40,501 results for 2010

  • Evaluating the Media’s Role in Public and Political Responses to Human-Shark Interactions in NSW, Australia

    Fraser-Baxter, Sam Ezra (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Of all animals that pose danger to humans in this world, few are more feared than sharks. Human-shark interactions are traumatic, emotional and difficult to rationalize. While rare, human-shark interactions generate a disproportionate amount of media coverage and public debate. The mass media is widely attributed with the continuation of negative discourses of sharks through sensationalized, emotive and graphic documentation of human-shark interactions. During 2015, New South Wales, Australia experienced an unprecedented spike in human-shark interactions, which saw the escalation of public anxieties surrounding water safety and the development of the state’s Shark Management Strategy, announced in late 2015. Of the state’s 14 human-shark interactions that took place, 8 were recorded on the state’s North Coast. An unusual concentrated distribution of sharks in near shore waters was widely reported by surfers, fisherman and pilots. The interactions ignited considerable public debate, which sought to explain the spike in interactions and how to manage the risk of human-shark interaction. The public and political responses to the interactions were documented thoroughly by the media. Previous literature has established an understanding of the way the media communicates human-shark interactions, public perceptions of sharks and the relationships between the media, publics and governments in the development of shark management policy. McCagh et. al (2015) have explored the role of media discourse in the development of shark management policy. The methods used in this study are largely built upon methods carried out by McCagh et. al (2015) and seeks to develop them in terms of scope and depth. The objective of the study was to evaluate the role of the media in the development of shark management policy in NSW. Discourse analysis was used to investigate two newspaper’s reports of human-shark interactions on the North Coast to provide insights into the media’s communication of human-shark interactions, patterns of public and political response to human-shark interactions and the development of shark management policy. The findings of this study show that the discourse used by the media examined is not fear-laden, sensationalized or emotive which previous studies have emphasized. Instead there is an evident tension between anthropocentric and eco-centric values in both the media and the government’s communication of human-shark interactions. Discourse surrounding management solutions offered by the media echoed that of the NSW state government; that management should be non-lethal, trialed and scientifically validated. Analysis of responses to human-shark interactions paints a picture of the intricate political and social processes at play following clusters of human-shark interactions. This study highlights the need for a paradigm shift in shark management that sees the responsibility of water-safety and the onus and responsibility of risk moving away from governments and further towards the public. Based on the efficacy of management solutions offered by the government and the timing of their announcement after human-shark interactions during heightened public anxieties, this study concludes that shark management in NSW was not meaningfully focused on reducing the risk of human and sharks interacting, but instead at placating and calming public fears surrounding water safety.

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  • The Epidemiology of Cervical Cancer in Ghana

    Nartey, Yvonne (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    INTRODUCTION: Cervical cancer is a significant health issue worldwide. It is the fourth most common cancer among women with more than 85% of new cases of the disease occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in Ghana. Incidence and mortality rates are unknown due to an absence of a national-based population cancer registry. HPV positivity has been shown to be a necessary initiator of cervical cancer but the infection progresses to cancer only in a small number of women. Cofactors associated with the disease progression are not well understood. The study was designed to assess the epidemiology of cervical cancer in Ghana. AIMS: • Estimate the regional cervical cancer incidence and mortality using data from two large referral hospitals in Ghana. • Use results from the above study to estimate national incidence and mortality rates of the disease. • Estimate the 1, 3 and 5 year disease-specific survival rates of Ghanaian women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer. • Determine the HPV DNA prevalence and prevailing HPV types present in Ghanaian women with and without cervical cancer. • Determine the associations between cofactors and a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer in Ghana. METHODS: Medical records and other hospital data of women diagnosed with cervical cancer from January 2010 to December 2013 were reviewed at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, in Ghana. Telephone interviews were also conducted for patients and relatives to gather further information. To assess the risk factors for cervical cancer in Ghana, a hospital-based case-control study was undertaken. Women aged 18-95 years with a new diagnosis of invasive cervical cancer that had been histologically confirmed were considered for inclusion as cases. Controls were a random selection from the same hospitals as the cases. A structured questionnaire was administered to the women after which a request for a cervical smear was made for the reporting of cytological abnormalities and laboratory detection of HPV DNA to establish the HPV types present. RESULTS: Using the data from review of medical records and telephone interviews, the incidence, mortality and survival rates of women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in Ghana were estimated. An increased risk of cervical cancer with age was found. The incidence rate of cervical cancer was highest for women aged 75-79 years and decreased at older ages. Incidence and mortality rates were higher in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions of Ghana than for other regions. At three years from diagnosis, overall disease-specific survival was 39%. Unsurprisingly, stage at presentation and histological type were strong predictors of cervical cancer survival. Some forms of treatment were also associated with better survival than others. A total of 206 women with incident cervical cancer and 230 controls were recruited for the case-control study to identify possible risk factors and cofactors for cervical cancer in Ghana. The results of the case-control study confirmed many known established risk factors associated with cervical cancer. These included age, an increased number of pregnancies, higher parity and oral contraceptive use. In addition, use of firewood for cooking, use of homemade sanitary towels and having a polygamous husband was associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer in this study after adjustment for the presence of highest oncogenic HPV types. High prevalence of HPV was detected among women with cervical cancer (80.1%). HPV types 45, 16, 18, 35 and 52 were the most common types detected among cases. Knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer was very low overall among women with and without cervical cancer. CONCLUSIONS: In addition to the presence of high-risk oncogenic HPV DNA, parity and oral contraceptive use was associated with an increase risk of cervical cancer in Ghana. The results of the research suggest that the identification of factors associated with the progression of HPV positivity to invasive cervical cancer may help reduce the burden of cervical cancer in Ghana. In addition, the development of a cancer control programme that takes into consideration the social and cultural factors for the prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatment and palliative aspects of cervical cancer is needed to combat the disease.  

