Recent Submissions

  • Kaartinen, Niina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In the modern abundant food environment, the relationship between dietary carbohydrates and health outcomes is complex. The main aims of this thesis were to investigate the role of added sugar intake in the diet, and the relationship between dietary carbohydrates, the dietary glycaemic index (GI) and load (GL) and obesity. Another aim was to examine the dietary assessment methodology from the dietary carbohydrates perspective. This study was based on health examination surveys in the Finnish adult population conducted in 2000-2007: the DILGOM Study, the National FINRISK/FINDIET 2007 Study, the Health 2000 Survey and the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study (overall n=13 800, age 25+). The examinations included measured anthropometrics and questionnaires. The habitual diet was assessed with a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Food records served as a reference method in FFQ validation. Food GI values were based on a previous Finnish epidemiological GI database and were documented using international controlled vocabularies used in the Finnish national food composition database (Fineli). Intake of added sugars was estimated based on sucrose and fructose derived from foods other than fruits, berries, vegetables, and 100% fruit juices. On average, 40% of sucrose and fructose were from natural sources and the remaining 60% were added sugars. Subjects in the highest added sugar intake quartile were younger and had lower fibre, fruit, vegetable, rye, and fish intakes than subjects in the lowest added sugar intake quartile. Added sugar intake was associated positively with the intake of butter and butter mixtures. These results support the recommendation for the restriction of added sugars in the diet. In the meta-analysis of three cross-sectional studies (n=12 342), 23% of the subjects were classified as obese (body mass index, BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). The likelihood of being obese was 35% lower in the highest quartile of total carbohydrate intake than in the lowest quartile. Total sucrose intake and dietary GL were also inversely associated with obesity. Dietary GI and fibre intake were not associated with obesity. Prospective cohort studies are needed to assess possible temporal relations. Instead of sucrose only, added sugars should be investigated. Between-method Spearman rank-correlation coefficients ranged from 0.27 (total sugars, men) to 0.70 (lactose, men). Based on the two methods, 73% of the subjects were correctly classified into the same or adjacent carbohydrate intake distribution quintile. Between-method agreement improved with decreasing age and with higher education, especially in women. The ability of the FFQ in ranking subjects according to most carbohydrate-related exposures is on the same level as in the international literature. However, sex, age and education represent important confounding factors. The origin and derivation methods of the GI values were successfully documented with the controlled vocabularies generally used in Fineli. This provides a foundation for the comparison of GI databases in international contexts.
  • Wikström, Katja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    During recent decades, changes in society and environment have led to changes in lifestyle. As a result, risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as obesity and physical inactivity, have increased in the population. Further, socioeconomic factors play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. The aim of the present study was to examine the role of socioeconomic status in determining the risk factors, occurrence, comorbidities, and prevention of type 2 diabetes. The present study is based on three population-based, cross-sectional surveys (FIN-D2D, FINRISK and AVTK), and one clinical, longitudinal, randomized intervention study (DPS). When appropriate, the incident diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases were identified through linkage with the national registers on reimbursement rights, hospitalizations, and mortality. Hyperglycaemia was more common among those with low education compared with those with medium and high education. The incidence of type 2 diabetes has increased among Finnish men, but not among women, and has occurred predominantly among men with low and middle educational attainment. Obesity explained some but not all of this variation between socioeconomic classes. On the other hand, no evidence was found to suggest that low socioeconomic status increases the development of comorbidities among people with diabetes or decreases the effectiveness of lifestyle intervention aiming to prevent type 2 diabetes among people at risk. Furthermore, the national diabetes prevention programme succeeded in increasing awareness of type 2 diabetes among the population, regardless of socioeconomic status. This study provides knowledge to support future activities to prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases and suggests that interventions can diminish health disparities.
