. The outcome is that the bridge has sufficient punching capacity for static and fatigue loads, and thus that the existing slab-between-girder bridges in the Netherlands fulfil the code requirements for static and fatigue punching.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0252.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: Early Learning Assessment; Students Performance; Learning Communities; Motivation
Online: 13 January 2023 (10:52:23 CET)
In this paper, we have investigated the impact of an early learning assessment on students' motivation for improving their performance throughout the semester. An observation analysis was conducted on an entry level mechanical engineering course in which students are enrolled in during their first semester of engineering work. This study analyzes the effect that a first exam, with an average below a passing grade, has on student's outcome in the course. It was hypothesized that students were motivated to achieve their desired grade outcomes following inadequate performance on the first exam. This was investigated by diving into the results of the course and referencing initial performance to the remaining exam and assessment outcomes. Students were placed into grade bands ranging from 0 to 100 in 20% increments. Their results were tracked and it was shown that for the second mechanics exam, averages jumped 43.333%, 35.35%, and 30.055% for grade bands of 0 to 20, 20 to 40, and 40 to 60 respectively. Assessment grades increased as well with the remaining assessments being averaged to a score of 91.095%. Variables contributing to student performance came from both with-in and outside the classroom. Learning communities, material differentiation, and student and professor adaptation all contributed to the rise in performance. It was concluded that the internal and external variables acted in combination with one another to increase student dedication to achieve success.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0423.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Environmental Impact Assessment; bioassays; ecotoxicological hazard; pesticides; Oxadiazon
Online: 22 November 2022 (11:56:44 CET)
Despite laws and directives for the regulation and restriction of pesticide in farming, the large use of Plant Protection Products (PPPs) in paddy fields is a relevant worldwide cause of contamination of the environment. The aim of this work is to evaluate the environmental impact due to the use of PPPs by using an integrated approach based on chemical analyses and ecotoxicological hazard assessment, supported by statistical tools, in order to overcome the issues related to the traditional tabular evaluation. Samples of soil and water of seven conventional and organic paddies located in Northern Italy have been examined for two years by extensive chemical and ecotoxicological analyses. The results evidenced a direct relationship between the presence of Oxadiazon in water and bioassays responses as the main cause of the toxicity measured. This phenomenon affected both biological and conventional rice fields, due to the free circulation of water through irrigation canals. Therefore, the implementation of organic districts with a water circulation isolated from conventional fields represents a simple and effective countermeasure to safeguard the agricultural practices of organic crops.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Cardiology Keywords: telehealth; remote assessment; cardiology; cardiovascular diseases; COVID-19
Online: 7 July 2022 (08:11:31 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vitalness of telehealth in our medical world, where considering a restructuring of healthcare services has become paramount. In fact, telemedicine has recently earned a valuable place in many specialties; and its implications in cardiology and cardiovascular medicine were among the leading interests. In this letter, we gathered previous evidence supporting the merit of telemedicine in the fields of cardiology and cardiovascular medicine—medical branches in which patients require meticulous care and continuous monitoring—as well as protrusions of concerns about the uncertainty regarding the efficacy of telemedicine’s future implications and technologies. In sum, in the context of this still on-going pandemic, medical institutions must strive to improve telehealth technologies and implement solid future research directions in this growing field—to be able to persevere in meeting the needs of the patients. As long as no conclusive evidence exists regarding the fields where telemedicine is most worthwhile, healthcare systems will always keep the dread of wasting resources on developing ineffective programs. We conclude that telemedicine has been attributed a considerable attention in managing cardiac and cardiovascular conditions; nevertheless, further studies with solid designs are still needed to confirm its validity and utility in those specialties.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0326.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: hydrogen propulsion; aircraft design; conceptual integration; performance assessment
Online: 23 June 2022 (15:59:12 CEST)
The present paper deals with the investigation, at conceptual level, of the performance of short-medium-range aircraft with hydrogen propulsion. The attention is focused on the relationship between figures of merit related to transport capability, such as passenger capacity and flight range, and the parameters which drive the design of liquid hydrogen tanks and their integration with a given aircraft geometry. The reference aircraft chosen for such purpose is a box-wing short-medium-range airplane, object of study within a previous European research project called PARSIFAL, capable to cut the fuel consumption per passenger-kilometre up to 22%. By adopting a retrofitting approach, non-integral pressure vessels are sized to fit into the fuselage of the reference aircraft, under the assumption that the main aerodynamic, flight mechanic and structural characteristics are not affected. A parametric model is introduced to generate a wide variety of fuselage-tank cross-section layouts, from a single tank with the maximum diameter compatible with a catwalk corridor to multiple tanks located in the cargo deck , and an assessment work-flow is implemented to perform the structural sizing of the tanks and analyse their thermodynamic behaviour during the mission. This latter is simulated with a time-marching approach that couples the fuel request from engines with the thermodynamics of the hydrogen in the tanks, which is constantly subject to evaporation and, depending on the internal pressure, vent-ed-out in gas form. Each model is presented in detail in the paper and results are provided through sensitivity analyses to both the technology parameters of the tanks and the geometric parameters influencing their integration. The guidelines resulting from the analyses indicate that light materials, such as the Aluminium alloy AA2219 for tanks’ structure and polystyrene foam for the insulation, should be selected. Preferred values are also indicted for the aspect ratios of the vessel components, i.e. central tube and endcaps, as well as suggestions for the integration layout to be adopted depending on the desired trade-off between passenger capacity, as for the case of multiple tanks in the cargo deck, and achievable flight ranges, as for the single tank in the section.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0014.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: aflatoxin M1; milk; dairy products; risk assessment; children
Online: 1 November 2021 (12:26:43 CET)
The present study was conducted to estimate the exposure and risk characterization of the children population of Serbia to Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) from milk and milk-based food. A total of 3404 samples comprising of milk and different milk-based food samples were collected from various regions of Serbia from 2017 to 2019. Evaluation of the AFM1 exposure was carried out using the deterministic method, whereas risk characterization was evaluated with the calculation of the Margin of Exposure (MOE) and the risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Detection rates for AFM1 in milk and milk-based food samples ranged between 2% and 79%, with the highest incidence (79%) and mean level (22.34 0,018 ng kg-1) of AFM1 was detected in pasteurized and UHT milk. According to the three consumption estimates, the values of EDI were higher for toddlers as compared with children. Children aged 1–3 years had the highest risk of exposure to AFM1 in milk, with an estimated daily intake of 0.164 and 0.193 ng kg-1 bw day-1 using a lower bound (LB) and the upper bound (UB) exposure scenarios, respectively. Such difference could result from the higher consumption versus weight. Based on the EDI found in this study, the risk of AFM1 due to consumption of milk and milk-based food was low since MOE values obtained were 10000. In addition, the risk of HCC cases/year/105 individuals of different age groups showed that the value of HCC using potency estimates of 0.0017 (mean) was maximum (0.00034) in the age group 1–3 years which indicates no health risk for the evaluated groups. The present study revealed the importance of controlling and preventing AFM1 contamination in milk through continuous monitoring and regular inspection to reduce the risk of AFM1 exposure, especially in children.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0270.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Biopesticides; Regulations; Risk Assessment; Regulatory Challenge, Sustainability; Nigeria.
