• Using Behavioral Skills Training with Video Modeling to Improve Future Behavior Analysts’ Graphing Skills

      Fisher, Amanda Guld; Tincani, Matt; Hantula, Donald A.; Dowdy, Arthur; Hineline, Philip Neil; Axelrod, Saul (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Individuals who train to become behavior analysts should be able to organize, create, and display data accurately in order to make a data-based decision about the interventions being used for his or her clients. Behavior analysts most commonly use the visual analysis of the data to continuously evaluate the relationship between the intervention and the target behavior being measured. A multiple probe design across behaviors (i.e., Reversal Design, Alternating treatments and Multiple baseline design) was used to evaluate the effects of behavioral skills training (BST) with video modeling on three potential behavior analysts’ single-subject design graphing skills in Microsoft Excel™. Behavioral skills training is a training package made up of multiple components, but for the purpose of this study BST included: rehearsal, video modeling w/ instructions, and feedback. The three participants were taught remotely via Zoom how to accurately complete the steps in the graph creation process for a reversal design, alternating treatments design, and a multiple baseline design. Results indicate that BST with video modeling was an effective and efficient intervention to increase the accuracy of three potential behavior analysts’ single-subject design graphing skills on Microsoft Excel™.
    • Using chemogenetics and novel tools to uncover neural circuit and behavioral changes after spinal cord injury

      Spence, Andrew J.; Lemay, Michel A.; Smith, George M.; Hsieh, Tonia (Temple University. Libraries, 2021)
      Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in persistent neurological deficits and significant long-term disability. Stimulation of peripheral afferents by epidural electrical stimulation (EES) has been reported to reduce spasticity by reorganizing spared and disrupted descending pathways and local circuits. However, a current barrier to the field is that the plasticity mechanisms that underly improved recovery is unknown. Using the power of hM3Dq Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs), we aim to accelerate the dissection of the mechanisms underlying enhanced recovery. In these studies, we identified the effect of clozapine-N-oxide (CNO) on the H-reflex of naïve animals; investigated the baseline influence of hM3Dq DREADDs in peripheral afferents in the intact animal using a novel behavioral tool, an addition of angled rungs to the horizontal ladder walking task; and began to uncover the neural and behavioral changes that accompany hM3Dq DREADDs activation in peripheral afferents after SCI. We observed no significant differences in the H-reflex with 4 mg/kg dosage of CNO administration (pre-CNO vs. CNO-active: p=0.82; CNO-active vs. CNO wash-out: p=0.98; n=6). On our novel ladder, we found significant differences in correct hind paw placement (p=0.0002, n=7) and incorrect placement (p=0.01) when DREADDs were activated with CNO (4 mg/kg). In our SCI study, we report that acute and chronic DREADDs activation may activate extensor muscles about the hip (32 cm/s: p=0.047; controls: n=6; DREADDs: n=8 and hereafter unless otherwise stated) as well as induce sprouting and synaptogenesis within motor pools and Clarke’s column in the lumbar spinal cord (motor pool: p=0.00053; Clarke’s column: p=0.021; controls: n=4; DREADDs: n=6). This muscle recruitment may have long-term effects such as increased hindquarter heights (e.g., 16 cm/s: p=0.017) and more frequent hindlimb coordination (p=0.002). Results from this study suggest hM3Dq DREADDs may have the potential to recapitulate EES-activation of afferents as well as provide a platform with which to functionally map changes that occur both within targeted afferents and second order neurons they effect. Future work, such as using C-Fos to examine and map changes in interneuronal networks, could seek to more directly tie changes in kinematics to observed changes in plasticity.
    • Using Community Engagement Tools to Develop More Successful Harm-Reduction Strategies Among People Who Use Intravenous Drugs

      Jones, Nora L. (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      The current opioid epidemic has had grave financial and mortal costs for our nation, and the numbers continue to climb despite our best efforts. In spite of attempts to limit the prescription of opioids and implementation of harm reduction strategies, it is clear that we are not doing enough for people struggling with drug addiction. There are many voices present in the war on drugs, however one that is noticeably absent from the conversation is that of people who inject drugs. It is clearly time to try something new which requires a fresh approach and a new point of view. Confronting the current crisis using a public health approach addresses the associated moral challenges faced in the past and provides a new lens to view potential challenges and solutions. With this new approach arises the need for a public health ethical framework to make ethically informed, community engaging, evidence based decisions on a societal, public health, and everyday level. In addition to this new public health ethics framework, the engagement of the community of people who inject drugs is no longer negotiable in order to develop more effective harm reduction interventions and policies.
    • Using Discourse Rating Scales to Measure Effectiveness of Treatment in People with Aphasia

