Christine Kim and Angelica Soltis
Executive functioning (EF) helps build a strong foundation for school readiness, play development, and social participation in children. EF includes attention, inhibitory control, working memory, emotional regulation, planning, and problem solving
Currently, there are few ecologically valid assessments that measure EF in children. The purpose of this exploratory research study was to validate the Pre-school Kitchen Task Assessment (PKTA) as an ecological tool to assess EF in preschool age children. The PKTA utilizes an age appropriate art craft activity and a standardized scoring system to determine the level of assistance (cues) each child needs to complete each step of the craft activity. This study compared the scores from the PKTA to the scores from established neurological assessments, specifically, BRIEF-P (preschool version), the Forward and Backward Digit Span and the Dimensional Change Card Sort in 24 typically developing children ages 3 to 5 living in Marin County, California. No significant correlation was found between the results of the PKTA and the neurological assessments used in this study. However, it was confirmed that the PKTA was sensitive to age in months. As the PKTA is sensitive to age, researchers suggest that the PKTA may be a useful developmental tool in assessing important skills such as fine motor, organization, visual- perception, and judgment and safety in preschool age children.
Facilitating Effective Communication Between First Responders and Older Adults During Fall Incidents
Krystin M. Beeman, Erica L. Berger, Isabel A. Cabezas, and Nicole M. Mathews
PURPOSE. The purpose of this project was to provide first responders with communication strategies for older adults that may help when responding to fall- related calls. General information was also provided to First Responders on working with older adults with a focus on the aging process, fall risk factors, and communications strategies.
METHODS. A series of educational sessions to first responders at a local fire district were developed and presented by occupational therapy students. Materials were developed by presenters from evidence-based resources and tailored to the target population. Each presentation focused on statistics about older adults, the aging process, fall risk factors, and effective communication strategies for older adults. Each two hour presentation consisted of a lecture, role play, and a discussion period.
RESULTS. Evaluations were completed by participants upon the conclusion of each educational presentation. Evaluations included rating the quality and information provided, and whether participants recommend this training to other first responders. The average rating was 92-98% which indicated participants strongly agree and the training was useful and would recommend it to other first responders.
CONCLUSION. As the older adult population increases, more individuals wish to “age in place”, leading to an increased number of falls among older adults, and requiring emergency care from first responders. Information and communication strategies provided through educational presentations to first responders may help facilitate effective communication during an emergency call with an older adult and also prevent future falls. Collaboration with first responders can help occupational therapists develop new role regarding fall prevention and communication with older adults.
Valerie J. DeRoos and Skyler Moon
According to the World Health Organization (2007), age-related visual impairment is increasing. It is estimated that 65% of people who are visually impaired are over age 50 and 82% of those visually impaired over age 50 are blind (WHO, 2014).
• Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is a national training program that serves individuals with blindness or low vision. As a non-profit organization, GDB provides all services free of charge to participants. Training lasts for two weeks with a class size of 6-8 students and instructor/student ratio of 1:2. Participants learn how to perform daily tasks with their dogs and venture out in the community during the on-campus training.
• When walking with a guide dog, different upper extremity muscles and postures are adopted. Older adults with low vision may not be in the proper physical condition to meet the strenuous demands of handling a guide dog due to the normal aging process and decreased mobility.
• There is an overall lack of research studies regarding muscles used with either a long cane or a guide dog; the project developers supplemented current literature with experts’ opinion from GDB.
• Occupational exercises can be integrated into older adults’ daily activities to stretch and strengthen the necessary muscles to handle a guide dog.
• Short-term goals of this project are to decrease muscle pain and injury when handling a guide dog and to facilitate older adults’ success in the GDB program.
• In the long term, this project may potentially help to increase the eligibility of older adults in preparing and maintaining the physical capability when partnering with a guide dog.
Rachel E. Malmquist, Chelsey M. Robinson, Kirsten L. Rogers, and Andrea B. Sosa
The majority of school-based occupational therapy (OT) referrals are for handwriting. In fact, fine motor and handwriting concerns affecting educational performance make up 80-85% of OT referrals in schools. Occupational therapists use an abundance of interventions for remediating handwriting difficulties, but there is scant evidence of why specific strategies or combinations of strategies are effective.
