|SEP||Mindful of training|
Researchers in Spain are developing a tool to measure the personal and interpersonal skills of individuals who have engaged in experiential learning based on outdoor training and mindfulness. Employees, master’s and undergraduate students were evaluated looking at teamwork, communication, leadership, motivation, stress tolerance, organisation and planning, responsibility, and analysis, resolution and anticipation of problems.
The success of the tool highlights how important it is in the workplace and in the educational environment to evaluate "competencies" being taught.
del Val Núñez, M.T., Romero, F.J.C., Sánchez, R.C. and Aránega, A.Y. (2018) 'Developing management skills through experiential learning: the effectiveness of outdoor training and mindfulness', European J. International Management, Vol. 12, Nos. 5/6, pp.676–694.
|SEP||Shades of grey reveal breast tumours|
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Mammography is the best imaging technology for early detection of tumours in breast tissue.
Now, researchers in India have developed a new approach to the classification of abnormalities in the breast using a decision tree based on GLCM (grey level co-occurrence matrices). This allows useful texture and statistical features to be extracted from a medical image based on the pixel "brightness" value in the digital image.
In the new approach noise is reduced following data acquisition using pre-processing and then the image is examined using the GLCM technique to help discern between benign and malignant tissue seen in the mammogram.
Kamalakannan, J. and Babu, M.R. (2018) 'Classification of breast abnormality using decision tree based on GLCM features in mammograms', Int. J. Computer Aided Engineering and Technology, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp.504–512.
|SEP||South Africa's financial imbalance|
Research from Egypt on financial inclusion in South Africa considering race, education, and income has concluded that Caucasian members of the population are more likely to have bank accounts. the work also showed that higher education is correlated with an increased awareness of financial planning.
Individuals described as "coloured" in the paper and individuals described as "Africans" were shown to be the least likely to own bank accounts. These individuals in the population were shown to have four years less education on average than Caucasian individuals.
The paper notes the considerable evidence that the success of self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs' successes are related to ethnic group even after the end to racial segregation, Apartheid, in 1994. The paper shows a clear inequality between ethnic groups. Financial inclusion is needed for long-term economic growth and poverty reduction.
Omran, M.F. (2018) 'An analysis of the financial inclusion in South Africa considering race, education and income', World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 14, No. 5, pp.657–667.
|SEP||ICT: The new A & E?|
Researchers in the UK have been investigating the use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) to improve access to medical services in remote areas. More specifically, they have been working on a practical ICT solution base on a case study carried out in Northern Thailand looking at cleft-lip/palate treatment.
Medical treatment of this condition requires many skills and several differing inputs from numerous disciplines. This means quality treatment is often limited in remote areas and receiving proper and effective treatment is difficult. In Thailand, because healthcare services are centralised, the researchers have proposed a collaborative framework. This includes the supporting of data sharing for medical teams to allow for the empowerment of local healthcare.
ICT can enhance knowledge transfer and one aim of this research is to create an expert system for conditions that require multidisciplinary treatment by generating an e-health service system. The hope is to improve care quality to patients in remote areas and there is continuing evaluation of the current platform implemented for cleft-lip/palate treatment.
Choosri, N., Khwanngern, K., Yu, H., Thongbunjob, K., Sukhahuta, R., Natwichai, J., Boonma, P., Atkins, A. and Sitthikham, S. (2018) 'ICT enabled collaborative e-health for cleft lip/palate treatment', Int. J. Agile Systems and Management, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp.270–292.
Medical emergencies inevitably require an urgent response from doctors and other healthcare workers. Response time can mean the difference between life and death. As such, there are ongoing efforts in many areas of research to find technological approaches to reducing response times in order to improve medical outcomes. Writing in the International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking, an academic team from Ireland explain how and why mobile cloud computing can be an answer.
The team of Hazzaa Alshareef and Dan Grigoras has responded to the problem by developing a mobile cloud service, which they explain works side-by-side with the existing emergency system. It is "aimed at reducing the time spent waiting for emergency help to arrive, as well as making the best use of medical professionals who may be located in close proximity to the medical case," the team writes.
In earlier work, the team introduced a mobile ad hoc network, MANET, manager service that is hosted in the cloud. This system allows all mobile users to be reached, including those without "cellular" connectivity but who are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi. In subsequent work, they proposed a way to manage active sessions between users on the same MANET to reduce save mobile resource demands and preclude data loss or misuse. In a third paper, they brought the technology together to introduce a novel system that provides healthcare services to people who are involved in an emergency and are out of reach of home or office.
Now, they have extended this work to extend what might be possible to include wearable sensors, approaches to capturing the time needed to connect those involved in an emergency with those who might assist and so optimize the communication channels, and finally they have improved security.