  • Pyykkö, Joel (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Modern society produces vast amounts of digital data related to multiple domains of our lives. We produce data in our free time when browsing the net or taking photos with various personal devices, such as phones or ipads. Businesses and governments also gather a lot of information related to our interests, habits or otherwise personal information (legal status, health data, etc.). The amount of data produced is growning too large for us to be handled manually, and so to assist the user, specialized information retrieval systems have been developed to allow efficient perusal of different types of data. Unfortunately, as using such systems often requires expert understanding of the domain in question, many users get lost in their attempt to navigate the search space. This problem will only be exacerbated in the future, as the amount of data keeps growing, giving us less time to learn about the domains involved. Exploratory search is a field of research that studies user behaviour in situations, where users have little familiarity with the search domain, or have not yet decided exactly what their search goal is. Situations such as these arise when the user wishes to explore what is available, or is otherwise synthesizing or investigating the data. To assist the user in exploratory search and in finding relevant information, various methodologies may be employed, such as user modeling techniques or novel interfaces and data visualization techniques. This thesis presents exploratory search techniques for online personalization and feature representations that allow efficient perusal of unknown datasets. These methods are showcased in two different search environments. First, we present a search engine for scientific document retrieval, which takes the user's knowledge level into account in order to provide the user with more or less diverse search results. The second search environment aims at supporting the user when browsing through a dataset of unannotated images. Overall, the research presented here describes a number of techniques based on reinforcement learning and neural networks that, compared to traditional search engines, can provide better support for users who are unsure of the final goal of their search or who cannot easily formulate their search needs.
  • Quarto, Tiziana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    During the last decades neuroscientists have put significant efforts towards a definition of a unique and comprehensive emotion brain circuit. However, internal and external variables influencing emotion behavior are much more prominent than expected. The present doctoral thesis aims to add some crucial knowledge on individual differences of emotions, as well as their biological underpinnings, by merging evidence obtained with psychological, genetic and brain imaging assessments. In particular, I adopted a protocol of affective state induction, by which I investigated the effect of temporary variations of mood on the emotion processing in healthy subjects at both the behavioral and neuronal level. Then, I have also investigated the interaction between affective states and affective traits on the emotional behavior as well as the interaction between affective states and genetic traits. Moreover, this thesis has characterized in healthy subjects the neural correlates of the emotion intelligence ability, an additional important aspect in the emotional panorama. Finally, I studied emotion brain connectivity in a schizophrenia population and in a population of healthy subjects at familial or genetic risk for schizophrenia. Findings of the thesis demonstrated that temporary affective states are capable of modulating emotions even at an early, automatic stage of processing, at both behavioral and neuronal level. Moreover, this modulation is affected by personality and genetic traits of the individual. Furthermore, this thesis revealed that social and emotional abilities also represent a source of variability in the way brain processes the emotional information, positing the neural basis of conceivable interventions in this direction. Finally, the present work discovered that emotional anomalies in schizophrenia subtend a specific breakdown of the brain connectivity. Particularly, this breakdown is also found in healthy individuals at familial risk for schizophrenia or simply carrying a dopamine variant conferring risk for the disorder.
  • Tuovinen, Eeva-Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Smoking-specific weight concerns are one factor involved in smoking and the smoking cessation process. Previous literature has reported inconsistent findings regarding the association of weight concerns with self-efficacy and motivation to quit. In addition, inconsistent findings about smoking-specific weight concerns as an obstacle for quitting have been reported. Even though daily smokers tend to weigh less, they tend to have more abdominal obesity than never smokers. This thesis aimed to assess the level of smoking-specific weight concerns according to smoking status, the association of weight concerns with self-efficacy and motivation to quit, and weight concerns as a predictor of subsequent smoking status in the Finnish adult population. An additional aim was to assess the association of smoking with abdominal obesity. This thesis is based on national FINRISK/DILGOM studies conducted in 2007 