Doctoral dissertations

Recent Submissions

  • Kumar, Abhishek (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The vision made in the article "The Computer for the 21st Century" by Mark Weiser in the year 1991 is widely credited as laying the foundation of ubiquitous computing. In the following years, technological advances in smartphone technologies, the internet of things (IoT), and mobile networking successfully turned this vision into a reality. Users only need to carry a miniature pocket-size computer, now known as \emph{smartphones} to access service anywhere and anytime. The massive deployment of edge data centres around the world has enabled users to enjoy even those services which require a significant amount of computational resources, more than those available on the smartphone. In nutshell, mobile devices, such as smartphones, have become a gateway through which all user information flows (from the user, as well as to the user). While mobile devices have proved to be a true enabler of Mark Weiser's vision, they have also made it easy for external entities to take a peek at users' personal space more closely than ever before. Strong security measures often tend to have a high computational cost which can impede the user's quality of experience (QoE). The ubiquitous adoption of mobile devices and IoT devices such as Amazon Alexa is primarily driven by the utilities they provide to users. It is well documented that many users tend to stop using privacy/security measures after some time if they impede the quality of experience. Thus, it makes it essential to ensure that measures intended for protecting users' privacy and well-being do not impede users' QoE significantly. This thesis provides a collection of novel frameworks to enable privacy and robustness in a ubiquitous environment. It focuses on both active interactions of users with smartphones and headsets in the foreground, as well as passive interactions with smart devices deployed in the background. For enabling privacy and well-being in users' daily interactions, the thesis proposes novel frameworks to enable privacy preservation in ubiquitous short text messaging and daily conversations. At the same, the thesis also considers the need for a robust interaction mechanism in the upcoming age of the metaverse. For enabling well-being in passive interactions, the thesis proposes a robust learning framework. To ensure privacy and well-being without noticeable depreciation in the quality of experience, the thesis proposes a non-probabilistic framework for multimedia context identification which has significantly lower computational overhead. Finally, the thesis proposes a vision of a paradigm shift from the current data ecosystem to the model ecosystem which will enable privacy at a macroscopic level.
  • Vihma, Peeter (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Contemporary environmental governance is concerned with the ability of government organizations and governance to produce and react to new knowledge. This dissertation studies how temporary organizations (TOs), that is projects, contribute to such concerns. Optimists see great potential in projects because they engage diverse organizations in collaborative efforts, experimenting with new ideas and adapting to changing circumstances with the overall aim of producing reflexive institutional innovations. Potential problems and frictions emerge when projects are viewed relationally from the perspective of how they interact with permanent organizations (POs). This dissertation addresses the following crucial questions: How do projects engage with permanent actors in the policy network, and what are the institutional outcomes of this engagement? To answer these questions, it employs the concept of interfaces based on prior studies on collaborative, experimental and adaptive governance and contemporary understandings of projects as embedded networks. The concept of interfaces is applied to projects in the context of Estonian forest governance. Already after the re-independence of the country in the 1990s, collaborative governance was established as a means for developing Estonian forest policy. In addition to national-level efforts, numerous projects, often funded by the European Union, support experimental and adaptive efforts of organizations. At the same time, however, tensions in the field are so high that colloquially they are referred to as a “Forest War.” After first mapping the Estonian forest policy network, the dissertation studies two project portfolios in relation to this policy network: projects from the European Commission’s LIFE program with explicit aim of experimental policy development, and a research and development project from the Estonian Research Council’s RITA program. The empirical study relies on a mixed methods approach combining a quantitative network study and qualitative analysis of interviews and documents. The analysis reveals that structural embeddedness of projects in permanent organizations is central to the potential of projects to produce institutional innovations. Interfaces contribute to the legitimacy of information, actors, and processes, the relative proximity of project partners, and the flexibility of interactions and uses of knowledge. Central actors in the network use their position to legitimize certain existing problem definitions and institutional pathways. When projects break with these pathways and produce fresh and promising solutions, permanent organizations are able to distance themselves from TOs if new knowledge does not align with their goals. While project intermediaries contribute to flexibility in the use of new knowledge, their position in and the structure of permanent organizations limits the potential for change. The dissertation argues that interfaces is a useful concept for analyzing projects as mechanisms of reflexive governance. It allows for a critical reflection on the potential of projects to induce institutional change, whether incremental or disruptive.
  • Törmänen, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Sustainable forest management practices are crucial for minimizing environmental impacts, and to keep forests and the underlying soils healthy to maintain productivity, and to improve adaptability to climate change and mitigate it in the long-term. There, carbon and nitrogen cycling play crucial roles in proper functioning of forest ecosystems. The overall aim of this thesis was to explore the effects of logging residues on the early-stage dynamics of the main nitrogen and carbon cycling processes in upland forest soils after final felling. A specific aim was to compare the effects of logging residue piles consisting of different tree species, i.e., Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), and silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.). A special attention was given to the response of soil to different amounts of residues. The effect of logging residues on soil chemical properties and processes was stronger in the organic layer than in the mineral soil layer. Logging residue piles stimulated carbon and nitrogen cycling, especially net nitrification within the first year after the residue treatment. Subsequently, nitrogen was lost via leaching as nitrate and gaseous emission as nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide fluxes were generally low, although higher in the plots containing logging residues. Spruce residues tended to stimulate nitrous oxide emissions for longer than the residues of the other tree species. Depending on the tree species, nitrous oxide production originated from both autotrophic nitrification and denitrification. Nitrogen concentrations in the soil percolate water already accelerated one year after the establishment of the residue piles. Logging residues increased nitrate and ammonium concentrations, which were highest under birch residues. The effect of logging residue piles on soil was stronger when compared to milder tree species effects. Biological nitrogen fixation activity tended to be higher in branches than in needles or leaves, and higher in coniferous residues. The results of this study raise the importance of more even distribution of logging residues on the forest floor instead of piling them to avoid harmful environmental effects and to maintain soil nutrient balance. The ability of soils to retain nitrogen needs additional attention in forest management practices, especially in boreal areas where nitrogen limits the growth of forests.