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  • Exploring undergraduate students’ perceptions of factors influencing their engagement and alienation in higher education

    Asare, Samuel (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Student engagement has been identified as having a positive influence on learning and retention. This has attracted much research on how to enhance engagement in higher education. Studies have considered the role of student motivation and various environmental factors that affect engagement. However, these studies are concentrated in Western countries including US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The few done in Africa have been in South Africa. Drawing on Mann’s (2001) framework of engagement and alienation, this study explores undergraduate students’ perceptions of factors influencing their engagement and alienation in a public university in Ghana. The study adopted a case study design underpinned by an interpretive approach to provide a broad and in-depth understanding of how student motivation interacts with factors relating to teachers, family and peers to produce engaged and alienated experiences. Three data sources were drawn upon in this study: survey, diary and interview. The survey included 469 Humanities students selected by quota sampling from main campus, city campus and distance learning across all year levels. Of the 469 students surveyed, 225 agreed to keep a diary of their learning experiences for two days and participate in a one-on-one interview. Purposive sampling was used to select 17 students for diaries and interviews by considering both male and females, year of study, mode of study (distance learning, city campus and main campus) as well as respondents’ availability for interviews. This ensured that data were collected from a wide range of perspectives. The analysis was in two forms. First, survey data were analysed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to find percentages and means of the responses. In addition, ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) and t-tests were conducted to determine any differences among students’ perceptions at the time of the survey. In some instances, where there were differences, a post hoc test was conducted to determine which groups were different from each other. Second, data from diaries and interviews were analysed using the general inductive approach to develop themes relating to the objectives of the study. The analysis was guided by a framework that highlighted students reported engaged and alienated experiences. The study resulted in a new conceptual framework that brings the various parts of the findings together. This study suggested that students’ need for belonging, competence and autonomy spurred them on to invest more time and effort in their learning. However, autonomy and belonging had different influences depending on the year of study. First year students reported the highest level of influence compared with students of other year levels. Engagement was influenced by students’ desire to achieve goals: to be knowledgeable; for postgraduate study; and to gain a high-paying job. In addition, students reported engaged and alienated experiences resulting from four teacher factors: level of knowledge; teaching approaches; relationships with students; and support. Also, almost all students received support from their family and most of them thought that family support had a lot of influence on their engagement. Engagement was influenced by financial and social support as well as the monitoring of their academic performance by their parents. Interactions with peers influenced engagement in academic and social ways. For instance, students shared learning material such as textbooks, lecture notes and computers. Furthermore, students reported improved self-confidence and a better understanding of their subject by interacting with their peers in formal and informal contexts. Despite the positive influence of peers, a small number of students reported feeling pressured by their peers to spend most of their study time partying, and some members not contributing during group study. The findings add an alternative voice to the growing literature on student engagement by presenting data from a context that has not been explored in this way before. It has shown the usefulness of engagement and alienation as a framework to investigate students’ learning in higher education. The few existing studies that have applied the framework did not analyse data as has been done in this study. Thus, this study has provided new insights. In addition, the findings revealed that students have the desire to work hard to achieve their goals, but these desires will need positive contributions from the environment to achieve much results. Summarising, the implications of the findings include the need for higher education institutions to invest in teacher professional development and to seek ways to collaborate with families of students who may be struggling academically, to enhance their engagement.

