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Almond consumption and weight loss in obese and overweight adults

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Nut consumption, specifically almonds, have been shown to help maintain weight and influence disease risk factors in adult populations. Limited studies have been conducted examining the effect of a small dose of almonds on energy intake and body weight. The

Nut consumption, specifically almonds, have been shown to help maintain weight and influence disease risk factors in adult populations. Limited studies have been conducted examining the effect of a small dose of almonds on energy intake and body weight. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of pre-meal almond consumption on energy intake and weight in overweight and obese adults. In this study included 21, overweight or obese, participants who were considered healthy or had a controlled disease state. This 8-week parallel arm study, participants were randomized to consume an isocaloric amount of almonds, (1 oz) serving, or two (2 oz) cheese stick serving, 30 minutes before the dinner meal, 5 times per week. Anthropometric measurements including weight, waist circumference, and body fat percentage were recorded at baseline, week 1, 4, and 8. Measurement of energy intake was self-reported for two consecutive days at week 1, 4 and 8 using the ASA24 automated dietary program. The energy intake after 8 weeks of almond consumption was not significantly different when compared to the control group (p=0.965). In addition, body weight was not significantly reduced after 8 weeks of the almond intervention (p=0.562). Other parameters measured in this 8-week trial did not differ between the intervention and the control group. These data presented are underpowered and therefore inconclusive on the effects that 1 oz of almonds, in the diet, 5 per week has on energy intake and bodyweight.

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2011

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Materialized views over heterogeneous structured data sources in a distributed event stream processing environment

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Data-driven applications are becoming increasingly complex with support for processing events and data streams in a loosely-coupled distributed environment, providing integrated access to heterogeneous data sources such as relational databases and XML documents. This dissertation explores the use of materialized

Data-driven applications are becoming increasingly complex with support for processing events and data streams in a loosely-coupled distributed environment, providing integrated access to heterogeneous data sources such as relational databases and XML documents. This dissertation explores the use of materialized views over structured heterogeneous data sources to support multiple query optimization in a distributed event stream processing framework that supports such applications involving various query expressions for detecting events, monitoring conditions, handling data streams, and querying data. Materialized views store the results of the computed view so that subsequent access to the view retrieves the materialized results, avoiding the cost of recomputing the entire view from base data sources. Using a service-based metadata repository that provides metadata level access to the various language components in the system, a heuristics-based algorithm detects the common subexpressions from the queries represented in a mixed multigraph model over relational and structured XML data sources. These common subexpressions can be relational, XML or a hybrid join over the heterogeneous data sources. This research examines the challenges in the definition and materialization of views when the heterogeneous data sources are retained in their native format, instead of converting the data to a common model. LINQ serves as the materialized view definition language for creating the view definitions. An algorithm is introduced that uses LINQ to create a data structure for the persistence of these hybrid views. Any changes to base data sources used to materialize views are captured and mapped to a delta structure. The deltas are then streamed within the framework for use in the incremental update of the materialized view. Algorithms are presented that use the magic sets query optimization approach to both efficiently materialize the views and to propagate the relevant changes to the views for incremental maintenance. Using representative scenarios over structured heterogeneous data sources, an evaluation of the framework demonstrates an improvement in performance. Thus, defining the LINQ-based materialized views over heterogeneous structured data sources using the detected common subexpressions and incrementally maintaining the views by using magic sets enhances the efficiency of the distributed event stream processing environment.

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2011

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Almond consumption and dietary compensation in overweight and obese adults

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ABSTRACT Epidemiological studies have suggested a link between nut consumption and weight. The possible effects of regular nut consumption as a method of weight loss has shown minimal results with 2-3 servings of nut products per day. This 8 week

ABSTRACT Epidemiological studies have suggested a link between nut consumption and weight. The possible effects of regular nut consumption as a method of weight loss has shown minimal results with 2-3 servings of nut products per day. This 8 week study sought to investigate the effect of more modest nut consumption (1 oz./day, 5 days/week) on dietary compensation in healthy overweight individuals. Overweight and obese participants (n = 28) were recruited from the local community and were randomly assigned to either almond (NUT) or control (CON) group in this randomized, parallel-arm study. Subjects were instructed to eat their respective foods 30 minutes before the dinner meal. 24 hour diet recalls were completed pre-trial and at study weeks 1, 4 and 8. Self-reported satiety data were completed at study weeks 1, 4, and 8. Attrition was unexpectedly high, with 13 participants completing 24 dietary recall data through study week 8. High attrition limited statistical analyses. Results suggested a lack of effect for time or interaction for satiety data (within groups p = 0.997, between groups p = 0.367). Homogeneity of of inter-correlations could not be tested for 24-hour recall data as there were fewer than 2 nonsingular cell covariance matrices. In conclusion, this study was unable to prove or disprove the effectiveness of almonds to induce dietary compensation.