and 2014. Four different datasets were used in this study. In 2007, a population-based sample of 10,000 Finnish people (67% participation rate) aged 25 to 74 years from six geographical regions was drawn from the Population Register to form FINRISK 2007. FINRISK 2007 data was used in Study IV. DILGOM 2007, a subsample of FINRISK 2007, was formed to study metabolic factors and obesity. Studies I and II utilised a special sub-sample of ever smokers identified within the DILGOM 2007 study. A sub-sample of ever smokers and follow-up DILGOM 2014 was used in Study III. Smoking status was mainly self-reported, with biochemically-verified data among sub-samples. Weight concerns were measured by a modified Weight Concern Scale administered in the 2007 questionnaire, and nicotine dependence by the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Self-efficacy and motivation to quit, as well as the majority of confounders, were also self-reported measures. Weight, height, waist circumference, and expired air carbon monoxide were measured by study nurses. Cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, was derived from blood samples. Daily smokers were found to have higher levels of weight concerns compared to occasional smokers, recent quitters, and former smokers. Among daily smokers, weight concerns were associated with lower self-efficacy to quit but not with lower motivation to quit. Nicotine dependence attenuated the association between weight concerns and self-efficacy to quit. Baseline weight concerns predicted smoking cessation and reduced tobacco usage by 2014 (from daily smoking to occasional use) among those daily smokers with low nicotine dependence (FTND 0–3), but not among those with high nicotine dependence (FTND ≥4). The association of smoking status with abdominal obesity was significant among women who were overweight/obese heavy daily (≥20 cigarettes per day) or ex-smokers. Daily smokers report more weight concerns compared to other ever smokers. Weight concerns are associated with a lower self-efficacy to quit among daily smokers. Weight concerns predict subsequent smoking status only among smokers who are not highly dependent on nicotine. Hence, in the Finnish population, weight concerns seem to have a role in some factors involved in the smoking cessation process. However, considering successful cessation as the outcome, those concerns seem to interplay with nicotine dependence. Among overweight/obese women, daily heavy smokers and ex-smokers have more abdominal obesity compared to never smokers. Further investigations in clinical settings, including longitudinal designs and repeated measurements during the smoking cessation process, may be useful to provide a deeper understanding of the complex interplay between weight concerns and other determinants of smoking cessation.
  • Culebro Escandon y Perez, Alejandra (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli are the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis, affecting approximately 96 million people around the world every year. Campylobacteriosis is characterized by diarrhoea, abrupt abdominal pain, and fever. Generally, the disease is self-limiting and resolves within a few days. Occasionally, neurological symptoms manifest clinically three weeks post-infection, indicating the onset of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is a polyradiculoneuropathy characterized by an acute progressive and symmetrical motor weakness of the extremities with varying degrees of areflexia. GBS has been established as a post-infectious sequelae, whose principal aetiological agent is C. jejuni. The C. jejuni-GBS link was the first confirmed case of human autoimmune disease caused by ganglioside mimicry. C. jejuni lipooligosaccharides (LOS) have been established as the main structure responsible for ganglioside mimicry. Studies on the genetic basis of ganglioside-like LOS expression in C. jejuni have identified the genes associated with the addition of sialic acid (Neu5Ac) to the LOS chain; neuA, neuB, neuC, and a gene encoding a sialyltransferase from the glycosyltransferase CAZy family 42 (GT-42). These genes are found within the LOS biosynthesis locus of C. jejuni. The existence of neuA, neuB, neuC, and GT-42 genes in C. coli is unknown, despite the fact that this species has also been isolated from GBS patients. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the diversity of the C. coli LOS biosynthesis locus with particular interest in identifying genetic features associated with the synthesis and transfer of Neu5Ac. C. coli was found to possess a more diverse LOS biosynthesis locus than previously thought. A total of 27 different LOS locus classes containing a GT-42 encoding gene were identified. Among these, 16 are potentially able to synthesize sialylated LOS structures. Interestingly, several LOS locus classes resemble those of C. jejuni involved in ganglioside mimicry. Thus, bacterial factors implicated in GBS aetiology can cross species barriers. Also, C. coli has a larger GT-42 enzyme repertoire than C. jejuni. Two of the most common GT-42 encoding genes in C. coli were found to be associated to the presence of nonulosonic acid in LOS structures. Marked differences in diversity in the LOS locus were observed between C. coli clades, suggesting a potential role of this structures in niche adaptation. The importance of LOS to C. coli ecology and host-pathogen interaction remains to be explored.
