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  • The effects of adapted mind-body exercises on physical function, quality of life and wellbeing for older people: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Tanhamira, Lesley-Anne; Randhawa, Gurch; Hewson, David; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2024-02-14)
    Participating in physical activity programmes is one way to optimise wellbeing and quality of life in older adults. Mind-body exercises could provide greater benefits than other forms of traditional physical activity and can be easily adapted for older people who are starting to develop functional decline. To synthesise the literature looking at the effects of adapted mind-body interventions on older people. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted on articles from Web of Science, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, AMED and CINAHL that were searched up to 13 September 2023. Studies were extracted and assessed by two authors and included if they were adapted mind-body quasi experimental trials (QET) or randomised controlled trials (RCT) evaluating physical function, quality of life or wellbeing in community dwelling older adults aged 60 years and over. The Cochrane Risk of Bias 2 scale was used for quality appraisal. Analysis of the results included calculating standardised effect sizes (Hedge's g) and a narrative synthesis of results not included in meta-analysis. 18 studies (8 quasi-experimental trial designs, n = 310; 10 randomised control trials, n = 1829) were included in the systematic review, with 14 studies (9 RCT, n = 1776, 5 QET, n = 100) retained for meta-analysis. For the RCT studies, some improvement was noted in mobility (ES 0.36: 95% CI: 0.01, 0.71), flexibility (ES 0.36: 0.01, 0.70), well-being (ES 0.54: 0.18, 0.91) and quality of life (ES 0.50: 0.21, 0.79). No positive effect was observed for leg power (ES 0.09: -0.33, 0.51), leg endurance (ES 0.16: -0.72, 1.03), back scratch test (ES 0.24: -0.10, 0.59), or balance, (ES 0.05: -0.06, 0.15). Heterogeneity varied from 0%-87% across the different outcomes. For the QET studies, gait velocity was shown to improve (ES 0.54: 0.18, 0.91), while fear of falling showed no significant improvements (ES 0.82: -0.06, 1.69). A meta-regression for quality of life in which the total physical activity of the intervention, in hours, was used as a covariate, showed ES = 1.1 for every 100 h of physical activity. There is scope for adapted mind-body physical activity interventions to play a role in improving quality of life, wellbeing, and physical function in older adults. The provision of adapted interventions for older people might improve uptake of and engagement with physical activity interventions in older people with limited or reduced abilities.
  • What does the mid-1990s soybean liberalization tell us about the role of foreign investment in China's rural industrialization?

    Fares, Tomaz Mefano; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2024-01-09)
    This article reassesses the role of foreign investments in China’s rural industrialization in the 1980s and the early 1990s. It draws upon the power disputes between agribusiness transnational corporations (TNCs) and central domestic players in the country’s soybean complex. I follow Chris Bramall’s argument that food processing infrastructure grew progressively since the Maoist era in the 1960s and 1970s, instead of springing from foreign investments or pro-business local state officials during the reform and opening up. However, I go beyond this assumption by suggesting that foreign investments often had a detrimental role in rural industrialization, depending on their political action. I show through in-depth empirical analyses that due to the Maoist industrial legacy, soybean processors from Northeast China consolidated an endogenous form of accumulation based on local circuits of production and consumption under state protectionism. This specific industrialization trajectory has put them on opposite sides from agribusiness TNCs. The liberalization agenda pushed by the TNCs through bilateral and multilateral levels of influence culminated in the opening of China’s soybean imports in the late 1990s, allowing the consolidation of their global trade monopoly to the detriment of domestic players.
  • Beyond monolithic threat: understanding risk typology in court-involved Black male youth

    Onifade, Eyitayo; Campbell, Christina; Shishane, Kwanele; Annan, Sylvia; Odotei, Emma; Williams, Justin B.; Clark Atlanta University; University of Cincinnati; University of Bedfordshire; University of Wisconsin-Madison (Taylor and Francis, 2024-02-12)
    Black male youth are at greatest risk of disparate contact and detention in the U.S. juvenile justice system. This study aims to identify recidivism risk/need patterns among African American male youth in the Ohio juvenile justice system, utilizing cluster analysis of risk assessment data from the Ohio Youth Assessment System-Disposition (OYAS-DIS). We found four distinct risk patterns and accompanying recidivism rates in the Black male youth population. Two of the clusters exhibited moderate levels of risk. However, they had significantly different recidivism outcomes, suggesting certain combinations of risk factors have more or less impact the propensity for crime in the Black male sample. Implications for policy and practice are discussed, as well as future directions for research.
  • Revolutionising financial portfolio management: the non-stationary transformer's fusion of macroeconomic indicators and sentiment analysis in a deep reinforcement learning framework

    Liu, Yuchen; Mikriukov, Daniil; Tjahyadi, Owen Christopher; Li, Gangmin; Payne, Terry R.; Yue, Yong; Siddique, Kamran; Man, Ka Lok; Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University; University of Liverpool; et al. (MDPI, 2023-12-28)
    In the evolving landscape of portfolio management (PM), the fusion of advanced machine learning techniques with traditional financial methodologies has opened new avenues for innovation. Our study introduces a cutting-edge model combining deep reinforcement learning (DRL) with a non-stationary transformer architecture. This model is designed to decode complex patterns in financial time-series data, enhancing portfolio management strategies with deeper insights and robustness. It effectively tackles the challenges of data heterogeneity and market uncertainty, key obstacles in PM. Our approach integrates key macroeconomic indicators and targeted news sentiment analysis into its framework, capturing a comprehensive picture of market dynamics. This amalgamation of varied data types addresses the multifaceted nature of financial markets, enhancing the model’s ability to navigate the complexities of asset management. Rigorous testing demonstrates the model’s efficacy, highlighting the benefits of blending diverse data sources and sophisticated algorithmic approaches in mastering the nuances of PM.
  • The effects of growth mindset and resilience on immigrant students' PISA science achievement: the mediating role of attitudes toward school

    Kaya, Sibel; Eryilmaz, Nurullah; Yuksel, Dogan; University of Bedfordshire; University of Bath; Open University (SAGE, 2024-01-29)
    In recent years, self-theories such as growth mindset and resilience have gained interest as they have a sizable influence on achievement and school-related motivation. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between immigrant students’ growth mindset, resilience, and science achievement in PISA 2018 by considering the mediating effect of attitudes toward school. Using secondary data for Australia, the UK, and the USA obtained from PISA 2018, we conducted a series of Structural Equation Modeling analyses to unravel the relationship between self-theories and science achievement. The growth mindset had the strongest effect on science achievement for both immigrants and non-immigrants in all three countries; resilience was positively related to science achievement for immigrants in the US, and attitudes toward school were positively related to science achievement for immigrants in Australia. The mediating role of attitudes toward school between growth mindset, resilience and science achievement could not have been confirmed. We speculate that self-theories might be affecting immigrant groups differently in different countries. Implications regarding these findings are discussed.

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