Now showing items 1-20 of 3306

    • The time(s) of our lives: Exploring and opening up alternative temporalities through the experience of disability

      McCowell, Kelly; Department of Child and Youth Studies
      The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how some relate to time atypically and how, precisely through that relation, they help to disclose possibilities for alternative ways of being more generally. Both the COVID-19 pandemic as well as increasing threats of climate change have engendered an appreciation of the precariousness of our existence; in short, these crises have illuminated the inevitability of an uncertain future both immediately and in the long term. Despite the loom, the ways in which we live our lives in the dominant culture of Western society reflects a linear, future oriented temporality where able-bodied citizens often strive for progress and advancement, transformation, and ultimately mastery of the environment. Other temporalities exist, however, such as those shared by people whose bodily experiences construct their social realities in unconventional ways. Often it is their diagnosis that puts them out of line both with developmental time and fundamentally the neoliberal ethos of a productive life. This study strove to disrupt the domination of linear time and opposingly argued that these alternative relationships with time may be more well suited to the precarious nature of our lives. Guided by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s (2012) bioethical assertion that we might want to conserve rather than eliminate disability, I sought to uncover alternative temporalities in the hopes of disclosing their generative potential. Four memoirs written by parents of children with diverse disabilities were used as qualitative data to convey the experience of disability, temporalities and alternative ways of being in the world. The findings highlight opportunities for rethinking the ways in which we perceive and interact with time.
    • Relational Approach to the L-Fuzzy Concept Analysis

      Izadpanahi, Anahita; Department of Computer Science
      Modern industrial production systems benefit from the classification and processing of objects and their attributes. In general, the object classification procedure can coincide with vagueness. Vagueness is a common problem in object analysis that exists at various stages of classification, including ambiguity in input data, overlapping boundaries between classes or regions, and uncertainty in defining or extracting the properties and relationships of objects. To manage the ambiguity mentioned in the classification of objects, using a framework for L-fuzzy relations, and displaying such uncertainties by it can be a solution. Obtaining the least unreliable and uncertain output associated with the original data is the main concern of this thesis. Therefore, my general approach to this research can be categorized as follows: We developed an L-Fuzzy Concept Analysis as a generalization of a regular Concept Analysis. We start our work by providing the input data. Data is stored in a table (database). The next step is the creation of the contexts and concepts from the given original data using some structures. In the next stage, rules, or patterns (Attribute Implications) from the data will be generated. This includes all rules and a minimal base of rules. All of them are using L-fuzziness due to uncertainty. This requires L-fuzzy relations that will be implemented as L -valued matrices. In the end, everything is nicely packed in a convenient application and implemented in Java programming language. Generally, our approach is done in an algebraic framework that covers both regular and L -Fuzzy FCA, simultaneously. The tables we started with are already L-valued (not crisp) in our implementation. In other words, we work with the L-Fuzzy data directly. This is the idea here. We start with vague data. In simple terms, the data is shown using L -valued tables (vague data) trying to relate objects with their attributes at the start of the implementation. Generating attribute implications from many-valued contexts by a relational theory is the purpose of this thesis, i.e, a range of degrees is used to indicate the relationship between objects and their properties. The smallest degree corresponds to the classical no and the greatest degree corresponds to the classical yes in the table.
    • The Transition from Elementary to Secondary School: Lived Experiences of Grade 9 Students