Cognitive interventions have shown to be successful in the treatment of handwriting. Metacognitive skill, a component of cognition, allows a child to self-monitor and self-reflect on his or her handwriting skills to correct mistakes and generate goals for improvement. Therefore, a child’s ability to self-reflect on handwriting is likely an important factor when strengthening the learning and use of handwriting. Having insight into a child’s reflection of his or her handwriting abilities will also assist occupational therapists in creating an appropriate and effective handwriting intervention. This study aims to contribute to the evidence regarding the development and treatment of handwriting skill in elementary school-aged children.
Interprofessional Collaboration Between Occupational Therapists and Registered Nurses in Acute Care Settings: An Exploratory Study
Vincent P. O'Brien, Bethany J. Loy, Kelly Nguyen, and Holly Micheff
Background. Collaboration between occupational therapists and nurses is key to a positive prognosis for their patients. Currently, there is a gap in the research on professional relationships between occupational therapists and registered nurses in acute care settings. Purpose. To examine interprofessional collaboration between registered nurses and occupational therapy in an acute care setting. Methods. A phenomenological, qualitative design with use of semi-structured interviews was used. Interviewees were four occupational therapists and four registered nurses who currently work in acute care settings in Northern California and were recruited through a snowball, convenience and purposive sampling. Themes and subthemes that emerged from the data answered the research questions. Findings. The key factors preventing collaboration were: Time constraints, role confusion and overlap, personality factors, and lack of occupational therapy advocacy. Implications. This study may guide the development of interprofessional education to improve the collaborative relationship between occupational therapists and nurses to ultimately improve quality of care.
As defined by the encyclopedia, nosocomial infections are infections whose development is favored by a hospital environment, such as one acquired by a patient during a hospital visit or one developing among hospital staff. There has been more of a prevalence of hospital-acquired infections that are linked directly to medical personnel – especially nurses. Nurses have the most contact with patients and are potentially putting patients at highest risk for nosocomial infections. Even though nurses are following isolation precautions and standard hand washing in between patients; there are still a few things on nurses that could be harmful to their patients including stethoscopes, uniforms, and cell phones. I will be looking at research studies that show how harmful these personal items on nurses can be for patients, and what protocols are implemented in hospitals to keep patients safe from acquiring any nosocomial infections.
Raquel F. Ramos, Jennifer A. Borcich, and Taylor S. Wong
As the number of older adults continues to rise, falling in older adults has become a national health care issue. Many older adults who fall reside in assisted living facilities. Every time a fall incident occurs, first responders are called, utilizing a significant amount of first responder’s time and resources. Therefore, the purpose of this project was to implement a fall prevention program for residents of an assisted living facility (ALF) to reduce fall risk and fall-related calls to the local fire department. The project consisted of a four-week course given once weekly for 60 minutes to residents at an ALF. Course content was evidence-based and included information on the role of occupational therapy in fall prevention, strength and balance exercises, environmental fall risks, and how hydration, nutrition, vitamin D intake, bone health, and medication management impact fall risk. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, indicating that participants found the information helpful and relevant. Occupational therapists and other health professionals can play an important role in the education of residents and staff of ALFs to increase awareness of fall risks, promote health and well-being among older adults, and help decrease fall-related calls to first responders.
Scale Up Isolation of Aaptamine for In Vivo Evaluation Indicates Its Neurobiological Activity is Linked to the Delta Opioid Receptor
Nicole L. McIntosh, Eptisam Lambo, Laura Millan-Lobo, Fei Li, Li He, Phillip Crews, Jennifer L. Whistler, and Tyler Johnson
Opioid receptors belong to the large superfamily of seven transmembrane-spanning (7TM) G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). As a class, GPCRs are of fundamental physiological importance mediating the actions of the majority of known neurotransmitters and hormones. The Mu, Delta, and Kappa (MOP, DOP, KOP) opioid receptors are particularly intriguing members of this receptor family as they are the targets involved in many neurobiological diseases such as addiction, pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. Recently we discovered that the aaptamine class of marine sponge derived natural products exhibit selective agonist activity in vitro for the DOP versus MOP receptor. Our findings may explain reports by others that aaptamine demonstrates in vivo anti-depressant effects in mouse models using the Porsolt Forced Swim Test. This project involved the extraction of the sponge Aaptos aaptos (a source of 1), establishing a scale up purification procedure to provide sufficient amounts of 1 (30 mg) for a follow up in vivo evaluation and ultimately confirmation of the structure of 1 using LC-MS and 1H NMR. The results our purification scheme, chemical analysis and in vivo evaluation of 1 using the Marble burying test in rodents are reported here in and suggest that the in vivo anti-depressant effects of 1 are linked directly to its agonist effects on the DOP receptor.
