Browsing by Subject "ENVIRONMENTS"

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  • Atanasova, Nina S.; Demina, Tatiana A.; Buivydas, Andrius; Bamford, Dennis H.; Oksanen, Hanna M. (2015)
    Hypersaline environments around the world are dominated by archaea and their viruses. To date, very little is known about these viruses and their interaction with the host strains when compared to bacterial and eukaryotic viruses. We performed the first culture-dependent temporal screening of haloarchaeal viruses and their hosts in the saltern of Samut Sakhon, Thailand, during two subsequent years (2009, 2010). Altogether we obtained 36 haloarchaeal virus isolates and 36 archaeal strains, significantly increasing the number of known archaeal virus isolates. Interestingly, the morphological distribution of our temporal isolates (head-tailed, pleomorphic, and icosahedral membrane-containing viruses) was similar to the outcome of our previous spatial survey supporting the observations of a global resemblance of halophilic microorganisms and their viruses. Myoviruses represented the most abundant virus morphotype with strikingly broad host ranges. The other viral morphotypes (siphoviruses, as well as pleomorphic and icosahedral internal membrane-containing viruses) were more host-specific. We also identified a group of Halorubrum strains highly susceptible to numerous different viruses (up to 26). This high virus sensitivity, the abundance of broad host range viruses, and the maintenance of infectivity over a period of one year suggest constant interplay of halophilic microorganisms and their viruses within an extreme environment.
  • Vari, Heli; Roslund, Marja; Oikarinen, Sami; Nurminen, Noora; Puhakka, Riikka; Parajuli, Anirudra; Grönroos, Mira; Siter, Nathan; Laitinen, Olli; Hyöty, Heikki; Rajaniemi, Juho; Rantalainen, Anna-Lea; Sinkkonen, Aki; The ADELE Research Group (2021)
    There is evidence that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and human gut microbiota are associated with the modulation of endocrine signaling pathways. Independently, studies have found associations between air pollution, land cover and commensal microbiota. We are the first to estimate the interaction between land cover categories associated with air pollution or purification, PAH levels and endocrine signaling predicted from gut metagenome among urban and rural populations. The study participants were elderly people (65-79 years); 30 lived in rural and 32 in urban areas. Semi-Permeable Membrane devices were utilized to measure air PAH concentrations as they simulate the process of bioconcentration in the fatty tissues. Land cover categories were estimated using CORINE database and geographic information system. Functional orthologues for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) pathway in endocrine system were analyzed from gut bacterial metagenome with Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes. High coverage of broad-leaved and mixed forests around the homes were associated with decreased PAH levels in ambient air, while gut functional orthologues for PPAR pathway increased along with these forest types. The difference between urban and rural PAH concentrations was not notable. However, some rural measurements were higher than the urban average, which was due to the use of heavy equipment on active farms. The provision of air purification by forests might be an important determining factor in the context of endocrine disruption potential of PAHs. Particularly broad-leaved forests around homes may reduce PAH levels in ambient air and balance pollution-induced disturbances within commensal gut microbiota. (C) 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Sundström, A. -M.; Nikandrova, A.; Atlaskina, K.; Nieminen, T.; Vakkari, V.; Laakso, L.; Beukes, J. P.; Arola, A.; van Zyl, P. G.; Josipovic, M.; Venter, A. D.; Jaars, K.; Pienaar, J. J.; Piketh, S.; Wiedensohler, A.; Chiloane, E. K.; de Leeuw, G.; Kulmala, Markku (2015)
    Proxies for estimating nucleation mode number concentrations and further simplification for their use with satellite data have been presented in Kulmala et al. (2011). In this paper we discuss the underlying assumptions for these simplifications and evaluate the resulting proxies over an area in South Africa based on a comparison with a suite of ground-based measurements available from four different stations. The proxies are formulated in terms of sources (concentrations of precursor gases (NO2 and SO2) and UVB radiation intensity near the surface) and a sink term related to removal of the precursor gases due to condensation on pre-existing aerosols. A-Train satellite data are used as input to compute proxies. Both the input data and the resulting proxies are compared with those obtained from ground-based measurements. In particular, a detailed study is presented on the substitution of the local condensation sink (CS) with satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD), which is a column-integrated parameter. One of the main factors affecting the disagreement between CS and AOD is the presence of elevated aerosol layers. Overall, the correlation between proxies calculated from the in situ data and observed nucleation mode particle number concentrations (N-nuc) remained low. At the time of the satellite overpass (13: 00-14: 00 LT) the highest correlation is observed for SO2/CS (R-2 D 0.2). However, when the proxies are calculated using satellite data, only NO2/AOD showed some correlation with N-nuc (R-2 D 0.2). This can be explained by the relatively high uncertainties related especially to the satellite SO2 columns and by the positive correlation that is observed between the ground-based SO2 and NO2 concentrations. In fact, results show that the satellite NO2 columns compare better with in situ SO2 concentration than the satellite SO2 column. Despite the high uncertainties related to the proxies calculated using satellite data, the proxies calculated from the in situ data did not better predict N-nuc. Hence, overall improvements in the formulation of the proxies are needed.