      Marotta, Kendra; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Emerging adolescence (12 to 15 years old) is a critical life period, as individuals experience many different changes in their social lives, which consequently impact their emotional self. Simply put, adolescent students experience many life transitions that can influence their emotional well-being. The purpose of this study was to explore adolescents’ perceptions of and lived experiences with their transition from elementary to secondary school. The research question that guided this study was: what are adolescents' perceptions about their experience of the transition from elementary (Grade 8) to secondary school (Grade 9)? This qualitative study collected data from three Grade 9 male students who were recruited from a private secondary school in Southern Ontario. As part of a survey, nine open-ended questions were answered by study participants in a virtual format. A thematic analysis revealed two main topics across participants’ experiences: social support and coping with stress. Findings revealed that adolescent males experienced academic, emotional, and social challenges in their transition from elementary and secondary school, and that emotional well-being plays an important role for this demographic during this transition. Overall, this study provides a novel and unique insight into adolescent males’ lived experiences during and their emotional well- being through the transition to secondary school. Future research and mental health programs should consider the importance of male adolescent perspectives during this educational transition and other schooling experiences.
    • A surface plasmon resonance investigation of the role of bilayer phospholipids in the binding and ligand interactions of the ⍺-tocopherol transfer protein.

      Mehta, Vansh Ankitbhai; Centre for Biotechnology
      Vitamins are, by definition, required for maintaining the health of the mammalian body. Vitamin E, which occurs in eight different forms, has a crucial function as an antioxidant protecting polyunsaturated fatty acids. Attributable to the occurrence of alpha-tocopherol transfer protein (a-TTP), RRR-a-tocopherol is the only form that is selectively retained in mammals. a-TTP aids in secreting the RRR-a-tocopherol from liver to the rest of the body. The mechanism of the a-TTP-mediated movement of a-tocopherol is not yet fully elucidated. The opening of a-TTP's binding pocket and subsequent release of a-tocopherol are made possible by a-TTP's interaction with PM residing phosphatidylinositols. K217, a crucial amino acid, is present in the positive surface patch of a-TTP, which is essential for orchestrating this interaction. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) was employed in this study to examine the absorption and desorption of wild-type a-TTP and the mutated form K217A to tethered phospholipid vesicles. SPR spectroscopy illustrated the affinity of either protein when it was presented with one or both of its preferred ligands (a-tocopherol or phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2]) on tethered vesicles. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) was used to coat the side of the microcentrifuge tubes to mitigate protein loss that was discovered when protein was preincubated with its ligands. K217 was found to be instrumental in the binding of TTP to PIPs and the subsequent release of tocopherol. As K217A mutant had a lower adsorption to membranes containing PI(4,5)P2 vs wtTTP. It was determined that α-TTP binding to endosomal vesicles increased with increased concentration of the late endosome specific lipid bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP). Collections runs performed provided some evidence for the exchange of ligands when wtTTP was used but not for K217A. The results found in this work parallel literature findings and supplement the proposed mechanism of a α-TTP-mediated movement of α-tocopherol and PI(4,5)P2 in plasma membranes.
    • The Effect Of Vibratory Noise Input On Postural Responses To An Unexpected Loss Of Balance

      Amiaka, Chimerem; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Vibratory noise input applied to the foot sole has been shown to improve static balance control across various populations (i.e., younger adults, older adults, individuals with diabetic neuropathy etc.). However, there is little research on whether vibratory noise improves reactive balance control. This is concerning because falls typically occur when an individual is unable to quickly recover from a loss to their balance. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis was to examine whether vibratory noise input affects postural responses following an unexpected surface translation. A secondary aim was to examine the effects of vibration on static balance performance to replicate previous findings. Eighteen adults (10 females and 8 males) completed six quiet standing trials and 28 surface translation trials. For all trials, participants stood barefoot, while blindfolded and wearing headphones. Three vibrating elements were placed directly underneath each foot (i.e., one each at the first metatarsal, fifth metatarsal and at the heel). For each standing trial, participants were instructed to stand quietly. For each surface translation trial, participants were instructed to recover their balance without stepping in response to a unexpected surface translation. Participants were unaware of which trials did or did not have vibration applied to the foot soles. Static and reactive balance control were quantified using various kinematic, kinetic and electromyography (EMG) measures, while the ability to recover balance was quantified through the measurement of EMG and body kinematics. Results indicated that vibratory noise input did not influence most measures of static and reactive balance control. This suggests that the application of vibratory noise input to the foot soles is not beneficial in younger adults. Future studies should replicate this study with clinical populations to determine whether the benefits of vibratory noise input are limited to individuals with worsened balance ability.
    • The Feasibility of Wearable Sensors for the Automation of Distal Upper Extremity Ergonomic Assessment Tools

