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Studies on computer-mediated communication often compare the affective affordances of different technologies with face-to-face communication. This study aimed to understand how three different computer-mediated communication modalities may affect EFL learners’ foreign language anxiety (FLA). Using a counterbalanced 3 by 3 factorial design, 30 undergraduate Japanese university students participated in this study, completing a spot-the-difference task in three different oral synchronous computer-mediated communication modes: voice, video, and virtual reality (VR). Upon completing each task, participants responded to an FLA questionnaire and answered questions regarding their learning experiences. Finally, a post-experiment questionnaire asked participants to explicitly compare their experiences of learning within each modality. Results suggest that although all three modes were successful in reducing learner FLA, no statistically significant differences were found between mean scores. However, the results of the learner perceptions questionnaire suggested that VR was the easiest environment to communicate in, was the most fun, and the most effective environment for language learning. Participant responses to an open-ended question suggested that learner dispositions to technology as well as their affective characteristics may be responsible for differing opinions regarding the affordances of VR for language learning. The study concludes with a call for more research in the area of learner affect and technology use, including studies that more effectively utilize the technological affordances of VR, and also qualitatively assess which elements of VR may affect learner FLA and motivation.
In this proceeding paper, we introduce the recent results of Galactic maser astrometry by mainly focusing on those obtained with Japanese VLBI array VERA. So far we have obtained parallaxes for 86 sources including preliminary results, and combination with the data obtained with VLBA/BeSSeL provides astrometric results for 159 sources. With these most updated results we conduct preliminary determinations of Galactic fundamental parameters, obtaining R0 = 8.16 ± 0.26 kpc and Θ0 = 237 ± 8 km/s. We also derive the rotation curve of the Milky Way Galaxy and confirm the previous results that the rotation curve is fairly flat between 5 kpc and 16 kpc, while a remarkable deviation is seen toward the Galactic center region. In addition to the results on the Galactic structure, we also present brief overviews on other science topics related to masers conducted with VERA, and also discuss the future prospect of the project.
Obesity is a risk factor for psychiatric diseases. Recently, a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been shown to be related to body mass index (BMI). In this study, we investigated the association of BMI-related SNPs with psychiatric diseases and one of their endophenotypes, memory performance, in a Japanese population.
The subjects were 1624 patients with one of three psychiatric diseases (799 patients with major depressive disorder, 594 with schizophrenia, and 231 with bipolar disorder) and 1189 healthy controls. Memory performance was assessed using the Wechsler Memory Scale – Revised (WMS-R). Genomic DNA was prepared from venous blood and used to genotype 23 BMI-related SNPs using the TaqMan 5′-exonuclease allelic discrimination assay. We then analysed the relationships between the SNPs and psychiatric disease and various subscales of the WMS-R.
Three SNPs (rs11142387, rs12597579, and rs6548238) showed significant differences in the genotype or allele frequency between patients with any psychiatric diseases and controls. Furthermore, six SNPs (rs11142387, rs12597579, rs2815752, rs2074356, rs4776970, and rs2287019) showed significant differences in at least one subscale of the WMS-R depending on the genotypes of the healthy controls. Interestingly, rs11142387 near the Kruppel-like factor 9 (KLF9) was significantly associated with psychiatric disease and poor memory function.
We identified three and six BMI-related SNPs associated with psychiatric disease and memory performance, respectively. In particular, carrying the A allele of rs11142387 near KLF9 was found to be associated with psychiatric disease and poor memory performance, which warrants further investigations.
The effect of n-3 long-chain PUFA (n-3 LCPUFA) on depression in healthy subjects is unclear, and most of the previous studies have focused on populations eating Western diets with lower fish intake. The present study investigated the association between blood levels of n-3 LCPUFA and depressive symptoms in Japanese community dwellers with higher n-3 LCPUFA blood levels. A cross-sectional study was conducted from 2006 to 2008, including 1050 men and 1073 women aged 40 years or older from the National Institute for Longevity Sciences – the Longitudinal Study of Aging. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) was used to assess depressive symptoms. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate the OR and 95 % CI for a CES-D score ≥16. Serum concentrations of n-3 PUFA, but not n-6 PUFA, were inversely associated with depressive symptoms. Compared with the lowest quintile, the adjusted OR for serum EPA at the fourth and fifth quintiles were 0·55 (95 % CI 0·35, 0·85) and 0·64 (95 % CI 0·42, 0·98), respectively, and at the fifth quintile for DHA it was 0·58 (95 % CI 0·37, 0·92), for the presence of depressive symptoms (Pfor trend=0·013 and 0·011, respectively). Serum levels of EPA and DHA were inversely associated with depressive symptoms in Japanese community dwellers with higher blood levels of n-3 LCPUFA, suggesting that n-3 LCPUFA intakes corresponding to higher levels in a Japanese population may have implications for a lower prevalence of depression.
