Study Design: Secure, web-based survey. Objectives: Elicit specific information about sexual function from women with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Setting: World-wide web. Methods: Individuals 18 years or older living with SCI obtained a pass code to enter a secure website and then answered survey questions. Results: Bladder and/or bowel incontinence during sexual activity and/or sexual intercourse were significant concerns and prevented some women from seeking sexual activity. Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) during sexual activity was interpreted negatively by many and was found to interfere with sexual activity. Most subjects reported difficulty becoming psychologically aroused as well as physically aroused, which were both correlated with feeling that their SCI had altered their sexual sense of self. An inverse relationship existed between developing new areas of arousal above the level of lesion and not having sensation or movement below the lesion. The most commonly reported sexual stimulation leading to the best arousal involved stimulation of the head/neck and torso areas. The majority of subjects reported having experienced intercourse postinjury. Most participants reported difficulty with positioning during foreplay and intercourse, vaginal lubrication, and spasticity during intercourse. Almost half reported experiencing orgasm postinjury and this was positively associated with the presence of genital sensation. Conclusion: SCI significantly impairs psychological and physical aspects of female sexual arousal. In addition, bladder and bowel incontinence as well as AD negatively impact sexual activity and intercourse., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
Thee aim of this chapter is to provide the reader with a general overview of the different phenomena and factors involved with durability of repair and suggest the major aspects which the repair design should focus on. However, it is important to keep in mind that any repair problem needs to be addressed as a unique problem ﬁrst, and the designer, by developing awareness of the several challenges involved, should be able to make mindful choices, adequate to the specific application that is being considered., Book chapter, Published.
Proceedings of 2017 International Conference on Noise and Fluctuations (ICNF), Vilnius, Lithuania on 20-23 June 2017. Segmentation of the developing insect body is preceded by cell-specific gene expression. In fruit flies (Drosophila), pair-rule genes are expressed in spatial stripes specifying segment fates. Transcription of the even-skipped (eve) pair-rule gene was recently shown to proceed in noisy bursts. Here, we develop a stochastic model of eve transcription from DNA to mRNA. This indicates that eve transcription proceeds at two rates, with a slow rate providing basal production and a fast rate allowing for high mRNA output. This two-rate transcription may afford more reliability in mRNA output, and therefore the protein levels which specify cell type, than a simple on-off (one-rate) mechanism., Conference paper, Published.
This work looks at the impact of assumptions made regarding efficiency of storage systems used with variable energy resources and how this applies to a solar PV installation. To find the optimal storage system to work with the cyclic solar output, a linear optimization model is implemented using OSeMOSYS. With 100% efficient, free storage, with no capacity restrictions, it is possible to get down to almost 5 GW of required solar installed capacity, but it requires 1.1 TWh of 100% efficient storage. Existing pumped hydro storage facilities have efficiencies between 70 and 80%, which increase these numbers to 7 GW and 1.2 TWh. With a storage model based on the worlds largest pumped hydro facility between 20 and 25 GW of installed solar capacity are required plus between 15 and 30 GWh of storage capacity to meet the 1 GW load. The capital infrastructure required to allow a solar installation to meet that of a baseload plant is therefore around an order of magnitude larger than what is commonly assumed. A shift away from fossil fuels to renewable/variable energy resources will require more infrastructure than indicated by simply considering the capacity factor of the energy source., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Manuscript received September 30, 2014; revised January 18, 2015.