  • Häkkinen, Suvi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Previous imaging studies have shown that activation in human auditory cortex (AC) is strongly modulated during active listening tasks. However, the prevalent models of AC mainly focus on the processing of stimulus-specific information and speech and do not predict such task-dependent modulation. In the present thesis, functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure regional activation in AC during discrimination and n-back memory tasks in order to investigate the relationship between stimulus-specific and task-dependent processing (Study I) and inter-regional connectivity during rest and active tasks (Study III). In addition, source analysis of scalp-recorded event-related potentials was carried out to study the temporal dynamics of task-dependent activation in AC (Study II). In Study I, distinct stimulus-specific activation patterns to pitch-varying and location-varying sounds were similarly observed during visual (no directed auditory attention) and auditory tasks. This is consistent with the prevalent models which presume parallel and independent “what” (e.g. pitch) and “where” processing streams. As expected, discrimination and n-back memory tasks were associated with distinct task-dependent activation patterns. These activation patterns were independent of whether subjects performed pitch or location versions of these tasks. Thus, AC activation during discrimination and n-back memory tasks cannot be explained by enhanced stimulus-specific processing (of pitch and location). Consistently, Study II showed that the task-dependent effects in AC occur relatively late (200–700 ms from stimulus onset) compared to the latency of stimulus-specific pitch processing (0–200 ms). In Study III, the organization of human AC was investigated based on functional connectivity. Connectivity-based parcellation revealed a network structure that consisted of six modules in supratemporal plane, temporal lobe, and inferior parietal lobule in both hemispheres. Multivariate pattern analysis showed that connectivity within this network structure was significantly modulated during the presentation of sounds (visual task) and auditory task performance. Together the results of this thesis show that (1) activation in human AC strongly depends on the requirements of the listening task and that task-dependent modulation is not due to enhanced stimulus-specific processing, (2) regions in inferior parietal lobule play an important role in the processing of both task-irrelevant and task-relevant auditory information in human AC, and (3) the activation patterns in human AC during the presentation of task-irrelevant and task-relevant sounds cannot be fully explained by a hierarchical model in which information is processed in two parallel processing streams.
  • Medvedeva, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This doctoral thesis focuses on international master’s programs and develops an analytic typology of normative ideas, planning, and practices for understanding gaps in internationalization. The study sees internationalization as an empty term that acquires meaning in context. As a socially constructed phenomenon, it emerges through a variety of competing perspectives. The macro-planning of internationalization relies on economic and political conditions; it envisions a broad societal impact. This context gives little room for university agency in developing internationalization for academic purposes. Internationalization implementation at the institutional level adds complexity to everyday functioning, rather than offering solutions to new challenges. Critiques of internationalization often use references to the university system of the Middle Ages, where institutional functioning was not tied to the market. Despite the inconsistency of this metaphor, it raises a useful discussion about expectations regarding institutions of higher education. Currently, the university is aligned with the state economically and politically, while the individual dimension of internationalization is overlooked. Ideas of reacting to globalization and remaining competitive dominate those of transforming knowledge sources and rethinking curricula. This study conducts an analysis of four English-medium master’s programs at three universities in Finland. These programs exemplify long-term internationalization. Along with the macro context of development revealed through document analysis, research elicits individual perspectives on internationalization through interviews with students and teachers, revealing individuals’ inclusion in higher education processes. Use of discourse analysis also brings attention to omissions and inconsistencies in the representations of internationalization. Inquiry suggests that despite academic and planning discussion turning towards “holistic” and long-term internationalization, in the way it is operationalized in documents and individual responses it is still featured as an external characteristic. It is a separate university activity in terms of administrative efforts, managing content and viewing results. The framework of ‘internationalization at home’ is not overcoming the isolation of international students and master’s programs within the university. Arguments in the discussion about internationalization gaps point towards a lack of cohesion between normative ideas, planning and practices. Economic and political rationales prevail in the macro discourse, and further dimensions of internationalization appear in the analysis of everyday implementation and individual perspectives. Current planning and indicators do not track the emergent processes in education, where internationalization acquires a situational value. Meanwhile, due to a lack of agency, the university often fails to develop and sustain internationalization for academic purposes.