  • Manninen, Eetu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This thesis analyses the development of the inner-outer distinction in the early thought of Augustine of Hippo from his conversion in 386 to his Confessiones (397–400). This is done by using the twofold method of close reading and terminological analysis. The main argument is that the changes that occurred in Augustine’s way of conceptualizing the relationship between the soul and sensible reality significantly affected his way of understanding this relationship. This study approaches Augustine’s use of the inner-outer distinction through three categories: inner-outer terminology, the terminology of return, and inner-outer imagery. Inner-outer terminology includes words for the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ (e.g., intus and foris). The terminology of return consists of metaphors that describe the human soul’s relation to sensible reality and to God as ‘movement’. According to Augustine, the soul should, for instance, ‘turn away’ (auerto) from the sensible and ‘turn to’ (conuerto) God, or ‘return’ (redeo) to God. Finally, inner-outer imagery is used by Augustine express the content of the inner-outer distinction without necessarily explicitly juxtaposing the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ or the soul’s opposite ‘movements’ with each other. The most important of such kinds of images is that of the heart (cor). The background, methodology, and outline of this thesis are explained in detail in Chapter I. I have divided my work into three parts that reflect Augustine’s chronological development. Part I includes Chapters II, III, and IV and considers the developments that occurred during the years 386–388. Chapter II analyses the first three of Augustine’s early Cassiciacum dialogues, while Chapter III is devoted to the final work from his Cassiciacum period, Soliloquia. In these works, the inner-outer distinction is almost exclusively articulated by the terminology of return. They also famously have a more negative attitude towards sensible reality than Augustine’s later works. In Chapters II and III I argue that Augustine’s negative view of sensible reality is reinforced and structured by his way of conceptualizing the soul’s relation to sensible world and to God exclusively through the terminology of return. I also contend that this conceptualization constitutes what I call the schema of return, through which Augustine thought that the soul’s ‘movement’ should be onedirectionally away from sensible reality and to God and intelligible truths. Chapter IV analyses Augustine’s post-Cassiciacum works from 387–388 and especially his considerations on sense-perception and the soul-body relationship. I observe that these works that continue to conceptualize the soul’s relation to the sensible and to God through the terminology of return at the same time contain a more positive appreciation of the body and sense-perception. I argue that this ambivalence was the principal factor behind the terminological turning-point that coincided with Augustine’s return to Africa in 388. This terminological turning-point is analysed in detail in Chapters V and VI, which constitute Part II of my thesis. The principal source of Chapter V is De magistro (389), in which Augustine laid out his famous account of learning through the presence of Christ the inner teacher in the human soul. In this dialogue and the successive works Augustine starts to use inner-outer terminology to relate the soul to sensible reality and to God. Chapter VI considers Augustine’s works from 390 and 391. In these chapters I argue that conceptualizing the soul’s relationship to sensible reality and to God through inner-outer terminology enabled Augustine to present sensible reality not only in a negative manner – as was the case in Augustine’s early use of the terminology of return – but also in neutral and even positive ways. I also maintain that treating the relationship between the soul and the sensible as an interplay of the ‘inner’ soul and ‘external’ sensible world had significant consequences for Augustine’s way of seeing the visible reality. In Chapter VI it is also argued that presenting the relationship between the soul and the sensible through inner-outer terminology also led Augustine to modify theory of sense-perception. Part III includes Chapters VII and VIII, which consider Augustine’s presbyterate and early episcopacy (years 392–396) and his Confessiones, respectively. Chapter VII focuses on the emergence of the image of the heart as an important way of expressing the inner-outer distinction. I argue that during the presbyterate Augustine increasingly used the metaphor of the heart to express the content of the inner-outer distinction, which he formerly articulated solely through the terminology of return and inner-outer terminology. It is observed that this way of presenting the inner-outer distinction mitigated the opposition between the inner and the outer. This trend is developed further in Confessiones, where Augustine stresses the soul’s inner healing through grace of God as the foundation of the inner-outer relationship between the soul and the sensible: in a sinful state, humans are dominated by worldly desires and unable to turn towards God, while when interiorly healed by God, they see the beauty of God’s creation and are enticed to turn towards God by this very beauty. It is also observed that this vision provides a structure for the totality of Confessiones. Finally, the findings of this thesis are discussed in Chapter IX. This thesis demonstrates that notable development occurred in Augustine’s way of using the inner-outer distinction, and that this development significantly affected his way of seeing the relationship between the soul and the sensible. It also contributes to our understanding of the evolution of Augustine’s thought by showing the limitations of a stark opposition between the elements of continuity and discontinuity in his intellectual development.
  • Lahelma, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) have become major health concerns due to the global obesity epidemic. Both conditions increase the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), and their mechanisms partially lie in dysregulated lipid metabolism. Obesity is the leading risk factor for NAFLD and the MetS, but not all obese individuals develop these metabolic abnormalities. The risk may be modulated by lifestyle factors, which also remain the cornerstone of the treatment of NAFLD, the MetS, and ASCVD. However, their role has not been fully elucidated. Aims: The present series of studies was undertaken to better understand the role of lifestyle factors and lipid metabolism in NAFLD, the MetS, and ASCVD. Specifically, we wished to determine i) whether the characterization of lifestyle factors can help identify obese patients who have advanced NAFLD with fibrosis (NAFLD-fibrosis), ii) how physical training using a weighted hula-hoop influences abdominal obesity and the associated metabolic parameters compared to walking, iii) how the lipid composition of the liver is related to the lipid composition and aggregation susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, and iv) how overfeeding different macronutrients influences the proatherogenic properties of LDL particles. Participants and methods: We cross-sectionally examined a group of 100 (Study I), and 40 (Study III) obese individuals. Fifty-five abdominally obese participants underwent a cross-over designed trial addressing different forms of physical activity (PA) (Study II), and 36 participants underwent a three-week overfeeding intervention comparing three different diets (Study IV). The participants were randomized to hula-hooping for six weeks using a 1.5 kg weighted hula-hoop followed by energy expenditure matched walking for another six weeks or vice versa (Study II), and to daily consuming an extra 1000 kilocalories from either saturated fat, unsaturated fat, or simple sugars (Study IV). Physical and biochemical parameters were measured during clinical visits (Studies I–IV), and liver histology was assessed from liver biopsies (Studies I, III). Lifestyle factors (PA, diet, sleep, fatigue, smoking) were assessed using questionnaires and face-to-face interviews, and PA was also assessed objectively using accelerometer recordings (Study I). The lipid compositions of the liver (Study III) and isolated LDL particles (Studies III–IV) were measured using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. The aggregation susceptibility