• Multimodal Optical Imaging for Tissue Characterization and Disease Diagnosis

      Barton, Jennifer K.; Sawyer, Travis William; Schwiegerling, James T.; Kang, Dongkyun; Gordon, George (The University of Arizona., 2021)
      Epithelial cancers are among the most dangerous forms of cancer. Of this broad group of disease, ovarian and esophageal cancer are particularly deadly, with five-year survival rates of less than 50% and 20% respectively. The primary cause of this low survival rate is due to predominantly late diagnosis. Diagnosis at early stages leads to over 90% 5-year survival rates for ovarian cancer and over 40% for esophageal cancer, but fewer than 15% of cases for these two cancers are detected early. Screening is complicated by non-specific or complete lack of symptoms, as well as the heterogeneity of the diseases. For both esophageal and ovarian cancers, many screening tests including imaging, physical examination, and blood markers tests have been investigated; however, at this time no routine screening is recommended in average-risk patients. This study evaluates the feasibility and design of instruments to use multimodal optical imaging to improve ovarian and esophageal cancer screening. This includes optical coherence tomography (OCT), multiphoton microscopy (MPM), and wide-field fluorescence imaging. The study is subdivided into four sections. In the first two sections, advanced algorithms and processing techniques are presented for rapid analysis and quantitative diagnostic evaluation for optical coherence tomography images of ovarian cancer. The results show promise for automatic processing of OCT images using segmentation, combined with highly accurate diagnostic performance in identifying diseased tissue using texture features of OCT images. The third section details the application of MPM and wide-field fluorescence imaging using exogenous contrast agents to evaluate and classify tissue health. Two tissue studies using a mouse model of ovarian cancer are presented: one ex vivo and one in vivo study. The results of both demonstrate that these modalities provide high contrast for identifying diseased tissue and that the combination of these two modalities show an improvement in diagnostic performance over a single modality. Finally, the study concludes with the design for a multimodal forward-viewing esophageal endoscope using optical coherence tomography and autofluorescence imaging. The design implements a piezo-scanning fiber to deliver the light, and spatially separates the OCT and fluorescence return signal. The design provides high resolution and is compatible with working channels in existing gastroscopes to enable easy clinical translation.
    • Language Usage of Stress-Induced Individuals

      Killgore, William; Ventola, Gabrielle (The University of Arizona., 2020-08)
      Social stress manifest as both physiological effecs (such as sweating or increasing one's heart rate), and psychological effects (like anxiety and depression) (Newman 2003, Thayer et al., 2011). One manifestation of stress that curiously provides an insight into both the physiological and psychological impacts upon an individual is the way that one chooses words to use. The primary objectives of the Stress Study are to determine the relationship between personality factors and emotional state characteristics under stress. This study proposes that language usage and emotional state determinants are identifying factors that predict performance under stress. We hypothesize that those participants who use less emotionally driven language should have decreased cortisol levels to baseline. Conversely, those who use more emotionally driven language should have increased cortisol levels to baseline, thereby showing that language usage can identify factors of stress resilience or vulnerability in given individuals. The data collected did not prove statistically significant, however, three underlying trends arose. 1. We observed an increase in cortisol levels at initial collecting of saliva and after the modified Trier Social Stress Test, but not during the post-stress reminder time period, which creates an interesting notion that the participants were more stressed when initially entering the testing site and once the speech was concluded. 2. The simple scatterplots conveyed that specific LIWC word choice may be used as a way of a coping mechanism to decrease stress level 3. The results of the ANCOVA's and simple linear regression models suggested that with a more in-depth statistical analysis word choice can be indicative of one's resiliency to stress. Collectively, these findings indicate that word choice and language usage could be an identifying factor to determine if someone is resilient or not resilient to stress. These results have the potential to be used in future studies that can perform on a higher level of statistical analysis and compare a variety of factors that are not just limited to word choice.