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  • I am Supernova

    Soo, Chin-En Keith (2016)

    Conference item
    University of Waikato

    “I am supernova” is an artistic visualisation of the “The Big Five Personality Test”. The test explores personality of participant with the highly respected Five Factor model (AKA the Big Five). The test result will provide an insight on 5 major dimensions of personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extraversion, and Neuroticism. The numeric indication from the result, score and percentile, will be translated into forms and formations with the help of appropriate assigned colours that best represent the 5 traits.

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  • Place-responsive choreography and activism

    Barbour, Karen (2016)

    Book item
    University of Waikato

    Sensory encounters with place, site and landscape have the potential to stimulate new and deeply felt engagements with local places, and to prompt discussion about the relationships between place, culture and identity. Such sensory encounters may also offer opportunities for critical, reflexive theorising and practice (Pink, 2008, 2009; Stevenson, 2014; Warren, 2012). Within the myriad of potentialities offered in research, a focus on sensory and embodied encounters with local places prompts me to articulate intersections between local issues of social justice and environmental activism and feminist choreography. As a dance artist and researcher, ethnographic research has led me to autoethnographic performance as a specific means to articulate my encounters with place through embodied expression and textual representation.

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  • Internationally Qualified Nurses’ Perceptions of Patient Safety: New Zealand Case Studies

    Kane, Annie (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Twenty five percent of the current New Zealand nursing workforce comprises internationally qualified nurses (IQNs). For a significant proportion of IQNs, English is an additional language and the social, cultural and historical context of the health systems from their country of origin differs significantly to that of New Zealand. International studies have found that despite many of these IQNs having extensive nursing experience prior to entering a new country, the challenges involved with transition can have implications for patient safety. This study aimed to investigate IQNs’ perceptions of the competencies that pertain to patient safety. The study was informed by an interpretive-constructivist approach that acknowledges these perceptions are constructed within a social, cultural, and historical context. A qualitative multiple case study design was used with the Communities of Practice (CoP) theory as the conceptual framework. The primary data source was semi-structured interviews with four IQNs while they attended a Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) to obtain New Zealand nursing registration. The IQNs’ email reflections and programme documents were used as additional data. Thematic analysis of the individual cases followed by cross-case analysis revealed similar perceptions concerning patient safety across the four cases. Exposure to Nursing Council of New Zealand’s (NCNZ) competencies for safe nursing practice during the CAP course did not notably change the participants’ initial perceptions. The most significant finding of this study was that the social, cultural, and historical context of the health system and nursing role mediates how maintaining patient safety will be perceived and enacted in practice. The findings also highlighted the importance of engaging with participant perspectives in order to identify specific areas required for learning and transfer of information. These findings had important implications for further development of educational and healthcare agency support for IQN transition.

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  • Healthcare-seeking behaviour for sexually transmitted infection testing in New Zealand: A mixed methods study