of LDL particles was measured ex vivo by inducing aggregation with human recombinant acid sphingomyelinase (Studies III–IV). The proteoglycan-binding of plasma lipoproteins and the concentrations of oxidized LDL were also measured (Study IV). Abdominal obesity was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (Study II). Results: Low levels of self-reported moderate-to-vigorous PA, high red meat intake, low relative carbohydrate intake, and smoking independently were associated with the presence of NAFLD-fibrosis in obese participants. The characterization of these lifestyle factors, in addition to known physical, biochemical, and genetic risk factors, significantly improved the identification of patients with NAFLD-fibrosis (Study I). Weighted hula-hooping decreased abdominal fat % and lowered LDL-cholesterol in abdominally obese individuals in comparison to walking (Study II). Walking, on the other hand, decreased blood pressure and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol. The fatty acid total carbon number and double bond compositions of the triglycerides, sphingomyelins, and phosphatidylcholines in the liver were strongly associated with those in LDL particles. Hepatic dihydroceramides and ceramides correlated positively with the concentrations of the corresponding sphingomyelin species in LDL, as well as with increased LDL aggregation susceptibility (Study III). Overfeeding saturated fat increased the content of sphingolipids and saturated triglycerides in LDL as well as LDL aggregation susceptibility. Overfeeding unsaturated fat reduced the proteoglycan-binding of plasma lipoproteins, whereas no changes were observed during carbohydrate overfeeding (Study IV). Conclusions: Lifestyle factors, that is, both diet and PA, are associated with and modulate the features of NAFLD, the MetS, and ASCVD in obese individuals. Assessing these lifestyle habits helps estimate the risk of advanced NAFLD in obese patients. Weighted hula-hooping reduces abdominal obesity, and excess intake of saturated fat modifies the composition of LDL particles, increasing their aggregation susceptibility. The lipid composition of the liver and LDL particles are closely related, and patients with aggregation-susceptible LDL particles show changes in hepatic sphingolipid metabolism. In line with current treatment recommendations, the present series of studies supports the metabolic and cardiovascular benefits of PA, also in their untraditional forms, and the replacement of dietary saturated fat with unsaturated fat in cases of obesity.
  • Levinthal, Cristiana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The role of parents in children’s learning has evolved during the last decades, accompanying relevant changes in education policies and curricula, in Finland and other European countries, such as Portugal. These changes strive to develop children’s holistic learning in all areas of learning. However, little has been studied about best practices of parental engagement according to a holistic learning scenario. Additionally, most existing studies on the topic still adopt a traditional and school-centered approach to the parental role. The lack of scientific, up-to-date knowledge on parental engagement may serve as a significant obstacle for teachers and parents to develop effective cooperation and for holistic learning to take place. This thesis examined perspectives and practices of parental engagement amongst Finnish and Portuguese parents of primary-school-age children. Parents’ mindsets as an underlying phenomenon of engagement practices at home were also studied. Two important theories in educational sciences were adopted as a framework for this study: Janet Goodall’s theory of learning-centered parental engagement and Carol Dweck’s growth mindset theory. The main concept underpinning Goodall’s theory is that holistic learning is not limited to the school walls and, as such, teachers should also support parental engagement in the home. Accordingly, a parent-teacher partnership is always the basis for fruitful parental engagement, be it school-, schooling- or home-related. In addition, Dweck’s theory postulates that parents with a growth mindset adopt a learning-oriented attitude and encourage their children to face challenges. On the other hand, parents with a fixed mindset adopt a performance-oriented attitude, implicitly hindering their children’s learning. This dissertation consists of three original and sequential studies with a qualitative design, that aimed to describe parental engagement in Finland and Portugal. In total, 19 parents (NFinn = 10, NPort = 9) of children from grades 1 to 6 were interviewed. The interview texts were thematically analyzed by identifying common patterns and generating themes from their narratives. Study I (N = 19) aimed to examine home-related parental engagement and its underlying mindset. Therefore, perspectives and practices of engagement at home were studied by means of inductive content analysis. Deductive content analysis was applied to examine parents’ mindsets. Study II (N = 19) focused on school-related parental engagement. It examined parents’ perspectives and practices of engagement in the school and their views on parent-teacher partnerships. Inductive content analysis was utilized. Study III (N = 4) aimed to examine exemplar practices of parental engagement, in more detail, at home and at school. For that purpose, a multiple-case study was conducted with four of the parents (nFinn = 2, nPort = 2). In study III, abductive content analysis was applied. Study I found that all parents engaged with their children’s learning at home focusing both on schooling-related practices (e.g., supervising homework) and on holistic, school-independent, practices (e.g., supporting autonomy). Accordingly, many parents (n = 11) evidenced features of growth and fixed mindset underlying their narratives of engagement. Other parents (n = 8) evidenced solely growth mindset features. However, in both their engagement and their mindset-related narratives, every parent revealed specific tendencies. The combined analysis of these tendencies generated four engagement–mindset profiles, which were the main findings of Study I. Twelve parents (NFinn = 5, NPort = 7) were classified with the profile a growth mindset to support children’s holistic learning. Therefore, the results showed an overall tendency of the interviewed parents to engage holistically with their children’s learning at home and to actualize a growth mindset while doing so. Study II complemented these findings from a school-related perspective. The analysis found that parents considered that teachers supported the parent-teacher partnership and school-related engagement when they communicate, show professionalism, and invite active participation. Study II yielded relevant differences in the Finnish and Portuguese parents’ results. Overall, the Finnish parents revealed an engagement orientation and a partnership grounded in little face-to-face contact but consistent online communication with the teacher. On the other hand, the Portuguese parents evidenced an engagement orientation and a partnership grounded in rather frequent face-to-face interaction and visits to the school. These visits were, quite often, meant for parents to receive information or to involve them in playful, community-building events. Conversely, the Finnish parents’ visits to the school, when in place, served mostly for collaborative and goal-oriented meetings or activities. Study III examined the parental engagement practices of four exemplar parents, two Finnish and two Portuguese, both at home and at school. The findings originated four main categories: showing active interest in the child, supporting autonomy, building a partnership with the child’s teacher and school, and visiting the child’s school. Moreover, the study found that, even though each parent engaged with learning through unique interactions, Finnish and Portuguese narratives evidenced subtle but relevant differences. Finns more often displayed clear school-independent aspirations for their children than the Portuguese, for example, by supporting them in developing their hobbies or in the ability to make their own decisions in life. The present dissertation discusses these findings and brings forward implications for research and practice. It contributes to the current debate on associations between engagement and mindset, as well as on how to engage parents with learning and develop effective parent-teacher partnerships in the context of holistic education.