      Duncan, Burris; Pottinger, Heidi; Chavez, Alexis Ariana (The University of Arizona., 2020-08)
      This research is a sub-study of the original ‘Intense Physiotherapies to Improve Function in Young Children with Cerebral Palsy’ study conducted by my advisors Dr. Burris Duncan and Dr. Heidi Pottinger. The sub-study was created to obtain qualitative data from the parents of children who participated in their study at Tucson Medical Center (TMC). The processes for this work included obtaining human subjects-related training to be able to interview the families, recruitment of subjects by Dr. Pottinger, preparation for interviewing parents, conducting live interviews, and analyzing qualitative data with key findings/themes identified. These findings will help to identify areas for improvement for future clinical trials/research with TMC families.

      Muñoz, Manuel; Rush-Miller, Margaret (The University of Arizona., 2020-07)
      This excerpt, from a book length project, follows the lives of four families, beginning in the late 1990s, as the fathers/husbands slowly become addicted to the opioids Oxychotin and Oxycodone prescribed by their doctors for chronic pain. These stories coincide with the over-prescribing of opioids on a national level initiated by the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma. As other companies follow suit, a national epidemic ensues manifesting in over half a million deaths due to the overdose of pain-killers and heroin. This excerpt is told in the first person through the experiences of myself and the three other mothers/wives as we attempted to contain the slow decline of our spouses and their physical and mental health--loss of careers, marriages, and in one case, life, is the final outcome as these insidious drugs take over. Interviews of the eight children, friends, physicians, and addiction counselors are also utilized. Combined with additional research, areas such as: pain, suicide, self-harm, addiction, healing, the medical community, politics, and the history of opium are covered within this body of work.

      DiCindio, Carissa; Byrd, Kayah (The University of Arizona., 2020-06)
      Many western avant-garde movements have outwardly criticized the commercialism of the art market and held disdain for the large role that collectors played. Yet with many modes of resilience, almost all of these movements have been enfolded into collections and museums, even contemporary works which clearly critique the exorbitant prices at auctions and galleries and those who purchase them. Considering this phenomenon, I explore the reasons so many artistic movements fail in eschewing the commercial sector and use the expertise of economists and historians studying the contemporary art market as to what artistic practices might succeed. I posit that it is a true subversion of authorship, or rather anonymity which is key to subverting commodification. The conception of authorship within the paper is informed by Foucault’s ​What is an Author?​, looking at the ways in which authorship influences the contextualization of an artist's work and the discord it surrounds. I use Atelier Populaire, a poster workshop and artistic collective active during the revolts of 1968, as a case study to examine my theories of anonymity as an effective practice to critique and avoid the embrace of the art market. Paris during the 1960s was a wellspring of philosophy, literature, and fine art that questioned the predominant role of authorship within their field. Atelier Populaire expanded on the practices of their predecessors and embraced anonymity within their work. They utilized three crucial tactics which allowed their work to circumvent the monetization. These methods were anonymity through collectivity, anonymity of intellectual labor, and anonymity by lack of proper authentication.

      Koshy, Anita; Kumar, Sakthi (The University of Arizona., 2020-06)
      Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is an intracellular parasite that infects the central nervous system (CNS) in up to one third of the human population. T. gondii persistence in the CNS is thought to be due in part to an inability of neurons to clear intracellular parasites. In this project, I have studied the mechanisms by which neurons are able to clear T. gondii and whether they are able to do so in vivo. Using a novel reporter system, we have determined that neurons are capable of clearing parasites in aninterferon-γ (IFN-γ) dependent manner. Furthermore, our results suggest that neurons can clear parasites in vitro through the activation of a set of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) stimulated immunity-related GTPases (IRGs) known to be involved in the clearance of the parasite in other cell types. Additionally,we have tested this reporter system in a model of infection allowing us to establish whether neurons clear parasites in vivo.

