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European Respiratory Journal ; 60(Supplement 66):316, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2304008


Aim: Arterial involvement has been implicated in the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). Fluorine 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/ computed tomography (18F-FDG PET/CT) imaging is a valuable tool for the assessment of aortic inflammation and is a predictor of outcome. We sought to prospectively assess the presence of aortic inflammation and its time-dependent trend in patients with COVID-19. Method(s): Between November 2020 and May 2021, in this pilot, casecontrol study, we recruited 20 patients with severe or critical COVID-19 (mean age of 59+/-12 years), while 10 age and sex-matched individuals served as the control group. Aortic inflammation was assessed by measuring 18F-FDG uptake in PET/CT performed 20-120 days post-admission. Global aortic target to background ratio (GLA-TBR) was calculated as the sum of TBRs of ascending and descending aorta, aortic arch, and abdominal aorta divided by 4. Index aortic segment TBR (IAS-TBR) was designated as the aortic segment with the highest TBR. Result(s): There was no significant difference in aortic 18F-FDG PET/CT uptake between patients and controls (GLA-TBR: 1.46 [1.40-1.57] vs. 1.43 [1.32-1.70], respectively, p=0.422 and IAS-TBR: 1.60 [1.50-1.67] vs. 1.50 [1.42-1.61], respectively, p=0.155). There was a moderate correlation between aortic TBR values (both GLA and IAS) and time distance from admission to 18F-FDG PET-CT scan (Spearman's rho=-0.528, p=0.017 and Spearman's rho=-0.480, p=0.032, respectively), Figure 1. Patients who were scanned less than or equal to 60 days from admission (n=11) had significantly higher GLA-TBR values compared to patients that were examined more than 60 days post-admission (GLA-TBR: 1.53 [1.42-1.60] vs. 1.40 [1.33-1.45], respectively, p=0.016 and IAS-TBR: 1.64 [1.51-1.74] vs. 1.52 [1.46-1.60], respectively, p=0.038). There was a significant difference in IAS-TBR between patients scanned <=60 days and controls (1.64 [1.51-1.74] vs. 1.50 [1.41-1.61], p=0.036), Figure 2. Conclusion(s): This is the first study suggesting that aortic inflammation, as assessed by 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging, is increased in the early post-COVID phase in patients with severe or critical COVID-19 and largely resolves over time. Our findings may have important implications for the understanding of the course of the disease and for improving our preventive and therapeutic strategies.

7th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network, iLRN 2021 ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1395651


Open days are organised by Universities to give potential students the opportunity to visit the University premises, talk to staff and student ambassadors and develop a sense of how it feels to study at a University a concept difficult to convey via prospectus. Visiting open days requires the investment of personal time, travel, and expense especially if from abroad. In recent years there has been an increasing demand for open days to be delivered online. Social distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic enforced this mode of delivery of open days as the only viable option. Many Universities created VR campuses to help students experience their campuses but lack an empathetic response in the way they fail to capture the actual vibe of a university from the human perspective. New tools such as 360-degree immersive storytelling video (VR) and 3D interactive media present new opportunities for effectively delivering open days capturing not only a realistic representation of the place, but the actual feel of a place. This paper presents work-in-progress focusing on studying if 360-degree immersive storytelling video can invoke an empathetic response. It achieves this by submerging a user in a 360-degree immersive storytelling video that effectively and realistically captures student life. This paper presents the project motivation, discusses the proposed research methodology, presents the research instruments and finishes with expected contributions to knowledge and future work. © 2021 Immersive Learning Research Network.

7th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network, iLRN 2021 ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1395648


The COVID-19 pandemic social distancing measures had immense evidenced impact on student life in higher education affecting their mental health in many ways. In addition, remote working measures taken by Higher Education organizations to protect students and staff created an additional barrier for students seeking support at a stage they feel the most vulnerable. This paper presents a work-in-progress study that focuses on investigating ways of designing an online system for self-assessment symptoms of anxiety based on which available support is provided in a personalized and emotionally engaging manner. The project builds and compares three prototypes: a conventional web site;a VR immersive environment with a single virtual human playing the role of a student life advisor;and an immersive environment with more than one virtual humans interacting with the user aiming to study which system engages and assists vulnerable students more effectively, contributing to a better user experience. The paper presents that project motivations, its aims and objectives, the proposed research methodology and the expected contributions to knowledge. © 2021 Immersive Learning Research Network.