Avans Hogeschool
  • Breda, Noord Brabant, Netherlands
Recent publications
This study tests the law of crime concentration at place in Brussels Capital Region (approx. 1.2 million inhabitants) and examines the spatial stability of crime concentrations by applying Andresen’s Spatial Point Pattern Test. Besides testing the law of crime concentration city-wide, this study also tests the law of crime concentration in the context of Brussels’ six police departments and 19 municipalities. Police-registered crime data (n = 228,606 incidents) for the period 2007–2016 were used, which were geocoded at the spatial micro-level of grid cells (200 by 200 m). The results indicate that residential burglary is less concentrated in Brussels, although the concentrations of aggressive theft and battery are in line with previous tests of the law of crime concentration in Europe and the United States. Nevertheless, the results also indicate that crime concentrations vary significantly across Brussels’ police departments and municipalities, which seem to be higher in larger municipalities and police departments. In addition, the spatial patterns of residential burglary, aggressive theft and battery were not spatially stable in Brussels between 2007 and 2016. This study indicates that considerable attention should be payed to tailoring place-based policing approaches to the characteristics of each crime type, including the spatial concentration and the spatial stability of crime. More research is needed into the underlying factors of low or high crime concentrations and the mechanisms of spatial (in)stability at the spatial micro-level.
Purpose In a previous publication, we observed that maximum speech performance in a nonclinical sample of young adult speakers producing alternating diadochokinesis (DDK) sequences (e.g., rapidly repeating “pataka”) was associated with cognitive control: Those with better cognitive switching abilities (i.e., switching flexibly between tasks or mental sets) showed higher DDK accuracy. To follow up on these results, we investigated whether this previously observed association is specific to the rapid production of alternating sequences or also holds for non-alternating sequences (e.g., “tatata”). Method For the same sample of 78 young adults as in our previous study, we additionally analyzed their accuracy and rate performance on non-alternating sequences to investigate whether executive control abilities (i.e., indices of speakers' updating, inhibition, and switching abilities) were more strongly associated with production of alternating, as compared with non-alternating, sequences. Results Of the three executive control abilities, only switching predicted both DDK accuracy and rate. The association between cognitive switching (and updating ability) and DDK accuracy was only observed for alternating sequences. The DDK rate model included a simple effect of cognitive switching, such that those with better switching ability showed slower diadochokinetic rates across the board. Thus, those with better cognitive ability showed more accurate (alternating) diadochokinetic production and slower maximum rates for both alternating and non-alternating sequences. Conclusion These combined results suggest that those with better executive control have better control over their maximum speech performance and show that the link between cognitive control and maximum speech performance also holds for non-alternating sequences.
Background and aims As our understanding of platelet activation in response to infections and/or inflammatory conditions is growing, it is becoming clearer that safe, yet efficacious, platelet-targeted phytochemicals could improve public health beyond the field of cardiovascular diseases. The phytonutrient sulforaphane shows promise for clinical use due to its effect on inflammatory pathways, favorable pharmacokinetic profile, and high bioavailability. The potential of sulforaphane to improve platelet functionality in impaired metabolic processes has however hardly been studied in humans. This study investigated the effects of broccoli sprout consumption, as a source of sulforaphane, on urinary 11-dehydro-thromboxane B 2 (TXB 2 ), a stable thromboxane metabolite used to monitor eicosanoid biosynthesis and response to antithrombotic therapy, in healthy participants exposed to caloric overload. Methods In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial 12 healthy participants were administered 16g of broccoli sprouts, or pea sprouts (placebo) followed by the standardized high-caloric drink PhenFlex given to challenge healthy homeostasis. Urine samples were collected during the study visits and analyzed for 11-dehydro-TXB 2 , sulforaphane and its metabolites. Genotyping was performed using Illumina GSA v3.0 DTCBooster. Results Administration of broccoli sprouts before the caloric load reduced urinary 11-dehydro-TXB 2 levels by 50% ( p = 0.018). The amount of sulforaphane excreted in the urine during the study visits correlated negatively with 11-dehydro-TXB 2 ( r s = −0.377, p = 0.025). Participants carrying the polymorphic variant NAD(P)H dehydrogenase quinone 1 (NQO1*2) showed decreased excretion of sulforaphane ( p = 0.035). Conclusion Sulforaphane was shown to be effective in targeting platelet responsiveness after a single intake. Our results indicate an inverse causal relationship between sulforaphane and 11-dehydro-TXB 2 , which is unaffected by the concomitant intake of the metabolic challenge. 11-Dehydro-TXB 2 shows promise as a non-invasive, sensitive, and suitable biomarker to investigate the effects of phytonutrients on platelet aggregation within hours. Clinical trial registration [ https://clinicaltrials.gov/ ], identifier [NCT05146804].