  • Kiiski, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common inflammatory skin disease characterized by impaired epidermal skin barrier and a mainly Th2 deviated immune profile. Filaggrin is an important protein of the skin barrier, and loss-of-function (null) mutations in the filaggrin gene (FLG) are the most significant genetic risk factor of AD. Genetic factors cannot explain the rapid increase of AD, and gene–environment interactions seem important. Outcome-predicting biomarkers could help in identifying the patients in need of closer follow-up. FLG null mutations and serum total immunoglobulin E (IgE), a general marker of Th2 immune deviation, are proposed biomarkers. Adulthood AD is often accompanied by atopic blepharoconjunctivitis that can at worst lead to vision-threatening complications. Topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are commonly used for this indication, but the long-term ocular safety data are scarce. There is a paucity of epidemiological research on adulthood AD and little is known about the effect of acquired factors. We investigated associations of FLG mutations with AD in the Finnish population and tested the usefulness of these mutations and total IgE as outcome-predicting biomarkers. Addi¬tionally, we explored the effect of other patient-related deter¬minants on the long-term outcome and gained novel ocular safety data of TCIs. We determined the prevalence of adulthood AD in Finland and explored the effect of acquired risk factors. We utilized university clinic cohorts of 501 patients with AD and 338 ophthalmologist-followed patients with atopic blepharoconjunctivitis, and a nationally representative cohort of 8,026 Finns ≥ 30 years of age. FLG mutations were associated with AD, asthma, early onset, palmar hyperlinearity, and keratosis pilaris but they did now show associations with long-term outcome. Only a fraction of patients carried the common European FLG mutations—a possibility of an unrecognized Finnish-specific mutation remains. Their value as a predictive biomarker in adulthood AD seems low. Conversely, total IgE seems an inexpensive outcome-predicting biomarker in adulthood AD with values ≥ 10,000 IU/ml being the most significant factor predicting poor outcome. Both TCIs demonstrated good safety in the treatment of atopic blepharoconjunctivitis with no long-term safety concerns. Tacrolimus seemed better tolerated and more effective than pimecrolimus. Female sex and current smoking were associated with AD in adult subjects of 30–50 years of age. Ex-smokers and subjects with highly educated parents had more AD. The prevalence of adulthood AD in Finland is among the highest in the world with a lifetime prevalence of 21.8% and a 12-month prevalence of 10% making it an important public health issue.
  • Ulvila, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In the current study, I experimentally demonstrate a new technique for generating a mid-infrared optical frequency comb (OFC). The motivation for this work stems from importance of coherent light sources to molecular spectroscopy, particularly in the mid-infrared region, where the strong fundamental molecular vibration-rotation absorption bands lie. Coherent light sources are needed to provide the best available sensitivity and selectivity in the spectroscopy experiments. As a prelude for the OFC research, an optical parametric oscillator operating close to signal-idler degeneracy was also examined in this thesis. The OFC generator investigated here is based on cascaded quadratic optical nonlinearities (CQNs), an approach that was first discovered as a part of the current study. By applying the new method inside a continuous-wave pumped optical parametric oscillator (OPO), a high-power mid-infrared OFC was produced by simple near-infrared laser pumping. Here, I present a rigorous experimental study of the new mid-infrared OFC generator. In particular, I verify the CQN comb mode spacing uniformity and demonstrate tuning of the center wavelength, offset frequency, and the mode spacing of the mid-infrared comb. I also apply a parametric seeding technique to improve the spectral quality of the comb. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the CQN method is capable of generating multioctave-spanning composite frequency combs. These results demonstrate the potential of the new OFC generation method for demanding molecular spectroscopy experiments. Utilization of an OFC source in field applications of molecular spectroscopy requires a robust and compact experimental platform. At the end of this thesis, I present preliminary results of our work towards miniaturization of the CQN comb generator using an optical waveguide device.