      Cousins, Daniel; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Work-related distal upper limb musculoskeletal disorders are costly conditions that many companies and researchers spend significant resources on preventing. Ergonomic assessments evaluate the risk of developing a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) by quantifying variables such as the force, repetition, and posture (among others) that the task requires. Accurate and objective measurements of force and posture are challenging due to equipment and location constraints. Wearable sensors like the Delsys Trigno Quattro combine inertial measurement units (IMUs) and surface electromyography to solve collection difficulties. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the joint angle estimation of IMUs and the relationship between sEMG and overall task intensity throughout a controlled wrist motion. Using a 3 degrees-of-freedom wrist manipulandum, the feasibility of a small, lightweight wearable was evaluated to collect accurate wrist flexion and extension angles and to use sEMG to quantify task intensity. The task was a repeated 95º arc in flexion/ extension with six combinations of wrist torques and grip requirements. The mean wrist angle difference (throughout the range of motion) between the WristBot and the IMU of 1.70° was not significant (p= 0.057); but significant differences existed throughout the range of motion. The largest difference between the IMU and the WristBot was 10.7° at 40° extension; this discrepancy is smaller than typical visual inspection joint angle estimate errors by ergonomists of 15.6°. All sEMG metrics (flexor muscle root mean square (RMS), extensor muscle RMS, mean RMS, integrated sEMG (iEMG), physiological cross-sectional area weighted RMS) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) had significant regression results with the task intensity. Variance in RPE was better explained by task intensity than the best sEMG metric (iEMG) with R2 values of 0.35 and 0.21, respectively. Wearable sensors can be used in occupational settings to increase the accuracy of postural assessments; additional research is required on relationships between sEMG and task intensity to be used effectively in ergonomics. There is potential for sEMG to be a powerful tool; however, the dynamic nature and combined exertion (grip and flexion/ extension) make it difficult to quantify task intensity
    • Using Persistent Homology for Topological Analysis of Protein Interaction Network of Candida Antarctica Lipase B Molecular Dynamic Simulation Model

      Tajik, Samin; Department of Physics
      In this work, we aim to examine the activity of one of the most efficient and commonly used lipases, Candida Antarctica Lipase B (CalB), from the perspective of multiple computational techniques. To this end, we first conduct a series of Molecular Dynam- ics Simulations on CalB in different conditions to analyze the conformational changes of the protein and probe its unusual high-temperature activity. Next, we build the protein interaction network of amino acids for CalB to study pairwise interactions between amino acids (nodes) and probe the protein in terms of statistical features of links’ distribution. Finally, we employ an algebraic topology-based method to study the protein interaction network from a broader perspective. The ”Persistent Homol- ogy (PH) method” is then presented as a way to exceed pairwise interactions and examine protein networks in terms of patterns of interaction between the nodes. Per- sistent Homology studies the evolution of the protein interaction network’s topologi- cal features (homology groups) in different states. Employing topological analysis, we compare the active form of CalB at high temperatures to its inactive states to account for possible topological contributions to the protein functionality. By discovering a prominent 1-dimensional hole in the active form of the protein, we highlight the role of higher-order interaction patterns in the network. Moreover, using the evolution of topological features, we study topological changes in protein networks and show the decline in the total number of 1-dimensional features as the protein loses activity and compactness over time. Accordingly, we propose that the protein’s general conforma- tional changes and three-dimensional structure are not the only facets contributing to its active state. Instead, we suggest examining the topology of the protein inter- action network, referred to as different dimensional holes of the networks, as a higher dimensional analysis should be used to account for protein functionality. Hence, in this work, we desire to present that one needs to consider topological features acting as patterns of interaction between the components to study, examine or predict the folding of polypeptide chains into active structures.
    • Gen Z and Sustainable Diets: A Holistic Perspective. Understanding Perceptions of and Engagement with the Social, Economic and Environmental Dimensions of a Sustainable Diet