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2011

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RAProp: ranking tweets by exploiting the tweet/user/web ecosystem

Description

The increasing popularity of Twitter renders improved trustworthiness and relevance assessment of tweets much more important for search. However, given the limitations on the size of tweets, it is hard to extract measures for ranking from the tweet's content alone.

The increasing popularity of Twitter renders improved trustworthiness and relevance assessment of tweets much more important for search. However, given the limitations on the size of tweets, it is hard to extract measures for ranking from the tweet's content alone. I propose a method of ranking tweets by generating a reputation score for each tweet that is based not just on content, but also additional information from the Twitter ecosystem that consists of users, tweets, and the web pages that tweets link to. This information is obtained by modeling the Twitter ecosystem as a three-layer graph. The reputation score is used to power two novel methods of ranking tweets by propagating the reputation over an agreement graph based on tweets' content similarity. Additionally, I show how the agreement graph helps counter tweet spam. An evaluation of my method on 16~million tweets from the TREC 2011 Microblog Dataset shows that it doubles the precision over baseline Twitter Search and achieves higher precision than current state of the art method. I present a detailed internal empirical evaluation of RAProp in comparison to several alternative approaches proposed by me, as well as external evaluation in comparison to the current state of the art method.

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2013

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We built this town: raising activity awareness through the workplace using gamification

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The wide adoption and continued advancement of information and communications technologies (ICT) have made it easier than ever for individuals and groups to stay connected over long distances. These advances have greatly contributed in dramatically changing the dynamics of the

The wide adoption and continued advancement of information and communications technologies (ICT) have made it easier than ever for individuals and groups to stay connected over long distances. These advances have greatly contributed in dramatically changing the dynamics of the modern day workplace to the point where it is now commonplace to see large, distributed multidisciplinary teams working together on a daily basis. However, in this environment, motivating, understanding, and valuing the diverse contributions of individual workers in collaborative enterprises becomes challenging. To address these issues, this thesis presents the goals, design, and implementation of Taskville, a distributed workplace game played by teams on large, public displays. Taskville uses a city building metaphor to represent the completion of individual and group tasks within an organization. Promising results from two usability studies and two longitudinal studies at a multidisciplinary school demonstrate that Taskville supports personal reflection and improves team awareness through an engaging workplace activity.

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2013

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A cloud based continuous delivery software developing system on Vlab platform

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Continuous Delivery, as one of the youngest and most popular member of agile model family, has become a popular concept and method in software development industry recently. Instead of the traditional software development method, which requirements and solutions must be

Continuous Delivery, as one of the youngest and most popular member of agile model family, has become a popular concept and method in software development industry recently. Instead of the traditional software development method, which requirements and solutions must be fixed before starting software developing, it promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. However, several problems prevent Continuous Delivery to be introduced into education world. Taking into the consideration of the barriers, we propose a new Cloud based Continuous Delivery Software Developing System. This system is designed to fully utilize the whole life circle of software developing according to Continuous Delivery concepts in a virtualized environment in Vlab platform.

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Date Created
2013

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Eating in the absence of hunger in college students

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The body is capable of regulating hunger in several ways. Some of these hunger regulation methods are innate, such as genetics, and some, such as the responses to stress and to the smell of food, are innate but can be

The body is capable of regulating hunger in several ways. Some of these hunger regulation methods are innate, such as genetics, and some, such as the responses to stress and to the smell of food, are innate but can be affected by body conditions such as BMI and physical activity. Further, some hunger regulation methods stem from learned behaviors originating from cultural pressures or parenting styles. These latter regulation methods for hunger can be grouped into the categories: emotion, environment, and physical. The factors that regulate hunger can also influence the incidence of disordered eating, such as eating in the absence of hunger (EAH). Eating in the absence of hunger can occur in one of two scenarios, continuous EAH or beginning EAH. College students are at a particularly high risk for EAH and weight gain due to stress, social pressures, and the constant availability of energy dense and nutrient poor food options. The purpose of this study is to validate a modified EAH-C survey in college students and to discover which of the three latent factors (emotion, environment, physical) best predicts continual and beginning EAH. To do so, a modified EAH-C survey, with additional demographic components, was administered to students at a major southwest university. This survey contained two questions, one each for continuing and beginning EAH, regarding 14 factors related to emotional, physical, or environmental reasons that may trigger EAH. The results from this study revealed that the continual and beginning EAH surveys displayed good internal consistency reliability. We found that for beginning and continuing EAH, although emotion is the strongest predictor of EAH, all three latent factors are significant predictors of EAH. In addition, we found that environmental factors had the greatest influence on an individual's likelihood to continue to eat in the absence of hunger. Due to statistical abnormalities and differing numbers of factors in each category, we were unable to determine which of the three factors exerted the greatest influence on an individual's likelihood to begin eating in the absence of hunger. These results can be utilized to develop educational tools aimed at reducing EAH in college students, and ultimately reducing the likelihood for unhealthy weight gain and health complications related to obesity.