  • Lynch, Robert; Lummaa, Virpi; Briga, Michael; Chapman, Simon; Loehr, John (2020)
    Understanding how conditions experienced during development affect reproductive timing is of considerable cross-disciplinary interest. Life-history theory predicts that organisms will accelerate reproduction when future survival is unsure. In humans, this can be triggered by early exposure to mortality. Previous studies, however, have been inconclusive due to several confounds that are also likely to affect reproduction. Here we take advantage of a natural experiment in which a population is temporarily divided by war to analyze how exposure to mortality affects reproduction. Using records of Finnish women in World War II, we find that young girls serving in a paramilitary organization wait less time to reproduce, have shorter inter-birth intervals, and have more children than their non-serving peers or sisters. These results support the hypothesis that exposure to elevated mortality rates during development can result in accelerated reproductive schedules and adds to our understanding of how participation in warfare affects women.
  • Kikas, Eve; Tang, Xin (2019)
    This study examined relations between child-reported teacher emotional support, teaching practices, and children's task-persistent learning behaviour. The study was carried out in Estonia, where a students' first teacher advances with his/her students and teaches all primary subjects in the first 3years of schooling. In total, 660 sixth-grade children reported about their first teacher's emotional support. Teachers' child-centred and teacher-directed practices were observed with the Early Childhood Classroom Observation Measure (ECCOM); results included 38 teachers in Grade 1, and 37 in Grade 3. Within the same grades, teachers reported on their affection for students, as well as their behavioural and psychological control over students. Teachers also evaluated each of their student's task persistence. As shown by ECCOM results, retrospective student-reported teacher emotional support tended to be positively related to child-centred practises, and negatively related to teacher-directed practises in Grade 3, while also negatively related to teacher-reported psychological control in Grade 1. Although higher perceived emotional support was related with more persistent learning behaviour on an individual level, general task persistence was predicted primarily by teacher-reported practices at the classroom level.
  • Haraguchi, Lumi; Asmala, Eero; Jakobsen, Hans H.; Carstensen, Jacob (2019)
    Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important component of nutrient cycling, but the role of different organisms controlling the processing of autochthonous DOM remains poorly understood. Aiming to characterize phytoplankton-derived DOM and the effects of complex pelagic communities on its dynamics, we incubated natural plankton communities from a temperate mesohaline estuary under controlled conditions for 18 days. The incubations were carried out in contrasting seasons (spring and autumn) and changes in the planktonic community (phytoplankton, bacteria and microzooplankton), nutrients and DOM were assessed. Our results highlight the complexity of DOM production and fate in natural planktonic communities. Small changes in DOM composition were observed in the experiments relative to the orders-of-magnitude variations experienced in the phytoplankton assembly. We argue that the tight coupling between microbial processing and DOM production by phytoplankton and grazers stabilizes variations in quantity and characteristics of autochthonous DOM, resulting in apparently homogeneous semi-labile DOM pool throughout the experiments. However, seasonal differences in the production and processing of DOM were observed, reflecting differences in the nutrient regimes and initial DOM characteristics in each experiment, but also likely influenced by changes in the successional status of the pelagic community. Acknowledging that characteristics of the DOM derived from phytoplankton growth can vary broadly, heterotrophic processing and successional status of the community are synergistically important factors for shaping those characteristics, and thus affecting the seasonal signature of the semi-labile autochthonous DOM pool.
