SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Comprehensive examination

102

To test the hypothesis that lecturing maximizes learning and course performance, we metaanalyzed 225 studies that reported data on examination scores or failure rates when comparing student performance in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning. The effect sizes indicate that on average, student performance on examinations and concept inventories increased by 0.47 SDs under active learning (n = 158 studies), and that the odds ratio for failing was 1.95 under traditional lecturing (n = 67 studies). These results indicate that average examination scores improved by about 6% in active learning sections, and that students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning. Heterogeneity analyses indicated that both results hold across the STEM disciplines, that active learning increases scores on concept inventories more than on course examinations, and that active learning appears effective across all class sizes-although the greatest effects are in small (n ≤ 50) classes. Trim and fill analyses and fail-safe n calculations suggest that the results are not due to publication bias. The results also appear robust to variation in the methodological rigor of the included studies, based on the quality of controls over student quality and instructor identity. This is the largest and most comprehensive metaanalysis of undergraduate STEM education published to date. The results raise questions about the continued use of traditional lecturing as a control in research studies, and support active learning as the preferred, empirically validated teaching practice in regular classrooms.

Concepts: Scientific method, Critical thinking, Mathematics, Education, Science, Effect size, Meta-analysis, Comprehensive examination

46

Exposure to natural environments can have calming and stress-reducing effects on humans. Moreover, previous studies suggest that these benefits may be greater in areas with higher species richness. Our study took advantage of a “natural experiment” to examine people’s behavioral, physiological, and psychological reactions to increases in levels of marine biota in a large aquarium exhibit during three stages of restocking: Unstocked, Partially stocked, and Fully stocked. We found that increased biota levels were associated with longer spontaneous viewing of the exhibit, greater reductions in heart rate, greater increases in self-reported mood, and higher interest. We suggest that higher biota levels, even in managed settings, may be associated with important well-being and health benefits, particularly for individuals not able to access the natural analogues of managed environments.

Concepts: Psychology, Natural environment, Science, Experiment, Setting, Examination, Comprehensive examination, School examinations

39

Low-carbohydrate, high-fat and ketogenic diets are increasingly adopted by athletes for body composition and sports performance enhancements. However, as yet, there is no consensus on their efficacy in improving performance. There is also no comprehensive literature on athletes' experiences while undertaking this diet. The purpose of this pilot work was two-fold: i. to examine the effects of a non-calorie controlled ketogenic diet on body composition and performance outcomes of endurance athletes, and ii. to evaluate the athletes' experiences of the ketogenic diet during the 10-week intervention.

Concepts: Effectiveness, Case study, New Zealand, Ketogenic diet, Diets, Comprehensive examination, Low-carbohydrate diet, Ketosis

30

Social networks can profoundly affect human behavior, which is the primary force driving environmental change. However, empirical evidence linking microlevel social interactions to large-scale environmental outcomes has remained scarce. Here, we leverage comprehensive data on information-sharing networks among large-scale commercial tuna fishers to examine how social networks relate to shark bycatch, a global environmental issue. We demonstrate that the tendency for fishers to primarily share information within their ethnic group creates segregated networks that are strongly correlated with shark bycatch. However, some fishers share information across ethnic lines, and examinations of their bycatch rates show that network contacts are more strongly related to fishing behaviors than ethnicity. Our findings indicate that social networks are tied to actions that can directly impact marine ecosystems, and that biases toward within-group ties may impede the diffusion of sustainable behaviors. Importantly, our analysis suggests that enhanced communication channels across segregated fisher groups could have prevented the incidental catch of over 46,000 sharks between 2008 and 2012 in a single commercial fishery.

Concepts: Psychology, Fish, Sociology, Race, Ethnic group, Behavior, Human behavior, Comprehensive examination

27

OBJECTIVE: To study the prevalence of and associated factors for cognitive impairment and dementia in community dwelling Chinese from Singapore. METHODS: This study includes Chinese subjects from the Epidemiology of Dementia in Singapore (EDIS) study, aged ≥60 years, who underwent comprehensive examinations, including cognitive screening with the locally validated Abbreviated Mental Test and Progressive Forgetfulness Questionnaire. Screen positive participants subsequently underwent extensive neuropsychological testing and cerebral MRI. Cognitive impairment no dementia (CIND) and dementia were diagnosed according to internationally accepted criteria. The prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia were computed per 5 year age categories and gender. To examine the relationship between baseline associated factors and cognitive impairment, we used logistic regression models to compute odd ratios with 95% CI. RESULTS: 1538 Chinese subjects, aged ≥60 years, underwent cognitive screening: 171 (15.2%) were diagnosed with any cognitive impairment, of whom 84 were CIND mild, 80 CIND moderate and seven had dementia. The overall age adjusted prevalence of CIND mild was 7.2%; CIND moderate/dementia was 7.9%. The prevalence increased with age, from 5.9% in those aged 60-64 years to 31.3% in those aged 75-79 years and 44.1% in those aged ≥80 years. Multivariate analysis revealed age, diabetes and hyperlipidaemia to be independently associated with cognitive impairment. CONCLUSIONS: In present study, the overall prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia in Chinese was 15.2%, which is in the same range as the prevalence reported in Caucasian and other Asian populations.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Population, Neurocognitive, Ageing, Examination, Comprehensive examination, Abbreviated mental test score