The use of Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRP) has grown in popularity in the construction industry. FRP has proven useful in the retrofit of various types of structural elements. It may be used for the strengthening of beams, the seismic upgrade of walls panels, as well as the jacketing of columns to provide confinement. There exist several methods of FRP application for the case of structural retrofits. These include the application of pre-prepared FRP mats, or application of FRP via the wet lay-up process. However, a new technique developed at the University of British Columbia allows for the application of FRP in the form of a spray. Externally bonded Sprayed FRP (SFRP) is known to increase strength and energy absorption capacity of a retrofitted member as well as, or better than, FRP sheets. However, tests have primarily been carried out on concrete members only. An area of interest, into which not much research has been conducted, is the application of SFRP to timber. Timber bridges are extensively used in many parts of the world. Often due to remoteness and practical constraints, it is impossible to apply FRP sheets to retrofit these bridges. SFRP would be a much easier method of FRP application. This study looked at the application of SFRP to Douglas Fir (D.Fir) Beam specimens subjected to 3-Point Flexural Loading only. The specimens were treated with either a water based (Borocol) or oil borne (Creosote) antifungal preservative prior to being sprayed with FRP. Different combinations of adhesives/bonding agents including Hydroxymethylated Resorcinol and Polymeric Isocyanates were used to try to develop a strong bond. When considering using only chemical adhesives to obtain a proper bond between the two constituents of the composite, use of HMR is recommended for timber which is untreated or has been treated with a water borne preservative such as Borocol, while a pMDI adhesive such as AtPrime 2 is recommended for timber treated with an oil borne preservative such as Creosote. For Non Creosoted beams, adhesives did not generate as significant of a strength gain. For Creosoted beams, adhesives may be sufficient to generate significant strength gain when SFRP is applied to a beam. Considering that most structures in use would probably have been treated with a preservative similar to Creosote, in practice, AtPrime 2 or some other some sort of pMDI would probably be the adhesive of choice. Based on the results of the study, it is possible to say that the application of SFRP to retrofit/rehabilitate timber structures shows considerable promise. If a decent bond is achieved between the composite constituents, it is possible to substantially increase the ultimate flexural strength of the member, as well as drastically increase its ductility and energy absorption capacity. It is recommended that further tests be carried out using different types of loading schemes, geometrical configurations of SFRP, other types of anchorage, and development of a proper analytical model before the method is adopted for widespread use., Thesis, Published.
Proceedings of 2012 European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference (EISIC) in Odense, Denmark 22-24 Aug. 2012. Much of the information exchanged between agents over a network is encapsulated in XML documents. An XML document has a tree structure, and the meaning of the document can be understood in terms of a set of label-value pairs. The content of a document is often secured through digital signatures applied to different sections, while the document is passed between several agents. In this paper, we illustrate that this process is insecure in the sense that a malicious agent can deceive an honest agent to hold beliefs that are untrue. We provide a formal framework for analyzing the security of structured documents, based on the implicit epistemic impact that a signed document will have on a recipient. This kind of analysis can provide significant insight into deception and fraud detection., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of 2013 Humaine Association Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, Geneva, Switzerland, 2-5 Sept. 2013. We present the results of a study that explored the emotions experienced by students during interaction with an educational game for math (Heroes of Math Island). Starting from emotion frameworks in affective computing and education, we considered a larger set of emotions than in related research. For emotion labeling, we employed a standard method that relies on trained judges to report emotions over 20-second intervals. However, we asked judges to report all observed emotions in each interval, as opposed to only choosing one, as is standard practice. This variation allows us to discuss the appropriateness of this interval for emotion labeling. We present a detailed analysis of inter-coder reliability, both aggregated and over individual students, that considers not only the matching by judges over emotion type, but also the number of emotions detected., Conference paper, Published., Peer reviewed
