Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 7th, 2014

A Lebanese soon to be grandmother: Got a PhD in nursing sciences

What could be the factors that contribute to the resilience of Lebanese family members aiding an elderly member who is short on functional autonomy or failing cognitive capabilities?

Geriatric is a medical domain that ultimately will get front seat in medical and nursing sciences. Most societies around the world, particularly in developed states, are experiencing increased aging categories with higher life expectancy and reduced younger demographics.

It’s a hard life living with an elderly parent who are hard in hearing, lacking several physical autonomy, and experiencing loud bouts of nervous attacks and a return to child behavior in stubbornness, whining trends, exigencies and countless demands…

Relying on foreign helpers (outside the close family members) to aid needy elderly persons is detrimental to the well being of the elderly and the family members who are constantly worried of the lack of matching in personality and resilience between the various helpers and their elderly parents.

My close cousin, Joelle Narchi Seoud, took up the subject of the problems encountered by family members doing their best to aid a needy elderly person. She submitted her dissertation last December 19, 2013 in Montreal.

Two previous studies were published (see note 2). Joelle decided to work with Francine Ducharme, renowned in geriatric research.

Elder persons living at home, lacking functional autonomy or suffering from cognitive ailments, need the aid of the members of the family, particularly a family helper.

Empirical studies have demonstrated that particular helpers are resilient, especially the Lebanese family members . Correlation predictive factors were verified.  Factors such as

1. personal coping and auto-efficiency

2. contextual in family relations, perception of support in the family environment, and the meaning attached to giving help.

Four factors contributed to the character of resilience, particularly, reciprocity in actions and respect for a God

 One of my nieces, settled in the UK, commented on this study:

“That’s an excellent thesis subject! We often work with health services in the UK to understand how we can design interventions that help the ageing society live more independently.

Often it’s the same issue, social support and community cohesion

This is lacking in the UK but culturally powerful in Lebanon.

I also read somewhere that in China you are legally bound to care for the elders in your family. You would be charged of neglect otherwise! Congrats to Joelle. I will look up her thesis and share with colleagues”.

Les infirmières

The black haired woman on the right side is Joelle. the one on the left is probably her adviser Francine Ducharme.

Note 1: Previous published studies

[1] Atallah, R., Nehmé, C., Séoud, J., Yérétzian, J., Zablit, C., Lévesque, L., et al. (2005). « Les aidants familiaux de personnes âgées au Liban : quel est leur contexte de soin ? » Recherche en soins infirmiers, 81, 122-138 ; Séoud, J., Zablit, C., Atallah, R., Yéretzian, J., Lévesque, L., Giroux, F., et al. (2007). « The health of family caregivers of olders impaired persons in Lebanon: An interview survey ». International Journal of Nursing Studies, 44, 259-272.

Note 2: Joelle is staying young by continuous work in the nursing domain as a nurse, an administrator, a teacher, and decided to go for a higher education degree.

Joelle interviewed my mother for her thesis since my mother and I are taking care of our ailing father at home. I didn’t receive a hard or an online copy of the dissertation to know how this study could be of use to our daily care.

She is surrounded with a loving family who cares for one another. Her eldest brother is a pediatrician and youngest brother an anesthesiologist, both of them doing research and publishing their works.

 Note 3: In the world, women represent more than 50% of the population, do 66% of the work, earn 10% of the total revenue, and own 2% of properties.

Note 4: The French text posted on FB

Après deux études publiées avec des collègues sur la problématique des aidants naturels au Liban [1], Mme Joelle Séoud Narchi a entrepris des études doctorales pour approfondir le sujet. Elle a choisi de travailler avec Francine Ducharme qui est une référence internationale en gériatrie. Professeure à la Faculté des sciences infirmière, Mme Ducharme est aussi titulaire de la Chaire Desjardins en soins infirmiers à la personne âgée et à la famille. Son expertise a profité à Mme Séoud pendant ses études doctorales.