  • Feldman, Tatiana; Yakovleva, Marina; Viljanen, Martta Leena Maria; Lindström, Magnus; Donner, Kristian; Ostrovsky, M.A. (2020)
    We have studied dark-adaptation at three levels in the eyes of the crustaceanMysis relictaover 2-3 weeks after exposing initially dark-adapted animals to strong white light: regeneration of 11-cisretinal through the retinoid cycle (by HPLC), restoration of native rhodopsin in photoreceptor membranes (by MSP), and recovery of eye photosensitivity (by ERG). We compare two model populations ("Sea", S-p, and "Lake", L-p) inhabiting, respectively, a low light and an extremely dark environment. 11-cisretinal reached 60-70% of the pre-exposure levels after 2 weeks in darkness in both populations. The only significant L-p/S(p)difference in the retinoid cycle was that L(p)had much higher levels of retinol, both basal and light-released. In S-p, rhodopsin restoration and eye photoresponse recovery parallelled 11-cisretinal regeneration. In L-p, however, even after 3 weeks only ca. 25% of the rhabdoms studied had incorporated new rhodopsin, and eye photosensitivity showed only incipient recovery from severe depression. The absorbance spectra of the majority of the L(p)rhabdoms stayed constant around 490-500 nm, consistent with metarhodopsin II dominance. We conclude that sensitivity recovery of S(p)eyes was rate-limited by the regeneration of 11-cisretinal, whilst that of L(p)eyes was limited by inertia in photoreceptor membrane turnover.
  • Kangasniemi, Oskari; Kuuluvainen, Heino; Heikkilä, Joni; Pirjola, Liisa; Niemi, Jarkko V.; Timonen, Hilkka; Saarikoski, Sanna; Rönkkö, Topi; Dal Maso, Miikka (2019)
    Traffic is a major source of ultrafine aerosol particles in urban environments. Recent studies show that a significant fraction of traffic-related particles are only few nanometers in diameter. Here, we study the dispersion of this nanocluster aerosol (NCA) in the size range 1.3-4 nm. We measured particle concentrations near a major highway in the Helsinki region of Finland, varying the distance from the highway. Additionally, modelling studies were performed to gain further information on how different transformation processes affect NCA dispersion. The roadside measurements showed that NCA concentrations fell more rapidly than the total particle concentrations, especially during the morning. However, a significant amount of NCA particles remained as the aerosol population evolved. Modelling studies showed that, while dilution is the main process acting on the total particle concentration, deposition also had a significant impact. Condensation and possibly enhanced deposition of NCA were the main plausible processes explaining why dispersion is faster for NCA than for total particle concentration, while the effect of coagulation on all size ranges was small. Based on our results, we conclude that NCA may play a significant role in urban environments, since, rather than being scavenged by larger particles, NCA particles remain in the particle population and grow by condensation.