Online: 19 October 2021 (10:49:58 CEST)
The global trend towards increased demand for organic food, greener environments, and the integration of biological control agents into pest management strategies has greatly enhanced the need for biological pesticides (biopesticides). Biopesticides are generally environmentally friendly and are made from micro-organisms or other natural substances. Despite their great potential, relatively few have been registered and commercialised in Nigeria compared to other African countries such as South Africa and Kenya. Biological active agents are so diverse such that ap-plying the same safety standards or environmental conditions to all of them is almost impossible. A review of risk assessment processes and comparative assessments of Nigeria's biopesticide regulations with other developing African countries and developed regions was conducted. Prolonged field testing, lack of bridged risk assessments and technical checklists have been identified as key factors hampering the timely development and commercialisation of biopesti-cides in Nigeria. Recommendations on necessary changes to the existing Nigeria biopesticide regulations have been made. Risk assessment matrices for microbial and biochemical biopesti-cides and a scientific/technical checklist have also been developed. Harmonisation and data ex-change among other countries in the region will also enhance the advancement of scientific and technical knowledge for sustainable regulation and cross-border trade.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0606.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: tinnitus; acupressure; self-help; ecological momentary assessment; stress
Online: 9 August 2021 (11:45:41 CEST)
Tinnitus is a phantom sound perception in the ears or head and can arise from many different medical disorders. Currently, there is no standard treatment for tinnitus that reliably reduces tinnitus. Individual patients reported that acupressure at various points around the ear can help to reduce tinnitus, which was investigated here. With this longitudinal observational study, we report a systematic evaluation of auricular acupressure on 39 tinnitus sufferers, combined with a self-help smartphone app. The participants were asked to report about tinnitus, stress, mood, neck and jaw muscle tensions twice a day using an ecological momentary assessment study design for six weeks. On average, 123.6 questionnaires per person were provided and used for statistical analysis. The treatment responses of the participants were heterogeneous. On average, we ob-served significant negative trends for tinnitus loudness (Cohen’s d effect size: -.861), tinnitus dis-tress (d = -.478), stress (d = -.675), and tensions in the neck muscles (d = -.356). Comparison with a matched control group revealed significant improvements for tinnitus loudness (p = .027) and self-reported stress level (p = .003). The positive results of the observational study motivate fur-ther research including a randomized clinical trial and long-term assessment of the clinical im-provement.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0484.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: Assessment; Sexual Functioning; Sexual Problems; Sexual Satisfaction; Women
Online: 20 May 2021 (11:09:06 CEST)
Female sexual functioning and satisfaction are impaired by the presence of sexual difficulties. Current study aims to analyze the differences on sexual satisfaction in women according to types of sexual problems (absence of sexual problems, self-perceived and assessed by the FSFI cut-off). A total of 329 women answered to a specific question about presence of self-perceived sexual problems, the Sexual Satisfaction Scale for Women, and the Female Sexual Functioning Index. Main findings revealed that sexually health women had better levels of sexual satisfaction when compared to women who self-report sexual difficulties and women who scored clinical levels in FSFI. Also, women who scored clinical levels in FSFI scored lower on sexual satisfaction compared to women who self-report sexual difficulties. Female sexual satisfaction was negatively affected by sexual difficulties assessed according to the FSFI cut-off. Although with lower impact, self-perceived sexual problems also affect negatively sexual satisfaction in women.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0611.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: validity; reliability; assessment; body image; self-evaluation; students
Online: 22 April 2021 (14:05:42 CEST)
Body-Esteem Scale is an assessment tool for adolescents and adults that evaluate three dimensions of self-evaluations of one’s body. Body-Esteem Scale has been translated and validated in some countries since America down to Europe. Lack of translation and reliability evidence in Portugal was detected. This study aimed to translate and test the validity and reliability of the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA) in students in the context of Portuguese higher educa-tion. A total of 173 students (60.7% are female) with a mean age of 19.7 (standard deviation = 2.2) years participated. Categorical Principal Component Analysis was used to assess the underlying dimensions of BESAA. Construct validity was evaluated through correlation with the Appearance Schemas Inventory – Revised and a three-factor model (“Appearance”, ‘‘Weight’’ and “Attribu-tion’’) was established. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed to verify the construct validity of the instrument. Items that had factor weights (λ)<.40 were removed, as well as those that were considered redundant by the modification indices estimated by the Lagrange Multipliers (LM) method (LM>11, p<.001). We observed high correlations between theoretically similar factors, and low correlations between different factors. The Portuguese BESAA showed adequate validity and reliability.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: urodynamics; urethral profile; urethral pressure; assessment method; profilometry
Online: 26 February 2021 (12:19:53 CET)
BACKGROUND: To present a new method of urethral pressures examination, and to evaluate diagnostic capabilities of three dimensional profilometry , as an alternative to classical urethral profile (UPP) .Using four channel catheters and dedicated software global urethral pressures image is obtained. The method eliminates the main limitation of classical urethral profilometry where the catheter orientation determines the pressures picture limited to only one point in the uretral circumference while we observed even 50% differences in pressure measures depending on the point of measurement. METHODS: This is a preliminary study containing method presentation and analisys of the use in varied clinical cases of either healthy patients and patients with LUTS. The article includes technique and equipment decription, full evaluation of selected cases, including three dimensional urethral pressures distribution graphics. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:Three dimensional profilometry compared to classical technique is comparable regarding the time, cost, technical difficulty and patient discomfort. At the same time we obtain much more data on the urethral pressures and its distribution.The results are easy for interpretation due to 3D movable graphics created automatically through the dedicated software.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0200.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: risk assessment; odds ratio; hazard ratio; probability difference
Online: 8 December 2020 (12:17:33 CET)
In public health literature the risk of death or disease associated with a dietary, environmental of behavioral factor is most commonly denoted by odds ratio (OR), hazard ratio (HR) or risk ratio (RR). The ratio indices have several desirable statistical properties. However, the most important question is whether there are some evolved innate norms of perception of risk that people use and what they are. We conducted a simple one question survey of 98 individuals with different age, sex, educational and professional backgrounds. The respondents were asked to judge the relative perceived risk of four different hypothetical habits for which data on the percentage of people affected by the disease with and without the habit was given. They were asked to rank the risks for the four habits. Results showed that the habits that had the highest difference between probability of acquiring the disease were ranked high on risk perception. The probability ratios did not affect risk perception significantly. Further age, sex, profession or formal training in statistics did not affect the response significantly. Even individuals that were formally trained to use OR and HR as risk indicators, preferred using probability differences over ratios for judging their own risk in the perceived context. This preliminary inquiry into intuitive statistical perception suggests that designing statistical indices based on people’s innate perception may be a better strategy than trying to train people to understand the indices designed by expert statisticians.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0040.v1
Subject: Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Keywords: machinery safety; risk assessment; effectiveness of the measures
Online: 1 December 2020 (17:36:15 CET)
Even though the rules for free movement of machinery within the European Union market have existed for more than 30 years, accidents related to their activities have constantly been achieving significant value. When designing the machine, a designer must stem from risk assessment, whereas all stages of its life cycle and ways of its use must be taken into consideration. In industrial operations, there is old machinery, which, although fulfilling its function reliably, the safety level is not in accordance with the developing requirements for their safe operation. The proposed methodology of assessment of the machinery safety condition comes out from the presupposition of the right application of steps of risk assessment and their reduction mainly by means of implementation of both effective and efficient preventive measures. The aim of the research applied in 3 operations, was to verify the method of machinery safety management. The created methodology based on 19 requirements for safety evaluates the level of the actual measures by means of the so-called criterion of current status and total efficiency of measures. Its output is the assessment of the efficiency level of implemented safety of each machine as well as of the whole operation.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0582.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: Assessment; echo; flood; rescue; risk; swiftwater; tool; srirac
Online: 23 November 2020 (13:43:21 CET)
Currently there is no multi-hazard risk assessment tool for determining the level of complexity to swiftwater and flood rescue incidents. Traditionally, the International Scale of River Difficulty is used but it is primarily for paddlers for use in a recreational context, without much consideration to the multitude of hazards faced in swiftwater and flood rescue environments. In response to this gap, the ECHO risk assessment tool has been developed and undergone initial testing. This tool provides for simple and rapid codification of multiple hazards and response considerations and is globally applicable. The tool also assigns a final risk assessment colour making the interpretation of the assessment easy to understand and communicate. Though the proposed tool shows potential, further research is needed before it should be operationalised.
