• Preliminary predictive criteria for COVID-19 cytokine storm

      COVID-19 Research Group (Temple University) (2020-09-25)
      Objectives: To develop predictive criteria for COVID-19-associated cytokine storm (CS), a severe hyperimmune response that results in organ damage in some patients infected with COVID-19. We hypothesised that criteria for inflammation and cell death would predict this type of CS. Methods: We analysed 513 hospitalised patients who were positive for COVID-19 reverse transcriptase PCR and for ground-glass opacity by chest high-resolution CT. To achieve an early diagnosis, we analysed the laboratory results of the first 7 days of hospitalisation. We implemented logistic regression and principal component analysis to determine the redictive criteria. We used a ’genetic algorithm’ to derive the cut-offs for each laboratory result. We validated the criteria with a second cohort of 258 patients. Results: We found that the criteria for macrophage activation syndrome, haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis and the HScore did not identify the COVID-19 cytokine storm (COVID-CS). We developed new predictive criteria, with sensitivity and specificity of 0.85 and 0.80, respectively, comprising three clusters of laboratory results that involve (1) inflammation, (2) cell death and tissue damage, and (3) prerenal electrolyte imbalance. The criteria identified patients with longer hospitalisation and increased mortality. These results highlight the relevance of hyperinflammation and tissue damage in the COVID-CS. Conclusions: We propose new early predictive criteria to identify the CS occurring in patients with COVID-19. The criteria can be readily used in clinical practice to determine the need for an early therapeutic regimen,block the hyperimmune response and possibly decrease mortality.
    • Preoperative Medical Weight Management in Bariatric Surgery: a Review and Reconsideration

      Center for Obesity Research and Education (Temple University) (2017-01)
      Bariatric surgery is the most robust treatment for extreme obesity. The impact of preoperative medical weight management sessions designed, in theory, with the primary goal of promoting preoperative weight loss, is unclear. This paper reviews studies that have investigated the relationship between preoperative weight loss and bariatric surgical outcomes, both with respect to postoperative weight loss and complications. We conclude that the most robust of preoperative interventions has not been implemented or evaluated in a manner which would conclusively assess the value of this element of care. We offer a reconsideration of the role of preoperative medical weight management and provide recommendations for future research in this area.
    • Sexual functioning of men and women with severe obesity prior to bariatric surgery

      Steffen, Kristine J.; King, Wendy C.; White, Gretchen E.; Subak, Leslee L.; Mitchell, James E.; Courcoulas, Anita P.; Flum, David R.; Strain, Gladys; Sarwer, David; Kolotkin, Ronette L.; Pories, Walter; Huang, Alison J.; 0000-0003-1033-5528 (2016-09-28)
      Background: Obesity may impair sexual function through multiple mechanisms, but little is known about sexual dysfunction among adults with severe obesity seeking bariatric procedures. Objectives: To describe sexual function and associated factors before bariatric surgery. Setting: Ten U.S. clinical facilities. Methods: Before bariatric surgery, 2225 of 2458 Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2 study participants (79% female, median age 45 years and median body mass index 46 kg/m2) completed a survey about sexual function over the past month. Mixed effects ordinal logistic regression models were used to identify factors independently related to 4 domains of sexual function. Results: One third of women (34%) and one quarter of men (25%) were not sexually active, alone or with a partner, in the past month. Twenty-six percent of women and 12% of men reported no sexual desire. Physical health limited sexual activity at least moderately in 38% of women and 44% of men. About one half of the women (49%) and the men (54%) were moderately or very dissatisfied with their sexual life. Among women, older age, being Caucasian, urinary incontinence, depressive symptoms, and antidepressant medication use were associated with poorer sexual function in multiple domains. In men, older age, not being married, depressive symptoms, and antidepressant medication use were associated with poorer sexual function in multiple domains. Conclusion: Before bariatric surgery, approximately one half of women and men with severe obesity are dissatisfied with their sexual life. Older age, severity of depressive symptoms, and antidepressant medication use are associated with poorer sexual function in both sexes.
    • Surveying journalists in the “New Normal”: Considerations and recommendations