      Redford, Gary; Ortega, Alejandro Enrique (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Epilepsy is a disease that affects around 50 million people around the world, and around 3.4 million adults in the US present active epilepsy, meaning they still suffer from seizures due to this condition. All these patients are at risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), which is most likely to happen during sleep, as these seizures often go unnoticed by caretakers. There are a series of devices currently in the market ranging from bracelets to mattress pressure sensors that try to detect seizures, but often are inaccurate presenting many false positives, having a negative impact in the quality of sleep of caregivers and patients. Here, an open-source, minimally invasive system is presented that utilizes stereoscopic IR cameras along with several post-processing techniques utilizing Fast Fourier Transforms and artificial intelligence to detect seizures with better accuracy focused on returning some of the lost quality of life of the patients.

      Rankin, Lucinda; Khandekar, Maithili (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Throughout the years, using dance as a creative outlet has improved various types of health including physiological, mental, social, and behavioral health. However, in my personal experience and that of others, I have noticed disparities in the awareness of these health benefits and in dance participation due to multiple factors, including culture and gender. To further explore this, a survey and interviews were used to collect information regarding participants’ experience with dance, how it relates to culture, as well as their perspectives about its effect on health. The results showed that a majority of participants chose to become involved in dance out of personal interest and believed that dance had a greater effect on mental health, although it did affect physiological, social, and behavioral health as well. Regarding the influence of culture and gender, those who indicated participating in cultural dance did so as a way to feel more connected with their culture or heritage. Ultimately, respondents from both the survey and the interviews shared the common view that most dance classes/performances consisted primarily of females, with little to none male participation, emphasizing the need for increased awareness of the benefits of dance and more diverse representation in dance participation.

      Kiefer, Frederick; Payne, Phoebe (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Richard III has gained a widespread reputation for his cruel and tyrannical rule. This image of Richard was popularized in Shakespeare's Richard III, which was based on heavily dramatized archetypes of the Elizabethan stage, such as the Vice and the Machiavel, and the Christian idea of physical deformity as a representation of innate evil. Shakespeare also relied heavily on biographies of Richard III written by Thomas More and Raphael Holinshed, both of which contained fictionalized and highly embellished accounts of Richard’s actions and personality as informed by the Tudor Myth and the Elizabethan trend of using history to represent Christian allegory. The Tudor Myth was a prevailing idea in Elizabethan England that emphasized the wickedness of Richard III’s rule and his evil nature. Ricardian scholars have disputed the crimes ascribed to Richard III for hundreds of years and recent scientific discoveries have led to the revelation that his only deformity was a case of scoliosis, yet the image of a tyrannical, crook-backed monster endures even today as the dominant depiction of Richard III. This thesis seeks to separate the truths of Richard III from the myths, using Shakespeare's Richard III as a point of comparison.

      Sullivan, Daniel; Powell, Andrew (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      There exists ample research regarding the associations between low social class and negative psychological consequences including increased risk of anxiety, depression, and various other factors. In this paper, we seek to investigate the role of debt-related guilt and shame as a driving force in the negative relationship between social class and stress. In an exploratory correlational study, we found that lower-class individuals report experiencing relatively more debt-related guilt and shame and more general stress than their higher-class counterparts. Additionally, we found that debt-related guilt and shame partially mediates the relationship between social class and stress (Study 1). We also found experimental evidence that reminders of debt increase feelings of guilt and shame for lower social class individuals. We found evidence of a moderated mediation in which the relationship between social class and anxiety was mediated by debt-related guilt and shame, but only when debt was made salient. When debt was made salient, lower social class individuals tended to report significantly more debt-related guilt and shame and more anxiety (Study 2). The results of these two studies begin to explicate the experience of indebtedness for lower-class individuals and provide evidence that debt-related guilt and shame may play a significant role in the oft-observed social class mental health disparities.