    Denison, Hayley (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a global public health problem. Sequelae for infected individuals can be serious and STIs impose a substantial financial burden on healthcare systems. Duration of infection is one factor influencing transmission rates, and is modifiable through secondary prevention methods, namely ‘test and treat’. For this approach to be effective, at-risk individuals must choose to present for testing. New Zealand provides a useful case-study to investigate healthcare-seeking behaviour for STI testing, as incidence rates of common STIs are especially high. The aims of this thesis were to quantify healthcare-seeking behaviour for STI symptoms and assess the risk of transmission in this period, to identify the barriers to STI testing, to understand the personal drivers for getting an STI test, to examine how STI knowledge is associated with testing behaviour, and finally, to collate and critically evaluate the published evidence regarding the incidence of a lesser known sequela of STI, reactive arthritis. This thesis took a mixed method approach, employing both qualitative and quantitative methods to address the research aims. The results showed that delays in healthcare-seeking for STI symptoms were common among patients attending an inner-city Sexual Health Clinic (SHC). Almost half of people with symptoms waited longer than seven days to seek healthcare, although there were no identified predictors of delayed healthcare-seeking. Around a third of people with symptoms continued to have sex after they first thought they may need to seek healthcare. Among these individuals, infrequent condom use was reported more by those who had sex with existing sexual partners than by those who had sex with new partners. Having sex while symptomatic was statistically significantly associated with delaying seeking healthcare for more than seven days (odds ratio (OR) = 3.25, 95% CI 1.225 – 8.623, p = 0.018). Analysis of qualitative interview data revealed three types of barriers to testing. These were personal (underestimating risk, perceiving STIs as not serious, fear of invasive procedure, self-consciousness in genital examination and being too busy), structural (financial cost of test and clinician attributes and attitude) and social (concern of being stigmatised). This work also revealed several drivers for testing including crisis, partners, clinicians, routines, and previous knowledge. Knowledge of the incidence, asymptomatic nature and sequelae of STIs featured prominently in the explanations of those who undertook routine testing. However, at the same time, many of the participants felt they did not have a good knowledge base and that their school-based sex education had been lacking. STI knowledge was investigated further using quantitative methodology. Levels of STI knowledge were generally good and did not differ between a Student Health Service population and an SHC population. Individuals who had tested before had significantly better knowledge than those who were attending for testing for the first time (U = 10089.500, Z = -4.684, p < 0.001). In addition, total knowledge score was an independent predictor of having had a previous test (OR = 1.436, 95% CI 1.217-1.694, p < 0.001). Reactive arthritis can be triggered by STI, thus STI screening patients who present with reactive arthritis has the potential to identify undiagnosed infection. This thesis provides the first assessment of the international literature regarding the incidence of reactive arthritis after STI. The systematic review found only three published studies which had prospectively examined the incidence of reactive arthritis after STI. The studies reported an incidence of reactive arthritis after STI of 3.0% to 8.1% and were found to be of low to moderate quality. In conclusion, this thesis provides healthcare service providers, policy makers and clinicians with data to inform practice and public health interventions aimed at improving healthcare-seeking behaviour for STI testing. It illustrates that delayed healthcare-seeking for STI symptoms is a common behaviour in New Zealand and could potentially be contributing to STI transmission and downstream burden on the health system. This work provides evidence of the drivers of STI testing that can be promoted, and the barriers that need to be removed. Specifically, improving STI knowledge may positively impact on testing rates. Lastly, this research indicates that there is a need for more studies assessing the incidence of reactive arthritis after an STI.

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  • Fast Center Search Algorithm with Hardware implementation for Motion Estimation in HEVC Encoder

    Medhat, Ahmed; Shalaby, Ahmed; Sayed, Mohammed S.; Elsabrouty, Maha; Madipour, Farhad (2017-05-10T05:37:44Z)

    Conference paper
    Unitec

    This paper presents a Fast Center Search Algorithm (FCSA) and its hardware implementation design of integer Motion Estimation for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). FCSA achieves average time saving ratio up to 40% for HD video sequences with respect to full search, with insignificant loss in terms of PSNR performance and bit rate. The proposed hardware implementation shows that it meets the requirements of 30 4K frame per second with ±16 search window at 550 MHz. The prototyped architecture utilizes 8% of the LUTs and 4% of the slice registers in Xilinx Virtex-6 XC6VLX-550T FPGA

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  • Under the Mountain - how a volcanic peak has influenced the culture, ecology and landscape history of Taranaki, New Zealand

    Davies, Renee; Lambert, R. E. (2017-05-10T05:37:12Z)

    Conference paper
    Unitec

    Mount Taranaki/Egmont occupies a central place in the history and culture of Taranaki people – Maori and European. The mystical qualities of the volcanic mountain have influenced the culture, ecology and landscape history of the area and illustrate that cultural landscapes are often predominantly associative (having powerful spiritual, artistic or cultural associations with a natural element) and broad-reaching in their manifestation within a diversity of cultures. Our human need for a sense of identity and belonging is strongly linked to landscape and place. As Taylor notes [1] ‗Landscape therefore is not simply what we see, but a way of seeing: we see it with our eye but interpret it with our mind and ascribe values to landscape for intangible – spiritual – reasons‘. The mountain itself and the circular ring of protected forest surrounding the mountain– which forms the Egmont National park is a strong example of an associative cultural landscape that embodies both tangible and intangible values. The circle of fertile ring-plain contains and protects the original forest of the mountain which was one of the earliest of New Zealand‘s ecological reserves to be protected and surveyed off from settlement. This circle frames the wilderness of indigenous native forest within the taming grid of a farming culture. The heritage of New Zealand surveying, settlement and forest destruction is poignantly captured in this physical landscape feature and its mystery and symbolism is illustrated in the spiritual beliefs, artistic history and economic products of the inhabitants that live under it. To the indigenous people of Taranaki - Maori, the mountain (Te Maunga) has deeply cultural and spiritual signficance. To Mana Whenua (those with geneological and local tribal authority over the land) the mountain is part of the landscape and an ancestor, it is a reference point and the names and physical features have particular significance as symbols of the people that provide meaning, order and stability. European settlers arrived in the region in 1841 and profound cultural and landscape change resulted. Throughout this time, the mountain appears in imagery and marketing for the area and the conical peak with an idyllic farming scene in the foreground has featured as a regional and national icon represented in art, advertising and symbolism. This paper explores the Maori and European connections to Mount Taranaki as a case study of an associative cultural landscape that has shaped the social and landscape history of an entire region and that continues to influence the future of this special volcanic landscape.

