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AJUR Volume 15 Issue 2 (September 2018)

Links to individual manuscripts, abstracts, and keywords are provided below.


p.5 Determining Nutritional Barriers to Access to Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains in Older Americans
Tornia C. Anderson-Morgan, Melissa Fett, Michelle Jasso, Aisha Moten, Elgloria Harrison
ABSTRACT: The University of the District of Columbia is a partner of the Northeast Hatch Multistate Research Collaborative. This research project, known as the UDC NE 1439, was designed as a pilot study to determine the barriers that prevented the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains among older adults in Wards 5, 7, and 8 in the District of Columbia (DC). The residents of these wards have been shown to have higher rates of chronic diseases. Data shows that Ward 7 has the highest rate of deaths due to diabetes. Furthermore, Wards 5, 7, and 8 have the highest percentage of hypertension and diabetes This project used a quantitative and qualitative survey instrument, which included 53 questions and/or statements using a Likert scale: demographics (8 questions); household information (2 questions); shopping habits (8 questions); eating habits, including the identity of the person who prepared meals in the home (21 questions); physical fitness (11 questions); and policy (3 questions). Ninety-six (96) older adults participated in the survey, with a gender distribution of 77% female (68 individuals), 22% male (24 individuals), and 1% not reported (1 individual). The racial distribution of the participants was 91% (87) African American, .01% (one) Asian American, .01% (one) Caucasian, .01% (one) Native American, and .03% (three) others/not reported. Additionally, according to the participants’ residency results, Ward 5 accounted for 23% of the participants (24 participants), Ward 7 for 38% (33 participants), and Ward 8 for 38% (33 participants). The participants’ average age was ≥ 56, (45 to 76 and over) and most were the primary financial supporters of their households and the primary grocery shoppers in their families. In conclusion, this project determined that access to fresh fruits and vegetables and travel time to a full-service grocer were less prominent barriers; this was an unexpected finding. Though the participants indicated sufficient access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, they lacked nutrition-based knowledge. Many of them viewed unfitting food choices as healthy. An intervention centered on nutrition education using food demonstrations and grocer tours would improve nutrition knowledge in this population. This offered these nutrition and dietetics research assistants with an opportunity to provide nutrition education to the population in question. Moreover, it presents an opportunity to extend nutrition education to all seniors across the Washington, DC region.
KEYWORDS: Fruits; Vegetables; Whole Grains; Urban; Disease; African American; Health; Nutrition; Food Security; Food Desert, Senior Citizens

p.17 Minimizing the Cost of Guessing Games
David Clark, Lindsay Czap
ABSTRACT: A two-player “guessing game” is a game in which the first participant, the “Responder,” picks a number from a certain range. Then, the second participant, the “Questioner,” asks only yes-or-no questions in order to guess the number. In this paper, we study guessing games with lies and costs. In particular, the Responder is allowed to lie in one answer, and the Questioner is charged a cost based on the content of each question. Guessing games with lies are closely linked to error correcting codes, which are mathematical objects that allow us to detect an error in received information and correct these errors. We will give basic definitions in coding theory and show how error correcting codes allow us to still guess the correct number even if one lie is involved. We will additionally seek to minimize the total cost of our games. We will provide explicit constructions, for any cost function, for games with the minimum possible cost and an unlimited number of questions. We also find minimum cost games for games with a restricted number of questions and a constant cost function.
KEYWORDS: Ulam’s Game; Guessing Games With Lies; Error Correcting Codes; Pairwise Balanced Designs; Steiner Triple Systems

p.33 Analysis of Fungal Contamination on Commercially Sold Rice in Puerto Rico
Nicole Colón Carrión, Chad Lozada Troche
ABSTRACT: Crops and stored grains are susceptible to pathogens that represent a threat to our health. The study presented herein compares the normal surface and endophytic fungal communities present on white and brown rice grains. One hundred grains of each rice variety was analyzed to determine their fungal contaminants and endophytes. Fungi were inoculated on SDA media, and purified in PDA media; morphological characterization was performed followed by amplification of the ITS region using PCR for all fungal isolates. Statistical analysis indicated significant differences between medium brown rice compared to white rice for surface and endophytic communities (p-value £ 0.05). In addition, a higher fungal diversity was found on brown rice grains compared to white rice. This variation may be due to differences in the processing methods used for each rice grain type. BLAST analysis revealed the presence of toxigenic strains of Aspergillus flavus, A.oryzae, Penicillium verrucosum, and P. viridicatum. The study of fungal growth in rice grains can contribute to the minimization of mycotoxin production by its prevention and control; therefore, decreasing crop contamination and human exposure to their metabolites.
KEYWORDS: Fungi; Rice; Fungal contaminants; Fungal endophytes

p.41 Characterization of Ambient Particulate Matter Sampled at an Active Sand Mine Facility in Northwestern Wisconsin
Julie Zhang, Callie Fischer, Joe Oster, Gabriel de Carvalho Chaves, Rachel Mooney, &Patricia Cleary
ABSTRACT: Concern has arisen about levels of silica in ambient particles near sand mines in Northwestern Wisconsin. Airborne particles released from mining and processing activity may release respirable silica into the air, which can have adverse health effects on individuals exposed to significant quantities. In order to assess these levels of silica, this study developed a parallel analysis using an X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) analysis to test particles in real air samples. Calibrations were constructed for the XRD analysis (following NIOSH Method 7500) with silica standards containing 10 μg – 500 μg respirable silica on filter media with detection limits of 19-28 μg.  SEM-EDS methods incorporated identifying the geologic composition of particles using the elemental analysis. Real air samples were collected at a sand mining site using a cascade impactor. Filter substrates were pre-weighed and post-weighed to determine the total dry mass of particles sampled and XRD results show at maximum 16 % of the mass can be attributed to crystalline silica in the samples. An SEM-EDS analysis to categorize the particles geologic classification using ratios of elements shows more than 70% of sampled particles are classified as potassium feldspars.
KEYWORDS: Particulate Matter; Sand Mining; Silica; Atmospheric Characterization; XRD; SEM-EDS; Fugitive Dust

p.51 Dextran Sulfate Based Gel Coating for Drug Eluting Balloon Angioplasty
Jenna Mosier, Hannah Stealey, Kalifa Stringfield, Katie Webb, C. LaShan Simpson
ABSTRACT: Vascular calcification, a consequence of cardiovascular disease, disrupts natural blood flow and can result in death. Common treatment efforts include various anti-inflammatory medications, balloon angioplasty, or stents, with little success in completely reversing calcification. The proposed design focuses on improving current drug-eluting stents by developing a dextran-sulfate-based gel drug delivery system loaded with receptor activator of nuclear kappa B-ligand (RANKL) to induce osteoclast differentiation. To ensure that the gel could properly deliver RANKL, the gel was tested for its affinity for hydroxyapatite (HA), a critical component of calcification, and its ability to withstand shear. Infrared spectroscopy (IR) indicated binding to HA. Preliminary scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) results confirmed the presence of calcium on the gel after a one-hour soak in a HA mixture. Shear testing demonstrated that negligible protein, an average of 0.029± 0.024 μg/mL, was sheared off under flow conditions, indicating that the gel is stable for duration of balloon delivery. These preliminary results indicate that a dextran-sulfate-based gel has potential to serve as a therapeutic gel-coating to treat vascular calcification. Future experimentation will include a co-culture study to determine whether osteoclast progenitor cells will properly proliferate and differentiate in the presence of the RANKL-loaded gel.
KEYWORDS: Angioplasty; Calcification; Cardiovascular; Dextran; Gel; Osteoclast; Stent; Vascular