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: biomass; biorefinery; permanent grasslands; Intensification; integral emission assessment
Online: 25 September 2020 (11:56:19 CEST)
Agricultural intensification is considered essential for meeting growing demand for food and biomass for energy and material purposes. Intensifying grasslands is a so-far under-represented although promising option, given their large land area and relatively low management levels. This study quantifies the bioenergy potential from intensifying temporary grasslands in Europe and the integral greenhouse gas emission effects in 2030. We first conduct a literature review of intensification options for European grasslands and then apply the environmental impact assessment model MITERRA-Europe to implement the key intensification option of using multi-species grass mixtures. The results show that 853 kha (or 8%) of temporary grassland could be made sustainably available for additional biomass production. This can be translated into a bioethanol potential of 23 PJ/yr and an emission mitigation potential of 5.8 Mt CO2-eq/yr (if conventional grass mixture from surplus temporary grassland is used for energy) or 72 PJ/yr and 4.0 Mt CO2-eq/yr (if surplus temporary grassland is used for grassy energy crops). Although the bioenergy potential is limited, the intensification measure’s key advantage is that it results in a better environmental performance of temporary grasslands. This makes it a key option for sustainably producing bioenergy in areas with high shares of temporary grasslands.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0211.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: New Zealand; biomarkers; environmental health assessment; Anguilla dieffenbachii
Online: 9 September 2020 (11:45:52 CEST)
The Matāura River is the sixth largest river system in New Zealand and has long been subject to agricultural, industrial, and residential land use activities. The catchment has geographic and economic value and is of great cultural importance for local Māori, who have concerns over potential adverse impacts that anthropogenic stressors exert on the health of the river. There is a dearth of information on the impacts of these stressors towards the health of native species such as the longfin eel Anguilla dieffenbachii. This study assessed the environmental status of the Matāura River using biological and chemical methodologies incorporating A. dieffenbachii as a bioindicator species for exposure to combined anthroprogenic stressors. A range of biomarker endpoints were measured in caged and wild-caught eels (when available) to characterize site-specific responses to combined anthropogenic stressors. While there was no clear indication of cumulative impacts moving from pristine headwaters to the lower reaches of the Matāura River biomarkers of xenobiotic metabolization were induced in A. dieffenbachia and there was evidence of chemical contamination in sediments and tissues.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0716.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: amyloid beta; neuropsychological assessment; machine learning; Alzheimer’s disease
Online: 31 August 2020 (09:30:08 CEST)
Substantial studies have focused on early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cerebral amyloid beta (Aβ), is hallmark of AD, can be observed in vivo via positron emission tomography imaging using amyloid tracer or cerebrospinal fluid assessment, but costly expensive. The current study aims to identify and compared predictability in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers and neuropsychological markers to predict cerebral Aβ status in AD cohort using machine learning (ML) approaches. The predictability in candidate markers for cerebral Aβ status was examined by analyzing 724 participants from the ADNI-2 cohort. Demographic variables, structural MRI markers, and neuropsychological test scores were used as input in several ML algorithms to predict cerebral Aβ positivity. Out of five combination of candidate markers, neuropsychological markers with demographics showed the most cost-efficient result. A feature selection model could distinguish abnormal levels of Aβ with the predictability of 0.85, indicating the same performance with MRI-based models. The result has first to identified the predictability in MRI markers using ML approaches, and secondary to demonstrate the neuropsychological model with demographics could predict Aβ positivity, suggesting a more cost-efficient method for detecting cerebral Aβ status compared to MRI markers.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0332.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: social context; food value chains; impact assessment; Zimbabwe
Online: 28 June 2020 (09:34:50 CEST)
Investments in digital infrastructure in marginalised communities are set to increase in the next decade. These are premised on the potential of digital technologies to contribute towards solving societal problems, including the fragility of food value chains in rural areas. Although there are mixed empirical findings on the impact of these digital infrastructure investments, huge investments are continuing amid changing ICT policies in most developing countries. This paper, using a case study of a local livestock value chain in a rural community in Zimbabwe, argues for the application of non-conventional approaches towards digital infrastructure transformation impact assessment. Using selected theories and frameworks (socio-ecological systems framework, choice framework and technology affordances theory) as well as empirical data from a project in a rural community, the paper shows that real-time impact assessment using context-specific metrics may reveal hidden digital infrastructure transformation impacts, positive and negative, that are often overlooked when traditional impact assessment approaches are employed. The findings of this study contribute towards improving approaches towards ICT impact assessment. Practitioners engaging in impact assessment are challenged to move beyond dependence on traditional metrics (e.g. access) to the adoption of participatory processes to decipher context-appropriate metrics.
Subject: Engineering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); Carbon Footprint (CFP); Tourism
Online: 19 February 2020 (10:28:55 CET)
The importance of the contribution from tourism to climate change was pointed out by the International Tourism Organization (UNWTO). By combining process-based Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Input-output analysis, several researches have tried to evaluate the impacts of the tourism industry as well as its products and services. Indeed, the tourism sector has a wide range of industries including travel and tour, transportation, accommodation, food and beverage, amusement, souvenirs etc. However, the existing cases did not show a breakdown of the impact on climate change. In this paper, the carbon footprint (CFP) of the Japanese tourism industry was calculated based on tourist consumption, using the Japanese Input-output table and the Japanese tourism industry. It was shown that the total emissions were approximately 136 million t-CO2 per year. The contribution ratio of each stage is as follows: Transport 56.3%, Souvenirs 23.2%, Petrol (direct emissions) 16.9%, Accommodation 9.8%, Food and Beverage 7.5%, Activities 3.0%. Then, in the breakdown, the impact is high in the following order Air transport 24.7%, Petrol (direct emissions) 16.9%,Accommodation 9.8%, Food and Beverage 7.5%, Petrol 6.1%, Textile products 5.3%, Food items 4.9%, Confectionery 4.8%, Rail transport 3.9%, Cosmetics 1.9%, Footwear 1.8%, etc. In addition to transportation, this research also highlighted especially the contribution from souvenirs, accommodation, food and beverages.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0130.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: risk management; safety critical systems; safety assessment; methodology
Online: 10 December 2019 (07:33:14 CET)
The complex systems that require safety are the Safety Critical Systems. Maintaining these systems is a big challenge. Now a days, safety is a very critical requirement for the latest systems. Safety critical systems must be safe. Different approaches to ensure quality and safety in safety critical systems has been discussed in this paper. A comparison is also conducted between these various approaches. Safety critical systems must remain more influential in future.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0208.v1
Subject: Engineering, Biomedical & Chemical Engineering Keywords: Beijing; surface water; organic pollution; health risk assessment
Online: 16 May 2019 (10:37:11 CEST)
The study of the distribution and health risk assessment is meaningful to provide basic data for environmental management．To investigate the pollution of potential toxic organics and their health risk to human beings, water samples were collected at 7 sites of main surface water of Beijing during wet and dry seasons respectively. The targeted 92 organics were detected, including phthalates (PAEs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and phenols. The results showed that: there were 56 organics detected out, and the number ratios of detected compounds to the total compounds of the same kind increased as the following: VOCs, phthalates, phenols, PAHs. 8 VOCs were detected in wet season, and 3 in dry season. The concentration of 2,2-Dichloropropane was highest as 10.62ug/L, while the concentrations of other VOCs were below 5ug/L; There were 11 phthalates detected during dry season. The content of Bis(2-methoxyethyl) phthalate was highest as 188.47ng/L; 17 phenols were found in samples during wet season, and the highest concentration was 1244.73ng/L for 4-nitrophenol; PAHs could be detected in all samples, and the detected compounds and the corresponding average concentrations were higher in wet seasons than those in dry seasons, which indicated that non-point pollution was possibly the main pollution source. The health risk assessment of the detected 56 pollutants by using a model from US EPA showed that, the risk caused by the four kinds of toxic organics in this study was in the acceptable ranges.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0311.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: mini nutritional assessment; acute myocardial infarction; mortality; elderly
Online: 13 November 2018 (10:56:25 CET)