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  • Conceptualizing brand consumption in social media community

    Davis, Robert; Piven, I.; Breazeale, M. (2017-05-10T05:37:28Z)

    Conference paper
    Unitec

    The emergence of social media is challenging the conceptualization of the brand. This paper develops a conceptual model of the consumption of brands in Social Media Community (SMC). The research triangulates a social media focus group and face-to-face interviews. This study identifies five core drivers of brand consumption in a SMC articulated in the Five Sources Model. Managerial implications are discussed.

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  • A Highly Parallel SAD Architecture for Motion Estimation in HEVC Encoder

    Medhat, Ahmed; Shalaby, Ahmed; Sayed, Mohammed S.; Elsabrouty, Maha; Madipour, Farhad (2017-05-10T05:37:43Z)

    Conference paper
    Unitec

    The high computational cost of the motion estimation module in the new HEVC standard raises the need for efficient hardware architectures that can meet the real-time processing constraint. In addition, targeting HD and UHD resolutions increases the motion estimation processing cost beyond the capabilities of the currently existing architectures. This paper presents a highly parallel sum of absolute difference (SAD) architecture for motion estimation in HEVC encoder. The proposed architecture has 64 PUs operating in parallel to calculate the SAD values of the prediction blocks. It processes block sizes from 4x4 up to 64x64. The proposed architecture has been prototyped, simulated and synthesized on Xilinx Virtix-7 XC7VX550T FPGA. At 458 MHz clock frequency, the proposed architecture processes 30 2K resolution fps with ±20 pixels search range. The prototyped architecture utilizes 7% of the LUTs and 5% of the slice registers in Xilinx Virtex-7 XC7VX550T FPGA.

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  • Exploring the Role of Main Streets: A Case Study Analysis of Small Towns in the Clutha District, New Zealand

    Hakkaart, Nerilee Maria (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Public spaces are an important part of the urban environment as they create liveable and vibrant places for people to live and work. Due to small towns having smaller populations than cities and a smaller number of formal public spaces, the main street is one of the central public spaces for these towns. Main streets provide both a visual representation of the character of the town that they are located in, as well as a representation of the economic activity that is occurring in the town. This research investigated the main streets of three small towns located in the Clutha District of New Zealand. These towns are Balclutha, Milton and Lawrence. The research aimed to identify the relationship between planning for public space improvements such as street scape redevelopment and economic and community development in each place. The analysis of the design elements of the streetscape included investigating how and why the particular design features were used in each town. Processes of economic development were also explored in order to further understand the role of the main street. The findings indicate that the main street in each small town functions as a successful public space, however there are differences between the main street as a public space and those public spaces which can be found in more densely urbanised areas. Traffic is prioritised in the small town main street due to the importance that is has in creating economic development for local businesses. The main street not only facilitates economic development within the main street, but also portrays the potential for economic development within the town and represents the economic and community development that is occurring. Main streets potentially have a role in creating a sense of place for the community, although further research is needed to confirm this relationship.

