University of Alabama
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Recent publications
The metaphor of culture as a space or environment of meaning is widely employed. Going beyond metaphor, we present a model of culture as a 3-dimensional Euclidean space, using data from Brazil on cultural models of life goals. The dimensions of this space are defined by degree of sharing of culture (cultural competence); alternate configurations of that shared meaning (residual agreement); and social practice (cultural consonance). A cultural distance metric calculated within those dimensions identifies an individuals' proximity to prototypical goals; greater distance from these goals is associated with higher psychological distress. Cultural distance is in turn influenced by one's sense of personal agency. Finally, in a set of open-ended interviews, the more individuals employ spatial metaphors in talking about culturally defined life goals, the higher their sense of personal agency and cultural consonance. This model moves the discussion of culture as a space of meaning from metaphor to measurement.
Context: Public opinion on the performance of health system actors is polarized today, but it remains unclear which actors enjoy the most (least) trust among Democrats and Republicans, whether the Covid-19 pandemic has influenced how people view their own physicians, and whether doctors have retained the ability to influence public beliefs about policy issues. Methods: We conducted two national surveys in 2022 and 2023 to examine these questions. Findings: Democrats rate the performance of medical research scientists and public health experts during the pandemic more highly than do Republicans and independents. About three in ten Republicans say that the pandemic decreased their trust in their personal doctors. Nonetheless, most Americans report confidence in physicians. We replicate the findings of Gerber et al. (2014) to demonstrate that respondents continue to have more positive views of doctors than other professionals, and that public opinion is responsive to cues from a doctors' group. Conclusions: What polarizes Democrats and Republicans today is not whether medical scientists and public health experts are competent, but whether the advice offered by these actors is in the public interest and should guide policymakers' decisions. Democrats strongly believe the answer to these questions is yes, while Republicans exhibit skepticism.
Athletes face unique mental health stressors, including internal/external pressure, time displacement, and physical injury. In addition, athletes who experience mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety reference the role of social factors—specifically stigma—as barriers to mental health. The present study draws on 37 testimonials from The Players’ Tribune in which athletes disclosed mental illness. A theoretical thematic analysis pinpointed themes within the testimonials of athletes who elucidated and refuted myths concerning mental health in sport. Through disclosure, the athletes challenged stigma by protesting myths that discourage help-seeking behavior in sport. The analysis identified six themes in the myths concerning (a) professional success, (b) strength, (c) identity, (d) the sports story treatment of mental health, (e) sport as escape, and (f) isolation. Implications are discussed in relation to changing social norms in sport.
Objective This study utilizes geospatial analytic techniques to examine HIV hotspots in Alabama leveraging Medicaid utilization data. Methods This cross-sectional study leveraged Medicaid utilization data from Alabama’s 67 counties, averaging 9,861 Medicaid recipients aged > 18 years old per county. We used Alabama Medicaid administrative claims data from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2020, to identify individuals with HIV. Using Microsoft SQL Server, we obtained the average annual count of HIV Medicaid claims in each of the 67 Alabama counties (numerator) and the number of adult Medicaid recipients in each county (denominator), and standardized with a multiplier of 100,000. We also examined several other area-level summary variables (e.g., non-high school completion, income greater than four times the federal poverty level, social associations, urbanicity/rurality) as social and structural determinants of health. County-boundary choropleth maps were created representing the geographic distribution of HIV rates per 100,000 adult Medicaid recipients in Alabama. Leveraging ESRI ArcGIS and local indicators of spatial association (LISA), results were examined using local Moran’s I to identify geographic hotspots. Results Eleven counties had HIV rates higher than 100 per 100,000. Three were hotspots. Being an HIV hotspot was significantly associated with relatively low educational attainment and less severe poverty than other areas in the state. Conclusions Findings suggesting that the HIV clusters in Alabama were categorized by significantly less severe poverty and lower educational attainment can aid ongoing efforts to strategically target resources and end the HIV epidemic in U.S.’ Deep South.