Background: Malnutrition is a frequent condition in the elderly and is associated with prolonged hospitalization and increased mortality. However, the impact of malnutrition among elderly patients with acute myocardial infarction has not been clarified yet. Methods and Results: We have enrolled 174 patients aged 65 years and over, admitted with the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) who underwent to the evaluation of nutritional status by Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) and of mortality risk by Grace score 2.0. All-cause mortality was the outcome considered for this study. Over a mean follow-up of 24.5 ± 18.2 months, 43 deaths have been registered (24.3%). Non-survivors were more likely to be older, with worse GFR, lower SBP, lower albumin and MNA score, higher prevalence of Killip classification III-IV grade, and higher Troponin I levels. Multivariate Cox proportional analysis revealed that Grace score and MNA showed a significant and independent impact on mortality, (HR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.34–2.32 and HR = 0.56, 95% CI = 0.42–0.73, respectively). Moreover, the clinical decision curve revealed a higher clinical net benefit when the MNA was included compared to the partial models without MNA. Conclusions: Nutritional status is an independent predictor of long-term mortality among elderly patients with AMI. MNA score in elderly patients with AMI may help prognostic stratification and identification of patients with/at risk of malnutrition in order to apply interventions to improve nutritional status and maybe survival in this population.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0003.v1
Subject: Chemistry, Food Chemistry Keywords: coffee; acrylamide; furfuryl alcohol; 5-hydroxymethylfurfural; risk assessment
Online: 1 November 2018 (18:35:15 CET)
The three heat-induced coffee contaminants acrylamide, furfuryl alcohol (FA) and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) were analyzed in a collective of commercial samples as well as in Coffea arabica seeds roasted under controlled conditions from very light Scandinavian style to very dark Neapolitan style profiles. Regarding acrylamide, average contents in commercial samples were lower than in a previous study in 2002 (196 compared to 303 µg/kg). The roasting experiment confirmed the inverse relationship between roasting degree and acrylamide content, i.e. the lighter the coffee the higher the acrylamide content. However, FA and HMF were inversely related to acrylamide and found in higher contents in darker roasts. Therefore, mitigation measures must consider all contaminants and not be focused isolatedly on acrylamide, specifically since FA and HMF are contained in much higher contents with lower margins of exposure compared to acrylamide.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0212.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: assessment; educational videogames; online games; water; ecology education
Online: 11 August 2018 (19:09:14 CEST)
Videogames have become educational, communicative and social tools among the youngest, favouring the acquisition of skills, abilities and values, encompassing an endless number of themes, and help to experience and to face, in the first person, a great diversity of environmental situations and ecology problems. Thus, the present article aims: a) the evaluation of a sample of 20 educational videogames about water, making use of some empirical criteria of quality; and b) the design, validation and application of an integrate quality indicator of educational videogames on water, based on the aspects of narrative, gameplay and didactics to that sample, which allows us to obtain a ranking. The findings reflect a ranking of games allows to suggest that the nature of the game (simulation, adventures, platforms or questions) does not determine the quality of the game, although generally simulations and adventure games are placed in a range of medium or high quality, as well as those games that pursue objectives related to the design and management of a territory in a sustainable way. The paper provides teachers with quality criteria based on narrative and gameplay that complement and enriches the pedagogical dimension.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0529.v1
Subject: Engineering, Marine Engineering Keywords: wave hindcast; breakwater; harbor; estuary; SWAN; MIKE21SW; assessment
Online: 27 July 2018 (03:47:59 CEST)
Breakwaters influence coastal wave climate and circulation by blocking and dissipating wave energy. Accurate representation of these effects is essential to the determination of coastal circulation and wave processes. MIKE21SW and SWAN are two third-generation spectral wave models which are used widely in coastal research and engineering applications. Recent improved versions of the models are able to consider the influence of breakwater structures. In this study, we used available observations to evaluate the accuracy of model simulations of waves in New Haven Harbor, Connecticut, USA, an estuary with three detached breakwaters near the mouth. We then compare the accuracy and computational efficiency of MIKE21SW and SWAN. Both models were executed on the same unstructured triangular grid. The boundary conditions were derived from a bottom mounted ADCP on the offshore side of the breakwaters. Wind forcing was applied using data from the Central Long Island Sound buoy. We find that both models are largely consistent with observations during storms. The MIKE21SW significant wave height and wave direction simulations were slightly superior; however, SWAN is more efficient and faster due to its implementation of a fully implicit technique for time integration.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0435.v1
Subject: Engineering, Biomedical & Chemical Engineering Keywords: Kinect; validation; assessment; functional evaluation; shoulder; markerless system
Online: 30 May 2018 (05:59:51 CEST)
Optoelectronic devices are gold standard for 3D evaluation in clinics but due to the complexity of such kind of hardware and the lack of access for patients affordable, transportable and easy to use systems must be developed to be largely used in daily clinics. The KinectTM sensor presents various advantages compared to optoelectronic devices: price, transportability but also some limitations: (in)accuracy of the skeleton detection and tracking as well as the limited amount of available points that make 3D evaluation impossible. To overcome these limitations a novel method has been developed to perform 3D evaluation of the upper limbs. This system is coupled to rehabilitation exercises allowing functional evaluation while performing physical rehabilitation. To validate this new approach a double step method was used. The first step is a laboratory validation where the results obtained with the KinectTM have been compared with results obtained with an optoelectronic device, 40 healthy young adults participated in this first part. The second step was to determine the clinical relevance of such kind of measurement. Results of the healthy subjects were compared with a group of 22 elderly adults and a group of 10 chronic stroke patients to determine if different patterns can be observed. The new methodology and the different steps of the validations are presented in this paper.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0078.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Sport Sciences & Therapy Keywords: surfing; rotator cuff; shoulder; strength ratio; profiling; assessment
Online: 3 May 2018 (13:04:08 CEST)
The shoulder region has the highest incidence of acute injuries in the sport of surfing. Little is known about the strength profile at the shoulder in a surfing cohort. The primary aim of this study was to establish the reliability of a rotator cuff strength testing procedure for surfers with a secondary aim of providing a profile of internal (IR) and external rotation (ER) strength in a competitive surfing cohort. Shoulder IR and ER isometric strength was measured using a hand-held dynamometer in 13 competitive surfers. Intra-class coefficient values ranged from 0.97 to 0.98 for intra rater reliability and were lower for inter rater reliability ranging from 0.80 to 0.91. Normalised force (N/Kg) for IR strength was significantly greater than ER strength bilaterally (dominant, p= 0.007, non-dominant, p<0.001). No significant differences (p< 0.79) were found in IR strength (N/Kg) between the dominant and non-dominant arms. ER strength (N/Kg) was significantly weaker on the non-dominant arm compared with the dominant arm (p<0.02). The non-dominant arm ER to IR ratio (0.82 ± 0.15) was significantly (p=0.025) lower than the dominant (0.88 ± 0.14) The current procedure is reliable with the same clinician, results indicate musculature asymmetry specific to the external rotators.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201802.0183.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Social Psychology Keywords: PILAR; CATME; collaboration; peer assessment; inter-rater bias
Online: 27 February 2018 (15:23:37 CET)
The PILAR model provides a dynamical systems perspective on collaboration. Two studies are performed using peer assessment data, both testing empirical support for the five Pillars (prospects, involved, liked, agency, respect) that constitute member’s perceptions of collaboration viability. The first study analyses peer-assessment data collected online from 458 first-year engineering students (404 males; 54 females). A nine-item instrument was inherited from past year’s usage in the course, expanded with four additional items to elaborate upon the agency and liked Pillars. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted on student responses to test whether they thematically aligned to constructs consistent with the five Pillars. As anticipated, twelve of the thirteen items grouped into five components, each aligned with a Pillar, providing empirical evidence that the five Pillars represent perceptions of collaboration. The second study replicated the first study using a retrospective analysis of 87 items included in the Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness (CATME) peer-assessment tool. The associated factor analyses resulted in five components and conceptual alignment of these components with Pillars was evident for three of five CATME components. We recommend a peer-assessment instrument based upon PILAR as potentially more parsimonious and reliable than an extensive list of behaviours, such as employed by CATME. We also recommend including items that target inter-rater bias, which is aligned with the liked Pillar, that instruments such as CATME exclude.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201712.0187.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: SLEUTH model; Sensitivity Analysis; uncertainty assessment; urban expansion.