Cathode ray tube (CRT) glass is considered a hazardous material due to its lead toxicity. In addition, current disposal practices are being phased out due to their adverse environmental impacts. In this project, CRT glass was used as a fine aggregate replacement in concrete. Life-cycle material characterization was conducted by evaluating the durability and strength of the CRT-Concrete. Leaching tests were also conducted to investigate whether the material meets drinking water limits for Pb. Test results show that the plastic state of the CRT-Concrete was affected by the angularity of the glass particles. Moreover, the compressive strength of CRT-Concrete met and exceeded that of the control specimen. However, CRT-Concrete was susceptible to expansive alkali-silica reactions when more than 10% CRT replacement was used. Environmental leaching results show that lead concentrations from CRT-Concrete are below the drinking water limits depending on the CRT volume replacement and if biopolymers are used., Peer reviewed, Peer reviewed article, Received 26 July 2012 ; Accepted 24 March 2013 ; Available online 28 April 2013., Durability, CRT, Heavy metals, Glass recycling, Waste management, Sustainable concrete
Cells in developing embryos behave according to their positions in the organism, and therefore seem to be receiving `positional information'. A widespread view of the mechanism for this is that each cell responds locally to the concentration level of some extracellular chemical which is distributed in a spatial gradient. For molecules conveying and receiving the positional signal, concentrations are likely to be low enough that, per individual cell, only a few thousand molecules may be involved. Fluctuations to be expected in these numbers (Poisson distribution) could readily lead to errors up to a few percent of embryo length in the reading of position. This is an intolerable level of error for some developmental pattern-forming events. Embryos must have means of suppressing such errors. We maintain that this requires communication between cells, and illustrate this by using the reaction part of two well-known Turing-type reaction–diffusion models as the local gradient reader. We show that switching on diffusion in these models leads to adequate suppression of positional errors., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 31 December 1997, Revised 20 July 1998, Accepted 21 July 1998, Available online 24 March 1999.
Several molecules inhibit axonal growth cones and may account for the failure of central nervous system regeneration, including myelin proteins and various chondroitan sulfate proteoglycans expressed at the site of injury. Axonal growth inhibition by myelin and chondroitan sulfate proteoglycans may in part be controlled by Rho-GTPase, which mediates growth cone collapse. Here, we tested in vitro whether pharmacological inhibition of a major downstream effector of Rho, Rho-kinase, promotes axonal outgrowth from dorsal root ganglia grown on aggrecan. Aggrecan substrates stimulated Rho activity and were inhibitory to axonal growth. Y-27632 treatment promoted the growth of axons by 5- to 10-fold and induced “steamlined” growth cones with longer filopodia and smaller lamellipodia. Interestingly, more actin bundles reminiscent of stress fibers in the central domain of the growth cone were observed when grown on aggrecan compared to laminin. In addition, Y-27632 significantly promoted axonal growth on both myelin and adult rat spinal cord cryosections. Our data suggest that suppression of Rho-kinase activity may enhance axonal regeneration in the central nervous system., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 2 July 2002; Revised 24 October 2002; Accepted 28 October 2002; Available online 23 March 2003.
Background Exoskeleton technology has potential benefits for wheelchair users' health and mobility. However, there are practical barriers to their everyday use as a mobility device. To further understand potential exoskeleton use, and facilitate the development of new technologies, a study was undertaken to explore perspectives of wheelchair users and healthcare professionals on reasons for use of exoskeleton technology, and the importance of a variety of device characteristics. Methods An online survey with quantitative and qualitative components was conducted with wheelchair users and healthcare professionals working directly with individuals with mobility impairments. Respondents rated whether they would use or recommend an exoskeleton for four potential reasons. Seventeen design features were rated and compared in terms of their importance. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to categorize the 17 design features into meaningful groupings. Content analysis was used to identify themes for the open ended questions regarding reasons for use of an exoskeleton. Results 481 survey responses were analyzed, 354 from wheelchair users and 127 from healthcare professionals. The most highly rated reason for potential use or recommendation of an exoskeleton was health benefits. Of the 17 design features, 4 had a median rating of very important: minimization of falls risk, comfort, repair and maintenance cost, and purchase cost. Factor analysis identified two main categories of design features: Functional Activities and Technology Characteristics. Qualitative findings indicated that health and physical benefits, use for activity and access reasons, and psychosocial benefits were important considerations in whether to use or recommend an exoskeleton. Conclusions This study emphasizes the importance of developing future exoskeletons that are comfortable, affordable, minimize fall risk, and enable functional activities. Findings from this study can be utilized to inform the priorities for future development of this technology., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Submission date 13 September 2014 ; Acceptance date 12 December 2014 ; Publication date 19 December 2014.