  • Resler, Megan (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Driven by a growth and profit maximization mindset, the corporate food regime has contributed to wide-spread food insecurity, chronic and acute hunger, soil, water, and ecosystem degradation, rapid loss of biodiversity, and a global de-skilling of populations. To re-direct this crisis-bound trajectory, sustainable food system transformation is necessary and urgent. In recent years, the science, practice and social movement of agroecology has gained increasing political and social momentum as an alternative paradigm to the corporate food regime, and as a solution to many cross-cutting socio-cultural and ecological crises. Despite scholarly roots in primarily rural agroecosystems, emerging agroecology research has begun to explore the role(s) agroecology principles and practices can play in urban contexts, which require new spatial perspectives through which to imagine and implement change. Among others, municipally-embedded social infrastructure–that is, the physical conditions shaping, enabling, and constraining, how people interact in urban publics–stands to play a key role in bringing agroecology to scale in the city. The overarching objective of this interdisciplinary thesis is to investigate social infrastructure as an entry-point for scaling urban agroecology. The thesis itself consists of an introductory chapter and three original articles, each framed by a unique agroecology scaling pathway and applied to an illustrative social infrastructure case. Using thematic analysis of qualitative data with community gardeners and regional food policy documents in the case of Seattle, U.S.A, I identify two points of intervention for scaling-up (impacting laws and policy) agroecology in the city: improved deliberative processes across power hierarchies and opportunities for strengthening self-efficacy (Article I). These findings offer a conceptual and empirical contribution to the ongoing conceptualization of agroecological urbanism emerging from the disciplines of agroecology and urban studies. Similarly, through a thematic analysis of qualitative data with allotment gardeners–though, here, integrated with a crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis of name generator materials–I investigate the spatiality of social capital formed among allotment gardeners in the urban allotment gardens of Vantaa, Finland (Article III). The study finds that though boundary-crossing contacts are formed within the social infrastructure, they evidence little potential for ‘scaling resource transfers’ across socially-distant groups. Further, without facilitated inter-cultural dialogue, they evidence the potential for these spaces to foster inter-group tension and reproduce social challenges. To scale-deep urban agroecology (impact hearts and minds), an argument for municipal investment in transformative learning within existing communities of practice is made. Lastly, I zoom out to examine social infrastructure at the network level, putting forth an urban planning tool to assess the distribution of urban greenspace diversity across a municipality (Article II). I apply the tool to the socio-spatially polarizing case of Vantaa, Finland, and find that the distribution of urban greenspace diversity is not currently correlated with the income, age structure, or proportion of residents with a foreign-background in the municipality. To scale-out agroecology (impacting distribution), we argue for the urgent need for current urban greenspace planning practice to move beyond ‘equal access’ urban greenspace planning, and work to integrate indicators that can account for the equitable distribution of environmental risks, impacts, and benefits–including, diverse social infrastructure for agroecology communities of practice. As a whole, this interdisciplinary thesis offers a package of empirical, methodological, and practical contributions to the fields of urban political agroecology, urban planning, and critical geography. While previous empirical urban agroecology research has focused on what types of transitions are needed, and how to enable their implementation, this thesis offers the novel spatial contribution of focusing on where agroecology transitions can scale from in the city-region. The thesis identifies social infrastructure as a key entry-point for urban agroecology transitions working to disrupt the food-disabling modes of the corporate food regime. The empirical baselines established in these studies are a first, necessary, step; applied research and interventions supporting the imagined food futures of civil society actors must follow.
  • Koponen, Sami (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation explores the artification of upmarket dining from the perspective of practice theory. Regarding the concept of artification, the study draws on theorisations in the field of aesthetics. Accordingly, it aims to elucidate how the practice of upmarket dining has adopted ways of thinking and acting conventionally associated with the societal domain of modern high art. Concerning practice theory, the study leans on the Schatzkian approach as frequently applied in empirical research on consumption since the early 2000s. The study investigates the artification of upmarket dining in the 2010s in Helsinki, Finland. It aims to elucidate how a more artful mode of dining out has been recently performed as interlinked components of a practice, that is, as materials, practical and general understandings, and ‘teleoaffectivity’. Based on the analysis of these performances and sociological literature on taste, the thesis also aims to provide the more artful mode of dining out with a specific definition. Additionally, the study responds to the question of whether the more artful mode of upmarket dining can be conceptualised as an integrative practice of artful dining. The empirical data consist of media representations of dining out, interviews with diners and restaurant professionals, and participant observation at different types of restaurants and gastronomic events. The data analysis drew on the practice-theoretical notion of practices as consisting of components. The results indicate that performances of a more artful mode of dining out draw on the principles of aesthetic novelty, nonconformity and complexity, the importance of which have been underlined in sociological studies on contemporary taste hierarchies. The results also show that the more artful mode of dining out can be conceptually understood as an integrative practice of artful dining. The difference between conventional upmarket dining, or fine dining, and the practice of artful dining more generally reflects the subtle and distinctive difference between aesthetic and artistic aesthetic (non-art) practices. The emergence of artful dining illustrates the diversification of dining out and upmarket dining. Relatedly, the study suggests that sociologists of consumption focusing on practice theory and dining out could fruitfully grasp the current variety in practices of dining out and upmarket dining through dividing these practices into smaller practice-entities. Lastly, the study looks beyond the restaurant world and calls for critical sociological debate on the role and nature of the aesthetic in late modern food culture.