      DeDe, Gayle; Martin, Nadine, 1952-; Kohen, Francine (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Improving discourse is often targeted in aphasia treatment because it is an important skill for meaningful conversation and interaction. The aphasia literature offers a variety of methods to analyze and treat discourse impairments in aphasia, however, there is no true consensus on what the best method is for discourse analysis. Very few studies have utilized listener perception as a method to capture discourse-related changes in aphasia. However, many researchers in other areas of speech-language pathology (e.g. dysarthria, fluency) use listener perceptions and rating scales as a valid measure to assess connected speech. The overarching goal of this study is to determine whether people with aphasia (PWA) and naïve listeners perceive changes in discourse associated with conversational treatment. A questionnaire, the Discourse Rating Scale for Aphasia, was created based on three constructs of discourse analysis in aphasia: macrolinguistic, microlinguistic, and functional features. Six PWA and nine naïve listeners listened to 30-35 second speech samples obtained before and after conversational treatment and rated their judgments on the questionnaire. We examined the relationship between the ratings on the Discourse Rating Scale for Aphasia (DRSA) and standardized language tests to validate the items and rating scale. Additionally, we looked for descriptive pre and post differences within the data to determine whether the DRSA was sensitive to treatment. It was found that each item and total DRSA score correlated highly with standardized tests of language in aphasia. We did not find strong evidence for the DRSA’s sensitivity to treatment; however, we discuss the clinical implications of utilizing listener perception in the assessment of discourse in aphasia.
    • Using Error Anticipation Exercises as an Instructional Intervention in the Algebra Classroom

      Newton, Kristie Jones, 1973-; Booth, Julie L.; Ding, Meixia; McGinn, Kelly M. (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      Researchers and instructors have only recently embraced the role of errors as vehicles for learning in the algebra classroom. Studying a mixture of correct and incorrect worked examples has been shown to be beneficial relative to correct worked examples alone. This study examines the effectiveness of having students generate, or anticipate, errors another student might make. Five Algebra 1 sections at a suburban mid-Atlantic public high school participated amid an early equation-solving unit. During teacher-led instruction, all five sections examined 2-3 correct worked examples. The final example varied across conditions. One section received an additional correct worked example. Two sections examined an incorrect worked example. The remaining two sections engaged in an error anticipation exercise where the teacher wrote an equation on the board and asked the students to predict errors another student might make in solving. The study measured conceptual and procedural knowledge, encoding ability, and student-generated errors. Although no meaningful significant differences were found, students in the error anticipation condition saw no difference in performance in conceptual and procedural items versus those who examined incorrect worked examples. Analysis that combined the error anticipation and incorrect worked examples conditions showed that those students trended toward outperforming those who examined correct examples only on procedural items. These results support further examination of error anticipation as a worthwhile instructional activity.
    • Using Fracture Flow Modeling to Understand the Effectiveness of Pump and Treat Remediation in Dual Permeability Media

      Toran, Laura E.; Davatzes, Nicholas; Davatzes, Alexandra K. (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      Pump and treat remediation is the most commonly used method to remediate contaminated aquifers, but the effectiveness decreases when heterogeneities are introduced. Fractures within the matrix cause large differences in hydraulic conductivity. The low hydraulic conductivity of the matrix acts as an area of storage for contaminant, allowing for attenuation of the plume. The attenuation of the plume causes the effectiveness of the system to decrease and cost of remediation to increase. In order to understand what parameters enhance contaminant storage in the matrix, rapid transport in fractures, and both of their influences on the efficiency of the pumping system, a hypothetical model was developed to simulate the release and remediation of a plume using pumping. The code used was HydroGeoSphere, which allowed for the interpretation of parameters influencing contaminant storage during the withdrawal phase of the pump and treat remediation by allowing transport of contaminant within both the matrix and the fractures. Matrix parameters of porosity and hydraulic conductivity influenced the effectiveness of the withdrawal system most. For instance, the difference in percent mass extracted between porosity values of 0.01 and 0.4 was 23.75%, while the difference between fracture lengths of 200 and 400 m was 5.59%. Fracture pattern influenced where the stored contaminant was located within the matrix. Downgradient of the source, six different fracture patterns resulted in a difference in relative concentration of 0.4 at the start of the withdrawal phase. Evaluation of remediation included both percent extraction of contaminant and finer scale remediation of the contaminant specifically within the matrix. Multiple length-scale observations helped determine how fracture and matrix parameters influence remediation in dual permeability media.
    • Using Geophysics and Terrestrial LiDAR to Assess Stormwater Parameters in Vacant Lots in Philadelphia