      Ruzgys, Shannon; Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
      Current food production methods are causing wide scale degradation of the natural environment thus a shift towards more sustainable agricultural systems is essential in fighting the climate crisis. Understanding how Gen Z, a generation that will inherit the changing climate, relates to the social, economic and environmental aspects of a sustainable diet is important in ensuring they are aware how to make an impact with their dietary choices. This thesis aimed to gain a holistic understanding of Gen Z's perceptions of and engagement with sustainable diets. Two studies were conducted online, examining Canadian youth between the ages of 18-25. The first study took an exploratory approach, aiming to understand what a sustainable diet means to Gen Z in their own words. The second study took a predictive approach, aiming to quantify and understand Gen Z's action stages around a range of sustainable dietary behaviours, including the psychological and educational factors that influence their stage of change. Results from Study One highlighted that youth perceive behaviours centered around supporting their local community and reducing food waste to be effective for promoting a sustainable diet. In addition, over 60% of participants indicated that there were barriers preventing them from engaging in sustainable diets, such as cost. Results from Study Two revealed that a high food literacy score and a strong belief in the efficacy of a behaviour are the two most important predictors of being in an action stage for a range of sustainable dietary behaviours. Together these two studies provide a holistic overview of what sustainable diets mean to Gen Z, how they currently engage with sustainable diets, and ways to encourage action. The thesis also contributes to the scholarly literature on the use of TTM and TPB in assessing the factors that influence engagement with sustainable dietary behaviours. It also offers practical recommendations on how our results can be used to shape policy, educational interventions and marketing towards Gen Z.
    • Urban forest management planning: A case study of municipalities in Southern Ontario

      Thomson, Tyler; Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
      This current study reviews urban forest management planning in Ontario through a sustainability lens. After clarifying key terms and concepts in the field of urban forestry, the paper moves towards an analysis of two urban forest management plans from municipalities in Ontario. This analysis was accomplished using a qualitative content analysis approach, where the content from two urban forest management plans was assessed against a framework that defines core principles of sustainable urban forest management. Key insights from this analysis are then identified and used to present a framework the Town of Lincoln can follow to develop an UFMP for their urban forest. The findings from this study found that municipalities have a strong desire to achieve sustainable urban forest management, but external challenges and internal limitations present barriers to achieve this.
    • Effects of Red Rooibos on Mandibular Bone Structure in Sprague-Dawley Rats at 4 Months Post-Lactation

      Condino, Darrah; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Physiological changes during pregnancy and lactation result in challenges to the maternal rodent skeleton. Red rooibos (RR) supplementation to rats was previously shown to support the recovery of tibia bone structure through to 4 months post-lactation. Given the associations between oral and systemic health, this research used multiple ROIs within the mandible to determine: if there are differences in trabecular bone structure at 4 months post-lactation compared to the non-pregnant control; the effects of a RR intervention administered from pre-pregnancy through 4 months post-lactation on trabecular bone structure compared to no RR intervention; and if measured outcomes are similar among groups regardless of the ROI studied. 6-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats (n=42) were randomized to PREG TEA (pregnancy and lactation; supplemental level of RR in water ~2600 mg/kg body weight/day), PREG WAT (pregnancy and lactation; water), or GROWTH CON (non-pregnant control; water), bred at 8-weeks of age and maintained until 4 months post-lactation when mandibles were excised. Micro-computed tomography was used to measure bone structure at four ROIs: fixed shape or manually drawn ROI in molar 1 (M1) or molar 2 (M2) site. At M1, analyses using a fixed ROI demonstrated that PREG TEA had a higher bone volume fraction (p<0.05) and lower trabecular separation (p<0.05) compared to PREG WAT. This may be explained by the structural outcomes characterizing trabecular struts, in which degree of anisotropy was lower (p<0.05) in PREG WAT compared to GROWTH CON. Irrespective of whether the ROI was drawn manually or fixed, the PREG TEA group demonstrated a partial recovery as trabecular number, separation, and thickness were not significantly different from GROWTH CON (p>0.05), whereas PREG WAT had significantly lower (p<0.05) bone volume fraction and trabecular number than GROWTH CON. At M2, few significant outcomes were observed regardless of ROI. This may be due to the lower amount of bone present at this site. Pregnancy and lactation resulted in deficits to mandible bone, but RR supplementation supported partial recovery, which aligns with previous findings for tibia. Findings can inform future research about which mandible site to select to measure a response to a dietary intervention.
    • Examining Types and Performance of Urban Green Space: Case Studies of Toronto, Milan, and Isfahan