Background We previously demonstrated that a heuristic (i.e., evidence-based, rounded yet practical) cadence threshold of ≥ 100 steps/min was associated with absolutely-defined moderate intensity physical activity (i.e., ≥ 3 metabolic equivalents [METs]) in older adults 61–85 years of age. Although it was difficult to ascertain achievement of absolutely-defined vigorous (6 METs) intensity, ≥ 130 steps/min was identified as a defensible threshold for this population. However, little evidence exists regarding cadence thresholds and relatively-defined moderate intensity indicators, including ≥ 64% heart rate [HR] maximum [HRmax = 220-age], ≥ 40% HR reserve [HRR = HRmax-HRresting], and ≥ 12 Borg Scale Rating of Perceived Exertion [RPE]; or vigorous intensity indicators including ≥ 77%HRmax, ≥ 60%HRR, and ≥ 14 RPE. Purpose To analyze the relationship between cadence and relatively-defined physical activity intensity and identify relatively-defined moderate and vigorous heuristic cadence thresholds for older adults 61–85 years of age. Methods Ninety-seven ostensibly healthy adults (72.7 ± 6.9 years; 49.5% women) completed up to nine 5-min treadmill walking bouts beginning at 0.5 mph (0.8 km/h) and progressing by 0.5 mph speed increments (with 2-min rest between bouts). Directly-observed (and video-recorded) steps were hand-counted, HR was measured using a chest-strapped monitor, and in the final minute of each bout, participants self-reported RPE. Segmented mixed model regression and Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analyses identified optimal cadence thresholds associated with relatively-defined moderate (≥ 64%HRmax, ≥ 40%HRR, and ≥ 12 RPE) and vigorous (≥ 77%HRmax, ≥ 60%HRR, and ≥ 14 RPE) intensities. A compromise between the two analytical methods, including Youden’s Index (a sum of sensitivity and specificity), positive and negative predictive values, and overall accuracy, yielded final heuristic cadences. Results Across all relatively-defined moderate intensity indicators, segmented regression models and ROC curve analyses identified optimal cadence thresholds ranging from 105.9 to 112.8 steps/min and 102.0-104.3 steps/min, respectively. Comparable values for vigorous intensity indicators ranged between126.1-132.1 steps/min and 106.7–116.0 steps/min, respectively. Regardless of the relatively-defined intensity indicator, the overall best heuristic cadence threshold aligned with moderate intensity was ≥ 105 steps/min. Vigorous intensity varied between ≥ 115 (greater sensitivity) or ≥ 120 (greater specificity) steps/min. Conclusions Heuristic cadence thresholds align with relatively-defined intensity indicators and can be useful for studying and prescribing older adults’ physiological response to, and/or perceived experience of, ambulatory physical activity. Trial registration NCT02650258. Registered 24 December 2015.
Trypanosoma cruzi, a pathogenic protozoan, is known to cause chronic and systemic infection in humans called as Chagas disease, which imposes serious public health issues in Latin America, Australia, Europe, and North America. During the past 10 years, vector control initiatives have been found to significantly lower the incidence of Chagas disease in various endemic regions. However, contact with contaminated excrement from infected triatomine insects is a major source of illness. According to the WHO, more than 10,000 people pass away annualy from Chagas disease, and more than 25 million people are still at risk. As a result of coevolution, T. cruzi interacts with the host’s innate and adaptive immune systems, it escapes the immune response and begins a chronic infection from an oligosymptomatic or asymptomatic acute phase if left untreated, and may manifest as severe cardiac, gastrointestinal, or neurological malfunctions. Benznidazole and nifurtimox are only two drugs to which available treatments are limited. These medications are deadly, and the effectiveness of the available treatment is greatly increased if given during the acute rather than chronic phases of illness, and moreover they are inadvisable in pregnant patients, patients having severe hepatic or renal insufficiency, and advanced Chagas heart disease. Therefore, it is an utmost necessity to discover or repurpose efficacious therapeutic modalities with fewer side effects, preferably natural compound-based therapies, for effective management of chronic Trypanosoma cruzi infection.