      Lamoreaux, Janelle; Lockwood, Bailey (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors that shape the (in)visibility of Native American women with intellectual and developmental disabilities in health surveillance. This research is part of a larger project that aims to increase cancer screening rates among Native women with IDD. Previous research demonstrates that Native American women and women with disabilities receive cancer screenings less frequently than women in the general population—which suggests even greater screening disparities for Native women with IDD. However, data about the cancer screening rates of Native women with IDD, as well as basic demographic information such as the size of this population, do not exist. This paucity of health information limits the capacity for interventions that address the disparities experienced by these women, who exist at the intersection of several marginalized identities. To understand the forces that contribute to the limited demographic picture of Native women with IDD, I interviewed eleven experts who work with Native peoples and/or individuals with IDD in a variety of government, academic, and community settings. Drawing from participant interviews, I present three major barriers to the demographic visibility of this group of women. In Chapter One, I review the primary data systems in the United States, highlighting significant gaps in the demographic portrayal of Native women with IDD. In Chapter Two, I investigate the structural forces that limit Native women’s access to spaces of surveillance. In Chapter Three, I demonstrate how the Eurocentric epistemologies that guide data collection reinforce the demographic erasure of Native women with IDD by negating Indigenous worldviews. I conclude with a discussion of future directions, offering the paradigms of multivocality and Indigenous Data Sovereignty as a means to create a more equitable data landscape for intersectional populations such as Native women with IDD.

      Ottusch, Timothy; Ramirez, Yamilex (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      There is limited research about young adults' mental health disclosures to a close family member and the impact on relationship dynamics, which may affect the ability to cope with the disorder. The aim of this mixed-methods study was to examine the relationships between the family member’s reaction and treatment toward the disclosing individual and changes in the individual’s meta-perception toward their family member, relationship strength, and coping. An anonymous, online survey was distributed via University of Arizona course and program listservs, social media, and flyers. Participants (N=104), ages 18-35, who have disclosed their mental health problem to a close family member were asked about their satisfaction with their relative’s reaction and treatment toward them, changes in their meta-perception, relationship strength, symptoms, and coping. Results from a multiple regression analysis found treatment satisfaction as a statistically significant predictor for changes in meta-perception and relationship strength. Treatment and reaction satisfaction are marginally significant predictors for the ability to cope. Reaction satisfaction and meta-perception significantly predict the severity of symptoms, and relationship strength is a significant predictor for coping. Mostly positive reactions, treatments, meta-perceptions, and strengthened relationships were reported in the open-ended responses, which aligns with quantitative results. This study emphasizes the need for family members to be conscious of how their actions can directly and indirectly influence the disclosing individual’s ability to cope with their mental disorder. Disclosure conversations should provide validation and inquire about ways to support the disclosing individual.

      Redford, Gary; Pham, Nancy (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      The technical data package of this project includes information about the design of the Virtual Reality System for Treating Eating Disorders. The goal of this system is to help support patients with anorexia and bulimia to become more comfortable and develop a healthier connection with food. The system uses 360-degree video that will place the user in scenes where they will be exposed to different situations that vary in difficulty. The user will also be given several choices at each level that include options for food type and amount. To move to the next level, the user must fall into a certain calorie count range that is calculated using their weight, sex, and age. Moreover, to keep track of the progress of the patients, psychological data will be self-reported by the patient following the simulation. We will be recording the heart rate and galvanic skin response of the patient to monitor the parts of the virtual reality simulation that correspond with increased psychological reactions. Furthermore, after each simulation, the user will fill out a self-evaluation form to give feedback directly from the user's perspective. All these features that are included in the design will help the patients with eating disorders to react better in similar situations they may face, and give a clearer view to their physician of how they are progressing.