In trials of the application, the team found that the amount of time needed to find a medical professional and establish communication was between 4 (via the internet) and 25 seconds (text messaging, short message service, SMS), depending on the particular communication method used. In other words, negligible time is added to the process, but the new connectivity could improve the chance of a positive outcome.
Critically, the system augments the conventional emergency services by locating professionals in the vicinity of an emergency and notifying them of what is happening and allowing them to respond appropriately and in a much timelier manner.
"Our future work will develop an algorithm for better management of registered professionals' activity to achieve fair and efficient outcome, including when they start/end dealing with emergency cases and how often they provide emergency support," the team concludes. They also plan to extend the options available with wearable smart sensors for people with particular medical needs who might find themselves in an emergency situation.
Alshareef, H. and Grigoras, D. (2018) 'Swift personal emergency help facilitated by the mobile cloud', Int. J. High Performance Computing and Networking, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.1–12.
|SEP||Bayesian malaria classification|
A type of statistics first developed in the 19th Century could help improve our understanding of the spread of malaria, which very much remains a lethal infection in this century.
Researchers from Nigeria have employed a naïve Bayes as a probability classifier to help them predict whether or not new patients arriving with symptoms first actually have the parasitic disease and if they do what level of severity of infection and symptoms they are suffering. Such classification could help prioritise those patients who need urgent treatment.
The "framework" developed by the team has now been tested successfully on a sample dataset of some 700 records from a hospital in Yola, in Nigeria’s Adamawa State.
Aliyu, A., Prasad, R. and Fonkam, M. (2018) 'A framework for predicting malaria using naïve Bayes classifier', Int. J. Telemedicine and Clinical Practices, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp.78–93.
A "lean" business approach to healthcare could reducing patient times, allow staff to be employed more effectively, improve the quality of healthcare provision, decrease waste and lower costs. However, three case studies carried out in the UK's National Health Service suggests that there are still significant barriers to the adoption of "lean" practices that aim to streamlines processes and interactions and operate on an as-needed basis in terms of the provision of supplies and services. The main barrier for almost nine out of every ten NHS staff interviewed was one of terminology and understanding the fundamental concepts of "lean”. Leadership and better communication of the paradigm are needed if the rewards of implementing a lean approach are to be wrought.
Deara, A., Deara, M., Bamber, C. and Elezi, E. (2018) 'A comparative analysis of lean implementations in NHS England hospitals', Int. J. Lean Enterprise Research, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp.218–239.
Dramatic advances in technology and the intensification of global competition in the business world have disrupted considerably the work-life balance of many people the world over, where prior to the advent of smartphones and “always-on” connectivity, home time was to some extent personal and private, but today work impinges increasingly in that environment through those devices. Moreover, the global nature of business now means that timezones are irrelevant and employees are often expected to be accessible and available 24/7 in many realms of work, particularly those in the employ of multinational companies with worldwide dominance. Researchers in India have studied this imbalance and offer new suggestions as to how employers can compromise in terms of the company's demands and the needs of the individual members of staff.
Swarochi, G., Seema, A. and Sujatha, S. (2018) 'An empirical research on quality of work-life – an employee perspective', Int. J. Management Development, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp.34–80.
We need a clearer understanding of the cognitive activity that happens when we do web searches. Researchers in Spain have carried out an in-depth qualitative case study and suggest that log files, eye movements, and cued-retrospective reports could help us get a clearer picture of how people search. The findings could be important for teaching search skills and helping students understand different approaches to searching. The work could have implications for improving collaborative learning, peer-to-peer interaction, self-regulation learning, and game-based learning.
Argelagós, E., Brand-Gruwel, S., Jarodzka, H.M. and Pifarré, M. (2018) 'Unpacking cognitive skills engaged in web-search: how can log files, eye movements, and cued-retrospective reports help? An in-depth qualitative case study', Int. J. Innovation and Learning, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp.152–175
|SEP||Unzip your genes|
A research team in China is developing a new genotyping method using deletion visualisation and classification. This looks at where parts of genes have been lost during DNA repair after damage. Their results showed that the approach was more accurate than earlier methods, had a wider detectable deletion length range, and was able to perform better with high and low coverage data. Tests on simulated data from a range of diseases with high levels of noise compared well against genotype "calling" methods such as Pindel and LUMPY (a probabilistic framework).
Such an approach might be useful in biomedical research into the rare muscle-wasting disease spinal muscular atrophy and the nervous system disorder "cri de chat syndrome".
Wang, J., Gao, J. and Ling, C. (2018) 'Deletion genotype calling on the basis of sequence visualisation and image classification', Int. J. Data Mining and Bioinformatics, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp.109–122.
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