Une étudiante du Liban obtient son doctorat en sciences infirmières de l’Université de Montréal

2014-02-14 | NOUVELLES • SOUTENANCE DE THÈSE

Mme Séoud Narchi a soutenu sa thèse à Montréal le 19 décembre dernier. Elle s’est aussi adressée, en visioconférence, à un auditoire composé de professeurs et collègues de la Faculté des sciences infirmières de l’Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth où elle travaille à titre de professeure associée et de chef de département de formation de base depuis plusieurs années.

Son étude a permis d’identifier les facteurs associés à la résilience des aidantes familiales d’un parent âgé en perte d’autonomie à domicile au Liban où le contexte culturel diffère de celui des proches aidants vivant en Amérique du Nord. L’étude du concept de la résilience en sciences infirmières, plus précisément de son lien avec la santé et des facteurs qui l’influencent, permet de combler le manque de connaissances, particulièrement auprès de la population croissante d’aidants familiaux de personnes âgées.

Nos plus sincères félicitations à Mme Joelle Séoud Narchi pour l’obtention de son doctorat en sciences infirmières!

Titre de la thèse :

« Facteurs associés à la résilience des aidantes familiales d’un parent âgé en perte d’autonomie à domicile au Liban »

Résumé :

Les personnes âgées qui vivent à domicile ont besoin du soutien des membres de leur entourage, notamment d’un aidant familial. Des écrits empiriques ont montré que certains aidants sont résilients.

Cette étude à devis corrélationnel de prédiction avait pour but de vérifier la contribution de facteurs personnels, soit les stratégies de coping et l’auto-efficacité, et de facteurs contextuels, soit les relations familiales, la perception du soutien de l’entourage, et le sens accordé au « prendre soin », à la résilience des aidantes familiales libanaises prenant soin d’un proche âgé en perte d’autonomie fonctionnelle ou cognitive.

Les résultats ont montré que quatre des facteurs considérés contribuaient à la résilience des aidantes et que ces dernières prennent soin de leur proche âgé par souci de réciprocité et par respect pour Dieu. Cette étude offre une meilleure compréhension du concept de la résilience des aidantes familiales au Liban et des pistes pour l’intervention infirmière.

Membres du jury :

  • Sylvie Cossette, président-rapporteur
  • Francine Ducharme, directrice de recherche
  • Hélène Lefebvre, membre du jury
  • Bernard Michallet, examinateur externe
  • Chantal Cara, représentant du doyen de la FES

 

Why antibiotics are over-prescribed?

“Some of the big guns in terms of antibiotics may be overused. We need to reserve those for the most severe infections.” DR. TOM FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR

Circa news posted this MARCH 5, 2014

CDC says doctors still over-prescribing antibiotics

A CDC report shows that the prescription of antibiotics for the same condition varies greatly, with some doctors prescribing 3 times more antibiotics than their peers.

The CDC released a report on March 4 that says that if doctors and hospitals reduce antibiotics prescriptions by 30%, it could lead to a 26% reduction of infections of Clostridium difficlile (C.diff,) a potentially fatal bacterial infection. The report was based on records from hundreds of hospitals.

2 On March 4, the CDC submitted its 2015 budget request which includes $30 million for 5 new labs that would be used to assist doctors in diagnosing drug-resistant infections.

Anxiety over drug-resistant bacteria has been around as long as antibiotics.

Scientists learned early on that antibiotics would knock out most of the cells of an infection, but some strains would survive and multiply.

4 Modern medicine has exacerbated the problem with cancer treatments that weaken the immune system, and with the use of catheters, which make it easier for infections to enter the bloodstream.
5 Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for the UK, told the UK’s parliament in Jan. 2013 that surgeries now considered simple could soon become life-threatening due to the danger of infection. Bacteria are becoming resistant to many of the antibiotics now available.
6 A survey published on July 4, 2013 showed 80,000 people were currently fighting drug-resistant superbugs in European hospitals, according to the European Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control, the EU’s disease monitoring agency. Some 3.2 million people are infected annually in Europe.
7 Drug-resistant bacteria kills 23,000 people a year in the U.S., roughly the same as those killed by the flu, according to a separate report released Sept. 16, 2013 by the CDC. The report is the government’s first estimate of the death toll of drug-resistant bacterial infections.
8 During a Dec. 12, 2013 House hearing at the Oversight subcommittee on Energy Policy, Healthcare and Entitlements, FDA Drug Evaluation Director Janet Woodcock said the agency wants Congress to pass legislation establishing an FDA program to develop drugs targeting drug resistant bacteria.