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Date Created
2013

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Decentralized information search

Description

Our research focuses on finding answers through decentralized search, for complex, imprecise queries (such as "Which is the best hair salon nearby?") in situations where there is a spatiotemporal constraint (say answer needs to be found within 15 minutes) associated

Our research focuses on finding answers through decentralized search, for complex, imprecise queries (such as "Which is the best hair salon nearby?") in situations where there is a spatiotemporal constraint (say answer needs to be found within 15 minutes) associated with the query. In general, human networks are good in answering imprecise queries. We try to use the social network of a person to answer his query. Our research aims at designing a framework that exploits the user's social network in order to maximize the answers for a given query. Exploiting an user's social network has several challenges. The major challenge is that the user's immediate social circle may not possess the answer for the given query, and hence the framework designed needs to carry out the query diffusion process across the network. The next challenge involves in finding the right set of seeds to pass the query to in the user's social circle. One other challenge is to incentivize people in the social network to respond to the query and thereby maximize the quality and quantity of replies. Our proposed framework is a mobile application where an individual can either respond to the query or forward it to his friends. We simulated the query diffusion process in three types of graphs: Small World, Random and Preferential Attachment. Given a type of network and a particular query, we carried out the query diffusion by selecting seeds based on attributes of the seed. The main attributes are Topic relevance, Replying or Forwarding probability and Time to Respond. We found that there is a considerable increase in the number of replies attained, even without saturating the user's network, if we adopt an optimal seed selection process. We found the output of the optimal algorithm to be satisfactory as the number of replies received at the interrogator's end was close to three times the number of neighbors an interrogator has. We addressed the challenge of incentivizing people to respond by associating a particular amount of points for each query asked, and awarding the same to people involved in answering the query. Thus, we aim to design a mobile application based on our proposed framework so that it helps in maximizing the replies for the interrogator's query by diffusing the query across his/her social network.

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Date Created
2013

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Individual differences in taste perception and bitterness masking

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The unpleasant bitter taste found in many nutritious vegetables may deter people from consuming a healthy diet. We investigated individual differences in taste perception and whether these differences influence the effectiveness of bitterness masking. To test whether phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) `supertasters'

The unpleasant bitter taste found in many nutritious vegetables may deter people from consuming a healthy diet. We investigated individual differences in taste perception and whether these differences influence the effectiveness of bitterness masking. To test whether phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) `supertasters' also taste salt and sugar with greater intensity, as suggested by Bartoshuk and colleagues (2004), we infused strips of paper with salt water or sugar water. The bitterness rating of the PTC strip had a significant positive linear relationship with ratings of both the intensity of sweet and salt, but the effect sizes were very low, suggesting that the PTC strip does not give a complete picture of tasting ability. Next we investigated whether various seasonings could mask the bitter taste of vegetables and whether this varied with tasting ability. We found that sugar decreased bitterness and lemon decreased liking for vegetables of varying degrees of bitterness. The results did not differ by ability to taste any of the flavors. Therefore, even though there are remarkable individual differences in taste perception, sugar can be used to improve the initial palatability of vegetables and increase their acceptance and consumption.

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Date Created
2012

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Vitamin C is not related to resting fat oxidation in healthy, non-obese adults

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ABSTRACT Vitamin C plays an important role in fatty acid metabolism because it is required for carnitine synthesis. Vitamin C has been shown to have an inverse relationship with weight and body fat percent in a number of studies. However,

ABSTRACT Vitamin C plays an important role in fatty acid metabolism because it is required for carnitine synthesis. Vitamin C has been shown to have an inverse relationship with weight and body fat percent in a number of studies. However, there has been limited research exploring the relationship between vitamin C status and fat oxidation. This cross-sectional study investigates the relationship between plasma vitamin C and fat oxidation in 69 participants and between plasma vitamin C and body fatness in 82 participants. Participants were measured for substrate utilization via indirect calorimetry while at rest and measured for body fatness via DEXA scan. Participants provided a single fasting blood draw for analysis of plasma vitamin C. Results did not show a significant association between vitamin C and fat oxidation while at rest, therefore the data do not support the hypothesis that vitamin C status affects fat oxidation in a resting state. However, a significant inverse association was found between vitamin C and both total body fat percent and visceral fat.

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2014