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  • Becoming aware: A study of student teachers' personal and professional values

    Vermunt, Jenny (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Student teachers’ personal and professional values have received passing attention in the educational literature, despite assertions that their values influence their perceptions, pedagogical decisions and actions. This study explores the professional learning of a sample of secondary student teachers. It aims to understand the role played by their personal and professional values while they participate in a year-long initial teacher education programme. Framed by social constructivist and interpretivist theory, this qualitative study uses semi-structured interviews and journal entries to capture the perspectives of five secondary student teachers about their learning-to-teach experiences. Constant comparative data analysis methods are used to reveal patterns of themes within and across the five case studies. Findings from the research reveal that personal and professional values underpin the learning and teacher identity of student teachers in the sample. They are influenced by values and experiences in their families and communities, and their core values are behind their sense of purpose, awareness and resilience. Findings reveal how professional values and structures at play in school organisations conflict or align with their own personal and professional values and impact on their commitment to the profession. The research shows that student teachers vary in the opportunities they are afforded in university and school environments to participate in critical dialogue in communities of practice that develop their self-awareness, acquisition of professional values and understanding of their contexts. The study concludes by proposing a model of personal and professional learning that aims to develop student teachers’ critical reflection and awareness of the impact of their personal and professional values when learning to teach.

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  • On the Multi-GNSS RTK Positioning Performance in New Zealand

    Odolinski, Robert; Denys, Paul (2015-07-14)

    Conference item
    University of Otago

    http://www.ignss.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=%2fKghNFHXVoI%3d&tabid=147&mid=558&forcedownload=true

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  • Animal olfactory detection of human diseases: Guidelines and systematic review

    Edwards, Timothy L.; Browne, Clare M.; Schoon, Adee; Cox, Christophe; Poling, Alan (2017)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Animal olfactory detection of human diseases has attracted an increasing amount of interest from researchers in recent years. Because of the inconsistent findings reported in this body of research and the complexity of scent-detection research, it is difficult to ascertain the potential value of animal detectors in operational diagnostic algorithms. We have outlined key factors associated with successful training and evaluation of animals for operational disease detection and, using these key factors as points for comparison, conducted a systematic review of the research in this area. Studies that were published in peer-reviewed outlets and that described original research evaluating animals for detection of human diseases were included in the review. Most relevant studies have assessed dogs as detectors of various forms of cancer. Other researchers have targeted bacteriuria, Clostridium difficile, hypoglycemia, and tuberculosis. Nematodes and pouched rats were the only exceptions to canine detectors. Of the 28 studies meeting inclusion criteria, only 9 used operationally feasible procedures. The most common threat to operational viability was the use of a fixed number of positive samples in each sample run. Most reports included insufficient information for replication or adequate evaluation of the validity of the findings. Therefore, we have made recommendations regarding the type of information that should be included when describing research in this area. The results of this systematic review suggest that animal detectors hold promise for certain diagnostic applications but that additional research evaluating operationally viable systems for olfactory detection of human diseases is necessary.

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  • Using machine learning techniques to track individuals & their fitness activities

    Reichherzer, Thomas; Timm, Mikayla; Earley, Nathan; Reyes, Nathaniel; Kumar, Vimal (2017)

    Conference item
    University of Waikato

    The use of wearable devices for fitness and health tracking is on an upward curve with a range of devices now available from a number of manufacturers. The devices work with smart devices to exchange data via Bluetooth communication protocol. This paper presents the results of an initial study on the security and privacy weaknesses of wearable fitness devices. It discusses methods to 1) capture and process data sent from a wearable device to its paired smartphone during synchronization and 2) analyze the records to track individuals and make predictions. The data analysis methods use supervised machine-learning techniques to train a classifier for associating synchronization records with the individuals, their physical activities, and conditions under which they were performed. Results of the study show that the methods allow individuals and their activities to be tracked, both of which infringe on the privacy of the user. The paper also provides recommendations on improving the security of wearable devices based on the initial research results.

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  • The International Journal of Wellbeing: An open access success story

    Weijers, Dan M.; Jarden, Aaron (2017)

    Book item
    University of Waikato

    Academics have long had the advantage of access to university libraries and their expensive subscriptions to scholarly journals. Critics of traditional journal publishing have complained that placing science and scholarship behind a paywall limits its potential. One solution to this problem is the emergence of open access journals. In this chapter, authors Weijers and Jarden offer a case study of a platinum open access journal they founded: the International Journal of Wellbeing. In their discussion of this new journal they offer both philosophical and practical insights that guide their work. They also point to often overlooked issues regarding open scholarship. One of these is the huge numbers of unaffiliated faculty or faculty from non-Western universities, all of whom suffer barriers to access to expensive journals. The authors look to increasing openness of journals to solve this and other problems.