      Nyquist, Jonathan; Toran, Laura E.; Ravi, Sujith (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      Managing stormwater volume and quality has become an important issue in urban hydrology. Impervious cover associated with urbanization increases surface runoff volumes and degrades the water quality of urban streams and rivers. Cities with combined stormwater and sewer lines such as Philadelphia, have been tasked with decreasing runoff volumes to help reduce combined sewer overflows and improve the water quality of local waterways. The Philadelphia Water Department uses the Environmental Protection Agency’s Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) to predict runoff and evaluate if proposed stormwater infrastructure will reduce overflows. This study focused on the hydrogeological properties of grassy areas on and near Temple University’s main campus in north Philadelphia. The dataset includes terrestrial LiDAR, ground penetrating radar, soil moisture sensor, surface compaction, and double ring and mini disk infiltrometer measurements. These data were used to establish what controls infiltration rates in the area and also provide input parameters for a SWMM model. A terrestrial LiDAR scan of the Berks St. site, a grassy vacant lot located just east of Temple’s campus was used to generate a high-resolution digital elevation model. This elevation model was used to calculate the depression storage parameter, partition subcatchments in the SWMM model, and calculate a topographic wetness index (TWI). The TWI is a microtopography-based predictor of where runoff will collect and infiltrate. The TWI assumes a homogeneous infiltration rate and that runoff is routed by topography. This TWI was compared with soil moisture sensor measurements to determine if the microtopographic index could predict the majority of change in soil moisture at the field site. To determine if accounting for buried debris helped strengthen the TWI, GPR was used to map the extent and depth of subsurface objects. The results indicate that the TWI and GPR data could not predict where runoff would accumulate and then infiltrate because the TWI’s assumptions were not met. Measurements made with a double ring infiltrometer indicate that infiltration rates at the site were both high and heterogeneous (40 to 1060 mm/hr), allowing precipitation to infiltrate into the subsurface rather than become runoff, minimizing the influence of microtopography. Co-located surface compaction and double ring infiltrometer measurements at sites on and nearby Temple’s campus showed a negative correlation between surface compaction and infiltration rate (R2 = 0.67). Compacted areas on campus had lower infiltration rates and exhibited depression storage and runoff during rain events. Less compacted areas off campus had higher infiltration rates and exhibited no depression storage or runoff. The results of this study showed variance in surface compaction caused grassy areas around Temple’s campus respond differently to rain events. The results not only provided field-based parameter values for a SWMM model, but shows that compaction’s influence on infiltration should be considered when constructing a SWMM model. Runoff volumes in SWMM may be underestimated if compacted grassy areas are modeled with high infiltration rates.
    • Using Goal-Setting and Performance Feedback to Increase Adults' Daily Walking

      Tincani, Matt (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)
      Obesity has become a problem of social significance in the United States, particularly among adults. Physical activity, such as walking, can help combat the negative health effects of obesity and is a suitable target for intervention. The package intervention of goal-setting and performance feedback have emerged as a promising tool to increase physical activity. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of goal-setting and performance feedback with a pedometer as a method of increasing daily walking and step counts of adults. This study used the range-bound changing criterion design and the traditional changing criterion design to examine the effects of the package intervention for adults in their natural day-to-day settings. This study extended previous research implementing goal-setting and performance feedback as a package intervention. Keywords: Goal-setting, performance feedback, walking, steps, adults, pedometer, range-bound changing criterion design.
    • Using Molecular Simulations and Statistical Models to Understand Biomolecular Conformational Dynamics