Derry E. Gutierrez
Social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook provide several social comparison opportunities. College students use several methods of social media to communicate and stay in touch with friends and family around the world. Although Facebook allows its users to post pictures, plan social events, meet new people, sustain relationships, and observe others’ lives, it also traps its users into a world where they (consciously and unconsciously) compare their lives to those of others. Facebook users self-evaluate and self-enhance their lives by socially comparing themselves with the detailed information they receive from other users. This frequent comparison indicates that social network sites are an important venue where people can evaluate themselves (e.g., opinions, abilities, and emotions), develop their own identities, and where people can also feel happy/unhappy or satisfied/dissatisfied with themselves from comparison with others (Lee, 2014). Shaw and Grant’s (2002) study indicated that internet use decreased depression and loneliness and increased both self-esteem and social support; however, Kraut et al. (1998) found internet use to be positively associated with depression, loneliness, and stress. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the correlation between the use of Facebook and students’ level of self-esteem. Specifically looking at the amount of time college students’ spend on Facebook and how it makes them feel lonely or unhappy with themselves, ultimately affecting their self-esteem.
Forty participants were sent an email link with one online survey on surveymonkey.com to complete. They responded to a combined 33 questions from the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), the Facebook Usage and Experience Measure (derived from Rouis, Limayem, & Salehi-Sangari, 2011), and the Demographics questionnaire regarding age, ethnicity, marital status, and gender. This study predicts that students with intense use of Facebook are affected negatively and have a lower self-esteem than those who do not.
Michelle Del Rosario, Lisa Mrsny, Amanda Cervantes, and Carl Fitzgerald
The purpose of this study was to measure the quality of sleep in undergraduate college students and explore the relationship between academic self-efficacy and performance in student-related occupations. A quantitative, exploratory, descriptive and correlational research design was used to explore the relationship among sleep quality, perceived self-efficacy, and selected student characteristics. This study included undergraduate students, as well as self-identified student athletes, first generation students, and students with disabilities. To collect data, the researchers conducted an online survey, which consisted of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), a demographic and self-efficacy questionnaire. The PSQI was used to evaluate the sleep quality, while the demographic and self-efficacy questionnaire gathered information about student related occupations and self-efficacy. Two hundred and nine college students, aged 17 to 25, participated in the survey. One hundred thirty five (64.6%) participants scored above a five, indicating poor sleep quality while 74 (35.4%) participants obtained good sleep quality as measured by the PSQI, while. The average number of hours slept reported by participants was 6.68. Results support existing evidence suggesting college students are sleep deprived, and over half of participants reported sleep issues that could be addressed by an occupational therapist.
Emily Smiley, Daryl Arora, Jiawen Liang, and Melissa Ramirez
This study concludes a 2-year long randomized control pretest posttest design study examining the effects Therapeutic Listening® Bilateral Quickshift intervention, on bilateral coordination in typically developing children between the ages of seven to eleven. Participants were recruited from after school programs at Coleman Elementary and St. Anselm School located in Marin County, California, as well as word of mouth from the Dominican University community. Participants were randomly assigned to either the Therapeutic Listening® intervention or white noise control intervention. All participants completed a pretest to establish a baseline of bilateral coordination abilities. Participants then listened to 15-minutes of the intervention, followed by the posttest. The testing measures include subtests of the Bruininks- Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT-2), Sensorimotor Performance Analysis (SPA), Quick Neurological Screening Tool (QNST-3), and the Infinity Walk. Significant improvements in BOT-2 bilateral scores, and quality of movement were observed within the Therapeutic Listening® group between pretest to posttest after a single listening session, however, improvements were not seen in the white noise group. No significant changes were seen in QNST-3, SPA, and Infinity Walk scores. Results show promise for Therapeutic Listening®, and adds to the body of evidence supporting its use for improving motor skills in children.