      Price, Eric; Saleem, Mohammed (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      While originally intended to be a full textbook including all organ systems, we ultimately decided on focusing on the respiratory, cardiovascular, and immune systems. We took a unique approach to writing a high school level anatomy and physiology textbook by focusing on rare/complex diseases and using those diseases as a mode to communicate basic concepts of physiology. The name “Think Zebras Not Horses” comes from the phrase “When you hear hoofbeats think horses not zebras” which is medical slang instructing students and residents to focus on the obvious and likely diagnosis rather than a complex and unlikely one. Oftentimes, students are more inclined to learn about the complex and rare diseases, as it provides a sense of strong learning-in that, the uniqueness of a lesson or topic ultimately results in students becoming more immersed in the material. The goal of this book is not to teach how to diagnose or treat such rare diseases, but rather the rare diseases are used as a doorway to understand these three organ systems by relating dysfunction and abnormalities to the normal.

      Barnes, Carol; Schwyhart, Rachel (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Aging takes a toll on all aspects of one’s body, including the brain. Deficits in cognitive function, which are associated with normal brain aging, have been seen in both human and macaque models. While several brain aging models are used, Macaca mulattas are useful in that they do not develop neurodegenerative diseases like humans do while also having many anatomical similarities to humans, allowing for better understanding of the normal brain aging process. In previous literature, it has been suggested that extracellular buffering structures, known as perineuronal nets, play a role in the aging brain, specifically with regards to neuronal protection and plasticity. In order to better understand the effect that these perineuronal nets have on brain aging, the density of these nets, along with the density of the parvalbumin interneurons that the nets preferentially surround, was recorded. To further unpack the impact of these nets on cognition, their density was compared to performance on three common behavioral tasks that test object recognition memory, reward-associated recognition memory, and spatial short-term memory. We observed a greater proportion of parvalbumin (PV) neurons that expressed perineuronal nets (PNNs) in adult monkeys compared to aged monkeys. There were, however, no age differences seen in the density of perineuronal nets, or parvalbumin interneurons within the retrosplenial cortex. With regard to the behavioral data, better object recognition performance was significantly associated with a higher proportion of parvalbumin-expressing interneurons surrounded by perineuronal nets. No significant effects were observed in the other behavioral tasks.

      Bailey, E. Fiona; Schwyhart, Sarah (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Previous work has shown that 5 minutes of inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST), 5 days/week increases respiratory muscle strength after 6 weeks. Respiratory muscle strength has been shown to correlate with handgrip strength, which has been found to be at least a moderate indicator of overall strength, or functional capacity. Here, we explore the effects of IMST on functional capacity via the assessment of handgrip strength in recreationally active men and women. Seven (5 male and 2 female) subjects undertook a 6-week intervention comprising 30 inspiratory efforts against a resistance each day, 5 days/week. Pre-and post-training measures included maximal inspiratory pressure (PImax, mmHg), maximal handgrip force (Newtons; N), respiratory endurance (sec) and handgrip endurance (sec). Male and female subjects showed increases in respiratory muscle strength (P < 0.001) and respiratory endurance (P= 0.01) at Week 6 compared to Week 1. Consistent with previously published literature,we saw no change in maximal handgrip strength (P = 0.29) post IMST. However, contrary to expectation, we noted declines in handgrip endurance at Week6 vs.Week 1 in the majority (5/7) of subjects. On the basis of these outcomes in a small cohort of healthy young adults, we conclude that 6 weeks IMST confers significant benefits for respiratory strength and endurancebut does not impact functional capacity as measured by handgrip function. The declines in grip endurance noted post IMST are attributed to within subject (i.e., pre vs. post) differences in execution of the grip endurance task. Measures that conserve subjects’ elbow, wrist and hand position across test-retest endurance trials and the incorporation of additional surface EMG recording locations may help to reduce such variability in subsequent studies.