The aim of the study was to develop the Japanese versions of Executive Interview (J-EXIT25) and Executive Clock Drawing Task (J-CLOX) and to evaluate the aspects of executive function that these two tests will be examining.
The concurrent validity and reliability of J-EXIT25 and J-CLOX were first examined in all participants (n = 201). Next, the relationship between the two tests was examined using receiver operating characteristic (ROC), correlation, and regression analyses in healthy participants (n = 45) and participants with mild cognitive impairment (n = 36) and dementia (n = 95).
Satisfactory concurrent validity and reliability of J-EXIT25 and J-CLOX were shown. ROC analysis indicated that J-EXIT25 and J-CLOX1 were superior to the Frontal Assessment Battery, but inferior to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), in discriminating between non-dementia and dementia. J-EXIT25, J-CLOX1, and J-CLOX2 scores were significantly correlated with age, scores on the MMSE, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) and Physical Self-Maintenance Scale (PSMS), and care level. In stepwise regression analyses of IADL scores, MMSE and J-EXIT25 were significantly independent predictors in men, and MMSE, age, and J-CLOX1 were significantly independent predictors in women. J-EXIT25, MMSE, and J-CLOX1 were significantly independent predictors in stepwise regression analysis of PSMS scores, and J-EXIT25 was the only significantly independent predictor in stepwise regression analysis of care level.
J-EXIT25 and J-CLOX are valid and reliable instruments for assessment of executive function in older people. The present results suggest that these tests have common and distinct psychometric properties in the assessment of executive function.
The effect of arachidonic acid (ARA) intake on asthma risk is unclear. The objective of the present review was to systematically evaluate available observational studies on the relationship between ARA exposure and asthma risk in children and adults. A PubMed search was conducted on 22 October 2013 and seventy-three publications were checked against predefined criteria for eligibility. To identify additional eligible publications, potentially relevant articles were searched from bibliographies of articles on ARA and asthma. A total of 2924 citations were scrutinised. Finally, fourteen articles were included. A quality assessment was conducted based on the reporting and methodological quality. A meta-analysis was not conducted; therefore, a qualitative assessment is presented. Three high-, two medium- and ten low-quality studies were reviewed. Eleven studies, including two high- and two medium-quality studies, did not find a significant association between ARA exposure and asthma risk. In contrast, one high-quality study indicated a significant trend toward reducing asthma risk in children with decreasing maternal ARA intake (Ptrend = 0·025), and one low-quality study reported a significant trend of increasing asthma risk with higher blood ARA levels (Ptrend = 0·007). In two low-quality studies, asthma patients had significantly lower blood ARA levels than controls (both P < 0·05). These studies did not sufficiently demonstrate any relationships between ARA exposure and asthma risk because of the limited number of studies and their methodological limitations. They seem to suggest that ARA exposure is not consistently associated with asthma risk. Nevertheless, further evidence is required to prove or disprove the association.
In 2011 February, a burst of the 22 GHz H2O maser in Orion KL was reported. In order to identify the bursting maser features, we have been carrying out observations of the 22 GHz H2O maser in Orion KL with VERA, a Japanese VLBI network dedicated for astrometry. The bursting maser turns out to consist of two spatially different features at 7.58 and 6.95 km s−1. We determine their absolute positions and find that they are coincident with the shocked molecular gas called the Orion Compact Ridge. We tentatively detect the absolute proper motions of the bursting features toward the southwest direction, perpendicular to the elongation of the maser features. It is most likely that the outflow from the radio source I or another young stellar object interacting with Compact Ridge is a possible origin of the H2O maser burst. We will also carry out observations with ALMA in the cycle 0 period to monitor the submillimeter H2O maser lines in the Orion Compact Ridge region. These follow-up observations will provide novel information on the physical and chemical properties of the mastering region.