Online: 27 December 2017 (02:40:27 CET)
SLEUTH Model (slope, landuse, exclusion, urban extent, transportation and hillshade) is an important tool for landuse planning and land policy. To evaluate the performance of SLEUTH model, implementation of Sensitivity Analysis (SA) is essential. The main limitation of SA in SLEUTH application is a lack of insight into model input self-modification parameters (SMPs) variation, namely, uncertainty involved in the model transfer metrics and model presumptions, which often misled the decision makers and model users. To address this issue, this study divided the forward process into two stages. Firstly, during the transfer process ①, the contribution scores of five SMPs were drawn, and parameters highly sensitive to model output were given. Apart from that, the recommended initial value for SMPs of 0.11, 0.2, 0.87, 1.13, 15, 1.01, 0.49 were found to be subordinated to such a heterogeneous urban area simulation. Secondly, during the transfer process ②, SMP caused imagery metrics indicated the disparity between parameters with Fixed Reference and with Successive Reference. Reversely, it derives reasonable threshold for the best fit values of five prediction coefficients’ initialization by comparing the real image with the predicted one. The framework of SLEUTH model transfer mechanism not only could distinguish highly sensitive SMPs with higher contribution scores, but also could give parametric analysis for simulation imagery based on metrics. The study was found to be a practical tool for quantization response of model input variables for modelling complex urban systems. So, this insight can help geographic information scientists decide how to find out the inner forward transfer mechanism of SLEUTH model for further make good use of it and improve the model.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201708.0047.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Other Keywords: cancer risk; risk assessment; volcanic soils; Santiago Island
Online: 14 August 2017 (09:11:20 CEST)
The hazard and the carcinogenic risks due to the exposure to some potentially toxic elements by the Santiago Island (Cape Verde) population where calculated, considering soil ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact as exposure pathways. The topsoil of Santiago Island is enriched in Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, V, Zn, Mn and Cd to upper crust values. Hazard indices (HI) were calculated for these metals and As exposures, of Santiago Island population and the calculations were performed for children and adults. For children HI are higher than 1 for Co, Cr and Mn. So there is indication of potential non-carcinogenic risk for children, due to the high Co (HI=2.995), Cr (HI=1.329) and Mn (HI=1.126), values in soils. For the other elements and for adults there is no potential non-carcinogenic risk. Cancer risk was calculated for As, Cd, Cr and Ni exposures, for adults and children and the results are always lower than the carcinogenic target risk of 1x10-6, for As, Cd, and Ni. However, cancer risk are higher than the carcinogenic target risk for Cr, for adults. Regarding As, for children the fraction due to Riskingestion represents 51.6%, while Riskinhalation represents 48.0% and Riskdermalcontact represents only 0.4% of total risk. For adults Riskinhalation represents 81.3%, Riskingestion represents 16.6% and Riskdermal contact represents 2.1%. These results reflect the higher daily ingestion dose for children and the higher inhalation rate and higher dermal contact surface for adults. For the other elements and for adults the cancer risk due to Cr, Ni and Cd inhalation is always higher than for children, reflecting the higher inhalation rate for adults.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201701.0069.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: mining; non-energy mineral resources; environmental impact assessment
Online: 13 January 2017 (10:56:46 CET)
The article focuses on mining of non-energy mineral resources with minimum environmental impacts. It issues from research results of a project Competence Centre for Effective and Ecological Mining of Mineral Resources implemented at the Faculty of Mining and Geology at VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Geological Survey, a company Watrad ltd., a state enterprise Diamo, a company RPS Ostrava plc and a company Sedlecký kaolin plc. The paper starts with a partial analysis of the existing legal norms related to mining and processing of mineral resources. Next, it analyses mineral resource mining options free of negative environmental impacts. The fundamental tool to assess potential environmental impacts of mining is the implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for a given mineral resource. In the Czech Republic environmental impact assessment is carried out by course of Act 100/2001 Coll. Its important amendment is Act 39/2015 Coll. claiming, inter alia, that the environmental impact assessment is rigidly connected with other permits and procedures, such as the zoning process and building construction permits. The article describes the environmental impacts of mining of non-energy mineral resources, including the following factors: appropriation of land, impacts on surface water, ground water and soil, noise, influence on the landscape character, and air pollution. The paper also includes a case study summarizing information on the environmental factors that may play a role in potential underground mining of graphite in the deposit Český Krumlov - Městský Vrch and the deposit Lazec - Křenov.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0185.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Psychiatry & Mental Health Studies Keywords: Substance Use Disorder; Attitudes; Medical Students; Education; Assessment; Stigma
Online: 10 January 2023 (11:40:26 CET)
To evaluate the impact of a new Substance Use Disorder (SUD) education program on medical students' representations, we selected the Substance Abuse Attitude Survey (SAAS) questionnaire, which we adapted to our curriculum and cultural context. To validate this adapted version, we conducted an exploratory factor analysis following the administration of our 29-items bSAAS questionnaire to 657 medical students in Belgium (response rate: 71,1%). 23 items correlated to 3 factors namely "Stereotypes and moralism", "Treatment optimism" and "Specialised treatment" were retained (70% of total variance explained, Cronbach's alpha= 0.80) and constituted the new questionnaire called beSAAS. The factor "Specialised treatment", stood out from previous studies which could be explained by our target population and the impact of the formal, informal, and hidden curriculum in medical education. This study highlighted certain factors influencing stereotypical representations such as age, gender, origin, and personal or professional experience with substance use. Our study allowed us to retain the beSAAS as a good questionnaire to evaluate SUD stigma and highlighted interesting findings to improve SUD training in medicine. Further studies are needed to complete its validity and reliability.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0047.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: colorectal neoplasm; nutrition assessment; body composition; electric impedance; prognosis
Online: 5 September 2022 (07:33:30 CEST)
Background: Some studies have shown that an increase in visceral fat is associated with postoperative clinical and oncologic outcomes. However, no studies have used bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to determine the effects of visceral fat on the oncologic outcomes of colorectal cancer (CRC). This study aimed to investigate the relationship between visceral fat area (VFA) and clinical, and oncologic outcomes in CRC. Methods: This study included 203 patients who underwent anthropometric measurements by BIA before surgical treatment for CRC between January 2016 and June 2020. Results: According to the cutoff level of VFA by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, 85 (40.5%) patients had a low VFA, and 119 (59.5%) had a high VFA. Multivariate analysis found that preoperative CRP (hazard ratio [HR], 3.882; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.001–15.051; p=0.050) and nodal stage (HR, 7.996; 95% CI, 1.414–45.209; p=0.019) were independent prognostic factors for overall survival, while sex (HR, 0.110; 95% CI, 0.013–0.905; p=0.040), lymphovascular invasion (HR, 3.560; 95% CI, 1.098–11.544; p=0.034), and VFA (HR, 4.263; 95% CI, 1.280–14.196; p=0.040) were independent prognostic factors for disease-free survival (DFS). Conclusion: High VFA preoperatively measured by BIA was associated with inflammations and was an independent prognostic factor for DFS.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0395.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Psychiatry & Mental Health Studies Keywords: Mental Health; Primary Health Care; Collaborative Care; Health Assessment
Online: 29 June 2022 (05:05:41 CEST)
The supply of mental health processes in primary care has gaps. This study aims to analyze the association of agreement criteria and flows between primary care teams and the Family Health Support Center (NASF) for mental health collaborative care, considering the difference between capital and non-capital cities in Brazil. This cross-sectional study was conducted based on secondary data from the Primary Care Access and Quality Improvement Program. Agreement criteria and flows were obtained from 3883 NASF teams of the matrix support or collaborative care. The Chi-square test and multiple Poisson regression were used; p < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Prevalence ratios of negative associations demonstrated protective factors for support actions: follow-up at Psychosocial Care Center, management of psychopharmacotherapy, offer of other therapeutic actions, care process for users of psychoactive substances, and offer of activities to prevent the use of psychoactive substances. Collaborative care in primary care was effective, and capital cities were a protective factor compared with non-capital cities.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0012.v3
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Nature-Positive; Quantified Benefit Assessment; Security; Wellness; Viability; Gain
Online: 21 April 2022 (17:37:36 CEST)
The needs for environmental reporting to include positive outcomes considering differences between creation of less harm, benefits and net benefits are explored. To become mainstream, nature-positive development needs positive messaging, measures and metrics to guide, plan and assess urban outcomes. With the accelerating climate crisis and negative messages getting the upper-hand, it’s important to avoid paralysis by bad news. Whilst striving for a nature-positive world, more effort should be on moving beyond zero to qualify and quantify benefits, gains, and regenerative outcomes instead of oscillating around damage and loss sticking points. Life Cycle Benefit Assessment (LCBA) is a method to measure gains in accelerating restoration and climate security. It enables a good news focus as its reach is to quantify and show positive gains beyond the negative and zero loss outcomes. The paper aims to clarify concepts, challenges and quantitative methods then review real-world third-party-certified case studies. Climate security, human wellness and resource viability gains inside safe operating space within planetary boundaries are quantified as positive benefits. Contrary to conventional Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) LCBA assigns damage and loss as negative debts and benefit as positive gains. It concludes that LCBA offers business and design a new environment assessment tool, with research needed on economic and other outcomes.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0064.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pharmacology & Toxicology Keywords: combination treatment; monotherapy; clinical trial design; benefit/risk assessment
Online: 6 January 2022 (10:14:10 CET)
Combination treatment, i.e., the use of two or more drugs for the same condition, is frequent in medicine if monotherapy yields an insufficient therapeutic response. We here review and challenge clinical study designs and formats of reporting outcomes for the evaluation of the benefit/risk ratio of combination treatment over monotherapy. We demonstrate that benefits of combination treatment at the group level over-estimate the probability of benefit at the single patient level based on outcome simulations under almost any imaginable setting. Based on these findings we propose that studies testing combination treatment should always report on percentages of responders to monotherapy and combination treatment. We provide equations that allow calculation of the percentage of patients truly benefitting from combination (responders to both monotherapies) and that of patients exposed to risk of harm from adverse effects without a reasonable expectation of individual benefit. These considerations are explained based on real clinical data, mostly from the field of functional urology (male lower urinary tract symptoms).