  • Mäkelä, Maarit (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a thin film deposition method. Typically, an ALD thin film is deposited on a substrate in a heated reaction chamber in vacuum by exposing the substrate to ALD precursors. Commonly a metal precursor and a co-reactant, either an oxidizing or a reducing agent, are used. The film growth in ALD is self-limiting. Thickness of the film can be precisely controlled. ALD thin films are also conformal meaning that the films mimic the structures of the substrates. Plasma-enhanced ALD (PEALD) is an energy enhanced version of thermal ALD. The use of highly reactive radicals instead of the thermal co-reactant is the main difference between the thermal and plasma-enhanced ALD processes. The main drawback of PEALD is issued to be poor conformality of the PEALD thin films caused by the recombination of the radicals on the walls of the nanostructures. Potential applications of silver and gold thin films deposited by ALD include photonics, catalysis and electronics among others. In these applications conformal thin films with precisely controlled thickness are wanted. The main aim of this study was to develop thermal or plasma-enhanced ALD processes for these metals. Literature survey showed that there exist only a few ALD processes of silver and one PEALD study of gold. The main reason for the small number of processes has been the lack of thermally stable metal precursors. In ALD it is essential to have a thermally stable precursor to ensure the self-limiting growth. During this study several silver and gold compounds were evaluated for ALD. One silver, gold(I) and gold(III) precursor were chosen for the ALD experiments. The silver precursor was applied with plasma-activated hydrogen in a PEALD process and with a reducing agent in a thermal process. It exhibited self-limiting growth in both processes. An ALD gold process was developed with the gold(III) precursor applied with an oxidizing agent. The gold(I) precursor applied with a reducing agent produced pure gold thin films, but no self-limiting ALD process was established. The other aim of the study was to apply the silver PEALD process to two potential applications as case studies. Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates were coated with silver. Raman intensity of the adsorbed molecules on the silver surface was studied. Significant enhancement in the Raman response of the molecules on the SERS substrates was shown when compared to a neat solution. In the second study, the Ag process was applied to coat titanium dioxide nanotubes and nanoneedles on titanium implants. The silver nanoparticles on implants created an antimicrobial response. In both studies the main advantage of applying ALD was that the amount of silver deposited was precisely controlled.
  • Syrjälä, Väinö (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This study focuses on the effect language use in the public space has for language users’ perception of towns in bilingual Finland and how these perceptions construe specific bilingual places. Of central concern is the methodology used within both onomastics and the general study of linguistic landscapes: I ask, what is the best way to take into account the views of language users in these kinds of studies? A fundamental starting point is the distinction between geographical spaces and socially significant, perceived places. Furthermore, an analysis of the role of proper names in the linguistic landscapes, and of the perceptions of linguistic places, allows for a discussion of the status of Swedish in the Finnish society. The study is carried out within the sociolinguistic branch of linguistic landscape studies, a field with focus on visual language use in public spaces. I have also used more ethnographic (folk-onomastic) methods to study the views of language users. The study uses three types of material: (1) an analysis of the linguistic landscapes in the bilingual towns Grankulla and Karis in Southern Finland; (2) a questionnaire targeted at language users from these same towns; and (3) an experimental case-study of teenagers’ own observations of the linguistic landscape in two suburbs of Helsinki. My thesis consists of five articles. In three of these, my focus is on the use of proper names. Taking a socio-onomastic approach I discuss the relation between name and place in the light of language users’ choice between parallel toponyms (article A), the role of names in the linguistic landscape of bilingual Finland (article C), and the relation between commercial naming and bilingualism of the society (article D). In the remaining two articles my focus is on language users’ views on the linguistic landscape: inhabitants’ perceptions of and preferences for language use in the public space (article B) and teenagers’ observations (article E). The results of my study highlight the important role that linguistic landscapes have for the perceived bilingualism of the towns and suburbs analysed. Swedish is, and is perceived to be, visible in the public space. This is, however, to a large extent due to the official, regulated language use. The subordinate position of the language in commercial contexts still raises questions about its actual status in the society. The use of proper names does not support an unambiguous sense of a bilingual place either. Overall, the perceptions of language users are based on more factors than simply the visible use of names and languages in the public space. The use of different methods shows the methodological potential for new perspectives on the study of linguistic landscapes. With a questionnaire one can relatively easily analyse the reliability of a researcher’s own understanding of a linguistic landscape in relation to the perceptions of other language users. By taking into account their views, even questions about the visibility of certain signs and their importance for the perceived status of a language in a society can be approached in greater detail. Proper names are an integral part of all linguistic landscapes. At the same time, they are often open for different interpretations. This is why I argue that names should be made more visible in every analysis of linguistic landscapes. Further studies are needed to shed light on how names are being interpreted in the multimodal context of language in public space.