  • Häikiö, Kristiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The collapse of the Soviet Union came as a surprise to the Western world; it was a unique and unpredicted event. The events immediately before and after the end of the Cold War have been studied extensively. In the course of its making, the subject of this study was condensed into two words – Ingrian remigration. The subject is still current, but until now, the beginning of the remigration and the decisions that led to it have not been studied at the level of a doctoral dissertation. The series of events were tied to their context and the events occurred during a time that was unique and short in the history of the world. This study reconstructs that context and the dynamics that enabled the beginning of the remigration of Ingrians in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Ingrians had begun to move to Ingria from Finland some 350 years earlier, and after World War II, they were no longer discussed in public debate in Finland. When the Ingrians begun returning to Finland, the religious, scholarly and cultural connections to Ingria were only known in small circles of experts, even though these connections had existed since Finland was part of Sweden and were maintained while Finland was an autonomous Grand Duchy under the Russian Emperor and until the early years of Finland’s independence. After the Russian Revolution, the Ingrians remained on the other side of the border, and after World War II, information on them reached Finland only rarely. This study shows that Finland did not have a lot of foreign political room for manoeuvre until the Soviet Union finally collapsed. The issue with the remigration of Ingrians, up until it was stopped in 2016, was verifying that a person is an Ingrian Finn. Not all Ingrians had ‘Finnish’ as their nationality in their papers, since it was more beneficial not to advertise this fact in the Soviet Union. Official relationship with the Ingrians was established during the Cold War, when Archbishop Martti Simojoki – also called the ‘Kekkonen of the Church’ – was able to create connections with the Russian Orthodox Church in the end of 1950s. The Archbishop’s connections to the Soviet Union enabled him to promote the status of the Ingrians with a Lutheran background living in Karelia and the Leningrad oblast. After the 1975 OSCE Helsinki Final Act was signed, the Soviet Union was in a rush to find proof to demonstrate that it had made advancements in complying with the principles of respecting human rights and freedom of religion in the follow-up meeting of 1977. The Ingrians became known by the wider audience in the Soviet Union in Petrozavodsk in the autumn of 1987 when the Punalippu (‘Red Flag’) magazine published an issue focused on the Ingrians. One year later the difficult situation of the Ingrian Finns was extensively discussed in Finnish media. This study focuses on the public debate and political acts that enabled the remigration of Ingrian Finns living in the Soviet Union from 1988 onwards. In April 1989, Rudolf Pakki, the chair of the Ingrian society in Estonia, and Paavo Parkkinen, the chair of the Ingrian association Inkeri-Liitto in Leningrad, visited Finland. They expected Finland to help the Ingrians and pushed Finnish and Soviet authorities to take action to improve their status. Since Ingrian Finns were included in the debate on immigration and refugees in the 1980s and 1990s, this discussion is also examined herein. The way these subjects were discussed and the words deemed politically correct were significantly different in those time compared with today. This study examines Finnish immigration policies in the 1980s and the 1990s, the activities of the central government and other administrative bodies and non-governmental organisations as well as the public debate related to the policies and actions. Understanding the swift issuance and implementation of the decisions that enabled the remigration of Ingrian Finns requires knowledge on the special characteristics of those times. It is connected to a broader international context. The actors that had a vital role in setting the targets and making the decisions that enabled the Ingrian remigration are highlighted. The number of public officials that handled matters related to the Ingrians in the central government and the city and municipal administrations was relatively small; the same applies to the church. Nearly all actors knew each other or, at the least, knew of each other. In the autumn of 1989, Rudolf Pakki wrote letters to the President of Finland, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Soon after, the decision to favour Ingrians when granting visas was made. On 5 March 1990, Seppo Tiitinen, the director of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service Supo, and President Mauno Koivisto discussed the increasing number of applications from Ingrians looking to remigrate. In the meeting, Koivisto tasked Tiitinen with unofficially notifying Felix Karasev – a KGB General and Soviet diplomat – that the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs had adopted the view that Finland was ready to accept all Ingrians to whom the Soviet Union granted permission to migrate to Finland. The key finding of this study is the reason President Mauno Koivisto – with a push from Finland’s political leadership – informed Moscow on 19 March 1990 that Finland would accept Ingrian returnees and stated the same publicly on 10 April. The reason was Finland’s vital foreign policy and security policy interests. The Ingrians living in the Leningrad oblast expected President Koivisto and Finland to support their plans to gain cultural autonomy, and Finland had to sternly distance itself from those plans, as meddling with the internal affairs of the Soviet Union would have been a large risk for Finland.
  • Ryhti, Kira (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Boreal forest soils are globally one of the most extensive carbon storages, whereas soil respiration (carbon dioxide; CO2 efflux) forms the largest carbon flux from the ecosystem to the atmosphere. Current changes in the world climate may have unpredictable effects on belowground carbon processes, and thereby, on the carbon balance of boreal forests. To better understand the various processes in soil and to quantify the potential changes in the carbon cycle, forest-floor respiration was partitioned into five different components, and tree-root respiration was estimated, using four different methods in a mature boreal Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand in southern Finland. Non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations in tree roots were determined, and carbon allocation to belowground by trees was estimated with the whole-tree carbon model ‘CASSIA’. In addition, tree-root respiration and heterotrophic soil respiration were separated using root exclusion in seven coniferous forests along a latitudinal gradient in Northern and Central Europe. The tree-root respiration comprised almost half of the forest-floor respiration, the heterotrophic soil respiration almost a third, and ground vegetation and respiration of mycorrhizal hyphae the remaining fifth in the boreal Scots pine stand. While the annual tree-root respiration decreased throughout the first three study years, the heterotrophic soil respiration increased when the mycorrhizal roots were excluded from the treatments. The tree-root respiration and most of the NSC concentrations were higher in the warmer years and lower in the cooler, as estimated with most of the methods. Three methods resulted in rather similar tree-root respiration estimations, while the tree-root respiration estimated with root incubation was significantly lower. The tree-root respiration was over 50% of the annual photosynthesis in the northernmost forest stand, whereas in the southernmost stand it was only up to 15%. Carbon allocation to the belowground, as modelled with CASSIA was a third of the annual photosynthesis on average and almost 5% for the symbiotic mycorrhizae.