  • Mesimäki, Marja Helena; Hauru, Kaisa Matilda; Lehvävirta, Susanna (2019)
    Growing and densifying cities set challenges for preserving and enhancing sufficient and good quality green urban environment. Rooftops offer vacant room for additional urban greening that may contribute to the well-being of people and the liveability of cities, but this potential lacks empirical support. In spite of the fact that even small green spaces produce, for example restorative experiences, the literature concerning the experiential and recreational benefits of green roofs is still scarce. To identify the experiential potential of a small urban green roof we explored restorative and other experiences of 178 people visiting a sparsely vegetated green roof in the centre of Helsinki, Finland, using a questionnaire. We showed that the studied green roof provided restorative and other positive experiences to the visitors. The level of perceived restorativeness was relatively high. In addition, the results revealed multiple perceived qualities that reflected visual as well as other sensory experiences, beauty, suitability of the place for oneself and the urban context, nature, desire to explore the place and interestedness, positive excitement, and safety. Furthermore, answers to the open questions revealed a wide range of other observations and feelings, such as peace, joy, excitement and hope. Our study indicates that even a small and rather ascetic accessible green roof has potential to offer a moment of respite in the middle of urban everyday hassle, thus implying that these kinds of solutions may allow for a pinch of beneficial green in places where more diverse and lusher solutions are not possible due to, e.g. the load capacity of a roof
  • Donner, Kristian; Zak, Pavel; Viljanen, Martta; Lindström, Magnus; Feldman, Tatiana; Ostrovsky, Mikhail (2016)
    Absorbance spectra of single rhabdoms were studied by microspectrophotometry (MSP) and spectral sensitivities of whole eyes by electroretinography (ERG) in three glacial-relict species of opossum shrimps (Mysis). Among eight populations from Fennoscandian fresh-water lakes (L) and seven populations from the brackish-water Baltic Sea (S), L spectra were systematically red-shifted by 20-30 nm compared with S spectra, save for one L and one S population. The difference holds across species and bears no consistent adaptive relation to the current light environments. In the most extensively studied L-S pair, two populations of M. relicta (L (p) and S (p)) separated for less than 10,000 years, no differences translating into amino acid substitutions have been found in the opsin genes, and the chromophore of the visual pigments as analyzed by HPLC is pure A1. However, MSP experiments with spectrally selective bleaching show the presence of two rhodopsins (lambda (max) a parts per thousand 525-530 nm, MWS, and 565-570 nm, LWS) expressed in different proportions. ERG recordings of responses to "red" and "blue" light linearly polarized at orthogonal angles indicate segregation of the pigments into different cells differing in polarization sensitivity. We propose that the pattern of development of LWS and MWS photoreceptors is governed by an ontogenetic switch responsive to some environmental signal(s) other than light that generally differ(s) between lakes and sea, and that this reaction norm is conserved from a common ancestor of all three species.
  • Eskelin, Katri; Lampi, Mirka; Meier, Florian; Moldenhauer, Evelin; Bamford, Dennis H.; Oksanen, Hanna M. (2017)
    Viruses come in various shapes and sizes, and a number of viruses originate from extremities, e.g. high salinity or elevated temperature. One challenge for studying extreme viruses is to find efficient purification conditions where viruses maintain their infectivity. Asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) is a gentle native chromatography-like technique for size-based separation. It does not have solid stationary phase and the mobile phase composition is readily adjustable according to the sample needs. Due to the high separation power of specimens up to 50 A mu m, AF4 is suitable for virus purification. Here, we applied AF4 for extremophilic viruses representing four morphotypes: lemon-shaped, tailed and tailless icosahedral, as well as pleomorphic enveloped. AF4 was applied to input samples of different purity: crude supernatants of infected cultures, polyethylene glycol-precipitated viruses and viruses purified by ultracentrifugation. All four virus morphotypes were successfully purified by AF4. AF4 purification of culture supernatants or polyethylene glycol-precipitated viruses yielded high recoveries, and the purities were comparable to those obtained by the multistep ultracentrifugation purification methods. In addition, we also demonstrate that AF4 is a rapid monitoring tool for virus production in slowly growing host cells living in extreme conditions.
  • Viljanen, Martta L. M.; Nevala, Noora E.; Calais-Grano, Cecilia L.; Lindstrom, K. Magnus W.; Donner, Kristian (2017)
    The eyes of two glacial-relict populations of opossum shrimp Mysis relicta inhabiting the different photic environments of a deep, dark-brown freshwater lake and a variably lit bay of the Baltic Sea differ in their susceptibility to functional depression from strong light exposures. The lake population is much more vulnerable than the sea population. We hypothesized that the difference reflects physiological adaptation mechanisms operating on long time scales rather than genetically fixed differences between the populations. To test this, we studied how acclimation to ultra-slowly increased illumination (on time scales of several weeks to months) affected the resilience of the eyes to bright-light exposures. Light responses of whole eyes were measured by electroretinography, the visual-pigment content of single rhabdoms by microspectrophotometry and the structural integrity of photoreceptor cells by electron microscopy (EM). Slow acclimation mitigated and even abolished the depression of photoresponsiveness caused by strong light exposures, making a dramatic difference especially in the lake animals. Still, acclimation in the sea animals was faster and the EM studies suggested intrinsic differences in the dynamics of microvillar membrane cycling. In conclusion, we report a novel form of physiological adaptation to general light levels, effective on the time scale of seasonal changes. It explains part but not all of the differences in light tolerance between the lake and sea populations.