This systematic literature review discusses the use of spherical video-based virtual reality (SVVR) as a training and therapy intervention for autistic individuals. The authors emphasize the need for an evidence-based framework with guidelines and design considerations to help developers and educators tailor SVVR to the diverse needs of autistic learners. The paper highlights the unique benefits of SVVR, such as being relatively easier to develop compared to other VR technologies and high compatibility with various devices, making it more affordable for educational settings. The authors also discuss the importance of the STP (Sociotechnical-Pedagogical) framework for evaluating and designing social aspects of SVVR interventions for autistic individuals.
Education and processes of agrarian change are deeply imbricated processes. While political ecologists have begun exploring education in earnest, questions of race have remain largely unexplored. In this article, we analyze the spatial linkages between education, race, and the permanence of the peasantry in the face of expanding capital. Our focus is the crisis of rural school closures in Brazil. Over the last twenty five years, the state has closed more than 65% of Brazil’s rural schools. Social movements argue that these school closures are differentially occurring in communities of color. To better understand the factors driving this crisis, we assembled a “big data” database, consisting of twenty five years of municipal school records from every school in Brazil. Drawing upon advanced geospatial statistics and multiple linear regression techniques, we analyze both how these school closures are spatially patterned throughout Brazil, and the social, political, and economic factors shaping this crisis. Our results highlight land concentration and race as central dynamics in this crisis, underscoring the enduring impact that racial oppression and historical patterns of land inequality play in structuring the politics of knowledge and educational landscape in Brazil.
Background Bryozoans are mostly sessile aquatic colonial invertebrates belonging to the clade Lophotrochozoa, which unites many protostome bilaterian phyla such as molluscs, annelids and brachiopods. While Hox and ParaHox genes have been extensively studied in various lophotrochozoan lineages, investigations on Hox and ParaHox gene complements in bryozoans are scarce. Results Herein, we present the most comprehensive survey of Hox and ParaHox gene complements in bryozoans using four genomes and 35 transcriptomes representing all bryozoan clades: Cheilostomata, Ctenostomata, Cyclostomata and Phylactolaemata. Using similarity searches, phylogenetic analyses and detailed manual curation, we have identified five Hox genes in bryozoans (pb, Dfd, Lox5, Lox4 and Post2) and one ParaHox gene (Cdx). Interestingly, we observed lineage-specific duplication of certain Hox and ParaHox genes (Dfd, Lox5 and Cdx) in some bryozoan lineages. Conclusions The bryozoan Hox cluster does not retain the ancestral lophotrochozoan condition but appears relatively simple (includes only five genes) and broken into two genomic regions, characterized by the loss and duplication of serval genes. Importantly, bryozoans share the lack of two Hox genes (Post1 and Scr) with their proposed sister-taxon, Phoronida, which suggests that those genes were missing in the most common ancestor of bryozoans and phoronids.
Across watershed science, two key variables emerge – streamflow and solute concentration – which serve as the basis for efforts ranging from basic watershed biogeochemistry research to policy decisions surrounding watershed management. However, we rarely account for how error in discharge (Q) impacts estimates of downstream nutrient loading. Here, we examined the impact of uncertainty in streamflow measurements on estimates of downstream nitrate export using publicly available data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). We characterized how uncertainty in stage-discharge relationships impacts annual flux estimates across 70 USGS gages. Our results indicate the interquartile range of relative error in Q was 33% across these USGS sites. We documented a wide range in mean error in annual nitrate loads; some sites were underestimated (-105%), while predicted loads at other sites vastly overestimated (500%). Overall, any error in estimating Q leads to significant unpredictability of annual nutrient loads, which are often used as critical success benchmarks for governmental nutrient reduction strategies. Moreover, error in annual nitrate loads (as mass, kg) increases with mean Q; thus, as high flows become more unpredictable and intense under future climate change, error in estimates of downstream nutrient loading may also increase. Together, this indicates that error in Q may drastically influence our measures of water quality success and decrease our ability to accurately quantify progress towards algal bloom and “dead zone” reduction.
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8,469 members
Yonghyun Kim
  • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Peter Letcher
  • Department of Biological Sciences
Michael Mckain
  • Department of Biological Sciences
John Shacka
  • Department of Pathology
Hyeonjin Lee
  • College of Engineering
35487, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Head of institution
Stuart R. Bell
(205) 348-6010