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  • The Nutritional Implications of Partner Switching in the Cnidarian-Dinoflagellate Symbiosis

    Matthews, Jennifer (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Reef-building corals form a symbiosis with phototrophic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. Specificity in the host-symbiont partnership is widespread, despite the potential for flexibility in endosymbiont community composition to provide a mechanism of environmental acclimatisation and adaptation. The potential for partner switching may be linked to the nutritional flux between the two partners, with optimal nutritional exchange determining success. Further research is therefore necessary to determine how novel symbiont types (i.e. not originally detected in the host) affect the nutritional biology of the cnidarian host, and ultimately the capacity for the evolution of novel associations in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. The specific objectives were: 1) to design an effective method of providing aposymbiotic host organisms for experimental symbiont colonisation studies; 2) to determine how colonisation with a novel symbiont affects the gene-to-metabolite response of the host; 3) to deduce how the quantity and identity of translocated photosynthetic products from symbiont to host is affected by the symbiont type; 4) to determine whether natural differences in the Symbiodinium community composition affect the metabolite profile of the same cnidarian host. Chapter 2 demonstrates that menthol-induced bleaching effectively and efficiently provides experimental aposymbiotic (i.e. symbiont-free) sea anemones (Aiptasia sp.) for colonisation studies. The menthol treatment produced aposymbiotic hosts within just 4 weeks (97–100% symbiont loss), and the condition was maintained long after treatment when anemones were held under a standard light:dark cycle. The ability of Aiptasia to form a stable symbiosis appeared to be unaffected by menthol exposure, as demonstrated by successful reestablishment of the symbiosis when anemones were experimentally re-colonised with the homologous Symbiodinium (i.e. originating from the same host species). Furthermore, there was no significant impact on photosynthetic or respiratory performance of re-colonised anemones. A novel application of statistically integrated transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses was applied in Chapter 3 to explore the molecular and metabolic pathways underlying symbiosis specificity in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Aposymbiotic individuals of the sea anemone Aiptasia generated by the methods optimised in Chapter 2 were colonised with either the homologous Symbiodinium type B1 or the novel Symbiodinium type D1a. RNA-seq gene expression analysis and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-based metabolite profiling were conducted on the isolated host tissues. Analysis of the gene and metabolite expression profiles revealed that a novel symbiont confers an expression pattern intermediate between hosting a homologous symbiont, and having no symbiont. Although the formation and autotrophic potential of the novel association was similar to the homologous association, as determined by O₂ flux measurements, the novel association resulted in an increase in the catabolism of metabolic stores (glycogen, lipid and protein), presumably in order to meet the energy requirements associated with the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Integrated pathway analysis revealed reduced energy storage, an increased catabolism of stores, metabolic signalling and cellular redox homeostasis were molecular processes involved in the hosts’ response to a novel symbiont type. This raised interesting questions as to how differences in the composition of symbiont-derived metabolites might feature in the specificity of the symbiosis. Metabolite profiling was subsequently coupled with ¹³C-labelling in Chapter 4, to identify the specific differences in the identity and quantity of photosynthetic carbon products translocated to the Aiptasia host when in symbiosis with the novel Symbiodinium type D1a versus the homologous Symbiodinium B1. A reduction in the diversity and quantity of net translocated products was observed in the novel association, despite achieving a similar autotrophic potential to the homologous association, as determined by O₂ flux measurements. Interestingly, however, there was a continued fixation and translocation of carbon products to the host, suggesting that novel associations are, at least in part, metabolically functional in terms of photosynthate provision. Nevertheless, the decreased diversity and abundance of translocated products were associated with modifications to biosynthesis, increased catabolism of host energy stores, and oxidative stress-related signalling pathways in hosts colonised with the novel Symbiodinium type D1a.The impact of symbiont type on the host’s metabolite profile in an experimental setting raised the interesting possibility that the metabolite profiles of a cnidarian that forms natural flexible associations with different Symbiodinium types may also have dissimilar metabolite profiles, with implications for the nutritional physiology of the symbiosis. This was tested in Chapter 5. An in situ field survey of the metabolite profiles of Montipora capitata, a dominant reef-building coral in Hawai’i that forms homologous symbioses with Symbiodinium in clades C and clade D, revealed the metabolite pools of a coral host were not affected by Symbiodinium community composition. Given prior evidence that clade D can be less nutritionally beneficial to the coral host than some other symbiont types, the reasons for the similarity in metabolite profiles remains unclear. However, possible explanations are: 1) host heterotrophic compensation for the presence of a less beneficial symbiont; 2) modifications to the abundance and identity of metabolites exchanged in the symbiosis, perhaps via host selection of its symbiont community over time to provide an optimal state; or 3) adjustment to the host’s metabolic pathway activity in response to different host-symbiont interactions, that produces similar free-metabolite profiles in the host. Nevertheless, this served to highlight that a coral host in a naturally flexible association, and under ‘normal’ environmental conditions, may maintain a steady metabolite profile irrespective of its Symbiodinium community composition. Notably, this contrasts with the findings that heterologous symbionts (i.e. those not usually associated with a particular host species) may have negative nutritional implications for the host that could ultimately restrict the success and persistence of novel host-symbiont pairings. This study provides important evidence that optimal nutritional exchange and mechanisms of coping with oxidative stress in both partners are important determinants in the evolution of novel cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbioses. However, it also raises the possibility that such novel pairings, should they persist, may evolve over time to a more beneficial symbiotic state; this is worthy of further study. Indeed, we need to continue our efforts to understand the molecular and physiological mechanisms underpinning the adaptation of the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis to climate change, to facilitate the development of robust management strategies to safeguard the world’s coral reefs.