Integrating microorganisms into artefacts is a growing area of interest for HCI designers. However, the time, resources, and knowledge required to understand complex microbial behaviour limits designers from creatively exploring temporal expressions in living artefacts, i.e., living aesthetics. Bridging biodesign and computer graphics, we developed FlavoMetrics, an interactive digital tool that supports biodesigners in exploring Flavobacteria's living aesthetics. This open-source tool enables designers to virtually inoculate bacteria and manipulate stimuli to tune Flavobacteria's living colour in a digital environment. Six biodesigners evaluated the tool and reflected on its implications for their practices, for example, in (1) understanding spatio-temporal qualities of microorganisms beyond 2D, (2) biodesign education, and (3) the experience prototyping of living artefacts. With FlavoMetrics, we hope to inspire novel HCI tools for accessible and time-and resource-efficient biodesign as well as for better alignment with divergent microbial temporalities in living with living artefacts.
One of the questions when undertaking comparative research into local politics and processes of collective organization is what frame should be used. In recent decades, many scholars have opted for the urban regime. There is however much debate about the usefulness of this concept for comparative purposes, with the urban regime accused of being theoretically both too narrow as well as too general. In three Dutch case studies, researchers have sought a middle way by applying the urban regime's four building blocks (agenda, coalition, resources, and scheme of cooperation) as a heuristic framework. The results show that this approach has several advantages, especially for comparative purposes, as it provides a clear oversight as to which agendas dominate where and when, and how certain coalitions, resources, and schemes of cooperation align. These benefits however require close attention to certain points: researchers should interpret the building blocks consistently and try to avoid overlap and repetition between them.
Domestic violence remains a pressing complex social problem of people of any gender, age, socio-economic status, and ethno-cultural background, an issue that worsened worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital, online, or artificial intelligence-based smart technological services, applications, and tools provide novel approaches in addressing domestic violence, including intimate partner violence. This systematic literature review analyses the ethical challenges and opportunities these (protective) digital and smart technologies provide to the stakeholders involved. Our results highlight that the public health and societal issue are the leading narratives of domestic violence, which is predominantly interpreted as gender-based violence. The review highlights an emerging trend of the role of machine learning- and artificial intelligence-based approaches in identifying and preventing domestic violence. However, we argue that little recommendation is available to professionals about how to use these approaches in a responsible way, and that the smartness of high-tech technologies is often challenged by basic-level technologies from perpetrators, creating an imbalance that also limits an impactful development of a comprehensive socio-technical regime that serves the safety and resilience of families in their communal setting.