      Sattar, Tannaz; Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
      Cities have significant impacts on sustainability and sustainable development. In the context of global development, especially in developing large metropolitan areas, the urban population is growing resulting in social and environmental challenges that threaten the sustainability of cities. One of the challenges of this modern urbanization addresses urban green spaces (UGS) regarding their quantity and performance. UGS are essential parts of urban areas lack of which can compromise urban ecology and human well-being. Enhancing UGS is an approach to overcome some of these challenges. Little research has been done on the UGS typologies and different variables affecting their performance, and also the literature on comparing this feature in hugely different contexts is missing. This paper intents to compare UGS categories in the three selected cases, which are the cities of Toronto (Canada), Milan (Italy), and Isfahan (Iran), and analyze their performance variables.
    • Rethinking Consumerism, Innovation and Tourism Sustainability in a Post-Viral World: An Exploratory Study of PIRT Usage in Niagara's Geoparks

      Mensah, Abigail; Department of Geography
      Tourism resilience in the face of a prevailing pandemic and accompanying global uncertainties remains a concern to many stakeholders. A key area of interest for the industry regards the pandemic's potential to influence change in people's consumption patterns, possibly toward more sustainable, ethical, safe and technologically mediated forms of tourism. Such pandemic-induced attitudinal changes can, in turn, affect how tourism will be consumed in future. These changes may further translate into the need for new exchange relationships, tourism experiences, resources, and innovations to aid interactions between service providers (tour guides), tourists and destinations. With the advent of technology-driven solutions for normalization during the pandemic, some studies have predicted shifts from traditional long-haul travels to virtual tourism as they are considered to be a safer, accessible, and ecologically friendly form of tourism. This exploratory research, therefore, sought to unearth the influence of Covid-19 on Millennial students' preferences for virtual tours in the aftermath of the pandemic. The objectives were to identify factors that can influence intentions for change in people's tourism preferences based on their experience of the pandemic, to explore tourist perceptions about the potential of virtual tour innovations like PIRTs to meet their future preferences, and to investigate how this connection can translate into prospective models in Niagara's geopark tourism sector. Quantitative data was collected from 117 sampled students in the Brock University community through an online questionnaire. The findings revealed that financial, experiential, and ecological concerns are significant factors which will possibly influence Millennials' travel patterns and their inclination to use PIRTS in the post-Covid era. Based on these findings, suggestions are made on how smart tourism innovations such as PIRTs can be harnessed as resilient alternatives to conventional tourism in Niagara Peninsula Aspiring Global Geopark (NPAGG) destinations to promote socio-ecological wellbeing in the region.
    • Synthesis of a Photocleavable Bolalipid for the study of the roles of Phospholipid Transfer Proteins and Phosphatidylinositol Lipid Kinases