  • Lemma, Aurora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Background: Acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI) is a disease with high mortality. The exact incidence is still unclear as data mostly come from studies based on patient records. These do not include those that are not correctly diagnosed with AMI while alive. Mortality of AMI rises concomitantly with door to operation time, but the factors contributing to these delays remain largely unknown. Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is usually treated with anticoagulation and only in a relatively small portion of patients the thrombus extends to the superior mesenteric vein (SMV) or splenic vein (SV) which may lead to the development of bowel ischemia. However, even without serious complications an untreated PVT can lead to portal hypertensive complications that can cause significant morbidity. The risk factors for insufficient recanalization and indicators for more invasive treatment methods for PVT are still unclear. Material and methods: This thesis included four original retrospective studies. The first three studies concerning AMI focused on arterial occlusive AMI, therefore, AMI caused by strangulation and non-occlusive, traumatic, and iatrogenic AMI were excluded. Study I included patients who were diagnosed with or died of AMI during 2006-2015 in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). The study also included AMI patients diagnosed postmortem. This data was collected from death certificates. Study II included patients treated for arterial AMI in Meilahti hospital during 2006-2015. Study III included patients who were diagnosed with arterial AMI between 2014 and April 2020 in the HUS area and were operated on in Meilahti. The patients were divided into pre-and postpathway groups according to the time of diagnosis in relation to the implementation of a treatment pathway and care bundle (from 2014 to 2017 and from May 2018 to April 2020). Study IV included patients diagnosed with non-cirrhotic and non-malignant PVT in the HUS area between 2006 and 2015. Results: In study I, 29% of patients were diagnosed postmortem (out of a total of 470). The overall incidence did not change during the study period, although some subgroups, such as the working age population, showed an increase. The overall incidence rate was 3.1/100 000 PY during the study period and 26.7 in those aged 70 years or more. Study II included 81 patients, of whom 65% died within 90 days of diagnosis. If the patient arrived first at a surgical emergency room (SER), first door to operation time was shorter (10h vs. 15h, p = .025), hospital stay was shorter (7 vs. 11 days, p = .045) and 90-day mortality lower (50% vs. 75%, p = .025). Study III included 145 patients who were divided into pre- and postgroups. The groups were comparable in disease acuity and baseline characteristics. In the postgroup, more patients were diagnosed with contrast enhanced CT (74% vs. 94%, p = .001), the in-hospital delay to operating room was shorter (7h vs. 3h, p = .023), more revascularizations were done (68% vs. 84%, p = .030), especially endovascular interventions (33% vs. 64%, p <.001) and 30-day mortality was lower (51% vs. 25% p = .001). In multivariate analysis belonging to the postgroup was a protective factor for 30-day mortality. Study IV included 145 patients with PVT, the majority of whom (92%) were treated primarily with anticoagulation. The 5-year cumulative incidence of complete recanalization was 42% and 31% for portal hypertensive complications (PHC). A non-acute thrombus was an independent risk factor for insufficient recanalization (HR 3.1, 95% CI 1.6-5.8) whereas acute pancreatitis was a protective factor (HR 0.3, 95% CI 0.2-0.7). Risk factors for PHC were non-acute thrombus (HR 2.9, 95% CI 1.6-5.3), ascites at baseline (HR 3.3, 95% CI 1.7-6.7), thrombus extending to the SMV or SV (HR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.7), myeloproliferative disease (HR 3.0, 95% CI 1.4-6.5) and anemia (HR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-3.9), whereas acute pancreatitis was a protective factor (HR 0.1, 95% CI 0.03-0.5). Conclusions: The overall incidence of AMI did not change during the study period, but there was an increase in the working age population. A third of patients were only diagnosed postmortem. The specialty of the first emergency room an AMI patient encounters crucially affects the delays in treatment as well as early survival. Delays were decreased by implementing a treatment pathway and care bundle, which also led to decreased mortality, as well as an increase in appropriate CT imaging and an increased rate of revascularizations. Thrombus etiology and age affected recanalization in PVT patients, whereas thrombus age, etiology and extent, ascites at baseline and anemia affected development of portal hypertensive complications. The age, extent and etiology of a PVT might be of use in determining which patients benefit from more invasive treatment options.
  • Khan, Jawaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    In my doctoral thesis in social policy, I investigated the impact of higher education policies implemented in Finland on the retention of social scientists in Finnish academia. The project explores the tension between Finland’s efforts to attract talent due to an emerging demographic crisis, and the professional dilemma of social scientists in Finland. The work reflects on the unseen, unexpected and underdiscussed structural inequalities in Finnish academia missing from the policy discourse. Therefore, through a case study involving six social science units across Finnish higher education, the thesis cross examines the experiences of Finnish Social Scientists at the micro level and situates them with the macro level Finnish higher education policies. The aim is to focus on the reasons that push social sciences researchers from Finland to migrate to other countries. It is argued that academics are considered to be a ‘machine-like’ workforce which should comply with the (research output) demands of higher education institutions while expecting job insecurity, low salaries, unfair recruitment and an ambiguous future from them in return. Thus, the two key objectives of this project are: 1) to understand the important personal and structural factors described by Finnish social scientists that determine their intention to stay in Finland or emigrate and 2) to analyse how the national policies in Finnish higher education impacted the career prospects of academic researchers. To achieve these objectives, in this project I used a combination of meta synthesis to analyse the literature. It was followed by an interpretive biographical analysis of 20 social science scholars in Finland to know the lived experience of the consequences of internationalisation policies in Finnish academia. Lastly, my autoethnography in the field of higher education research confirms the findings previously gathered through several qualitative methods. Examining the labour market integration of academic scholars in Finnish academia, this doctoral thesis revealed that researchers pass through the journey from attraction to alienation. The attractive migration policies pull the academic nomads to migrate to the countries where they anticipate better career prospects. However, if the host country fails to integrate the scholars due to precarious employment relations and job insecurity, the feelings of precariousness and alienation arise. These feelings eventually cause loss of personal agency due to lack to academic freedom and academic capitalism. This multidisciplinary research advances the literature on internationalisation, brain drain and the global war for talent. Along with its contribution to scholarly research, the findings will provide actionable knowledge and guidelines to all academic stakeholders to devise inclusive policies to attract, retain and regain talent.