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Clinical Neurology Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; artificial intelligence; clinical trials; eligibility assessment; randomization
Online: 8 October 2021 (11:31:14 CEST)
Clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) face multiple challenges, such as the high screen failure rate and even allocation of heterogeneous participants. Artificial intelligence (AI), which has become a potent tool of modern science with the expansion in the volume, variety, and velocity of biological data, offers promising potential to address these issues in AD clinical trials. In this review, we introduce the current status of AD clinical trials and topic of machine learning. Then, a comprehensive review is focused on the potential applications of AI in the steps of AD clinical trials, including the prediction of AD biomarkers and differential diagnosis of AD in the prescreen during eligibility assessment and the likelihood stratification of patients who will progress to AD dementia and fast cognitive decline group from the slow decline group in randomization. Finally, this review provides challenges, developments and the future outlook on the integration of AI into AD clinical trials.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0547.v1
Subject: Engineering, General Engineering Keywords: Developing countries; Environmental Impact Assessment; Rapid urbanization; Smart strategies
Online: 23 July 2021 (15:01:36 CEST)
One of the main drivers behind the urbanization process is attributed to economic fundamentals of urban growth, which boost migration from rural to urban context. This migration can be studied geographically, with increasing rates of population as the main component in developing countries, over Asia and Africa, specifically. Research has been focusing in creating models and adaptative schemes to manage and plan cities to promote sustainable development for housing large quantities of population and preserve a long-term living environment. The approach from a smart city perspective, adjusted to the rapid urbanization condition can be helpful to deal urban issues by convergence and interaction between urban agents and information technology. At academia, few works have addressed the role of Smart Cities to face the challenge of rapid urbanization. The aim of this study is to research and analyze if strategies with smart city vision can lessen environmental impacts at cases with rapid urbanization, and how can we leverage technology to promote environmental sustainability at rapid urbanization phenomena occurring at developing countries using RIAM environmental assessment method in the case of Beijing, China'.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0346.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: allanite; radiometric survey; radiological risk assessment; AEDE; AGED; ELCR
Online: 15 July 2021 (09:36:23 CEST)
Past exploration for U deposit in the Philippines discovered the mineralization of radioactive allanite in Palawan. The allanite occurs as sand component in the heavily populated beach of Erawan, San Vicente, Palawan. This work assessed the risks associated with the radionuclides in Erawan beach by in situ ground radiometric survey of K, U, and Th in 694 sampling points. Principal component analysis (PCA) and Pearson correlation coefficient were used to determine the similarity between the radionuclides and to identify other probable anthropogenic sources of radionuclides. Our results show that the mean activity concentrations of K (597.8 Bq kg-1) and Th (93.15 Bq kg-1) are equivalent to 1.5 and 3.1 times of the world average natural radioactivity levels in soil, respectively, while the mean U (34.7 Bq kg-1) is similar to the world average. The mean radiological risk assessments like radium equivalent, gamma specific activity index, external hazard index, internal hazard index, absorbed gamma dose rate, annual effective dose equivalent, annual gonadal equivalent dose, and excess lifetime cancer risk are 213.96 Bq kg-1, 0.78, 0.58, 0.67, 97.24 nGy h-1, 119.25 µSv y-1, 684.39 µSv y-1, and 0.42 (10-3), respectively. Th consistently correlated most to the risks. We attribute the occurrence of Th to the presence of allanite, K to fertilizer use for farming, and U to both the allanite and farming. The results of our study can provide important baseline data for future detailed studies or monitoring of the long-term effects of elevated radiation levels to the local population of Erawan.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: germline testing; NGS; breast cancer; genetic counselling; risk assessment
Online: 7 July 2021 (13:14:58 CEST)
The use of multi-gene panels for germline testing in breast cancer enables the estimation of cancer risk and guides risk-reducing management options for tested individuals and their family members. We performed an analysis in our clinical database to identify breast cancer patients undergoing genetic testing with positive reports. We reviewed positive results with respect to the different levels of information provided in the reports; risk estimation and management, cascade family testing, information from secondary findings and actionable information for treatment decision-making. A total of 415 positive test reports were identified with 57.1%, 18.1%, 10.8% and 13.5% of individuals having pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in high (BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, PTEN, TP53), moderate (ATM, CHEK2, NBN), low (BARD1, BRIP1, CHEK2, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, NF1, RAD51C) and with insufficient evidence for breast cancer risk genes (FANCA, FANCM, NBN, MRE11, PMS2, RAD50, RAD51B, XRCC2, MUTYH), respectively. 6.7% of individuals were double heterozygotes with two pathogenic variants. Germline findings in 92% of individuals are linked to evidence-based treatment information and receive risk estimates for predisposition to breast and/or other cancer types. The use of germline findings for treatment decision making expands the indication of genetic testing to include individuals that could benefit from targeted treatments.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0167.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Clinical Neurology Keywords: Heart arrest; optic nerve sheath diameter; Patient outcome assessment
Online: 10 May 2021 (10:51:42 CEST)
Optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) can help predict the neurologic outcome of patients with post-cardiac arrest (CA) return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). We aimed to investigate the effect of ONSD changes before and after CA on neurologic outcomes in patients with ROSC after CA using brain computed tomography (CT). The study included patients hospitalized after CA, who had undergone pre- and post-CA brain CT from January 2001 to September 2020. The patients were divided into good and poor neurologic outcome (GNO and PNO, respectively) groups based on the neurologic outcome at hospital discharge. We performed between-group comparisons of the amount and rate of ONSD changes on brain CT and calculated the area under the curve (AUC) to determine their predictive value for neurologic outcomes. Among the 96 enrolled patients, 25 had GNO. Compared to the GNO group, the PNO group showed significantly higher amount (0.30 vs. 0.63 mm; p=0.030) and rate of change (5.26 vs. 12.29 %; p=0.041). The AUC for predicting PNO was 0.64 (95% CI=0.53–0.73; p=0.04) and patients with a rate of ONSD change >27.2% had PNO with 100% specificity and positive predictive value. Hence, ONSD changes may predict neurologic outcomes in patients with post-CA ROSC.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0343.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: Awake Bruxism, Self-Report, Ecological Momentary Assessment, Smartphone Application
Online: 12 March 2021 (15:45:57 CET)
Diagnosis of Awake Bruxism (AB) is problematic due to the inability to use continuous recordings during daytime activities. Recently, a new semi-instrumental approach was suggested, viz., an Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), with the use of a smartphone application. With the application subjects are requested to report, at least 12 times per day, the status of their masticatory muscle activity (relaxed muscles, jaw bracing without tooth contact, teeth contact, teeth clenching or teeth grinding). The aim of the present study was to compare the EMA to the assessment of AB as defined by a single point self-report. The most frequent condition recorded by the EMA was relaxed muscles (ca. 60%) and the least frequent one - Teeth grinding (0.6 %). The relaxed muscle condition also showed the lowest coefficient of variance over a 7day period of report. Additionally, only the relaxed muscles and the Jaw bracing conditions presented an acceptable ability to discriminate between AB positive and AB negative subjects, as defined by single point self-report questions. The combination between self-report and EMA may have a potential to promote our ability to diagnose AB. We suggest to re-consider the conditions of Teeth contact and Teeth grinding while using EMA to evaluate AB.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0289.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: research professors; assessment; model of competencies; transformation of universities.