  • Versluis, Dennis; D'Andrea, Marco Maria; Garcia, Javier Ramiro; Leimena, Milkha M.; Hugenholtz, Floor; Zhang, Jing; Ozturk, Basak; Nylund, Lotta; Sipkema, Detmer; van Schaik, Willem; de Vos, Willem M.; Kleerebezem, Michiel; Smidt, Hauke; van Passel, Mark W. J. (2015)
    Antibiotic resistance genes are found in a broad range of ecological niches associated with complex microbiota. Here we investigated if resistance genes are not only present, but also transcribed under natural conditions. Furthermore, we examined the potential for antibiotic production by assessing the expression of associated secondary metabolite biosynthesis gene clusters. Metatranscriptome datasets from intestinal microbiota of four human adults, one human infant, 15 mice and six pigs, of which only the latter have received antibiotics prior to the study, as well as from sea bacterioplankton, a marine sponge, forest soil and sub-seafloor sediment, were investigated. We found that resistance genes are expressed in all studied ecological niches, albeit with niche-specific differences in relative expression levels and diversity of transcripts. For example, in mice and human infant microbiota predominantly tetracycline resistance genes were expressed while in human adult microbiota the spectrum of expressed genes was more diverse, and also included beta-lactam, aminoglycoside and macrolide resistance genes. Resistance gene expression could result from the presence of natural antibiotics in the environment, although we could not link it to expression of corresponding secondary metabolites biosynthesis clusters. Alternatively, resistance gene expression could be constitutive, or these genes serve alternative roles besides antibiotic resistance.
  • Seppänen, Allan; Törmänen, Iida; Shaw, Christopher; Kennedy, Harry (2018)
    Forensic psychiatric care must be provided within the least restrictive setting possible, whilst simultaneously maintaining appropriate levels of security. This presents particular challenges for the design of forensic psychiatric hospitals, which are required to provide both a therapeutic and a safe material environment, often for extended periods of treatment and rehabilitation. By taking into consideration variable trends in psychiatric service provision and myriad clinical, legal and ethical issues, interdisciplinary forensic facility design teams are at the very forefront in implementing the latest developments in medical architecture. Also, although there are significant differences in how forensic psychiatric services are organized around the world, the underlying clinical challenges and increasingly research-based treatment principles are similar worldwide; it is therefore becoming less acceptable to operate and develop national forensic services without reference to international standards. Accordingly, we here review the literature on what features of forensic psychiatric facilities best serve the needs of those patients who need to rely on them, and we present a systematic and widely applicable approach to the complex and costly challenge of modern forensic psychiatric hospital design.