Background: People with Parkinson's disease (PwP) often report problems with their handwriting before they receive a formal diagnosis. Many PwP suffer from deteriorating handwriting throughout their illness, which has detrimental effects on many aspects of their quality of life. Aims: To assess a 6-week online training programme aimed at improving handwriting of PwP. Methods: Handwriting samples from a community-based cohort of PwP (n = 48) were analysed using systematic detection of writing problems (SOS-PD) by two independent raters, before and after a 6-week remotely monitored physiotherapy-led training programme. Inter-rater variability on multiple measures of handwriting quality was analysed. The handwriting data was analysed using pre-/post-design in the same individuals. Multiple aspects of the handwriting samples were assessed, including writing fluency, transitions between letters, regularity in letter size, word spacing, and straightness of lines. Results: Analysis of inter-rater reliability showed high agreement for total handwriting scores and letter size, as well as speed and legibility scores, whereas there were mixed levels of inter-rater reliability for other handwriting measures. Overall handwriting quality (p = 0.001) and legibility (p = 0.009) significantly improved, while letter size (p = 0.012), fluency (p = 0.001), regularity of letter size (p = 0.009), and straightness of lines (p = 0.036) were also enhanced. Conclusions: The results of this study show that this 6-week intensive remotely-monitored physiotherapy-led handwriting programme improved handwriting in PwP. This is the first study of its kind to use this tool remotely, and it demonstrated that the SOS-PD is reliable for measuring handwriting in PwP.
Intensive training programs have successfully supported students in using cognitive learning strategies. This study investigated whether a compact intervention can promote students' retrieval practice use during self-study for course-relevant materials. In an experiment embedded in a reputation management course, students were either given strategy instructions on retrieval practice (RP condition), strategy instructions and metacognitive email support (RP++) or no support (control). Students' potential retrieval practice use during self-study of key concepts was measured with an online learning environment. Results showed a small but significant effect on retrieval practice use for the RP++ condition as compared to control (p = .005, r = 0.39). No significant differences were found between RP++ and RP, and RP and control and no significant effects were found on a delayed performance test. With our compact intervention, we took a small step in fostering the use of retrieval practice as a learning strategy during self-study.
Wildfires usually increase the hydrological and erosive response of forest areas, carrying high environmental, human, cultural, and financial on-and off-site effects. Post-fire soil erosion control measures have been proven effective at mitigating such responses, especially at the slope scale, but there is a knowledge gap as to how cost-effective these treatments are. In this work, we review the effectiveness of post-fire soil erosion mitigation treatments at reducing erosion rates over the first post-fire year and provide their application costs. This allowed assessing the treatments' cost-effectiveness (CE), expressed as the cost of preventing 1 Mg of soil loss. This assessment involved a total of 63 field study cases, extracted from 26 publications from the USA, Spain, Portugal, and Canada, and focused on the role of treatment types and materials, and countries. Treatments providing a protective ground cover showed the best median CE (895 $ Mg − 1), especially agricultural straw mulch (309 $ Mg − 1), followed by wood-residue mulch (940 $ Mg − 1) and hydromulch (2332 $ Mg − 1). Barriers showed a relatively low CE (1386 $ Mg − 1), due to their reduced effectiveness and elevated implementation costs. Seeding showed a good CE (260 $ Mg − 1), but this reflected its low costs rather than its effectiveness to reduce soil erosion. The present results confirmed that post-fire soil erosion mitigation treatments are cost-effective as long as they are applied in areas where the post-fire erosion rates exceed the tolerable erosion rate thresholds (>1 Mg − 1 ha − 1 y − 1) and are less costly than the loss of on-and off-site values that they are targeted to protect. For this reason, the proper assessment of post-fire soil erosion risk is vital to ensure that the available financial, human and material resources are applied appropriately.
The interactions between restaurant operators, policy makers and other stakeholders during COVID-19 were examined to identify the actions that contributed the most to the restaurant industry’s efforts to ensure continuity and build resilience. Thematic analysis of media articles and in-depth interviews with restaurant operators were used to analyze the restaurant industry’s response to the crisis in real time. Findings showed that customer loyalty and supplier goodwill played a crucial role in building resilience. Government subsidies preserved a critical aspect of customer loyalty, namely interpersonal relationships between guests and frontline service staff. The technology sector provided education and services at reduced or no cost, effectively speeding up the digitalization of the industry.