      Molyneux, Logan; Zamith, Rodrigo; 0000-0001-7382-3065 (2020-06-17)
      As journalism undergoes widespread changes, it finds itself in a ‘new normal’. Research seeking to understand these changes by surveying journalists faces new methodological hurdles that span different stages of the survey process. This article identifies the key contemporary challenges when it comes to sampling, instrument design, and distribution. Best research practices in identifying a target population, sampling, selecting or developing measures, and maximizing the likelihood of participation are presented and discussed. Advice is also offered to help peer reviewers identify common shortcomings in surveys of journalists and encourage authors to engage with the limitations of their work.
    • Temple University’s ITA Placement Test in Times of COVID-19

      Center for American Language and Culture (Temple University) (2020-12-24)
      When the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to do in-person, on campus testing, we were forced to create a new system to screen International Teaching Assistants (ITA) for Temple university. We used this opportunity to address many of the concerns and problems that we had identified with the previous test, and created a new test that could be administered virtually. The new test (the TU ITA Test) makes it possible to test potential ITAs at any time, allowing departments to make instructor placement decisions far in advance. The TU ITA Test also seems to better assess ITAs’ interactional competence than the previous test, suggesting it might be a more valid ITA screening measure.
    • The conceptualization of costs and barriers of a teaching career among Latino preservice teachers

      Bergey, Bradley W.; Ranellucci, John; Kaplan, Avi; 0000-0002-2898-0085 (2019-07-16)
      We investigated the perceived costs and barriers of a teaching career among Latino preservice teachers and how these men conceptualized costs relative to their race-ethnic identity, gender identity, and planned persistence in the profession from an expectancy-value perspective. We used a mixed-method approach that included a content analysis of open-ended survey responses to identify salient costs and barriers and non-metric multidimensional scaling (MDS) of participants’ responses to quantitative scales to capture phenomenological meaning of perceived costs, collective identity constructs, and planned persistence in the profession. Participants identified a range of drawbacks and barriers of a teaching career including concerns about job demands, work conditions, teacher preparation demands, emotional costs, social status, and salary, among other concerns. The MDS map for the whole sample suggested race-ethnic and gender identity were closely associated with status, salary, and morale; maps also provided insight into phenomenological meanings of different types of costs and cost measures. MDS maps for individual students demonstrated substantial diversity in individual meanings that are lost in group-level analyses. Results are discussed with attention to theoretical and practical implications for understanding and supporting men of color entering the teaching profession.
    • The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks

      Kahan, Dan M.; Peters, Ellen; Wittlin, Maggie; Slovic, Paul; Ouellette, Lisa Larrimore; Braman, Donald; Mandel, Gregory N. (2012-05-27)
      Seeming public apathy over climate change is often attributed to a deficit in comprehension. The public knows too little science, it is claimed, to understand the evidence or avoid being misled1. Widespread limits on technical reasoning aggravate the problem by forcing citizens to use unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk2. We conducted a study to test this account and found no support for it. Members of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change. Rather, they were the ones among whom cultural polarization was greatest. This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available science to promote common welfare.
    • The Psychosocial Burden of Obesity

      Center for Obesity Research and Education (Temple University) (2016-08-10)
      This article provides an overview of the psychological aspects of obesity. The disease of obesity is associated with a significant psychosocial burden. Many individuals who have obesity also struggle with issues related to their mood, self-esteem, quality of life, and body image. This emotional distress likely plays a role in treatment seeking but also can impact successful treatment. For these reasons, most multidisciplinary obesity treatment teams include mental health professionals who can assess and treat these issues in patients as needed. Encouragingly, weight loss is typically associated with improvements in psychosocial status and functioning. These positive changes are often most profound among those who have lost large percentages of their weight, as is often seen with bariatric surgery. Unfortunately, some individuals who lose weight experience a return of pre-existing psychopathology or the development of new psychosocial issues. Those who experience weight regain, regardless of the approach to weight loss, also remain at risk for the return of unwanted psychological symptoms. The unfortunate, ubiquitous nature of weight regain reminds all treatment providers of the need to assess psychosocial functioning at the onset of treatment, monitor changes during weight loss, and remain alert for worsening of symptoms with weight regain.
    • The role of context in educational RCT findings: A call to redefine “evidence-based practice”