Perovskite type oxide thin films have attracted a lot of attention, because they are essential materials which will be used for various electric devices such as ferroelectric random access memory (FeRAM) and tunable filter devices. When the materials are used for such capacitive devices, bottom electrode layers for oxide films are very important, since they significantly affect the crystallinity of the oxide films. Platinum (Pt) is one of the well known bottom electrode materials used for the oxide thin films. Pt provides also better nucleation sites for such perovskite materials due to small lattice misfit. Since dielectric properties of ferroelectric films are originated from the displacement of ions in a crystal along the c-axis direction, c-axis oriented ferroelectric thin films are required to attain better dielectric properties. (100) oriented Pt layers are required to attain c-axis oriented perovskite type ferroelectric films. In our previous report, we succeeded in preparing (100)-oriented Pt thin films with thickness of 20 nm on SiO2/Si substrate at substrate temperature Ts above 400 °C using MgO (100) buffer layers which deposited on Fe (100) seed layers. However, the growth of Pt(111) texture appeared when the thickness was increased from 20 nm to 100 nm, since (100) texture has relatively higher surface energy than (111) closely packed texture for Pt surface. It suggested that surface energy of the films changed during the deposition. In order to keep the surface energy, addition of O2 gas was performed during Pt deposition. Pt thin films with (100) preferred orientation with thickness above 100 nm were deposited on the (100) oriented MgO layer prepared on very thin seed Fe layers deposited on SiO2/Si substrates at Ts of 500 °C by facing-targets sputtering. It was also succeeded to attain (100) oriented perovskite oxide layer when they were deposited on the Pt(100)/Mg(100)/Fe/SiO2/Si underlayer.
We present results of astrometric observations of S269 H2O maser performed with VERA (VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry). We have monitored the positions of S269 H2O masers for 1 year and successfully detected its parallax to be 189±8 micro-arcsecond. This corresponds to a source distance of 5.28+0.24−0.22 kpc, and is the smallest parallax (and thus the largest distance) that has ever been measured by means of annual parallax. Proper motions of S269 H2O maser were also measured and used to determine the Galactic rotation velocity at the position of S269. Our measurements show that the Galactic rotation velocity at S269 is the same to that at the Sun within 3%, indicating that the Galactic rotation curve is flat out to R~13 kpc.
We have carried out multi-epoch VLBI observations of the H2O maser sources associated with young stellar objects (YSOs) in nearby molecular clouds with VERA (VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry), which is a newly constructed VLBI network in Japan (Kobayashi et al. 2003). The main goal of our study is to measure the absolute proper motions and distances to nearby molecular clouds within 1 kpc from the Sun, to reveal their 3-dimensional structures and dynamical properties. Using the VERA dual-beam receiving system (Honma et al. 2003), we have carried out phase-referencing VLBI observations and measured annual parallaxes and absolute proper motions of the H2O maser features with respect to the extragalactic radio sources. We have successfully detected the annual parallax of one of the H2O maser features in Orion KL to be 2.29±0.10 mas, corresponding to the distance of 437±19 pc from the Sun (Hirota et al. 2007). In addition, the annual parallax of SVS13 in NGC 1333 is also determined to be4.10±0.17 mas, corresponding to the distance of 244±10 pc from the Sun, although the life time of the maser features are only 6 months. The absolute proper motions of the H2O maser features associated with Orion KL and NGC 1333 are derived, possibly indicating the outflow motions from the YSOs as well as the systemic motions of the powering sources.