Online: 15 January 2021 (12:43:42 CET)
Research professors develop scientific products that impact and benefit society, but their competencies in doing so are rarely evaluated. Therefore, employing a mixed two-stage sequential design, this study developed a self-assessment model of research professors’ competencies with four domains, seven competencies, and 30 competency elements. Next, we conducted descriptive statistical analysis of those elements. In the first year, 320 respondents rated themselves on four levels: initial, basic, autonomous, and consolidated. In the assessment model’s second year, we compared 30 respondents’ results with those of their initial self-assessment. The main developmental challenge was Originality and Innovation, which remained at the initial level. Both Training of Researchers and Transformation of Society were at the basic level, and Digital Competency was at the autonomous level. Both Teaching Competence and Ethics and Citizenship attained the consolidated level. This information helps establish priorities for accelerating researchers’ training and the quality of their research.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0481.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: food insecurity; food provision; food assistance program,; impact assessment
Online: 18 November 2020 (14:16:49 CET)
Introduction In 2016 the European Union setup its first structured food provision program to combat food insecurity. We aimed to measure the program’s capacity in assisting its beneficiaries to achieve a healthy diet and measure their satisfaction. Methods A computational study was carried out to calculate daily food provision per person under the program for January 2016-December 2017. A cross sectional survey in 3942 beneficiaries took place in December 2017-June 2018 collecting anthropometric, sociodemographic and program satisfaction data. Descriptive statistics were performed and reported as relatively frequencies, mean ± standard deviation. Results Dairy, fresh meat, legumes, sugar, olive oil and tomato concentrate were the most commonly procured items. The program’s contribution to vegetable, dairy and cereal intake was the lowest (3.4%, 6.1%, 6.0% respectively) as opposed to free sugars (12.2%) and oils (24.5%). The program’s algorithm favors greatly (almost 3-fold) single person applications compared to 4+ persons applications. The monetary value was estimated at 21.23±23.4 euros/food provision, however 64.4% of beneficiaries reported a high positive impact on the household budget. 50.7% and 41.6% reported high positive impact on feelings of anxiety and security, respectively. ~70% of the beneficiaries were highly satisfied with the foods provided, with lower scores for quality and shelf-life (50.7% and 58.8% high respectively). Conclusions The program is met by high beneficiary satisfaction and is perceived as a substantial assistance. Increases in the amounts and variety of foods delivered, with a focus on fruit, vegetables and fish should be considered, to further improve the program’s dietary impact.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0337.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: thermal sensation; ageing; infrared thermography; frailty; assessment; comfort; extremities
Online: 15 August 2020 (04:56:17 CEST)
The temperature of the indoor environment is important for health and wellbeing especially at the extremes of age. The study aim was to undertsand the relationship between self-reported thermal sensation and extremity skin temperature in care home residents with and without dementia. The Abbreviated Mental Test (AMT) was used to discriminate residents to two categories, those with and those without dementia. After acclimatisation, measurements included: tympanic membrane temperature, thermal sensation rating followed by infrared thermal mapping of non-dominant hand and forearm. Sixty-nine afebrile adults (60-101 years of age) were studied in groups of two to five, in mean ambient temperatures of 21.4oC-26.6oC (median 23.6oC). Significant differences were observed between groups; thermal sensation rating (p=0.02), tympanic temperature (p=0.01), fingertip skin temperature (p=0.01) and temperature gradients; fingertip-wrist p=0.001 and fingertip-distal forearm, p=0.001.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0040.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: pain assessment; pain recognition; deep learning; neural network; dataset
Online: 2 August 2020 (15:28:12 CEST)
The traditional standards employed for pain assessment have many limitations. One such limitation is reliability because of inter-observer variability. Therefore, there have been many approaches to automate the task of pain recognition. Recently, deep-learning methods have appeared to solve many challenges, such as feature selection and cases with a small number of data sets. This study provides a systematic review of pain-recognition systems that are based on deep-learning models for the last two years only. Furthermore, it presents the major deep-learning methods that were used in review papers. Finally, it provides a discussion of the challenges and open issues.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0221.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: antibiotic residue; human health; milk; risk assessment; TLC; UHPLC
Online: 17 June 2020 (13:25:29 CEST)
Consumption of milk contaminated with antibiotic residues above the maximum residue limit (MRL) causes direct toxicity to humans and the development of superbugs that leads to the failure of antibiotic therapy and threatens human life. Besides, long-duration exposure might alter the nature of gut microflora results in the enhancement of many diseases. Therefore, we examined 300 raw and processed packet milk samples using thin layer chromatography (TLC) and ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) method against five veterinary antibiotics and assessed the risk for consumers in Chattogram, Bangladesh. Risk analysis was calculated by using hazard quotient on the basis of 165 ml per capita milk consumption. We found a total of 7% prevalence of antibiotic residues in raw milk samples which were higher (8%) in individual samples than the pooled samples (4%). However, we did not find any processed packet milk samples as positive. The mean concentration of oxytetracycline residue was detected 61.29 µg/l and amoxicillin was 124 µg/l in individual milk samples. Risk analysis showed the hazard quotient values of 0.0056 for oxytetracycline and 0.0017 for amoxicillin residue which was confirmed that, no significant health risk associated with the consumption of milk produced and marketed in the study area. Our study might fill the gap of knowledge to measure the safety status of milk regarding public health issues.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0393.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Sport Sciences & Therapy Keywords: activity-based balance index; soccer; accelerometer; performance; skill assessment
Online: 24 May 2020 (18:09:18 CEST)
The aim of this study was to introduce a new activity-based balance index by using accelerometer data. Twenty-seven junior soccer players from the Iranian premier league were selected. Four functional tests, consisting of one leg stance, dynamic Y balance, running and dribbling tests, were conducted to assess the players’ balance, activity and skill. During these four tests, besides their relative scores, the acceleration of their body center was also recorded. Activity-based balance index (ABI) was calculated using these acceleration data. The results showed positive correlations between ABI and both static and dynamic balance scores. Additionally, negative correlations were found between ABI and dribbling scores, which demonstrate the agility required for this skill. It seems that this new index achieves the evaluation of both the balance and the skill level of soccer players. Perhaps this is a new way of talent identification and also a re-development of balance tests from traditional to modern.
Online: 9 May 2020 (04:35:03 CEST)
As organizations are vulnerable to cyber attacks, their protection becomes a significant issue. Capability Maturity Models can enable organizations to benchmark current maturity levels against best practices. Although many maturity models have been already proposed in the literature, a need for models that integrate several regulations exists. This article presents a light web-based model that can be used as a cybersecurity assessment tool for Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) of the UK. The novel Holistic Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment Framework incorporates all security and privacy regulations and best practices that HEIs must be compliant to and can be used as a self-assessment or a cybersecurity audit tool.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0350.v3
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: aflatoxins; incidence; toxicity; risk assessment; biocontrol; atoxigenic A. flavus
Online: 5 January 2020 (16:44:52 CET)
This review aimed to update the main aspects of aflatoxin production, occurrence and incidence in selected countries, and associated aflatoxicosis outbreaks. Means to reduce aflatoxin incidence in crops were also presented with an emphasis on the environment-friendly technology using atoxigenic strains of Aspergillus flavus. Aflatoxins are unavoidable widespread natural contaminants of foods and feeds with serious impact on health, agricultural and livestock productivity, and food safety. They are secondary metabolites produced by Aspergillus species distributed on three main sections of the genus (section Flavi, section Ochraceorosei, and section Nidulantes). Poor economic status of a country exacerbates the risk and the extent of crop contamination due to faulty storage conditions that are usually suitable for mold growth and mycotoxin production: temperature of 22 to 29°C and water activity of 0.90 to 0.99. This situation paralleled the prevalence of high liver cancer and the occasional acute aflatoxicosis episodes that have been associated with these regions. Risk assessment studies revealed that Southeast Asian and Sub-Saharan African countries remain at high risk and that, apart from the regulatory standards revision to be more restrictive, other actions to prevent or decontaminate crops are to be taken for adequate public health protection. Indeed, a review of publications on the incidence of aflatoxins in selected foods and feeds from countries whose crops are classically known for their highest contamination with aflatoxins, reveals that despite the intensive efforts made to reduce such an incidence, there has been no clear tendency, with the possible exception of South Africa, towards sustained improvements. Nonetheless, a global risk assessment of the new situation regarding crop contamination with aflatoxins by international organizations with the required expertise is suggested to appraise where we stand presently.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201910.0267.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: mediterranean region; river connectivity; fishway assessment; motivation; ascent ability
Online: 23 October 2019 (09:40:48 CEST)
Endemic freshwater fish from semiarid environments are among the most threated species in the world due to the water overexploitation and habitat fragmentation problems. Stepped or pool-type fishways are used worldwide to reestablish longitudinal connectivity and mitigate fish migration problems. Many of them are being installed or planned in rivers of semiarid environments, however, very few studies about fish passage performance through pool-type fishways has been carried out to date on these regions. The present work focuses on the passage performance of two potamodromous cyprinids endemic of these regions, with different ecological and swimming behavior: southern Iberian barbel (Luciobarbus sclateri) and Iberian straight-mouth nase (Pseudochondrostoma polylepis), in two of the most common types of stepped fishways: vertical slot and submerged notch with bottom orifice fishways. Experiments were carried out during the spawning season in the Segura River (South-Eastern Spain), using a PIT tag and antennas system. Ascent success was greater than 80%, with a median transit time lower than 17 minutes per meter of height in all trials and for both species and fishway types. Results show that both types of fishways, if correctly designed and built, provide interesting alternatives for the restoration of fish migration pathways on these regions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0084.v1
Subject: Engineering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Keywords: manufacturing; energy efficiency; life cycle assessment; aluminium; cast-iron
Online: 11 June 2019 (06:39:26 CEST)
Considering the manufacturing of automotive components, there exists a dilemma around the substitution of traditional Cast Iron (CI) with lighter metals. Nowadays, aluminium alloys, being lighter compared to traditional materials, are considered as a more environmentally friendly solution. However, the energy required for the extraction of the primary materials and manufacturing of components is usually not taken into account in this debate. In this study, an extensive literature review has been performed to estimate the overall energy required for the manufacturing of an engine cylinder block using (a) cast iron and (b) aluminium alloys. Moreover, data from over 100 automotive companies, ranging from mining companies to consultancy firms, have been collected in order to support the soundness of this investigation. The environmental impact of the manufacturing of engine blocks made of these materials is presented with respect to the energy burden; the “cradle-to-grave approach” has been implemented to take into account the energy input of each stage of the component lifecycle starting from the resource extraction and reaching to the end-of-life processing stage. Our results indicate that although aluminium components contribute towards reduced fuel consumption during their use phase, the vehicle distance needed to be covered in order to compensate for the up-front energy consumption related to the primary material production and manufacturing phases is very high. Thus, the substitution of traditional materials with lightweight ones in the automotive industry should be very thoughtfully evaluated.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201904.0038.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: communication skills; standardized patients; gender; checklist; competence assessment; OSCE
Online: 3 April 2019 (10:22:49 CEST)
Background: The present study analyzes the evaluation of communication skills by standardized patients (SPs) and medical evaluators (Es) in an OSCE setting. Methods: The OSCE involved 189 sixth-year medical students, as well as 34 SPs and 63 Es. Communications skills were evaluated in 8 stations, simultaneously by SPs and Es. The SPs were actors who had been trained in the clinical case and who acted in accordance with a standardized script in a simulated clinical situation. The evaluators, also standardized, were Resident Doctors or staff Doctors from the Hospital Services involved. Results: The global scores awarded to students for communication skills were very similar in both groups, although the score awarded by Es was significantly higher, and a direct relationship was also observed between the mean scores awarded by both groups. Evaluators awarded significantly higher scores than SPs in 7 out of the 10 items on the checklist. Female medical students also scored significantly higher than their male counterparts in many items, including external appearance, listening, cordiality, optimism, interest, expression and empathy. Conclusions: Our data indicate that SPs and Es evaluated communication skills in a similar manner in an OSCE setting, a finding which suggests that health-related professionals can be used as an alternative to SPs, thus helping to lower economic costs. Our study also confirms a gender difference (in favor of women) in the evaluation of communications skills by both groups.Our data indicate that SPs and Es evaluated communication skills in a similar manner in an OSCE setting, a finding which suggests that health-related professionals can be used as an alternative to SPs, thus helping to lower economic costs. Our study also confirms a gender difference (in favor of women) in the evaluation of communications skills by both groups.