John A. Sansone
Due to the high failure rates of restaurants in the United States, many studies have come up with various reasons to explain the underlying causes of such a phenomenon. One key study by Parsa (2005) suggests, “Restaurant failures have been attributed to economic and social factors […]” and “Restaurant failures can be studied from economic, marketing, and managerial perspectives.” In particular, lack of capital is a major contributing factor for restaurants failure and researchers agree that a restaurant without a sufficient amount of capital will not survive because of three major expenses: overhead, labor, and food cost. Today’s service industry is indeed categorized by financial distress and this is very visible among owners and operators everyday. However, accurate and consistent internal management decisions may allow a restaurant to maintain financial stability. Managing and developing strong customer relationships overtime can help create a loyal following and that can translate into healthy and sustainable growth for the business.
What roles do internal management practices and external market factors play in achieving sustainable success in the fine-dining restaurant industry? This research study will attempt to unveil how Left Bank Brasseries, a well-respected restaurant in Northern California, have sustained its success for twenty years. Using primary data collected from the management team in the form of interviews, this paper will identify the core competencies of the company and how it navigated this highly competitive landscape over the years. Particular attention will be paid to its financial performance, management practices, and levels of customer satisfaction and how these are related to the restaurant’s brand, which is essentially modeled on the French cuisine but managed the American way.
Jessica Lim, Courtney Beyer, Anna Lee, and Sienna Anderson
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the most common cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults over the age of 65 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2009). Falls can lead to a myriad of traumatic physical and emotional consequences. Integrated exercise programs such as the Lifestyle-integrated Functional Exercise (LiFE) program are effective in preventing falls and increasing fall efficacy in individuals who have previously fallen (Clemson et al., 2012). The purpose of our study was to examine if the LiFE program is as effective in reducing fall risk and increasing fall efficacy for non-fallers as it is for fallers. Due to a small sample size of three older adults residing in two independent living residential facilities, the results from our study are inconclusive. The results show that participants were able to increase or maintain their physical fitness and fall efficacy, as well as make improvements in their balance. Moreover, the participants’ testimonials and progress forms collected six-months after the beginning of the program indicate that the LiFE program may have been effective in allowing integration of balance and strengthening exercises into habits occurring in daily activities.
Emotions can often be transferred from one person to another. It has been assumed that the strength and impact of contagious emotions can depend largely on the susceptibility of the individual. This concept has led to the idea of emotional contagion, or “the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalizations, postures and movements with those of another person, and consequently, to converge emotionally”, as defined by Hatfield, Cacioppo & Rapson (1992). The present study will examine the influence of certain emotions and the increased probability for contagion to occur. Specifically, this study will explore the emotional strengths of happiness and sadness viewed in others as catalysts for changes in individual mood states. Participants (n=60) solicited from Dominican University and different social networks will be sent an email containing the link to a survey via Surveymonkey.com, containing the Emotional Contagion Scale (ECS; Doherty, 1997), one of six randomly selected video clips from youtube.com, and two subscales from the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Expanded Form (PANAS-X; Watson & Clark, 1994). Participants will also be asked common demographic questions. The ECS measures individual susceptibility to emotional contagion. Participants will then watch one of six video clips (either a male or female) that depict an elderly person expressing either a happy, sad, or neutral emotion. Finally, participants will be asked a total of 12 questions about their mood state using two subscales from the PANAS-X (joviality and sadness). This study furthers current research to extend findings that establish a relationship between individual differences in emotional susceptibility and the potential for mood change. It is hypothesized that 1) emotionally susceptible people should score high on a mood scale after watching an emotionally charged video clip, 2) sadness will have a more contagious effect, and 3) females will score higher than males in emotional contagion. Data collection for this study will take place February/March of 2015.
Hillary Colby, Ani K. Courville, Sherin Thomas, and Salwa Yaser
Handwriting proficiency is reliant on the skill and coordination of the sensory, motor, cognitive, and perceptual systems. One aspect of sensory processing for penmanship is somatosensation. The contribution of somatosensory processing to handwriting proficiency has not been adequately researched. Therefore, this study evaluated the contribution of somatosensory processing to handwriting proficiency. Seventy-four typically developing second grade children were assessed on their handwriting proficiency and their somatosensory processing. Measurement instruments included the Minnesota Handwriting Assessment (MHA), The Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration-Motor Coordination Subtest, Sixth Edition (VMI-MC), and Quick Neurological Screening Test, 3rd Edition (QNST-3). Results showed a small, but statistically significant correlation between proprioceptive and kinesthetic ability with handwriting skill in the areas of size, alignment, and form. Further research is indicated to more closely assess the particular contributions of somatosensation to handwriting sub skills. Similarly, results indicate further need to assess how occupational therapy practitioners might use somatosensory interventions to assist children who are struggling with handwriting development.
