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Brain Sci ; 12(5)2022 Apr 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809711


The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, continues to impact global health regarding both morbidity and mortality. Although SARS-CoV-2 primarily causes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the virus interacts with and influences other organs and tissues, including blood vessel endothelium, heart, gastrointestinal tract, and brain. We are learning much about the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection; however, we are just beginning to study and understand the long-term and chronic health consequences. Since the pandemic's beginning in late 2019, older adults, those with pre-existing illnesses, or both, have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe COVID-19. Furthermore, older adults are also more likely to develop the neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson's disease (PD), with advanced age as the most significant risk factor. Thus, does SARS-CoV-2 potentially influence, promote, or accelerate the development of PD in older adults? Our initial focus was aimed at understanding SARS-CoV-2 pathophysiology and the connection to neurodegenerative disorders. We then completed a literature review to assess the relationship between PD and COVID-19. We described potential molecular and cellular pathways that indicate dopaminergic neurons are susceptible, both directly and indirectly, to SARS-CoV-2 infection. We concluded that under certain pathological circumstances, in vulnerable persons-with-Parkinson's disease (PwP), SARS-CoV-2 acts as a neurodegenerative enhancer to potentially support the development or progression of PD and its related motor and non-motor symptoms.

Education Sciences ; 11(11):752, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1523913


The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world continue. These impacts influence many aspects of life, work, healthcare, and education in the U.S., which are drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, a considerable challenge to tertiary-level education has been how to adapt our teaching styles and modalities to keep all stakeholders (students, faculty, teaching assistants, and staff) safe in lectures and labs. This viewpoint presents 15 teaching lessons and tips for undergraduate and graduate STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine) education for face-to-face, hybrid, and distance learning. The goal was to describe teaching strategies that could be adaptable to most STEMM courses, independent of the classroom size, which is valuable for those educational settings capable of migrating from a classroom to either a hybrid or strictly online teaching environment. Although some of these teaching tips were straightforward, we believe collectively that they (1) provide safety and stability to the students and the instructors;(2) help to improve communications between faculty and students that the pandemic had strained;(3) strengthen student attention;(4) facilitate the transition from the classroom to online teaching;(5) enable the use of new technologies;and (6) offer teaching practices we imagined for educational scenarios post-SARS-CoV-2. Finally, we hope these teaching strategies offer valuable insight as we continue to navigate STEMM education during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Sciences ; 10(7):185, 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-650295


Active learning improves undergraduate STEM course comprehension;however, student comprehension using different active learning methods and student perception of active learning have not been fully explored. We analyze ten semesters (six years) of an undergraduate biology course (honors and non-honors sections) to understand student comprehension and student satisfaction using a variety of active learning methods. First, we describe and introduce active learning subtypes. Second, we explore the efficacy of active learning subtypes. Third, we compare student comprehension between course material taught with active learning or lecturing within a course. Finally, we determine student satisfaction with active learning using a survey. We divide active learning into five subtypes based on established learning taxonomies and student engagement. We explore subtype comprehension efficacy (median % correct) compared to lecture learning (median 92% correct): Recognition (100%), Reflective (100%), Exchanging (94.1%), Constructive (93.8%), and Analytical (93.3%). A bivariate random intercept model adjusted by honors shows improved exam performance in subsequent exams and better course material comprehension when taught using active learning compared to lecture learning (2.2% versus 1.2%). The student survey reveals a positive trend over six years of teaching in the Perceived Individual Utility component of active learning (tau = 0.21, p = 0.014), but not for the other components (General Theoretical Utility, and Team Situation). We apply our findings to the COVID-19 pandemic and suggest active learning adaptations for newly modified online courses. Overall, our results suggest active learning subtypes may be useful for differentiating student comprehension, provide additional evidence that active learning is more beneficial to student comprehension, and show that student perceptions of active learning are positively changing.

Brain Sci ; 10(9)2020 Sep 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-750714


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder brought about due to dopaminergic neuronal cell loss in the midbrain substantia nigra pars compacta region. PD presents most commonly in older adults and is a disorder of both motor and nonmotor dysfunction. The novel SARS-CoV-2 virus is responsible for the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and older individuals, those with preexisting medical conditions, or both have an increased risk of developing COVID-19 with more severe outcomes. People-with-Parkinson's (PwP) of advanced age can have both immune and autonomic nervous problems that potentially lead to pre-existing pulmonary dysfunction and higher infection risk, increasing the probability of contracting COVID-19. A lifestyle change involving moderate-intensity exercise has the potential to protect against SARS-CoV-2 through strengthening the immune system. In addition to a potential protective measure against SARS-CoV-2, exercise has been shown to improve quality-of-life (QoL) in PD patients. Recent studies provide evidence of exercise as both neuroprotective and neuroplastic. This article is a literature review investigating the role exercise plays in modifying the immune system, improving health outcomes in PwP, and potentially acting as a protective measure against SARS-Cov-2 infection. We conclude that exercise, when correctly performed, improves QoL and outcomes in PwP, and that the enhanced immune response from moderate-intensity exercise could potentially offer additional protection against COVID-19.

Brain Sci ; 10(5)2020 May 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-209654


While we are still learning more about COVID-19, caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, finding alternative and already available methods to reduce the risk and severity of the disease is paramount. One such option is vitamin D, in the form of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplementation, due to its potential antiviral properties. It has become apparent that older individuals have a greater risk of developing severe COVID-19, and compared to younger adults, the elderly have lower levels of vitamin D due to a variety of biological and behavioral factors. Older adults are also more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD), with advanced age being the single greatest risk factor. In addition to its immune-system-modulating effects, it has been suggested that vitamin D supplementation plays a role in slowing PD progression and improving PD-related quality of life. We completed a review of the literature to determine the relationship between vitamin D, PD, and COVID-19. We concluded that the daily supplementation of 2000-5000 IU/day of vitamin D3 in older adults with PD has the potential to slow the progression of PD while also potentially offering additional protection against COVID-19.