  • Jääskeläinen, Tuija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Vitamin D is essential for skeletal health. In recent decades, vitamin D deficiency has also been suggested to be an independent risk factor for other harmful health outcomes. In the early 2000s, vitamin D status of the Finnish population was insufficient. Thus, during 2000s nutritional policy acts, including voluntary, systematic fortification of fluid milk products and fat spreads, were executed to improve the vitamin D status of the Finnish population. The aims of the present study were to examine the vitamin D status of Finnish adults, its sociodemographic, lifestyle and metabolic health related determinants and the temporal change between the years 2000-2011. The study also aimed to examine whether low vitamin D status is associated with depression prevalence or predicts weight gain or an increase in waist circumference during the 11-year follow-up. The study population consisted of participants aged 30 years and over from the nationally representative Health 2000 Survey (n=8028) and its follow-up, the Health 2011 Survey (n=7964).The Health 2000/2011 Survey included questionnaires, interviews and a comprehensive health examination including laboratory measurements. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration, a measure of vitamin D status, was analysed by radioimmunoassay in 2000 for 6134 (76%) participants and in 2011 by chemiluminescent immunoassay for 4051 (51%) participants. To improve the comparability of the methods, measurements were standardized according to the Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP). Information on diet was assessed by a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Diagnosis of depression was based on a Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and current depressive symptoms on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Statistical analyses were based on linear and logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounding factors. In 2000, more than half of the Finnish adult population had a vitamin D status under 50 nmol/L, which is generally considered to be insufficient. Remarkable improvement was seen during the 2000s leading to over 90% of adults having sufficient vitamin D status in 2011. The increase was mainly explained by the systematic vitamin D fortification policy and increased use of vitamin D supplements, but also other factors may have contributed to improvement. In 2011, a sufficient vitamin D status was possible to reach without the use of supplements if vitamin D fortified milk products and fat spreads were consumed daily and fish at least twice a week. Further, the results showed that vitamin D status was positively associated with a healthy lifestyle measured with 5-item lifestyle index. In men, low vitamin D status was cross-sectionally associated with a higher prevalence of depressive disorder and predicted an increase in waist circumference during the 11-year follow-up but not weight gain. In women, vitamin D status was not associated with either depressive disorder and symptoms or increase in waist circumference and weight gain. In conclusion, low vitamin D status as a potential public health concern in Finland has improved during the 2000s, indicating the success of nutritional policy acts. The results of the present study do not overall consistently support the hypothesis that low vitamin D status is an independent risk factor for depression or obesity. However, it is possible that low vitamin D status may be associated with a higher risk of abdominal obesity especially in men, but the association may also be due to residual confounding.
  • Ruohoalho, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The incidence of complications is one of the most commonly used outcome measure in surgery. Systematic registration of complications creates possibilities to monitor and improve quality of care, allows comparison between the treating units and provides tools for treatment decisions and patient education. Complication prevalence of three common procedures in Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (ORL-HNS) was evaluated to discover predisposing factors for complications, and to develop a feasible prospective registration system for surgical complications in ORL-HNS. Additionally, this pursuit of register development has resulted in Department of ORL-HNS, HUH, participation in the Nordic Tonsil Surgery Register Collaboration (NTSRC). Postoperative complications of tonsil surgery and comprehensiveness of prospective complication data recording was assessed in 573 patients. The overall complication rate was 13.8%, with secondary hemorrhage being the most common complication (9.6%). Altogether 69.6% of patients with a complication were identified in prospective data retrieval. The pitfalls of registration process were assessed. Procedure-specific incidences of complications after benign parotid surgery and predictive factors for the postoperative facial nerve dysfunction were evaluated in 132 patients. On the first postoperative day, 40.2% of patients had facial palsy. Palsy rates in the subgroups of extracapsular dissection, partial superficial parotidectomy, superficial parotidectomy, and extended parotidectomy were 6.3%, 41.5%, 43.8%, and 53.8%, respectively. Age, duration of surgery and use of ultrasound knife were identified as independent risk factors for transient facial palsy. Third study evaluated the outcome of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) inserted by ORL-HN surgeons and assessed the delays in comparison with earlier practice of referring the patients needing PEG to gastrointestinal surgeons. Four patients (3.2%) had a major complication. Peristomal granulomatous tissue was the most common minor complication (18.5%). Independence from gastrointestinal surgeons’ services reduced the time-delay and enhanced the availability of urgent PEG placements. The fourth study was a systematic literature review of tonsil surgery quality registers, and an introduction of the NTSRC, which is the first reported international register collaboration project within the specialty of ORL-HNS. The systematic review revealed five registries, quality improvement programs, or comprehensive audit programs with an inclusion principle of tonsil surgery. Two of them had ongoing activity. The three prospective studies acted as pilot projects for surgical complication registration at Department of ORL-HNS, HUH, and a long-term objective is to develop a systematic surgical quality register to our unit. One part of it is the tonsil surgery register, which features are more specifically discussed.
