- ItemOpen AccessThe Mind-Gut Connection: A virtual reality education program on the relationship between the digestive system, nervous system, and microbiome.(2019-11-26) Lee, Ryan M.; Jacob, Christian; Sharkey, Keith A.The Mind-Gut Connection is a virtual reality education application on the relationship between the digestive system, nervous system, and microbiome. Together, these systems form the gut-brain axis and communicate with one another to carry out physiological processes associated with digestion. By illustrating this complex medical topic in a virtual reality environment, we have addressed the lack of accurate or comprehensive depictions of the gut-brain axis. Additionally, the use of virtual reality in education may allow for a broader audience to be exposed to this information. Learning about digestion in relation to the gut-brain axis is beneficial for everyone because of the impact our diets and lifestyles have on our physical and mental health. The use of this virtual reality program has the potential to better engage and inform the general public so that they are more aware of how our different body systems are interconnected. Not only is this program novel in addressing such a unique but important topic, it also exhibits innovation upon current virtual reality practices surrounding movement and motion sickness. The use of full-body virtual reality and a natural form of locomotion using arm swinging builds upon existing methods to improve the level of immersion and believability.
- ItemOpen AccessEthically-Justifiable Currency Fencing(2019-11) Sellers, Alexandra Y. L.Technological advances enable anyone to create digital currencies - not simply state actors - bringing currency debates out of political buildings and into everyday discussion. Digital currencies have the potential to be limited in access and used for ethical purposes but can also be manipulated and used for more nefarious purposes. My PURE-funded philosophical research involved cryptocurrency ethics literature review, defining a new use of a term (“fencing”), and examining the identified phenomenon for its ethical implications to determine if it can be ethically justified. This poster presents a short overview of my cryptocurrency ethics research.
- ItemOpen AccessDeterminants of Child Health in China: Examining Maternal Employment & Kindergarten Attendance(2019-11-26) Chan, Titus; Chen, Tian; Parker, Emily; Zhou, Yue; Kim, MinseopIn this study, we examined the effects of maternal employment and kindergarten attendance on a child’s body mass index (BMI) score. Children between the ages of 3 to 6 (n = 532) were selected from the 2010 wave of the China Family Panel Studies data-set for statistical analysis. Controlling for a range of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, multiple linear regression models were generated. Analysis indicates that kindergarten attendance is associated with a lower BMI score in children (p < .1). There was no significant evidence that maternal working hours had any observed effects on a child’s BMI. Further policy and practice implications within the field of social work are discussed.
- ItemOpen AccessMental health literacy: Amount of knowledge influences sentencing outcomes(2019-11-27) Bernier, Emily; Boyce, Melissa A.The project investigated how one’s mental health literacy (ML) affected punitiveness toward a person convicted of a crime. We hypothesized that participants with higher ML scores would recommend more lenient sentences than those with lower ML scores. Additionally, we hypothesized that participants assigned to the physical illness condition (i.e., brain tumour) versus mental illness (i.e., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)) would recommend more lenient sentences, regardless of ML. Participants were recruited from two samples: the general population, and an undergraduate psychology student sample. Individuals were randomly assigned to read a vignette scenario describing a criminal case of aggravated assault in an online study. The vignette scenarios differed in description of defendant’s mitigating factors (high blood pressure, brain tumour, or PTSD). Based on the scenario, participants were instructed recommend a sentence. They then filled out two ML scales. Factorial ANOVAs were conducted to evaluate differences between recommended sentence length as a function of condition and mental health knowledge. A main effect was found between the sentence length and ML, wherein those with lower ML scores recommended harsher sentences overall compared to those with higher ML scores (p = .006). Though significance was found, further testing is needed to garner higher power. Implications include the potential to influence the current jury selection process. It may also educate about current biases amongst jury members.
- ItemOpen AccessPendulum Study: Active Visual Tracking Elicits Non-Selective Elevations in Cerebral Blood Flow(2019-04) Hodge, Sarah V. L.; Spence, Emma E. M.; Suraj, Rejitha; McGirr, Alexander; Phillips, Aaron AlexanderNeurovascular coupling (NVC) describes the effective matching of cerebral blood flow (CBF) to regions of neuro-metabolic demand. There is increasing interest to assess human NVC for both basic research and its potential role in vascular-cognitive impairment. The clinical utility of NVC relies on a standardized protocol for which the driving metabolic demands are highly-selective. Various research groups deploy divergent strategies to elicit visual NVC responses, including inactive processes (visual grating), passive visual tracking (target with predictable motion) and active visual tracking (target with unpredictable motion). These strategies differ in degree of cognitive and metabolic demand and may elicit different NVC responses, thus precluding study comparison. The present NVC assessment evaluated temporal and regional responsiveness of blood flow (transcranial Doppler) to the visual cortex [via the posterior cerebral artery (PCA)] and blood pressure (Finapres NOVA) during visual stimulation in 19 healthy subjects while also measuring middle cerebral artery (MCA) blood flow. Visual stimulation included 10 cycles of 30 seconds with eyes closed, followed by 30 seconds with eyes open tracking a moving computerized target. Each subject completed three trials of passive tracking and three trials of active tracking (114 NVC protocols, 1140 individual hyperemias). A custom eye-scanning apparatus followed eye motion to quantify visual target-tracking vigilance. Additional custom software was used to quantify NVC. The data demonstrated that active tracking elicited greater NVC responses compared to passive tracking. Specifically, there was 26% greater change in the mean elevation of PCA blood velocity (p=<0.000) and 13% greater peak NVC response (p<0.01). The MCA response was also greater during active tracking (mean response 111% greater, peak response 41% greater; both p<0.001). Visual target-tracking vigilance was linearly correlated to the degree of hyperemia in the MCA and PCA, as well blood pressure during NVC. It was observed that active and passive visual tracking elicit different NVC responses and cannot be reliably compared. That PCA and MCA responses were greater with active tracking suggests an elevated global CBF (i.e. not selective to regions perfused by the PCA) that may result from recruitment of brain centres responsible for sustained attention and executive function. In other words, active tracking leads to non-selective elevations in global CBF and greater target-tracking vigilance impacts the NVC response. These findings are a critical step to better understand and standardize the evaluation of NVC in humans and for potential clinical deployment of NVC assessments.