25

Incubators in the IVF laboratory play a pivotal role in providing a stable and appropriate culture environment required for optimizing embryo development and clinical outcomes. With technological advances, several types of incubators are now available and careful consideration is required for selection. Examination of variables, such as recovery/stabilization of temperature, gas atmosphere and humidity, as well as understanding various approaches utilized by each device to regulate these variables, is critical. Additionally, a comprehensive examination of clinical studies that compare various incubators may provide insight into their efficacy. Other factors, both technical and practical, must also be considered when selecting an incubator. Importantly, proper management, including patient volume and workflow, is paramount in optimizing function of any incubator, regardless of the technology incorporated. This review highlights incubator function and reviews key environmental variables controlled and the technology utilized in various units. Additionally, existing comparative studies focused on incubator recovery and clinical outcomes are critically analysed. Finally, strategies employed for incubator management, as well as future potential incubator improvements are discussed. While existing reports indicate that smaller benchtop/topload incubators provide faster recovery of environmental variables, there is no clear advantage of any particular incubator based on clinical outcomes. During the IVF procedure, gametes and embryos spend the majority of their time within the confines of the laboratory incubator. Maintaining environmental stability inside the incubator chamber is therefore critical to reduce environmental stressors and to maintain appropriate growth conditions. This makes the laboratory incubator one of the most important pieces of equipment within the IVF laboratory and highlights the importance of incubator selection, which is one of the key decisions within the IVF laboratory. Paramount in the process of making an informed decision regarding IVF incubator selection is knowledge of incubator technology and functioning. Different type of gas sensors, varying methods of temperature regulation and size of the incubator are all-important variables for consideration when selecting from an ever-growing number of incubator options. Furthermore, analysis of existing comparative studies may offer insight into incubator function, although many of the existing studies fail to control for key variables that can impact growth conditions. Importantly, regardless of the incubator or its technology, proper incubator management is critical to optimize embryo development and assisted reproductive outcomes. An appropriate number of incubators and workflow management are essential to help ensure proper growth conditions.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Comparison, Embryo, Avicenna, Mesoderm, Management, Technology, Comprehensive examination

21

6

Large experimental efforts are characterizing the regulatory genome, yet we are still missing a systematic definition of functional and silent genetic variants in non-coding regions. Here, we integrated DNaseI footprinting data with sequence-based transcription factor (TF) motif models to predict the impact of a genetic variant on TF binding across 153 tissues and 1,372 TF motifs. Each annotation we derived is specific for a cell-type condition or assay and is locally motif-driven. We found 5.8 million genetic variants in footprints, 66% of which are predicted by our model to affect TF binding. Comprehensive examination using allele-specific hypersensitivity (ASH) reveals that only the latter group consistently shows evidence for ASH (3,217 SNPs at 20% FDR), suggesting that most (97%) genetic variants in footprinted regulatory regions are indeed silent. Combining this information with GWAS data reveals that our annotation helps in computationally fine-mapping 86 SNPs in GWAS hit regions with at least a 2-fold increase in the posterior odds of picking the causal SNP. The rich meta information provided by the tissue-specificity and the identity of the putative TF binding site being affected also helps in identifying the underlying mechanism supporting the association. As an example, the enrichment for LDL level-associated SNPs is 9.1-fold higher among SNPs predicted to affect HNF4 binding sites than in a background model already including tissue-specific annotation.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Transcription, RNA, Transcription factor, Comprehensive examination

6

Infants learn language at an incredible speed, and one of the first steps in this voyage is learning the basic sound units of their native languages. It is widely thought that caregivers facilitate this task by hyperarticulating when speaking to their infants. Using state-of-the-art speech technology, we addressed this key theoretical question: Are sound categories clearer in infant-directed speech than in adult-directed speech? A comprehensive examination of sound contrasts in a large corpus of recorded, spontaneous Japanese speech demonstrates that there is a small but significant tendency for contrasts in infant-directed speech to be less clear than those in adult-directed speech. This finding runs contrary to the idea that caregivers actively enhance phonetic categories in infant-directed speech. These results suggest that to be plausible, theories of infants' language acquisition must posit an ability to learn from noisy data.

Concepts: Scientific method, Linguistics, Language, Theory, Examination, Speech, Theorem, Comprehensive examination

5

Social relationships, which are contingent on access to social networks, promote engagement in social activities and provide access to social support. These social factors have been shown to positively impact health outcomes. In the current systematic review, we offer a comprehensive overview of the impact of social activities, social networks and social support on the cognitive functioning of healthy older adults (50+) and examine the differential effects of aspects of social relationships on various cognitive domains.

Concepts: Medicine, Health, Sociology, Cognition, The Current, Comprehensive examination