      Voelz, Vincent; Spano, Francis C.; Carnevale, Vincenzo; Jaffe, Eileen (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Conformational dynamics are important to the function of biological molecules. While many experimental techniques (e.g. X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy) have been developed for providing the structure of functional conformations, it is exceptionally challenging to understand conformational dynamics from experimental characterization. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations is a powerful tool for probing conformational dynamics. The timescale resolution of MD simulations enables people to investigate intermediate conformations and transition pathways in atomic detail. Recent advancements in computer hardware have increased the timescales accessible to MD simulations. Meanwhile, more accurate and specific force fields have been developed to accurately model a variety biological system of different sizes. My graduate research has been focused on using MD simulations to study the conformational dynamics of proteins. Markov State Model (MSM) based approaches are extensively applied to investigate a variety of folding and/or binding mechanisms in atomic detail. Another focus of my work has been developing a Bayesian inference-based approach called BICePs to reconcile experimental measurements with simulation data to determine conformational ensembles and to validate force fields.
    • Using Positive Reinforcement as an Intervention to Increase Breastfeeding for New Mothers in a Low-income Population

      Hornstein, Shana; Hineline, Philip Neil; Tincani, Matt; Hantula, Donald A.; Axelrod, Saul; Fisher, Amanda Guld (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      According to professionals breastfeeding is the preferred method of providing nutrition for newborns worldwide. Breastfeeding rates among low-income mothers are very low due to the lack of support and early introduction of formula. The present study examined the effects of providing these mothers with reinforcement to encourage breastfeeding. The mothers tracked their feedings using a simple breastfeeding mobile application in order to receive reinforcement. The mothers were also offered breastfeeding support if they were having any difficulties. Keywords: breastfeeding, reinforcement, mobile application, support
    • Using Predictive Analytics to Understand Factors Affecting Transfer Student Persistence and Graduation

      Jordan, Will J.; DuCette, Joseph P.; Patterson, Timothy; Grites, Thomas J. (Thomas Joseph), 1944- (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      It is the norm for institutions to report on their retention and graduation rates only for first-year student cohorts. Colleges and universities that report their first-year retention rates in the 90% range often do not account for their newly admitted transfer students. Much of the nuance in reporting retention comes from unaccounted transfer student registrations and enrollments. Reporting transfer retention is also much harder, since many transfer students do not have predictable patterns of enrollment. This study examined factors that contribute to graduation, dropout and persistence and how they differ by race, socioeconomic class, and gender. Based on a new student questionnaire conducted in 2015, 2016, 2017 by a large research institution in the Mid Atlantic, an exploratory statistical technique CHAID (Chi-Squared Automatic Interaction Detection) designed for a categorical dependent variable, was employed to establish the characteristics of transfer students who had a high probability to drop out after transferring to their new institution. Examining the dendrogram, one can easily classify the various “at-risk” student groups by tracing each of the terminal groups to the root of the tree. The results of this study provide context and information for developing transfer-friendly programming and interventions at both community colleges and four-year institutions. The results will be valuable to senior-level staff, front line student support staff, faculty, and community organizations focused on helping students who seek re-enrollment after an extended academic leave period. Additionally, this study will demonstrate how modeling techniques can be used to develop predictive models for different populations, across different colleges.
    • Using Quantum Mechanics to Investigate the Photophysical Properties of the DNA and RNA Bases and their Fluorescent Analogs