  • Ribeiro, Ana Isabel; Fraga, Silvia; Kelly-Irving, Michelle; Delpierre, Cyrille; Stringhini, Silvia; Kivimäki, Mika; Joost, Stephane; Guessous, Idris; Gandini, Martina; Vineis, Paolo; Barros, Henrique (2019)
    Living in deprived neighbourhoods may have biological consequences, but few studies have assessed this empirically. We examined the association between neighbourhood deprivation and allostatic load, a biological marker of wear and tear, taking into account individual's socioeconomic position. We analysed data from three cohort studies (CoLaus-Switzerland; EPIPorto-Portugal; Whitehall II-UK) comprising 16,364 participants. We defined allostatic load using ten biomarkers of dysregulated metabolic, cardiovascular, and inflammatory systems (body mass index; waist circumference; total, high and low density lipoprotein cholesterol; trig lycerides; glucose; systolic and diastolic blood pressure; C-reactive protein). Mixed Poisson regression models were fitted to examine associations with neighbourhood deprivation (in quintiles, Q1-least deprived as reference). After adjustment for confounding variables, participants living in the most deprived quintile had 1.13 times higher allostatic load than those living in the least deprived quintile (Relative Risk, RR, for Q2 RR = 1.06, 95%CI 1.03-1.09; Q3 = 1.06, 1.03-1.10; Q4 = 1.09, 1.06-1.12; Q5 = 1.13, 1.09-1.16). This association was partially modified by individual's socioeconomic position, such that the relative risk was higher in participants with low socioeconomic position (Q5 vs Q11.16, 1.11-1.22) than those with high socioeconomic position (Q5 vs Q1 1.07, 1.11-1.13). Neighbourhood deprivation is associated with biological wear and tear, suggesting that neighbourhood-level interventions may yield health gains.
  • Mesimäki, Marja; Hauru, Kaisa; Kotze, D. Johan; Lehvavirta, Susanna (2017)
    Within the context of enhancing sustainable and livable urban environments, one aim is to establish multifunctional green infrastructure (GI). We argue that in order to successfully plan and manage the development of GI, an inclusive and future-oriented stance concerning the needs and expectations of urbanites is required. By using green roofs as an example, the aim of this paper was to offer insights into how people envisage novel GI in urban environments and to reveal the scope of meanings and values people attach to these kinds of green infrastructure. We present results based on 149 stories collected with the method of empathy-based stories. Respondents were asked to use their imagination to produce mental images of not-yet-existing green roofs in different urban situations. Our results reflect a rich set of dimensions of green roofs that the respondents vividly imagined. Green roofs may contribute to the livability of urban areas in multiple ways, such as strengthening social cohesion, providing space for everyday renewal and restoration, offering interesting sceneries and multisensory experiences, softening the hard cityscape, showing ephemeral events and making experiences of "height" possible, as well as increasing the "contact with nature" experiences for residents, e.g. through biodiverse nature in the middle of built environments. Furthermore, the need for local, customized solutions that offer different benefits and experiences was expressed. Using both qualitative and quantitative analyses, we idealized four green roof meta-types for understanding the diverse expectations people may have for green roofs in urban area: Urban farm, Oasis, Urban hill and Meadow. Based on our results we suggest that comprehensive experiences and needs of people should be taken into account when designing urban green roofs or urban green in general not only, e.g. visual pleasure. Also, site- and user-specific solutions should be considered instead of generally applied ones. Our results offer tools for, e.g. urban planners to understand the value of diverse green roof solutions to the user. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Jäntti, Anne Helena; Ward, Bess; Dippner, Joachim; Hietanen, Siru Susanna (2018)
    The redoxclines that form between the oxic and anoxic water layers in the central Baltic Sea are sites of intensive nitrogen cycling. To gain better understanding of nitrification, we measured the biogeochemical properties along with potential nitrification rates and analyzed the assemblages of ammonia oxidizing bacteria and archaea using functional gene microarrays. To estimate nitrification in the entire water column, we constructed a regression model for the nitrification rates and applied it to the conditions prevailing in the area in 2008-2012. The highest ammonia oxidation rates were found in a thin layer at the top of the redoxcline and the rates quickly decreased below detection limit when oxygen was exhausted. This is probably because extensive suboxic layers, which are known to harbor pelagic nitrification, are formed only for short periods after inflows in the Baltic Sea. The nitrification rates were some of the highest measured in the water columns, but the thickness of the layer where conditions were favorable for nitrification, was very small and it remained fairly stable between years. However, the depth of the nitrification layer varied substantially between years, particularly in the eastern Gotland Basin (EGB) due to turbulence in the water column. The ammonia oxidizer communities clustered differently between the eastern and western Gotland Basin (WGB) and the composition of ammonia oxidizing assemblages correlated with the environmental variables. The ammonia oxidizer community composition was more even in the EGB, which may be related to physical instability of the redoxcline that does not allow predominance of a single archetype, whereas in the WGB, where the position of the redoxcline is more constant, the ammonia-oxidizing community was less even. Overall the ammonia oxidizing communities in the Baltic Sea redoxclines were very evenly distributed compared to other marine environments where microarrays have been applied previously. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Silventoinen, Karri; Tatsuse, Takashi; Martikainen, Pekka; Rahkonen, Ossi; Lahelma, Eero; Sekine, Michikazu; Lallukka, Tea (2013)