Alexandra Ham, Gabrielle Pecora, Hoaithuong Bui, Timothy Camarella, Victor Pham, and Marc Ting
The global energy economy is huge and thoughts of replacing large amounts of petroleum based fuels by massive levels of fermentation of grains are not realistic. On an energy basis what global agriculture produces for food will almost cover the energy demands if all of it is redirected to the production of fuels—either as alcohols for gasoline or as fat derivatives for diesel fuel. This means that chemical processes need to be developed that allow inclusion of non-food based agricultural and urban wastes as well as forest debris into the energy economy. These represent opportunities to capture new sources of energy that would otherwise not be captured. This project is based on the idea that every little bit helps, and focuses on a hands-on approach to isolating chemicals from fallen vegetation with an emphasis on adding to the transportation fuel pool. Hydrolysis of cellulosic wastes from various sources easily collected on our campus has been explored seeking ways to break them down to fermentable sugars. These sugars are then fermented to form alcohols suitable for inclusion in gasoline. Extraction of vegetable oils has also been explored. Finally an attempt has been made to quantify the impact such a strategy might have on global energy supplies if practiced on a wide-scale basis.
Sage Callaway-Keeley and Stephanie Huynh
The most effective ways to reduce CO2 emissions are to improve the energy efficiency of each economic sector and to reduce the cutting of tropical and temperate forests around the world. These options, however, may not fully reach their technical and economic potential due to various political and socioeconomic. The most practical of these is to increase CO2 sinks through photosynthesis in both standing tree biomass and in ocean primary producers. The use of marine algae as CO2 sinks is for large-scale CO2 mitigation: the use of phytoplankton through Fe fertilization and macro algal (kelp) farms, which can be used for energy production. The reduction of CO2-emissions that are damaging our climate is one of the major challenges of contemporary energy management. Nature itself offers us possibilities to produce energy CO2-neutral with the help of hydrogen producing micro-algae. Under certain conditions the light energy collected by photosynthesis is used to transfer electrons to hydrogen producing proteins called hydrogenases. A new type of hydrogenase that produces molecular hydrogen at relatively high rates was isolated (Happe and Naber, 1993) and characterized at the genomic level (Happe and Kaminski, 2002) for the first time in green algae. Processes were recently developed that allow long-term production of hydrogen by micro-algae (Melis et al., 2000). Under sulphur deprivation the green alga Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii adapts its metabolism from oxygen production and CO2-fixation towards hydrogen production. Therefore the biotechnological process is divided into the growth phase, the hydrogen production phase, and the resulting spent algae can be used for biomass production of fuel. Thus by control of growth conditions green algae can be used to produced hydrogen fuel, methane and a whole host of hydro carbons for fuel. Our planet is 75% ocean; it seems only natural to look to the ocean as a source of energy and a source to help lower our atmospheric CO2. The most appropriate regions for this kind of production would not only be the continental shelf regions but also in the open ocean where iron fertilization is being utilized to help with algal blooms. Algae and kelp may not be the holy grail of green energy sources, but they are a viable resource to help in our energy and environmental crisis.
Making Soap From Readily Available Agricultural and Household Wastes can Increase Cleanless in Rural Area
Eugenia Lucas and Thomas Ciaglo
In some areas of the world, soap is too expensive for many people to afford. For these people an alternative exists. They can make their own soap. In general, soap is made by the reaction of triglycerides and caustic soda. However, caustic soda, too, may be difficult to find or too expensive. The aim of this project is to develop a process for making soap from readily available agricultural and household waste materials, and other inexpensive chemicals. By using this process, rural people can get the benefits of readily available, inexpensive soap. Soap is made from animal fats or vegetable oils by saponification using strong base. The simple soaps can be isolated as cakes or bars, or it can be used as water solution. Many reaction conditions were studied to develop a recommended process that can be done using equipment and reaction conditions that can be performed in a kitchen or a fireplace. The soaps from this project were characterized primarily using infrared spectroscopy and several other analytical techniques as well as tests to show their effectiveness.