      Matsika, Spiridoula; Stanley, Robert J.; Spano, Francis C.; Lester, Marsha I. (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      The ability of the nucleic acids to absorb ultraviolet light and remain relatively photostable is a property upon which life depends. The nucleobases, which are the primary chromophores, when irradiated display rapid radiationless decay back to the ground state, in general faster than is needed for photoreaction. Fluorescent analogs of these bases have structures similar to the nucleic acid bases, but display much longer excited state lifetimes. Theoretical investigations using quantum mechanical methods can provide insight into the precise mechanisms of these decay processes, and to the molecular specifics that contribute to them. The results of multi-reference configuration interaction (MRCI) ab initio investigations into these mechanisms are presented, with emphasis on cytosine and its fluorescent analog 5-methyl-2-pyrimidinone (5M2P). A comprehensive picture of the potential energy surfaces of these two bases is given, including stationary points and conical intersections, where radiationless transitions are promoted, between up to three state surfaces, as well as pathways connecting these points for each base. Cytosine is shown to have two different energetically accessible radiationless decay channels. The fluorescence of 5M2P is also demonstrated theoretically, with mechanism proposed. The potential energy surfaces of the two bases have many close similarities, with the different photophysical properties being attributed to subtle energetic differences between the two bases. Nonadiabatic coupling and the geometric phase effect are analyzed in detail near conical intersections in cytosine, including in a region close to a three-state conical intersection. A substituent effect study on the 2-pyrimidinone ring system shows that the presence, position and orientation of the amino group in cytosine is central to its photophysical properties, particularly its high absorption energy, and can be explained with a simple Frontier Molecular Orbital model. The effects of water solvent on the excitation energies of cytosine and uracil are theoretically investigated using two multi-reference ab initio methods, a quantum mechanical molecular mechanics method using MRCI (MRCI-QM/MM), and the fragment molecular orbital multiconfiguration self-consistent field method (FMO-MCSCF). The solvatochromic shifts calculated from both methods agree well with other more expensive methods and experimental data. The effects of water on the photophysical pathways of cytosine is also investigated using MRCI-QM/MM, including considerations of solvent reorganization. Results show that the overall effect of water on the decay mechanisms is small, with neither decay channel being significantly blocked or favored.
    • Using stimulus equivalence procedures to teach English to parents in the Latino community

      Fisher, Amanda Guld (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      A lack of English proficiency in the Latino community living in America has great repercussions, especially in communication between family members and education or health care providers. Latin parents are left to rely on their children to act as translators when communicating with their teachers or school personnel. Furthermore, Latino parents often have a limited understanding of the U.S. school system, curriculum, and what they are entitled to as parents. Latin-American parents could benefit from learning specific education-related terms to better understand the education system. Stimulus equivalence is a behavioral technique that can be applied to language learning and target these specific terms. This study worked with Latin-American parents with a lack of English proficiency in education-related terms such as national education initiatives. Six education-related terms were selected and two participants were tested and trained for relations among the stimuli through match-to-sample procedures. Stimuli were presented in five different categories: name, acronym, picture, English definition, and Spanish definition, creating a total of twenty possible relations. Results showed the emergence of 9 and 11 relations, while only two to four were explicitly taught to the two participants. This adds to the literature on stimulus equivalence and demonstrates the effectiveness of using stimulus equivalence procedures to teach language to parents in the Latino community.
    • Using stormwater hysteresis to characterize variations in quick and diffuse flowpaths within a conduit dominated karst spring

      Toran, Laura E.; Myer, George H.; Grandstaff, David E. (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      Groundwater quality in karst systems is difficult to monitor because the extreme heterogeneity within the recharge area and complex subsurface flow network makes flowpaths and travel rates difficult to predict. Understanding how flowpaths vary during storm events is important because water transmitted through conduit flowpaths can travel fast, may come from long distances, and has little filtration of contaminants. The hypothesis tested in this project is that ion ratios in spring discharge will show the timing of changes from diffuse to quick flow depending on storm intensity and antecedent conditions and provide more detail than total ion conductivity. Cedar Run Spring is located in the Cumberland Valley of south-central Pennsylvania. The valley is part of the larger Great Valley Section and is composed of Cambro-Ordovician aged carbonate units, collectively known as the Cumberland Valley Sequence. Initial background monitoring with data loggers and monthly samples indicated that Cedar Run Spring had a conduit component within the flow network. An automated stormwater sampler was installed at the spring and collected twenty-four water samples for major-ion analysis. Storm-intensity conditions ranged from high to low for the four storm events collected. In addition, the antecedent conditions varied from wet to dry. The Mg/Ca ratio characterizes the flowpath through which the water moves. A higher ratio indicates more diffuse flow because slower flow paths are needed to dissolve dolomite (which contains Mg), while a lower ratio indicates more conduit flow because calcite (Ca dominant) dissolves more readily. Hysteresis loops of conductivity versus discharge rotated counterclockwise because conductivity decreased on the rising limb of storm response, followed by an increase on the falling limb for all but the winter storm, which was influenced by road salt. In contrast, hysteresis loops for Mg/Ca versus discharge rotated in a clockwise direction for all but one of the storm events because of an increase in Mg/Ca that indicated a flush of older matrix water. The storm event that did not display in initial increase in Mg/Ca was apparently flushed by a recent previous storm event. Mg/Ca hysteresis for the storm events that were diffuse displayed several sharp increases and decrease in addition to several smaller hysteresis loops in response to multiple slugs of recharge water. These variations were not indicated in overall conductivity. High intensity events displayed a quick switch in flowpaths, as indicated by the increase in Mg/Ca early on the rising limb, and a single hysteresis loop. The rapid change in Mg/Ca suggested that during storm events water was able to enter the karst system through sinkholes, then activated flowpaths with older matrix water. Mg/Ca proved to be better at tracking the variability in flowpaths during storm events than the overall conductivity, because Mg/Ca is directly related to water-rock interactions.
    • Using the mixed-method approach to examine telepresence outside the lab