  • Ouma, Katono (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This is a study of the micropolitics of land and labour in the context of a wetland in western Kenya that has been subject to a long history of a development-endorsed agricultural scheme that was initiated by British colonial rulers, later by Kenya’s powerful state actors, and finally as part of the more recent food, fuel and finance-influenced global interest on land. In 2003, the Kenyan Government leased 6,900 hectares of land to an American-based investor for large-scale rice production. Drawing on eight months of ethnographic research, this study illustrates the significant transformation that accompanies large scale agricultural enterprises facilitated by land grabs. It resonates with the narrative that is often told about the differentiation of the peasantry, and the sharp inequalities that emerge from this process. While the forceful expulsion of peasant populations has received significant attention in the land grab literature, the labour dimension remains largely underexplored, with empirical studies on the subject scant. This study examines the experiences of local people who have been incorporated into the foreign-owned agricultural scheme in various capacities. Engaging labour as a central empirical category, it examines the labour regime and practices instituted in the enterprise, therefore bringing into focus a critical space for analysing workers’ everyday work lives. Borrowing from Michael Burawoy’s work on industrial labour regimes and processes, the thesis argues that struggles and conflicts between enterprise managers and workers are not just structural but are a result of a particular way in which labour processes at the site of production are organised. Hence, what requires analyses are the dynamics of the ‘relations in production’ which is distinct from the ‘relations of production’ and be defined as the social relations between and amongst workers. This study therefore elucidates some of the everyday labour struggles, conflicts, hierarchies and solidarities that emerge from the nature of the production of labour regimes instituted. This thesis also examines how seasonal/casual workers individually and collectively consolidate and negotiate their positions in the sphere of work. Using James Scott’s notion of ‘infrapolitics’ as real politics, the study analyses the covert and insidious avenues through which workers assert their claims and express their resistance. On this particular scheme, permanent recruits have established themselves as key figures with wide-ranging roles and responsibilities. They seemed to have monopolised significant portions of the ‘pie’ and have diminished the boundaries within which the casual workforce can survive and make a decent living as agricultural labourers. Routine covert resistance by casual recruits indicates a concerted effort to renegotiate the margins of existing labour relationships, to test what can be gotten away with, and to include these margins as a part of a tolerable claim. Resistance on this agricultural project resembles nothing that one would imagine in the typical history of rural politics. There are no riots, strikes or open violent conflict. The kind of resistance that occurs here is cautious. It seems to address workers’ immediate concerns without necessarily challenging and compromising the existence of the agricultural scheme in question. The infrapolitics that occurs on this enterprise is part of a more general desire by local residents who have been abandoned by the State and hope to be free of poverty, despite the limited opportunities that the agricultural scheme provides them. This thesis has relevance for scholars and policy makers that are keen on the transformations that occur in the wake of the more recent global revaluation of land, and more specifically, in the labour politics that play out within emergent agribusiness enterprises. KEY WORDS: Land grab, labour, land, ethnography, hierarchies, rivalries, differentiation, micropolitics, wetlands, resistance, infrapolitics, conflict.