      Kaplan, Avi; Cromley, Jennifer; Perez, Tony; Dai, Ting; Mara, Kyle; Balsai, Michael; 0000-0002-2898-0085; 0000-0003-0778-7478 (2020-05-20)
      In this commentary, we complement other constructive critiques of educational randomized control trials (RCTs) by calling attention to the commonly ignored role of context in causal mechanisms undergirding educational phenomena. We argue that evidence for the central role of context in causal mechanisms challenges the assumption that RCT findings can be uncritically generalized across settings. Anchoring our argument with an example from our own multistudy RCT project, we argue that the scientific pursuit of causal explanation should involve the rich description of contextualized causal effects. We further call for incorporating the evidence of the integral role of context in causal mechanisms into the meaning of “evidence-based practice,” with the implication that effective implementation of practice in a new setting must involve context-oriented, evidence-focused, design-based research that attends to the emergent, complex, and dynamic nature of educational contexts.
    • To be or not to be: negotiating leisure constraints with technology and data analytics amid the COVID-19 pandemic

      Du, James; Floyd, Carter; Kim, Amy C. H.; Baker, Bradley J.; Sato, Mikihiro; James, Jeffrey D.; Funk, Daniel C. (2020-12-24)
      The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the leisure industry. Mandatory directives such as social distancing and stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders reduce disease transmission and protect the health and well-being of the public. However, such strategies might impair active leisure participation. We identify challenges and constraints of engaging in active leisure activities during the pandemic and explore how the general public can use technology and big data analytics to negotiate constraints during this uncertain time. Creative applications of big data analytics demonstrate that negotiating active leisure constraints and battling the pandemic are not contradictory goals. We recommend society to harness the power of these data-driven tools to effectively navigate interpersonal, structural, and intrapersonal constraints to active leisure while improving the efficiency with which we combat the spread of COVID-19.
    • Tweeting Conventions: Political journalists' use of Twitter to cover the 2012 presidential campaign

      Lawrence, Regina G.; Molyneux, Logan; Coddington, Mark; Holton, Avery E.; 0000-0001-7382-3065 (2013-09-20)
      This study explores the use of Twitter by political reporters and commentators—an understudied population within the rapidly growing literature on digital journalism—covering the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions. In particular, we want to know if and how the “affordances” of Twitter are shaping the traditional norms and routines of US campaign reporting surrounding objectivity, transparency, gatekeeping, and horse race coverage, and whether Twitter is bursting the “bubble” of insider talk among reporters and the campaigns they cover. A sample derived from all tweets by over 400 political journalists reveals a significant amount of opinion expression in reporters' tweets, but little use of Twitter in ways that improve transparency or disrupt journalists' (and campaigns') role as gatekeepers of campaign news. Overall, particularly when looking at what political journalists retweet and what they link to via Twitter, the campaign “bubble” seems at the moment to have remained largely intact.
    • Tweeting outside the lines: Normalization and fragmentation as political reporters break from the mainstream

      Mourão, Rachel R.; Molyneux, Logan; 0000-0001-7382-3065 (2020-05-31)
      The field of journalism is experiencing intense diversification in form and message while trying to overcome widespread public disaffection by reinforcing professional norms. This study focuses on two forces—normalization and fragmentation—by observing them at work on social media. We analyzed content and interactions from mainstream and non-mainstream political journalists covering a 2016 U.S. presidential debate. Forces of normalization would draw these two groups of reporters together in a monolithic, widespread practice, perhaps including both newer and older methods. Forces of fragmentation, on the other hand, would drive groups of practitioners further apart, with clearer lines separating mainstream journalism from its offshoots. The key question is where these similarities and differences between mainstream and non-mainstream journalists arise. Findings suggest divergence in objectivity and gatekeeping, and convergence in campaign coverage practices. The evidence suggests that, on Twitter, mainstream reporters insulate themselves by interacting mainly with other journalists, while non-mainstream journalists offer openly partisan interpretations and seek out audience participation and engagement, often from people sharing their viewpoints.
    • Twitter as a tool for and object of political and electoral activity: Considering electoral context and variance among actors