      Lombard, Matthew; Chung-Li Liao, Tony; Zaylea, Laura (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      This study’s main focus is people’s experience of telepresence (or presence for short) —where the roles of technology are misperceived by media users in various ways, such as the illusion of “being there” in a mediated environment. Although over 2000 articles have examined telepresence and nearly all of research studies about telepresence have been conducted in labs by controlling and measuring the effects of different factors, with few examining it from the perspective of people’s experiences in their daily lives. Following Lombard and Sun’s (2014) (my previous study with Lombard) study of people’s presence experience outside the lab, this study used the combined results of a survey and an interview (n = 36) to explore participants’ lived experiences of presence. Participants offered basic information about them and their experience of presence in the survey; and talked about any experience of presence in their lives and specifically talk more details about their recent experience during the interviews. This study found when, where, with what kind of media, and in what situation people are more likely to have the experience of presence, and explored what elements could contribute to people’s experiences of different types of presence. The results of this study noted aftereffects of presence experiences, which means the effects presence has after people’s mediated experiences are over. These results were new findings to the study of presence outside the labs. Moreover, this study also demonstrated the value of Lombard and Sun’s (2014) survey and found two questions in the survey that could be improved.

      Fisher, Amanda Guld (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      This systematic review of the literature examined the effectiveness of the Power Card strategy to increase social skills in studies conducted with individuals with autism and other intellectual disabilities. Database searches conducted identified 12 studies that met the inclusion criteria with a total of 30 participants who had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or an intellectual disability (IDD). The majority of the Power Card studies (n= 7) targeted social skills, while other targeted skills include direction following, on-task behaviors, latency to teacher cues, executive functioning, and personal space. All 12 studies were reviewed and analyzed for their intervention procedures such as the use of a scenario card, access to the Power Card after reading, if a functional behavior assessment (FBA) was completed, and how the special interest item (SIA) was chosen. Results of the review highlight the need for more research to evaluate which steps of the Power Card strategy are most effective, the need for a greater variety of target behaviors, and the need to focus on the maintenance and generalization of skills learned via the Power Card strategy. Relevant suggestions for future research and practice are discussed.

      Tincani, Matt (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)
      This study evaluated the effects of video modeling in combination with video feedback to enhance the performance of three soccer skills. Two female competitive soccer players, 10-11-years-old, participated in this study. A multiple baseline across behaviors design was used to evaluate the effects of video modeling and video feedback. During baseline participants were video recorded performing the three target skills. During intervention, video modeling and video feedback were given to each player after she performed the target skill. Specifically, the player viewed a video of another player correctly performing the same skill, while she simultaneously viewed a video of herself performing the skill next to the other player. The results indicated that video modeling in combination with video feedback increased both participants’ skill performance from baseline on the three targeted soccer skills. Social validity measures indicated that both participants liked the procedure and felt comfortable performing two out of three skills accurately.