      Wilson, Sean Daniel; Department of Chemistry
      This thesis was dedicated to the synthesis of mono- and di-photocleavable phosphatidylcholine bolalipids that were designed to investigate the mechanism of action of the phospholipid transfer protein, Sec14, as well as the phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase, Pik1. While it was the goal of this thesis to synthesize both bola-PCs, only the mono-photocleavable bola-PC was successfully synthesized. The mono-photocleavable bola-PC lipid was designed to contain two glycerol molecules that each had a choline head group connected through a phosphodiester bond at the sn3 position. Each glycerol was acylated with palmitic acid at the sn1 position. These two glycerol moieties were then connected to one another through their respective sn2 hydroxyls via a mono-photocleavable dicarboxylic acid. The initial steps of this work were to synthesize mono- and di-photocleavable diacids to serve as a linker for the polar head groups of the bolalipids. The mono- and di-photocleavable diacids were designed to contain one and two nitrophenyl ethyl photolabile protecting groups, respectively. The synthesis of the di-photocleavable diacid was attempted first, however, these efforts were unsuccessful. Two separate synthetic routes were followed to synthesize this diacid, but neither were viable. Despite this, the synthesis of the mono-photocleavable diacid was successful and was incorporated into a bola-PC. The mono-photocleavable diacid and bola-PC were found to undergo photocleavage when irradiated with 365 nm light, in 60 seconds and 105 seconds, respectively. Photocleavage of the bola-PC was also carried out within a lipid vesicle comprised of 10% bola-PC and 90% DOPC. Spectral and experimental data have been provided for all compounds synthesized. Future efforts will involve the bola-PC synthesized in this thesis undergoing enzymatic conversion into a bola-PI, via the enzyme phospholipase D.
    • Diversifying Emergent Behaviours with Age-Layered MAP-Elites

      Pozzuoli, Andrew; Department of Computer Science
      Emergent behaviour can arise unexpectedly as a by-product of the complex interactions of an autonomous system, and with the increasing desire for such systems, emergent behaviour has become an important area of interest for AI research. One aspect of this research is in searching for a diverse set of emergent behaviours which not only provides a useful tool for finding unwanted emergent behaviour, but also in finding interesting emergent behaviour. The multi-dimensional archive of phenotypic elites (MAP-Elites) algorithm is a popular evolutionary algorithm which returns a highly diverse set of elite solutions at the end of a run. The population is separated into a grid-like feature space defined by a set of behaviour dimensions specified by the user where each cell of the grid corresponds to a unique behaviour combination. The algorithm is conceptually simple and effective at producing high-quality, diverse solutions, but it comes with a major limitation on its exploratory capabilities. With each additional behaviour, the set of solutions grows exponentially, making high-dimensional feature spaces infeasible. This thesis proposes an option for increasing behaviours with a novel Age-Layered MAP-Elites (ALME) algorithm where the population is separated into age layers and each layer has its own feature space. By using different behaviours in the different layers, the population migrates up through the layers experiencing selective pressure towards different behaviours. This algorithm is applied to a simulated intelligent agent environment to observe interesting emergent behaviours. It is observed that ALME is capable of producing a set of solutions with diversity in all behaviour dimensions while keeping the final population size low. It is also observed that ALME is capable of filling its top layer feature space more consistently than MAP-Elites with the same behaviour dimensions.
    • Investigating A Moderated Mediation Model of The Impact of Personalized Message Appeal and Privacy Threat Extent on Consumer Behaviour

      Hadjiesmaeili, Adel; Faculty of Business Programs
      As electronic commerce is prevailing progressively, more personal data of customers is getting shared with businesses since this information is an indispensable resource for effective personalized advertising in ecommerce context. However, in the event of an information leakage, this win-win strategy would be subject to change and demands precise employment of advertising elements that does not escalate privacy distress among consumers. More specifically, building on Conservation of Resources theory, this study proposes three dimensions for privacy threats and by conducting three empirical experiments demonstrates that although rational and emotional message appeals have similar impacts in high-personalized advertising messages, they play different roles when various types of a privacy threat are announced to customers. Results prove that customers’ psychological comfort mediates the relationship between high-personalized advertising and consumer’s response to the advertising when privacy threat is high. Additionally, when the perceived severity and distance of the announced privacy threat are high and low respectively, high-personalized rational advertising message would lead to more psychological comfort, while this holds true for emotional appeal when the perceived scope of the threat is high. This study contributes to the literature on customers privacy by providing a better understanding of the privacy threat construct and introduces and empirically examines a new boundary condition in which the influence of message appeals in high-personalized advertising may differ across each dimension of privacy threat.
    • Zinc – catalyzed reduction of N – heterocycles