      McGregor, Shannon C.; Mourão, Rachel R.; Molyneux, Logan; 0000-0001-7382-3065 (2017-04-20)
      In recent years, journalists, political elites, and the public have used Twitter as an indicator of political trends. Given this usage, what effect do campaign activities have on Twitter discourse? What effect does that discourse have on electoral outcomes? We posit that Twitter can be understood as a tool for and an object of political communication, especially during elections. This study positions Twitter volume as an outcome of other electoral antecedents and then assesses its relevance in election campaigns. Using a data set of more than 3 million tweets about 2014 U.S. Senate candidates from three distinct groups—news media, political actors, and the public—we find that competitiveness and money spent in the race were the main predictors of volume of Twitter discourse, and the impact of competitiveness of the race was stronger for tweets coming from the media when compared to the other groups. Twitter volume did not predict vote share for any of the 35 races studied. Our findings suggest that Twitter is better understood as a tool for political communication, and its usage may be predicted by money spent and race characteristics. As an object, Twitter use has limited power to predict electoral outcomes.
    • Upper limb rehabilitation in chronic stroke using neurologic music therapy: Two contrasting case studies to inform on treatment delivery and patient suitability

      Street, Alexander J.; Ruskin, Anglia; Fachner, Jörg; Magee, Wendy L.; Magee|0000-0003-4350-1289 (2019-05-14)
      Introduction: Therapeutic Instrumental Music Performance (TIMP) is well suited for upper limb rehabilitation following stroke. Published protocols serve to inform clinicians on intervention design and delivery. However, few case studies are available that address patient suitability, protocol modifications to support treatment adherence and suitability of home environment. Methods: Two case studies from a small randomized controlled trial illustrate TIMP protocol modifications and considerations required for home delivery. Qualitative, quantitative and observational data report on participants‘ outcomes and engagement with six weeks of bi-weekly exercises. TIMP adaptations to enhance audio-motor synchronization are described. Results: Outcomes for the less impaired participant with fewer complex health needs were significantly better after six weeks, particularly pinch grip (1 peg in 20 seconds to 15/120). The second participant improved on the water pouring task: 44 seconds to 13.16. Discussion: Severity of stroke and impairment are major factors influencing treatment outcomes. Flexibility in the TIMP protocols, such as emphasizing the underlying pulse and building the dynamic contour, aids treatment adherence and movement synchrony. It is essential to assess homes for access, sound containment and space. Outcome measures for detecting compensatory movement, smoothness and velocity of movement are needed to better inform treatment effects.
    • Viral CpG deficiency provides no evidence that dogs were intermediate hosts for SARS-CoV-2

      Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine (Temple University) (2020-07-13)
      Due to the scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic there exists a strong desire to understand where the SARS-CoV-2 virus came from and how it jumped species boundaries to humans. Molecular evolutionary analyses can trace viral origins by establishing relatedness and divergence times of viruses and identifying past selective pressures. However, we must uphold rigorous standards of inference and interpretation on this topic because of the ramifications of being wrong. Here, we dispute the conclusions of Xia (2020) that dogs are a likely intermediate host of a SARS-CoV-2 ancestor. We highlight major flaws in Xia’s inference process and his analysis of CpG deficiencies, and conclude that there is no direct evidence for the role of dogs as intermediate hosts. Bats and pangolins currently have the greatest support as ancestral hosts of SARS-CoV-2, with the strong caveat that sampling of wildlife species for coronaviruses has been limited.