    Background: Occupational class differences in body mass index (BMI) have been systematically reported in developed countries, but the studies have mainly focused on white populations consuming a Westernized diet. We compared occupational class differences in BMI and BMI change in Japan and Finland.Methods: The baseline surveys were conducted during 1998-1999 among Japanese (n = 4080) and during 2000-2002 among Finnish (n = 8685) public-sector employees. Follow-up surveys were conducted among those still employed, in 2003 (n = 3213) and 2007 (n = 7086), respectively. Occupational class and various explanatory factors were surveyed in the baseline questionnaires. Linear regression models were used for data analysis.Results: BMI was higher at baseline and BMI gain was more rapid in Finland than in Japan. In Finland, baseline BMI was lowest among men and women in the highest occupational class and progressively increased to the lowest occupational class; no gradient was found in Japan (country interaction effect, P = 0.020 for men and P < 0.0001 for women). Adjustment for confounding factors reflecting work conditions and health behavior increased the occupational class gradient among Finnish men and women, whereas factors related to social life had no effect. No statistically significant difference in BMI gain was found between occupational classes.Conclusions: The occupational class gradient in BMI was strong among Finnish employees but absent among Japanese employees. This suggests that occupational class inequalities in obesity are not inevitable, even in high-income societies.
  • Hailkari, Telle; Virtanen, Viivi; Vesalainen, Marjo; Postareff, Liisa (2022)
    Constructive alignment is often promoted as a principle to enhance the quality of learning but the student perspective has often been neglected when exploring its influence on student learning. There is therefore a need to further explore how students' experiences of the different elements of constructive alignment influence the approach to learning they adopt. Student perceptions and their approaches to learning were analysed. The results show that different elements of constructive alignment had a clear role in guiding student learning. The teaching and assessment related factors appeared to play a crucial role in guiding student learning and studying. Teaching and assessment that required students' active involvement clearly encouraged students to adopt a deep approach to learning whereas the opposite was true for more traditionally organised courses. The intended learning outcomes did not seem to influence student learning much. The results also imply that the key is to find an optimal level of challenge to support student learning and studying. The study deepens our understanding of the importance and influence of constructively aligned teaching to students' learning processes.
  • Reinius, Hanna; Korhonen, Tiina; Hakkarainen, Kai (2021)
    This exploratory case study examined the kinds of activity that a ‘deskless school” (i.e., flexible physical school spaces) engenders among pupils and teachers. We also considered the meaning and significance that pupils and teachers attach to various features of the school, as well as the associated action possibilities. The data were gathered in a new school in the Helsinki capital area that was architecturally designed to have flexible learning spaces (FLS) without traditional classrooms or desks for pupils in an attempt to encourage pedagogical renewal. The participants comprised 17 pupils in one second-grade class and their two teachers. The data were collected by participant observation (15 lessons over 3 weeks) and interviews with the teachers and groups of pupils. Those working in FLS engaged in collaborative learning and teaching activities. Pupils worked constantly in pairs or small groups and studied collaboratively. They also incorporated mobility into their own learning activities and developed agency by choosing how and where they would work. In particular, they appreciated being able to collaborate with their peers and freely choose where and how to study. Teachers approved of the school environment’s facilitation of collaborative learning and highlighted the importance of professional co-planning and other aspects of collaboration. Overall, the design of school environments matters at the pedagogical and professional level. With thoughtful planning, such design can support deeper collaboration among teachers and pupils, foster knowledge sharing, and even develop pupils’ agency. Although the learning space itself does not ensure change, it does enable new kinds of interaction and joint learning activities.