  • Taavitsainen-Wahlroos, Eveliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Bacteria use various mechanisms such as resistance, persistence, and tolerance to survive in unfavorable conditions. Bacterial persistence is a tendency of a bacterial population to adopt a non-growing phenotype and gain the ability to survive exposure to high concentration of antibiotics while hiding from the host immune system. Persisters arise from actively replicating bacterial populations as subpopulations without significant metabolic activity that tolerate traditional antibiotic treatments. Chlamydia pneumoniae is a gram-negative intracellular human pathogen. The ability of C. pneumoniae to convert into a persistent phenotype has been related to several chronic inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis and asthma. At present, antichlamydial treatments against persistent infections are not available for clinical use. Transcriptomic changes in C. pneumoniae and its host cell have been studied previously, but proteomic-level host-chlamydial interactions remain elusive. In this study different cell models were characterized and validated to investigate persistent C. pneumoniae infection and to discover novel drug treatment targets in persisters. Human THP-1 monocyte derived macrophages and A549 human respiratory epithelial cell line were used to examine host-pathogen interactions during persistent C. pneumoniae infection and effects of clinically used antibiotics and the lignans from a widely used dietary supplement Schisandra chinensis. C. pneumoniae was found to adopt a non-replicating and antibiotic tolerant persistent phenotype in THP-1 macrophages soon after inoculation. In addition to persistence, a subpopulation of actively replicating C. pneumoniae was discovered to exist among the persisters. The infection was tolerant to clinically used antichlamydial antibiotic indicating persistent phenotype. As a hallmark of productive infection, infectious progeny production was also observed in the culture, but in a lower level than in permissive host cells. C. pneumoniae infection was concluded to be mixed type, where persistent and productive phenotypes are present at the same time inside macrophages. Label-free quantitative proteome analysis and pathway analysis tools were used to identify changes in THP-1 macrophages upon C. pneumoniae infection. At 48 h post-infection, the inflammatory pathway was induced for example via NF-κB regulation by S100A8 and S100A9 calcium-binding proteins. At 72 h post-infection proinflammatory consequences of the infection were dampened and infection-induced biological processes were related to cell cycle and DNA replication, which were negatively affected by C. pneumoniae. The host macrophage cell cycle control was inhibited by the downregulation of mini chromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins MCM2-7. The relevance of such events for C. pneumoniae replication was demonstrated by the ability of a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor to promote C. pneumoniae infectious progeny production. C. pneumoniae infection was found to suppress retinoblastoma expression and the downregulation was reverted by treatment with a histone deacetylase inhibitor. Together, these findings indicate that C. pneumoniae seems to affect differentiation of host cell macrophages and indicates host cell changes associated with myeloid-derived suppressor cell phenotype. The second persistent infection model was established in the A549 epithelial cell line with beta-lactam treatment. Based on findings by inclusion count and quantitative culture/infectious progeny production, amoxicillin treatment induced persistent phenotype in clinical antibiotic levels. By microscopy, small abnormal inclusions were observed. Persistent infection also reduced the efficacy of azithromycin and doxycycline used in clinically relevant concentrations when the antibiotics were added later or at the same time with amoxicillin treatment. The third persistence model was attempted to be set up in epithelial cells as a continuous infection model. The model has been described before in literature in a different cell line. In contrast to previous reports applying another cell line, bacteria were observed inside host cells by qPCR only for four weeks post-infection. Based on our results, A549 epithelial cells do not support long lasting continuous infection of C. pneumoniae. Schisandra lignans have earlier been reported to have antichlamydial effects against actively replicating C. pneumoniae infection in vitro. The effects of S. chinensis lignans against persistent C. pneumoniae infection were studied in different models. Schisandrin C was found to reduce genome copy numbers and infectious progeny production more than the golden standard antibiotic azithromycin in THP-1 macrophages. Schisandrin did not have bactericidal effect against persistent infection, but instead it activated the resuscitation of persistent bacteria, demonstrated by induced infectious progeny production. The concomitant treatment with schisandrin and azithromycin reduced infectious progeny production and genome numbers of C. pneumoniae more than high-dose azithromycin treatment alone. In contrast to the effects in THP-1 macrophages, similar effect was not observed in the amoxicillin-induced persistence. Moreover, schisandra lignans seem to hinder azithromycin in decreasing bacterial infectious progeny production. Determining the mode of action of schisandra lignans requires further research, but lignans are known to affect mammalian cell glutathione levels. Redox activity of the compounds is suggested to be at least a part of mechanism of action. Overall, these results contribute to the available research methods for persistent C. pneumoniae infection. New findings in pathogen-host relationships may give us new possible antipersister drug targets for future investigations and results with the lignans represent a possible interactive role of redox-active supplements with antimicrobial treatments.
  • Tuunainen, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) are the main processes that determine the concentration-time profile i.e., the pharmacokinetic (PK) profile of a drug in plasma and tissues. When the PK profile is further connected to relevant information concerning the pharmacodynamics of the drug, the quantitative information can be used to guide drug’s dosing selection. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to try to predict the ADME properties and the PK profile of drugs already in the drug discovery and to refine the understanding during drug development. The ADME processes are complex and dynamic biological events which make the prediction challenging. Despite promising progress during recent years, there is still a lot to do in improving the in silico and in vitro tools for predicting drug PK in human particularly absorption and metabolism. In addition, the ADME properties should not be considered too much in isolation. The ADME properties need to be bound together to produce a quantitative estimate of the drug’s PK profile in human. This requires using the PK modelling techniques. Therefore, continuous development of models predicting individual ADME properties as well as better PK modelling methods are needed. Also, retrospective analysis of the models with in vivo data is an essential part of developing and refining the models. In this thesis, in silico and in vitro models for predicting the passive absorption of drug candidates were developed. Novel quantitative structure property relationship (QSPR) models were built to predict the absorption rate constant (Ka) of drugs in human based on calculated physicochemical molecular descriptors. The paracellular absorption route of in vitro cell line models were characterised and means to scale the Caco-2 in vitro permeability results to human intestine was found. The developed absorption models can be used in the early drug discovery to guide molecule design and to select the most promising compound for further studies. Rapid and complete absorption alone is not enough but metabolism must also be taken into account when predicting the bioavailability of the drug and the possibility of achieving an effective plasma concentration. In this thesis two strategies to overcome extensive drug metabolism were studied namely ocular topical administration route for naloxone and inhibition of metabolism with co-administered drugs for levodopa. All the studies of this thesis produced such data that can be used to develop PK models. As a conclusion, this thesis provided novel models for predicting the passive absorption of drug candidates and proven strategies to overcome the extensive metabolism of drugs. The findings of this thesis support the use of PK modelling techniques to guide drug development from the early discovery to late development.