Background: We aimed to gain more insight into autonomy of older people with intellectual disabilities in a residential care facility in making choices. Methods: We performed a descriptive ethnographic study in a residential facility in the Netherlands for 22 persons, aged 54-89 years, with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities (IQ <70) and low social-emotional development levels. We combined participant observations and qualitative interviews. Results: Based on the observations, the main themes for the interviews were established. Residents indicated to be free to make independent choices, and experienced less autonomy with regard to health issues and finances. Support staff stated that residents' level of autonomy depends on residents' characteristics, needs, preferences, the attitude of support staff and the rules of the care institution. Conclusion: Residents had a clear view on their autonomy in making independent choices. Support staff is mindful of preserving residents' autonomy, which in practice is limited.
Inner speaking, the production, and experience of verbal language without any audible vocalization is a critical component of inner experience and imagination. The role that (un)certainty plays in idea generation might explain the unique ways in which idea generation is characterized and affected by different types of inner speech. To explore this open problem, an experiment with a within‐subject design ( n = 202) was conducted. The results suggested that certainty about the potential of selected information for generating original and useful ideas, elicited using creativity instructions, caused increased self‐reinforcement, self‐management, and simulation of social interactions with imagined others by inner speaking, but did influence self‐critical inner speaking. Self‐reinforcing inner speaking, and possibly the simulation of social interactions, subsequently affected the degree of originality and usefulness participants attributed to their ideas. Herewith, the present study contributes novel insight into how inner speaking characterizes and affects idea generation.
Toxoplasma gondii is a prevalent zoonotic pathogen infecting livestock as well as humans. The exceptional ability of this parasite to reproduce in several types of nucleated host cells necessitates a coordinated usage of endogenous and host-derived nutritional resources for membrane biogenesis. Phosphatidylethanolamine is the second most common glycerophospholipid in T. gondii, but how its requirement in the acutely-infectious fast-dividing tachyzoite stage is satisfied remains enigmatic. This work reveals that the parasite deploys de novo synthesis and salvage pathways to meet its demand for ester- and ether-linked PtdEtn. Auxin-mediated depletion of the phosphoethanolamine cytidylyltransferase (ECT) caused a lethal phenotype in tachyzoites due to impaired invasion and cell division, disclosing a vital role of the CDP-ethanolamine pathway during the lytic cycle. In accord, the inner membrane complex appeared disrupted concurrent with a decline in its length, parasite width and major phospholipids. Integrated lipidomics and isotope analyses of the TgECT mutant unveiled the endogenous synthesis of ester-PtdEtn, and salvage of ether-linked lipids from host cells. In brief, this study demonstrates how T. gondii operates various means to produce distinct forms of PtdEtn while featuring the therapeutic relevance of its de novo synthesis.
Although learning analytics benefit learning, its uptake by higher educational institutions remains low. Adopting learning analytics is a complex undertaking, and higher educational institutions lack insight into how to build organizational capabilities to successfully adopt learning analytics at scale. This paper describes the ex-post evaluation of a capability model for learning analytics via a mixed-method approach. The model intends to help practitioners such as program managers, policymakers, and senior management by providing them a comprehensive overview of necessary capabilities and their operationalization. Qualitative data were collected during pluralistic walk-throughs with 26 participants at five educational institutions and a group discussion with seven learning analytics experts. Quantitative data about the model’s perceived usefulness and ease-of-use was collected via a survey (n = 23). The study’s outcomes show that the model helps practitioners to plan learning analytics adoption at their higher educational institutions. The study also shows the applicability of pluralistic walk-throughs as a method for ex-post evaluation of Design Science Research artefacts.