      Fisher, Amanda Guld; Tincani, Matt; Dowdy, Arthur; Travers, Jason C. (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often engage in impulsive, dysfunctional, and maladaptive behaviors (Dawson, Matson, & Cherry, 1998). Research has shown the individuals diagnosed with ASD often exhibit problem behavior when they are required to wait for a preferred item. In fact, research has demonstrated that individuals diagnosed with ASD often choose smaller, immediate reinforcer over larger, delayed reinforcer. Most of the research conducted, however, has previously focused on teaching waiting for a preferred item within the ADHD population. The purpose of the current literature review was to evaluate recent research utilizing behavior interventions to increase socially appropriate waiting with individuals diagnosed with ASD. This review assessed the age of participants, setting(s), research design, independent variables, results, and effectiveness. This review also evaluated the rigor of those studies included utilizing the Quality and Rigor Checklist (Ledford, Lane, & Tate, 2018). Lastly, this review provides recommendations to clinicians currently practicing with the field.
    • Utilizing novel dose equivalence methodologies to examine cocaine's effects on the vasculature

      Tallarida, Ronald J.; Ruggieri, Michael R.; Heckman, James L.; Parry, Tom Jay; Raffa, Robert B.; McGonigle, Paul (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)
      ABSTRACT: UTILIZING NOVEL DOSE EQUIVALENCE METHODOLOGIES TO EXAMINE COCAINE'S EFFECTS ON THE VASCULATURE Neil S. Lamarre Doctor of Philosophy Temple University School of Medicine, 2013 Doctoral Advisory Committee Chair: Ronald J. Tallarida, Ph.D. Cocaine abuse and addiction is a serious health problem, resulting in thousands of emergency room visits and deaths each year in the United States. It is particularly toxic to the cardiovascular system, including deleterious effects on the peripheral vasculature. These effects are not well understood, but evidence suggests chronic cocaine use may lead to endothelial dysfunction, thereby increasing relative risk of a number of other cardiovascular diseases including stroke, aneurysm, myocardial infarction, hypertension, etc. Data from our lab, and others, suggest that the presence of a functional endothelium has a dramatic effect on the contractility of the rat aorta that is agonist-specific. Attenuation of this endothelium-dependent vasodilatory component of agonist action is a primary feature of endothelial dysfunction. We have utilized dose equivalence theory to calculate the dose response relationship for the endothelium-dependent vasodilatory component of an agonist causing overt vasoconstriction. This component cannot be measured directly, but our novel methodology allows us to quantitate agonist-specific impairment of vasodilation, and describe it using the familiar parameters of the dose response curve. Another strength of this method, relative to currently used in vitro methods, is that it also avoids the confounding variable of a second agonist used to produce the initial vasoconstriction. To validate the methodology, a pilot study was performed examining the endothelial dysfunction in STZ-induced diabetic rats, as a positive control for endothelial dysfunction. Interestingly, this treatment showed impairment in the endothelium-dependent vasodilatory component of action of norepinephrine, but not of angiotensin-II. Thus, our initial hypothesis was confirmed - that disruption of the vasodilatory components of various agonists are independent, and that agonist-specific information may prove useful. Next, we employed our new methodology utilizing the rat aorta as our vascular model to test the hypothesis that chronic cocaine administration causes endothelial dysfunction. We first examined the endothelium-dependent vasodilation component of a number of physiologically important vasoconstrictors, and attempted to determine which vasodilatory mediators contributed to the effect. We found the endothelium to have a profound effect on the dose response curve to three important endogenous agonists. These data suggest that under conditions of endothelial dysfunction exaggerated vasoconstriction could occur, even within normal plasma concentration ranges of these vasoconstrictors, resulting in elevated blood pressure and further damage to the endothelium over time. No endothelial dysfunction was observed with this treatment paradigm, using our methodology or the standard approach. This may be a result of insufficient duration of cocaine treatment, or a result of our selection of the rat aorta as a model. We wanted to further investigate which vasodilatory mechanisms were involved in this vasodilatory component of action. We inhibiting various endothelium-derived mediators of this vasodilatory component of action (such as nitric oxide or prostacyclin), which revealed differential activation of these mediators by the agonists examined. For example, inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis abolished the endothelium-dependent vasodilatory component of endothelin-1, but only partially attenuated that of angiotensin-II. Thus, the agonist-specific pattern of impairment may also prove useful in examining the underlying mechanisms of impaired vasodilation. Endothelial dysfunction is one reported consequence of long term cocaine abuse; however, there are conflicting reports on the acute vascular effects of cocaine, with some reports concluding that cocaine is a vasoconstrictor, and some reporting its action as a vasodilator. There are in vitro reports of cocaine causing release of vasoconstrictors from the endothelium, which supports the longstanding notion of cocaine as a vasoconstrictor. However, one recent report demonstrates a dose-dependent vasodilatory effect of cocaine in rat aorta that is independent of the endothelium. This complexity is perhaps due, in part, to cocaine's affinity for a number of molecular targets, acting in combination. In examining the acute action of cocaine in our preparation, we observed an "inverted-U" shaped dose response, also referred to as a hormetic dose response curve. We then applied dose equivalence methodology in order to derive the "unknown" second component contributing the vasodilatory action of cocaine at higher doses. This methodology lets us calculate this unknown component, and describe it with the familiar parameters of a dose response curve, which could potentially aid in the identification of the unknown component. The preliminary studies with acute cocaine utilized a sub-maximal dose of phenylephrine in order to observe tension changes in either direction. This prompted us to further characterize the interaction of cocaine with other alpha adrenoceptor agonists. Importantly, because cocaine alone had no effect at doses up to 100 µM, but potentiated the vasoconstriction of alpha agonists, the interaction is therefore synergistic. This constitutes evidence of a previously undescribed mechanism contributing to cocaine's vasoconstricting effect. In vivo, reuptake inhibition is a major mechanism for cocaine-induced vasoconstriction, but is excluded in this experiment by virtue of low levels of sympathetic innervation in the rat aorta, and the use of methoxamine, an alpha agonist not subject to the reuptake mechanisms. This interaction may contribute to cocaine-induced vasoconstriction in the coronary arteries, especially in circumstances of endothelial dysfunction. In summary, the work presented in this dissertation applies new methodologies utilizing dose equivalence theory to the study of cocaine's effects on peripheral vasculature, and presents novel findings of synergy with respect to cocaine's enhancement on the action of alpha adrenoceptor-mediated vasoconstriction.
    • UVR Induces DNA Methylation Changes in Melanocytes