VLBI – Very Long Baseline Interferometry – is a radio interferometry technique which provides the highest spatial resolution observations to human kind. But at the present, the accuracy of the astrometry observations is limited by the atmospheric light path variations and instrumental phase errors, and only group delay measurements are used. To overcome these error factors, we have developed the VERA system, which has the first dual beam system. VERA is the first VLBI array to be free from the atmospheric phase fluctuations. It has four VLBI stations with 2300-km maximum baseline length in Japan. To compensate phase fluctuations of interferometer visibilities, which are mainly caused by the atmosphere, the VERA antenna observes two objects simultaneously. In order to do such observations, VERA has a two-receiver system, which tracks a focal plane according to a separation angle between observing objects. By comparing the visibility phase between two beams, simultaneous phase referencing VLBI will be achieved. The goal accuracy of astrometry observations is 10 micro-arcseconds, which makes annual parallax and proper motion measurements of galactic maser objects possible. 10 micro-arcsecond accuracy is equivalent to 10% distance accuracy for the galactic centre. This becomes 20% accuracy at the opposite side of the galaxy. The main scientific targets of VERA are to make a 3-dimensional maser object map of the galaxy and reveal the velocity field of the galaxy. This will show the mass distribution of the galaxy. Currently, construction of four stations is complete, and test observations are underway. We show the scientific goal, current results and instrumental accuracy of VERA.To search for other articles by the author(s) go to: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html
We present year-scale morphological variations of the Crab Nebula revealed by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Observations have been performed about every 1.7 years over the three years from launch. The variations are clearly recognized at two sites: the torus and the southern jet. The torus, which had been steadily expanding until 1.7 years ago, now appears to have shrunk in the latest observation. Additionally, the circular structures seen to the northeast of the torus have decayed into several arcs. On the other hand, the southern jet shows the growth of its overall kinked-structure. We discuss the nature of these variations in terms of the pulsar wind nebula mechanism.
YBa2Cu3O7−y(Y123) and Nd1+xBa2−xCu3O7−y (Nd123) films were deposited by the metalorganic deposition method, and the growth mechanism of these films was investigated by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. The Y123 and Nd123 films were prepared by spin-coating LaAlO3 (001) and SrTiO3 (STO) (001) substrates, respectively, with solutions including trifluoroacetates. Then, the samples were heat treated at 673 K in a humid O2 gas flow to form amorphous precursor films. Finally, the precursor films were heated at higher temperatures for 0–30 min in a humid Ar/O2 gas flow and cooled rapidly from those annealing temperatures. It was found that CuO crystals with a size of 10–20 nm are segregated in the Y123 and Nd123 amorphous precursor films. In the Y123 quenched film prepared by cooling the precursor film rapidly after the heat-treatment at 1048 K for 30 min, a polycrystalline film including Y2Cu2O5, BaF2, and CuO crystals was found to be generated on the c-axis-oriented Y123 film. In contrast, in the Nd123 quenched films, (NdBa)2CuO4(Nd201) phase was found to be formed first on the surface of the STO substrate. In conclusion, the c-axis-oriented Y123 film is formed by diffusion and reaction of Y2Cu2O5, BaF2, and CuO crystals, and the Nd201 phase reacts with BaF2 and CuO crystals in a humid atmosphere to form a c-axis-oriented Nd123 film.
Until recently, there has been relatively little scientific research investigating the influence of food or nutrient intake on longevity. This is partly due to the fact that most investigators have been interested in the relationship of food or nutrient intake to specific diseases i.e. communicable diseases, coronary heart disease and cancer of specific sites, rather than to overall mortality or longevity. Another significant factor is the difficulty of comparing the nutritional intake of populations, owing to the wide variability in individual intake and poor individual recall of specific food items in epidemiological studies.
Seed-bank dynamics of C. controversa, a common tree in Japanese temperate forests, were investigated at Ogawa Forest Reserve by direct measurement of seed input, soil seed density, and seedling output (germination of soil seeds), together with two field experiments on postdispersal seed mortality. Soil seed density varied from 4 to 233 m−2 in the site near conspecific adults (<5 m horizontally from crown edge), and 0 to 18 m−2 in far sites (≥5 m) during the 1988–92 period. Seed input occurred only in 1988 and 1990: 190–740 m−2 at the sites near conspecific adults, and 4–20 m−2 at the far sites. Seedling output was observed every year and accounted for 0–15% of the loss from the seed bank, occasionally 30–60%. Seeds buried at 5-cm depth suffered moderate mortality (c. 0.2 year−1) by fungal pathogens. In contrast, seeds experimentally placed on the ground suffered higher mortality (0.5–1 year−1) through predation by ground mammals, probably wood mice. In the experiment, seeds whose mesocarp was removed survived much better. On the other hand, distance itself did not appear to affect post-dispersal mortality of seeds. Seeds in canopy gaps also tended to suffer higher mortality. Current spatial pattern and mode of seed dispersal should decrease the potential ability of the seed bank of this species to colonize safe sites. Rare and unpredictable events might increase the contribution of the seed-bank strategy to regeneration in this forest.
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