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Evaluating the Pulse Sensor as a Low-Cost and Portable Measurement of Blood Pulse Waveform

Description: This study was aimed at determining whether the digital volume pulse waveform using the Pulse Sensor can be used to extract features related to arterial compliance. The Pulse Sensor, a low-cost photoplethysmograph, measures green light reflection in the finger and generates output, which is indicative of blood flow and can be read by the low-cost Arduino UNO™. The Pulse Sensor code was modified to increase the sampling frequency and to capture the data in a file, which is subsequently used for waveform analysis using programs written in the R system. Waveforms were obtained using the Pulse Sensor during two 30-s periods of seated rest, in each of 44 participants, who were between the ages of 20 and 80 years. For each cardiac cycle, the first four derivatives of the waveform were calculated and low-pass filtered by convolution before every differentiation step. The program was written to extract 19 features from the pulse waveform and its derivatives. These features were selected from those that have been reported to relate to the physiopathology of hemodynamics. Results indicate that subtle features of the pulse waveform can be calculated from the fourth derivative. Feature misidentification occurred in cases of saturation or low voltage and resulted in outliers; therefore, trimmed means of the features were calculated by automatically discarding the outliers. There was a high efficiency of extraction for most features. Significant relationships were found between several of the features and age, and systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure, suggesting that these features might be employed to predict arterial compliance. Further improvements in experimental design could lead to a more detailed evaluation of the Pulse Sensor with respect to its capability to predict factors related to arterial compliance.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Smithers, Breana Gray
Partner: UNT Libraries

Friends of the State Courts: Organized Interests and State Courts of Last Resort

Description: Why do interest groups participate in state courts of last resort by filing amicus curiae briefs? Are they influential when they do? This dissertation examines these questions using an original survey of organized interests that routinely participate in state supreme courts, as well as data on all amicus curiae briefs and majority opinions in over 14,000 cases decided in all fifty-two state supreme courts for a four year period. I argue that interest groups turn to state judiciaries to achieve the dual goals of influencing policy and organizational maintenance, as amicus briefs can help organized interests achieve both outcomes. Furthermore, I contend that amicus briefs are influential in shaping judicial policy-making through the provision of legally persuasive arguments. The results suggest that interest groups do file amicus briefs to both lobby for their preferred policies and to support their organization's long-term viability. Additionally, the results indicate that organized interests also participate in counteractive lobbying in state courts of last resort by filing amicus briefs to ensure their side is represented and to dull the effect of oppositional amici. The findings also demonstrate support for the influence of amicus briefs on judicial policy-making on state high courts, as amicus briefs can influence the ideological direction of the court's majority opinions. Overall, this research extends our understanding of interest group lobbing in the judiciary and in state policy venues, and provides insight into judicial politics and policy-making on state courts of last resort.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Perkins, Jared David
Partner: UNT Libraries