      Zaidi, M. Raza; Tempera, Italo; Sapienza, Carmen; Engel, Nora; Issa, Jean-Pierre; Sawaya, Bassel E. (Temple University. Libraries, 2021)
      Cutaneous malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer with a rising incidence rate. Epidemiological studies show exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) cause 80% of melanomas. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms by which UVR promotes melanomagenesis are unclear. The mutagenic properties of UVR are incontrovertible; however, well-studied driver mutations of melanomagenesis (BRAF V600E and NRAS Q61L/R) do not bear UVR signature mutations and so the role UVR mutations play in the early initiation of melanoma remains controversial. This highlights the gap in knowledge of the initial critical molecular mechanisms of UVR-induced melanomas and warrant investigating non-mutational mechanisms as causal factors of UVR-induced melanomagenesis. Aberrant DNA methylation is a signature of melanoma and regulates expression of important tumor suppressors. While epigenetic dysregulation is an important aspect of melanoma etiology, it has never been investigated in the context of UVR. We hypothesize that these initial UVR-induced DNA methylation changes may sensitize a field of melanocytes to acquiring subsequent complementary spontaneous and/or UVR-induced genetic mutations and render them susceptible to melanomagenesis. My preliminary data demonstrate that UVR can modulate DNA methylation in melanocytes and suggests a pigment dependent mechanism. UVR-induced DNA methylation changes in highly pigmented melanocytes primarily in intergenic regions as areas of active transcription were protected from 5’mC changes. Additionally, UVR induced long-term transcriptional changes in both dark and light pigmented melanocytes suggesting multiple epigenetic mechanisms being altered. Evaluation of the protein regulation of the enzymes involved in writing or erasing 5’mC point towards a dysregulation in TET2. Further work is needed to determine if changes in TET2 could contribute to the observed methylation changes. To determine if these methylation changes had any significance to melanoma development, they were compared to the skin cutaneous melanoma cohort in the TCGA database which found a modest correlation in UVR-induced methylation changes and those found in melanoma patients. Interestingly, 5’mC at UVR-sensitive sites was prognostic of patient survival. A highly pigmented human melanoma cell line was UV-irradiated to see if DNA methylation can also be affected in transformed cells; however, no changes were observed. This suggests UV-induced methylation contributes to early changes in melanoma development and/or other relevant physiological changes within the melanocytes. Altogether, these data identify a novel non-mutation mechanism by which UVR may contribute of melanomagenesis.