      Dovi, Suzanne; Adamson, Bennett (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      The U.S. Congress has become less productive since the 1970’s. Although many factors contribute to this decrease in productivity, I will examine how diminished institutional capacity and the increased influence of special interest groups have contributed to that decrease. I begin by empirically establishing the decline in Congress’ productivity as measured by the year-over-year decrease in total passage of legislation. Then, I will examine how diminished institutional capacity has enabled this loss of productivity. I employ a market-based approach to argue that the decline is akin to a shift in supply. I make the claim that, as the supply of legislation has become scarcer, the only viable remaining market participants are lobbyists. I then outline how the increasing influence of lobbyists over the legislative process constitutes a threat to the general welfare through the proliferation of economic inequalities. I conclude by presenting a set of plausible reforms to curtail the impact of lobbyists and restrengthen the legislative branch.

      Bianchi, JeanMarie; Peyton, Kameron (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Purpose: Provide research that will identify and analyze the critical mental health challenges that student athletes face and determine how the areas of the brain are being affected by it; in order to develop an evidence-based study proposal that could offer the University Athletics department and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) far more effective programs, trainings, and strategies for servicing student athletes. Background: In 2013, it was declared by the NCAA’s chief medical officer, Brian Hainline, that the number one health and safety concern in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is mental health. Aside from the pressure of being a collegiate athlete, young adults between the ages of 18-25 are already at a greater risk of dealing with Any Mental Illness (AMI) than individuals in any other age group. As a result, more and more student athletes are coming forward and addressing their challenges with mental health issues in order to seek help. Approach: The Sport Science Institute (SSI) has created the GOALS study which will supply NCAA policymakers and association affiliated institutions with detailed information on the athletics, academic and social experiences of student-athletes throughout all NCAA sports and their respective divisions. Following the analysis of the study data, a literature review of the book, “The Athletic Brain”, by Dr. Kenneth M. Heilman, will supply supplemental information regarding the many different crucial aspects of an athlete’s brain, such as their decision making, ability to learn motor skills, visual perception, balance, moods and emotions, and the detrimental effect of brain injuries.

      Chen, Nan-kuei; Boyilla, Rohith (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Effective connectivity provides information about the influence one brain region has over another, including directionality of influence and whether activation of one region stimulates or inhibits activity in another (Friston 14). Currently, much of our knowledge of brain network effective connectivity comes from animal studies. New ways of analyzing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) datahave allowed for less invasive means for collecting data on human brain network effective connectivity. fMRI techniques in particular are regularly dismissed as only showing correlation, but new statistical modelling methods are able to establish causal relationships between brain region activation. This paper explores some of the current methods we have available for exploring effective connectivity, and some of the possible applications in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) treatment. Although the motor pathway, particularly the nigrostriatal pathway, is relatively well established in literature, the effects that dopamine agonists, such as L-DOPA, have on the effective connectivity of the nigrostriatal and mesocortical pathways has not been thoroughly investigated.

      Cohen, Zoe; Owusu-Ankomah, Jennifer (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      As researchers begin to learn more about how active learning affects outcomes in college classrooms, faculty has started to embrace these techniques. One question that is not asked very often is: What do students really think about active learning? One study found that some college students feel they learn less when active learning strategies are utilized, yet many learned more, despite their attitudes towards these methods (Timmer, 2019). Why is it that student perceptions towards learning vary? This particularly intrigued us to take a closer look at this dynamic. The aim of our study was to investigate how active learning courses affect student perception. In addition, we wanted to examine the role (if any) of collaborative learning spaces within such classroom environments. While there is literature discussing active learning and instructor perception towards it, there is not as much literature focusing on student perceptions. As such, we conducted this study to build upon this body of work by looking at collaborative learning spaces at the University of Arizona, and how they, along with active learning, influence student attitudes towards learning and learning outcomes. We were particularly interested in how engaged learning makes students feel (are they in favor or opposed to it), what elements make engaged learning effective or ineffective, and much more. Our methods included surveying students majoring in Physiology at the University of Arizona in order to gain more insight about their experiences and perceptions towards active learning and collaborative learning spaces. The data we collected from these surveys allowed us to conclude that on average, students had more positive experiences with active learning in collaborative learning spaces, and overall, had positive perceptions towards it.