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: risk assessment; BIM; supply chain management; prefabricated construction products
Online: 19 March 2019 (13:07:57 CET)
Improving the efficiency of the supply process in prefabricated components is challenging and requires accounting for a variety of risks involved in the management of the suppliers. The purpose of this study is to present a method to account for the systematic trade-offs between several supplier alternatives. A novel framework is presented for the whole assessment of supplier alternatives by taking advantage of the information extracted from customized building information modeling (BIM) and a database required for assessment of impacts. A data library related to assessment criteria for supply alternatives is built to facilitate the storage and sharing of information. Analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is used to select the optimal supplier that is able to provide the most satisfaction for the determined criteria. The proposed framework was also illustrated by the implementation in a mega project. The study implication is that BIM-enabled supplier selection can indeed lead to more benefits and higher values for all stakeholders.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0151.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: reflective learning, assessment, self-reflection, self-regulation, physics education
Online: 7 August 2018 (23:43:05 CEST)
This paper addresses the development of knowledge and assessment-centered learning approaches within a reflective learning framework in a first year physics class in a university faculty. The quality of students’ reflections was scored using a Self-reporting Reflective Learning Appraisal Questionnaire at the end of each learning approach. The results showed the differences between the approaches based on reflections on the learning control through self-knowledge, by connecting experience and knowledge, as well as through self-reflection and self-regulation. Assessment-centered activities fundamentally help students identify aspects of their attitudes towards, as well as regulate, their sustainability learning education.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0220.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: bioplastics; seaweed; lactic acid; Life Cycle Assessment; Ulva spp.
Online: 13 June 2018 (16:28:59 CEST)
An exploratory Life Cycle Assessment was carried out to provide insight into the environmental impacts of using the green seaweed Ulva spp. as a feedstock for production of bioplastic. The study focused on the production of lactic acid as a precursor of polylactic acid. The studied production process consists of (1) the cultivation of Ulva spp. in Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture, (2) the processing of the biomass for solubilisation of sugars, (3) the fermentation of the sugars to lactic acid and (4) isolation of lactic acid from the fermentation broth. The study identifies environmental hotspots and compares the experimental seaweed production chain with conventional feedstock. The main hotspot identified is electricity consumption during seaweed cultivation. This impact of electricity consumption can be lowered by reducing energy use and sourcing renewable energy, and by improving the material efficiency in the product chain. To improve understanding of the environmental impacts of the production process, future studies can broaden the system boundaries and broaden the scope of sustainability issues included in the environmental assessment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0101.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Other Keywords: E raining; digital learning objects; electronic assessment; tablets; smartphones
Online: 7 May 2018 (06:09:24 CEST)
This research assess the effects of training program based on the usage of the digital learning objects in teaching practice at the Northern Borders University staff. E Assessment through the tablets and smart phones and the teachers’ attitudes towards such way of evaluation is the major objective of this study as the researcher expects that the assessment mechanism in the university through utilization of tablets and smart phones and its application will inevitably bring in a systematic improvement in the assessment and evaluation process of the curricula. Moreover, making use of the e learning objects in training will make a significant change in e training program of the university. Hence, the researcher has chosen voluntary random samples from the university teaching staff (men\women) from various different faculties (medicine, medical sciences, science, education and arts, business administration, home economics, and science and literature). These samples included 300 members of the teaching staff. In a group of 20 to 25 members, a personal training was conducted regarding the usage of tablets and smart phones and its applications in the assessment process. Each group participated by producing a complete e-assessment for their students in the Northern Borders University and by the e learning system i.e. Blackboard and Question Mark. The research also depends on the semi-experimental design of multiple groups and on testing the groups’ pre and post achievement tests. In addition, the research identifies the level of the university teaching staff in using the tablets and the smartphones and its applications in the assessment process by the note card that the individuals have during the test.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201801.0121.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Architecture And Design Keywords: social criteria; building assessment tools; sustainable development; social sustainability
Online: 15 January 2018 (07:55:41 CET)
The social criteria of sustainable development have remained underexplored. Moreover, a large number of green building assessment tool and social sustainability documentations have been developed which, has had a direct impact on social criteria issues, but there seems to be a substantial gap in the study of social criteria in green building assessment tools. In examining the problem facing social sustainability, taking into consideration social sustainability in sustainable development reviews and green building assessment tool towards social aspects. This paper through analysis identified a centripetal conceptual framework composed of seven key components equity, education, participation & control, social cohesion, health & safety, accessibility & satisfaction, and cultural values. The interpretation of the social sustainability in green building assessment tool would impact building practitioners towards implementing social criteria in GBAT. The aim was to identify social categories as well as consider a starting point for the development of an effective social criteria assessment tool for green building.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201712.0112.v1
Subject: Engineering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Keywords: life cycle assessment; circular economy; material efficiency; recycling; reuse
Online: 18 December 2017 (06:36:56 CET)
Material efficiency is a key element of new thinking to address the challenges of reducing impacts on the environment and of resource scarcity, whilst at the same time meeting service and functionality demands on materials. Directly related to material efficiency is the concept of the Circular Economy, which is based on the principle of optimising the utility embodied in materials and products through the life cycle. Whilst steel, as a result of high recycling rates, is one of the most ‘circular’ of all manufactured materials, significant opportunities for greater material efficiency exist, which are yet to be widely implemented. In the field of Life Cycle Management, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is commonly used to assess the environmental benefits of recovering and recycling materials through the manufacturing supply chain and at end-of-life. As well as containing information to calculate environmental impacts, LCA models also provide the flows of materials through the product life cycle and can also be used to quantify material efficiency and the circularity of a product system. Using an example taken from renewable energy generation, this paper explores the correlation between product circularity and the environmental case for strategies designed to improve material efficiency. An LCA-based methodology for accounting for the recovery and re-use of materials from the supply chain, and at end-of-life, is used as the basis for calculating the carbon footprint benefits of five material efficiency scenarios. Resulting carbon footprints were then compared with a number of proposed material circularity indicators. Two conclusions from this exercise were that i) LCA methodologies based around end-of-life approaches are well placed for quantifying the environmental benefits of material efficiency and circular economy strategies and ii) when applying indicators relating to the circularity of materials these should also be supported by LCA studies.