      Shakhman, Dinmukhamed; Department of Chemistry
      Novel bidentate amine – imine, and amido – imine ligands were synthesized. The former species was reacted with ZnMe2 to generate zinc methyl complex. The compound was fully characterized by 1H NMR and X – ray spectroscopy. The zinc methyl complex demonstrated rather limited catalytic activity in hydroboration and hydrosilylation of N – heterocycles. Consequently, a new zinc hydride complex was synthesized using an amido – imine ligand as a precursor. A series of nitrogen heteroaromatics were successfully hydroborated using catalytic amounts of zinc hydride species. Deuterium – labeling experiments, and kinetic studies allowed to get insights into the reaction mechanism. It was proposed that the hydride transfer proceeds via a six – membered transition state orchestrated by the Lewis acidic zinc – hydride complex. Another project was focused on the synthesis of a potentially redox “non – innocent” diimine ligand, using Arduengo’s diketone as the starting point. Attempts to install an imine moiety resulted in a surprising reaction outcome.
    • The Impact of Math Anxiety on Health-Related Quality of Life and Functional Impairment

      Harris, Owen; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      First discussed in 1954 by Sister Mary Fides Gough, math anxiety is a topic that has been gaining more attention in recent years. Current literature focuses heavily on the intersection of math anxiety and education, yet scant research assesses the impacts on daily life. This study addressed this gap by using an embedded quantitative correlational survey with descriptive open- ended questions to identify the correlation (if any) between math anxiety and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and/or functional impairment. The study adopted Beck’s general theory of anxiety (BGTA) as a framework. The survey consisted of three established measures—the AMAS, SF-36, and SDS—administered to 113 participants. Results indicate that math anxiety and HRQOL have a negative correlation, while math anxiety and functional impairment have a positive correlation. Based on findings, this study recommend that future research should establish a consistent framework (e.g., BGTA) as well as intervention strategies that addresses HRQOL and functional impairments (e.g., cognitive behavioural therapy). Finally, this study recommends that future practice should view math anxiety as a mental health issue and treat it as such.
    • Approaches Towards a Total Synthesis of Daphenylline

      Miskey, Scott; Department of Chemistry
      The following work describes the synthesis of advanced intermediates enroute to daphenylline. Construction of the ABCE tetracyclic skeleton of daphenylline was accomplished in thirteen steps with seven percent overall yield from commercially available (S)-carvone through [3,3]-allyl cyanate-to-isocyanate rearrangement, intramolecular Heck Reaction, and Intermolecular Diels-Alder/benzannulation strategies. Efforts towards the synthesis of daphenylline’s D ring are discussed. A terse introduction to the scientific literature of daphniphyllum alkaloids and a comprehensive overview of selected approaches and all previous syntheses of daphenylline is given. Experimental procedures and spectroscopic data are provided for all new compounds.
    • Does Cannabis Co-use Impact Tobacco Cessation of Treatment-Seeking Young Adults? A Secondary Analysis