Background: Ribonucleosides and RNA are an underappreciated nutrient group essential during Drosophila larval development and growth. Detection of these nutrients requires at least one of six closely related taste receptors encoded by the Gr28 genes, one of the most conserved insect taste receptor subfamily. Objective: We investigated whether blow fly larvae and mosquito larvae, which shared the last ancestor with Drosophila about 65 and 260 million years ago, respectively, can taste RNA and ribose. We also tested whether the Gr28 homologous genes of the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae can sense these nutrients when expressed in transgenic Drosophila larvae. Methods: Taste preference in blow flies was examined by adapting a two-choice preference assay that has been well-established for Drosophila larvae. For larvae of the mosquito Aedes aegypti, we developed a new two-choice preference assay that accommodates the aquatic environment of these insects. Lastly, we identified Gr28 homologs in these species and expressed them in Drosophila melanogaster to determine their potential function as RNA receptors. Results: Larvae of the blow fly Cochliomyia macellaria and Lucilia cuprina are strongly attracted to RNA (0.5 mg/ml) in two-choice feeding assays (p < 0.05). Likewise, mosquito Aedes aegypti larvae show strong preference for RNA (2.5 mg/ml) in an aquatic two choice feeding assay. Moreover, when Gr28 homologs of Aedes or Anopheles mosquitoes are expressed in appetitive taste neurons of Drosophila melanogaster larvae lacking their Gr28 genes, preference for RNA (0.5 mg/ml) and ribose (0.1M) is rescued (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Appetitive taste for RNA and ribonucleosides in insects has emerged about 260 million years ago, the time mosquitoes and fruit flies diverged from their last common ancestor. Like sugar receptors, receptors for RNA have been highly conserved during insect evolution, suggesting that RNA is a critical nutrient for fast growing insect larvae.
Open-mindedness is defined as one’s willingness and ability to consider opposing beliefs and perspectives and give them a serious, impartial consideration by setting aside one’s commitment towards one’s own beliefs and perspectives. Learning to prepare and teach open-minded lessons is a crucial skill for student teachers because it fosters an atmosphere in which pupils feel free to express their own views and to learn about the views of others. The aim of this experiment was to examine which instructional strategy best supports student teachers’ learning to prepare an open-minded citizenship education lesson. Therefore, participants (n = 176) processed an instruction on how to prepare an open-minded citizenship education lesson through learning by teaching on video, preparing to teach, or re-study (control condition), and as a post-test designed a lesson plan. We examined the completeness and accuracy of the explanations of the instructional content, feelings of social presence and arousal, open-mindedness levels, the completeness and accuracy of the lesson plans, and the conceptual knowledge of the instructional content. In addition, the lesson plans were graded on overall quality. Results showed that all participants scored higher on open-mindedness as measured with the Actively Open-minded Thinking scale after the experiment than before the experiment. Participants in the control condition prepared significantly more accurate and complete open-minded lessons than participants in the other two conditions, suggesting they have gained better understanding of the instructional content. There were no significant differences between the conditions on the other outcome measures.
The lack of registered drugs for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is partly due to the paucity of human-relevant models for target discovery and compound screening. Here we use human fetal hepatocyte organoids to model the first stage of NAFLD, steatosis, representing three different triggers: free fatty acid loading, interindividual genetic variability (PNPLA3 I148M) and monogenic lipid disorders (APOB and MTTP mutations). Screening of drug candidates revealed compounds effective at resolving steatosis. Mechanistic evaluation of effective drugs uncovered repression of de novo lipogenesis as the convergent molecular pathway. We present FatTracer, a CRISPR screening platform to identify steatosis modulators and putative targets using APOB−/− and MTTP−/− organoids. From a screen targeting 35 genes implicated in lipid metabolism and/or NAFLD risk, FADS2 (fatty acid desaturase 2) emerged as an important determinant of hepatic steatosis. Enhancement of FADS2 expression increases polyunsaturated fatty acid abundancy which, in turn, reduces de novo lipogenesis. These organoid models facilitate study of steatosis etiology and drug targets.
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Jos F Brouwers
  • Research Group Analysis Techniques in the Life Sciences
Michael Echteld
  • End of Life Care
Kees W Rodenburg
  • Academy of Health and Environmental Technology
Hogeschoollaan 1, 4818 CR, Breda, Noord Brabant, Netherlands
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