RELATED STORYLINE ON CIRCA

Similar Circa Storylines

Hacking OkCupid: And Chris McKinlay finding “True Love” 

What large-scale data processing and parallel numerical methods have to do with falling in love?

OkCupid was founded by Harvard math majors in 2004, and it first caught daters’ attention because of its computational approach to matchmaking.

Members answer droves of multiple-choice survey questions on everything from politics, religion, and family to love, sex, and smartphones.

OkCupid lets users see the responses of others, but only to questions they’ve answered themselves.

KEVIN POULSEN posted this Jan. 21, 2014

How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love

Chris McKinlay was folded into a cramped fifth-floor cubicle in UCLA’s math sciences building, lit by a single bulb and the glow from his monitor.

It was 3 am, the optimal time to squeeze cycles out of the supercomputer in Colorado that he was using for his PhD dissertation.

(The subject: large-scale data processing and parallel numerical methods.)

While the computer chugged, he clicked open a second window to check his OkCupid inbox.

Mathematician Chris McKinlay hacked OKCupid to find the girl of his dreams

McKinlay, a lanky 35-year-old with tousled hair, was one of about 40 million Americans looking for romance through websites like Match.com, J-Date, and e-Harmony, and he’d been searching in vain since his last breakup 9 months earlier.

He’d sent dozens of cutesy introductory messages to women touted as potential matches by OkCupid’s algorithms. Most were ignored; he’d gone on a total of 6 first dates.

On that early morning in June 2012, his compiler crunching out machine code in one window, his forlorn dating profile sitting idle in the other, it dawned on him that he was doing it wrong.

He’d been approaching online matchmaking like any other user. Instead, he realized, he should be dating like a mathematician.

On average, respondents select 350 questions from a pool of thousands—“Which of the following is most likely to draw you to a movie?” or “How important is religion/God in your life?”

For each, the user records an answer, specifies which responses they’d find acceptable in a mate, and rates how important the question is to them on a 5-point scale from “irrelevant” to “mandatory.” OkCupid’s matching engine uses that data to calculate a couple’s compatibility. The closer to 100 percent—mathematical soul mate—the better.

But mathematically, McKinlay’s compatibility with women in Los Angeles was abysmal.

OkCupid’s algorithms use only the questions that both potential matches decide to answer, and the match questions McKinlay had chosen—more or less at random—had proven unpopular.

When he scrolled through his matches, fewer than 100 women would appear above the 90 percent compatibility mark. And that was in a city containing some 2 million women (approximately 80,000 of them on OkCupid).

On a site where compatibility equals visibility, he was practically a ghost.

He realized he’d have to boost that number. If, through statistical sampling, McKinlay could ascertain which questions mattered to the kind of women he liked, he could construct a new profile that honestly answered those questions and ignored the rest.

He could match every woman in LA who might be right for him, and none that weren’t.

Chris McKinlay used Python scripts to riffle through hundreds of OkCupid survey questions. He then sorted female daters into 7 clusters, like “Diverse” and “Mindful,” each with distinct characteristics.  Maurico Alejo

Even for a mathematician, McKinlay is unusual.

Raised in a Boston suburb, he graduated from Middlebury College in 2001 with a degree in Chinese. In August of that year he took a part-time job in New York translating Chinese into English for a company on the 91st floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center.

The towers fell 5 weeks later. (McKinlay wasn’t due at the office until 2 o’clock that day. He was asleep when the first plane hit the north tower at 8:46 am.) “After that I asked myself what I really wanted to be doing,” he says.