      Pellow, Meghan; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Background. The impact of cannabis co-use on tobacco cessation is uncertain. This study examined whether nonuse, less-than-daily, or daily co-use of cannabis is associated with tobacco cessation outcomes among treatment-seeking 18-to-29-year-old smokers. Methods. Between 2013 and 2015, young adult Ontarians with no contraindications could use an online platform to order free, mailout, 8-week course of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with supplementary self-help materials. Of 23,312 visitors, 10,823 met residency and age eligibility criteria, 8,491 ordered their preferred product (patch or gum), and 1,573 completed baseline and 6-month follow-up self-report surveys. Past 30-day cannabis use was measured at baseline. Tobacco abstinence at follow-up was defined as continuous since estimated end of treatment; reduction was defined as smoking less than 50% of the baseline consumption. Attrition was associated with being unemployed, less educated, more nicotine dependent, and more likely to have a past year quit attempt. Results. Continuous tobacco abstinence was achieved by 10.3% of less-than-daily cannabis users, but 16.2% of daily and 15.7% of non-cannabis users (ns). A binary logistic regression controlling for demographic characteristics, treatment use, nicotine dependence, cigarettes per day, past year quit attempt and alcohol use revealed less-than-daily cannabis use (AOR = .64, p < .05), but not daily cannabis use (AOR = 1.08, p > .05) reduced the odds of quitting compared to nonuse. No other variables influenced odds of abstinence. Of the 1,342 participants who did not achieve abstinence from tobacco, 20.2% of daily cannabis users, 23% of less-than-daily cannabis users, and 22.7% of nonusers reduced their tobacco consumption (ns). A binary logistic regression revealed greater odds of reduction for smokers who smoked less and had a past year quit attempt. Conclusion. The pattern of results suggests less-than-daily, but not daily cannabis use may inhibit successful abstinence among treatment-seeking young adults accessing free NRT mailout programs. Programs operating with limited budgets and supplies of NRT may consider directing less-than-daily co-users to other interventions. Research could explore whether changes in frequency of cannabis use occur during treatment and impact outcomes, and whether reasons for or methods of cannabis use influence tobacco cessation outcomes.
    • Lifestyle factors and neuroimaging metrics as predictors of cognitive performance in healthy aging

      Guardia de Souza e Silva, Tiago; Department of Psychology
      Despite all the advances made in health-related and psychological sciences, advancing age continues to be accompanied by cognitive decline. Aging is usually associated with major changes in the structure and functioning of the brain that lead to impairments in multiple cognitive functions. The trajectories of age-related effects on the brain and cognition exhibit considerable differences across cognitive domains and across individuals, and investigating approaches and factors that might prevent brain and cognitive decline during aging is considered a topic of great scientific and public health relevance. The overall goal of this thesis was to evaluate age-related differences in brain structure and functional connectivity to further our understanding of the neural mechanisms involved in age-related declines in cognition. This thesis also aimed to investigate the influence of lifestyle factors on age differences in cognition, and in that regard, I focused on the effects of sleep quality and physical activity on memory. In Study 1, I assessed the impact of aging on grey matter volume of the medial temporal lobe MTL and prefrontal cortex PFC and compared the relative contributions of MTL and PFC structures to age differences in associative memory. My findings emphasize the critical role of the frontal lobes, and the control processes they subserve, in determining the detrimental effects of age on memory. Additionally, I observed that the relationship between frontal grey matter volume and memory was not moderated by age or sex, suggesting that greater volume in PFC structures relates to better memory performance across the lifespan and in both sexes. In Study 2, I assessed the effects of age on functional brain networks. Given the essential role of the arousal system (ARAS) in cortical activation and previous findings of disrupted ARAS functioning with age, I investigated the hypothesis that age-related changes in ARAS-cortical functional connectivity may contribute to commonly observed age-related differences in cortical connectivity. The findings of this study showed that the arousal system is functionally connected to widespread cortical regions and suggest that age differences in functional connectivity within the cortex may be driven by age-related changes in the brainstem and these altered connectivity patterns have important implications for cognitive health. In Study 3, I investigated the relationship between sleep quality, physical activity, and memory in middle-age and older adults, in addition to assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on participants’ mood and sleep quality. Our results showed that people who were more active reported better sleep quality and showed better memory, and better sleep quality was associated with better memory. Moreover, our findings also showed that some of the beneficial effects of physical activity on cognition are partially mediated by improved sleep. Additionally, this study indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic had a deleterious effect on people’s sleep quality and overall well-being. Taken together, these studies suggest that aging is associated with disruptive effects on brain structure and function, and that these changes are associated with age-related cognitive decline. Additionally, our study supported the association between lifestyle factors, more specifically, sleep quality and physical activity, and cognitive performance during aging.