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  • Chinese international students travelling with friends: Group decision-making and disagreement prevention

    Zhu, Hanru (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis investigates the group decision-making process of Chinese international students travelling with friends in New Zealand. Focusing on groups of friends, a neglected decision-making unit, it explores models of group decision-making and disagreement prevention and resolution strategies of Chinese international students making travel-related decisions. Qualitative research method governed by the interpretive paradigm was adopted. Sixteen Chinese international students from Victoria University of Wellington were interviewed. They were from eleven travel groups and had experience of independent leisure travel in non-family groups in New Zealand. Given that Chinese independent visitor market to New Zealand keeps growing, and Chinese international students have been referred as “China's first wave of independent travellers” (King & Gardiner, 2015), this study adds knowledge to the understanding of the travel behaviours and decision-making process of this market travelling in New Zealand. Tourism attractions were the most discussed travel-related decision during the group decision-making process, followed by decisions on travel activities, food and restaurants, accommodation and transportation. Three group decision-making models were identified: leadership, division of work, and shared decision-making. Leadership includes three roles of leaders, namely the travel initiator who has the initial idea for the trip and who gets potential members together, the main plan-provider who is responsible for collecting travel information and travel tips to make the whole travel plan and arrange travel schedules, and the main decision-maker who makes the final decision in the travel group. The former two roles are with less dominance, while the latter is with higher dominance in the decision-making process. The division of work model refers to dividing the tasks (e.g. organising accommodation or transport) within the travel group and includes two roles: the plan-provider who is responsible for making the plan for the allocated task, and the decision-maker who made the decision on the allocated task. In the shared decision-making model, the group members make the travel-related decisions collectively by discussion and voting. Most travel groups were found to use multiple group decision-making models conjointly, with a few groups only using the shared decision-making model. Overall, the most used models were shared decision-making and leadership. Most travel group who adopted the leadership model tended to then use either shared decision-making model or the division of work model depending on the level of dominance of group leader. Most interviewees indicated that there was lack of disagreement during the group decision-making process. Thus the research focus has shifted from the disagreement resolution to the disagreement prevention. Five disagreement prevention strategies and one influencing factor were identified: travelling with like-minded people, adequate preparation, empathy and mutual understanding, tolerance, compensation and external factors. If disagreements occurred, one or more of tight strategies were adopted by the interviewees to resolve them, namely making concessions, discussing and voting, looking for alternatives, persuasion, toleration, splitting up, accommodating and delaying. Implications and recommendation for industries and future studies are discussed.

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  • The cost of being under the weather: Droughts, floods, and health care costs in Sri Lanka

    De Alwis, Diana; Noy, Ilan (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    We measure to cost of extreme weather events (droughts and floods) on health care in Sri Lanka. We find that frequently occurring local floods and droughts impose a significant risk to health when individuals are exposed directly to these hazards, and when their communities are exposed, even if they themselves are unaffected. Those impacts, and especially the indirect spillover effects to households that are not directly affected, are associated with the land-use in the affected regions and with access to sanitation and hygiene. Finally, both direct and indirect risks associated with flood and drought on health have an economic cost; our estimates suggest Sri Lanka spends 52.8 million USD per year directly on the health care costs associated with floods and droughts, divided almost equally between the public and household sectors, and 22% vs. 78% between floods and droughts, respectively. In Sri Lanka, both the frequency and the intensity of droughts and floods are likely to increase because of climatic change. Consequently, the health burden associated with these events is only likely to increase, demanding precious resources that are required elsewhere.

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