A friend at Columbia recruited him into an offshoot of MIT’s famed professional blackjack team, and he spent the next few years bouncing between New York and Las Vegas, counting cards and earning up to $60,000 a year.

The experience kindled his interest in applied math, ultimately inspiring him to earn a master’s and then a PhD in the field. “They were capable of using mathema­tics in lots of different situations,” he says. “They could see some new game—like Three Card Pai Gow Poker—then go home, write some code, and come up with a strategy to beat it.

Now he’d do the same for love. First he’d need data.

While his dissertation work continued to run on the side, he set up 12 fake OkCupid accounts and wrote a Python script to manage them. The script would search his target demographic (heterosexual and bisexual women between the ages of 25 and 45), visit their pages, and scrape their profiles for every scrap of available information: ethnicity, height, smoker or nonsmoker, astrological sign—“all that crap,” he says.

To find the survey answers, he had to do a bit of extra sleuthing.

OkCupid lets users see the responses of others, but only to questions they’ve answered themselves.

McKinlay set up his bots to simply answer each question randomly—he wasn’t using the dummy profiles to attract any of the women, so the answers didn’t mat­ter—then scooped the women’s answers into a database.

McKinlay watched with satisfaction as his bots purred along. Then, after about a thousand profiles were collected, he hit his first roadblock.

OkCupid has a system in place to prevent exactly this kind of data harvesting: It can spot rapid-fire use easily. One by one, his bots started getting banned.

He would have to train them to act human.

He turned to his friend Sam Torrisi, a neuroscientist who’d recently taught McKinlay music theory in exchange for advanced math lessons.

Torrisi was also on OkCupid, and he agreed to install spyware on his computer to monitor his use of the site. With the data in hand, McKinlay programmed his bots to simulate Torrisi’s click-rates and typing speed.

He brought in a second computer from home and plugged it into the math department’s broadband line so it could run uninterrupted 24 hours a day.

After 3 weeks he’d harvested 6 million questions and answers from 20,000 women all over the country.

McKinlay’s dissertation was relegated to a side project as he dove into the data. He was already sleeping in his cubicle most nights. Now he gave up his apartment entirely and moved into the dingy beige cell, laying a thin mattress across his desk when it was time to sleep.

For McKinlay’s plan to work, he’d have to find a pattern in the survey data—a way to roughly group the women according to their similarities.

The breakthrough came when he coded up a modified Bell Labs algorithm called K-Modes.

First used in 1998 to analyze diseased soybean crops, K-Modes takes categorical data and clumps it like the colored wax swimming in a Lava Lamp. With some fine-tuning he could adjust the viscosity of the results, thinning it into a slick or coagulating it into a single, solid glob.

He played with the dial and found a natural resting point where the 20,000 women clumped into 7 statistically distinct clusters based on their questions and answers. “I was ecstatic,” he says. “That was the high point of June.”

He retasked his bots to gather another sample: 5,000 women in Los Angeles and San Francisco who’d logged on to OkCupid in the past month.

Another pass through K-Modes confirmed that they clustered in a similar way. His statistical sampling had worked.

Now he just had to decide which cluster best suited him. He checked out some profiles from each. One cluster was too young, two were too old, another was too Christian.

But he lingered over a cluster dominated by women in their mid-twenties who looked like indie types, musicians and artists. This was the golden cluster. The haystack in which he’d find his needle. Somewhere within, he’d find true love.

Actually, a neighboring cluster looked pretty cool too—slightly older women who held professional creative jobs, like editors and designers. He decided to go for both.

He’d set up two profiles and optimize one for the A group and one for the B group.

He text-mined the two clusters to learn what interested them; teaching turned out to be a popular topic, so he wrote a bio that emphasized his work as a math professor.

The important part, though, would be the survey.

He picked out the 500 questions that were most popular with both clusters. He’d already decided he would fill out his answers honestly—he didn’t want to build his future relationship on a foundation of computer-generated lies.

But he’d let his computer figure out how much importance to assign each question, using a machine-learning algorithm called adaptive boosting to derive the best weightings.

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