  • Ahonen Mehmeti, Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Adipose tissue (AT) dysfunction is a hallmark of unhealthy obesity and links it to metabolic comorbidities. Dysfunctional AT exhibits inhibited adipogenesis, impaired lipid metabolism, and increased inflammation. However, we are still lacking a sufficient understanding of the mechanisms of adipocyte dysfunction and how they contribute to conditions such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cancers. MiR- 107, miR-221-3p, and thyroid hormone responsive protein (THRSP) have been shown to play a role in murine models of metabolic disease in AT or other tissues, but the data in human adipocytes was limited or function unknown. Increasing knowledge of adipocyte dysfunction is critical for the development of new approaches to treat obesity and prevent its metabolic comorbidities. This thesis investigates the differentiation and function of human adipocytes and how they are altered in metabolic disease. The aim was to modulate the expressions of miR-107, miR-221-3p, or THRSP and study how adipocyte differentiation and metabolic functions were affected. In study I, we revealed miR-107 to inhibit Simpson-Golabi Behmel syndrome (SGBS) adipogenesis and lipid storage. We showed that the differentiation defect is mediated via downregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase 6 (CDK6) and Notch3. In mature adipocytes, miR-107 impaired glucose uptake and triglyceride (TG) synthesis. Our results suggest that by distinct mechanisms, it promotes insulin resistance may contribute to ectopic lipid storage by impairing function of pre- and differentiated adipocytes. Study II focused on the role of miR-221-3p in the terminal differentiation of adipocytes and in cancer-associated adipocytes (CAAs). We showed that it inhibited terminal differentiation and identified 14-3-3γ as a potential mediator of the differentiation defect. We measured the lipidome in miR-221- 3p overexpressing adipocytes and analyzed the mechanisms behind the alterations. MiR-221-3p inhibited de novo lipogenesis (DNL) of TG, but increased ceramide and sphingomyelin concentrations while reducing diglycerides (DG). MiR-221-3p is connected to many cancers; here we showed that miR-221-3p expression was elevated in tumor proximal adipose tissue from patients with invasive breast cancer. Moreover, conditioned medium from miR-221-3p transfected adipocytes increased invasion and proliferation of cancer cells in vitro. Taken together, we characterized the role of miR-221- 3p in adipocyte dysfunction and showed that the alterations in CAAs are relevant for cancer progression. In study III, we found THRSP to be induced by insulin in humans by using the euglycemic insulin clamp technique in 36 subjects. We measured a 5- and 8-fold increase in THRSP mRNA after 180 and 360 min of in vivo euglycemic hyperinsulinemia. We identified functions of THRSP by conducting a transcriptomic analysis of THRSP-silenced adipocytes. We measured mitochondrial respiration, oxidation of radiolabeled oleate, and uptake of glucose, observing that THRSP silencing impaired mitochondrial function. Lipidomic analysis of THRSP-silenced adipocytes exhibited decreased hexosylceramide concentrations, accompanied by altered expression of sphingolipid metabolism genes. In summary, THRSP induction is impaired in insulin resistance. Its downregulation in human adipocytes could promote mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired sphingolipid metabolism may contribute to metabolic dysfunction. In conclusion, these findings reveal and demonstrate different mechanisms of adipocyte dysfunction. Adipocyte differentiation and function are impaired by overexpression of miR-107 and miR-221-3p, and downregulation of THRSP expression.
  • Korhonen, Kaarina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Social inequalities in health in older age are well recognised in terms of various aspects of disease and disability. Despite improvements in population health, population ageing is projected to be accompanied by increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Although dementia is already one of the leading causes of death and the single most important cause of residential long-term care (LTC), no comprehensive understanding exists about the social patterning of dementia mortality and residential LTC. To tackle the increasing burden of dementia and to address the inequalities in the way disease and disability are distributed in the ageing populations, better insight is needed about how social factors along the life course affect the risk of dementia and care needs at older ages. This study investigates social inequalities in dementia morbidity, mortality and residential LTC among Finnish older cohorts between 2000 and 2018. The aim of the study was to analyse the association between several indicators of socioeconomic position and dementia mortality, and estimate the contribution of dementia to overall socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in older age. A further aim of the study was to analyse how social factors are associated with the use of residential LTC over the years before dementia-related death. Given the long induction times in dementia, the study also focussed on childhood and adulthood social determinants of dementia morbidity and their interplay with health-related risk factors, including depression and cardiovascular health. The study used large individual-level register data on population-representative samples compiled by Statistics Finland and linked with several administrative health registers. Records of causes of death, medication reimbursements and hospital care episodes were used to identify dementia. Dates in residential LTC were obtained from records of health and social care. The results showed that people with a lower midlife socioeconomic position were at an increased risk of dementia-related death. The findings support the idea that educational and occupational social class inequalities relate to differences in cognitive reserve. Inequalities in terms of household income, by contrast, reflected the accumulation of health-related risk factors among the economically more disadvantaged. The inequalities endured with age and, consequently, dementia substantially contributed to the overall socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in older age. Social differentials were also present in living arrangements among people who eventually died with dementia; in the eight years preceding death, older and non-married individuals in particular, but also those with lower income, were more likely than others to live in residential LTC. These differences, however, diminished as death approached, demonstrating that social and economic resources cannot compensate for the intensifying need for care of people with dementia at the end of life. People with a history of clinical depression in earlier life experienced an increased risk of dementia. The increased risk affected people at all levels of education and was not explained by family background shared by siblings. The results indicated that men were at particular risk because of comorbidities – especially alcohol-related conditions. The findings further showed that disadvantaged circumstances already in childhood were associated with dementia morbidity in older age. An excess risk of dementia was related to having lived in crowded households, with a single father, and in the eastern and northern parts of Finland. These associations were only partly attributable to attained socioeconomic position and cardiovascular health in adulthood, suggesting that the accumulation of risk begins already in early life and preventive interventions in midlife may not suffice to reduce the excess risk associated with disadvantaged childhood circumstances. The findings demonstrate that social factors across the life course structure the life chances of individuals and generate important inequalities in health and the ability to continue independent living in older age. The increasing individual and societal burden of dementia in particular highlights the need to address social inequalities in dementia morbidity, mortality and LTC. Further investigations should also assess the effectiveness of socioeconomic and mental health interventions as part of dementia prevention strategies.
  • Kokkonen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This thesis examines the communication used by churches and investigates how the Finnish Lutheran Church and the Finnish Orthodox Church use branding in their communication. Church communication is examined through the frame of neoliberalism, consumerism, marketisation, and specifically branding. The key research questions are: How is branding applied in church communication? How does branding affect church communication? The purpose of this study is to provide new insights into branding within established churches. An empirical part of this thesis consists of four sub-studies, each published as articles in various national and international scientific journals. The various sub-studies apply different datasets and questions, but ultimately all focus on the same central theme: examining and interpreting communication through the theoretical lens of branding. The first article, “Church as a Brand? Branding in the Communication Strategies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland in 1992–2020” (orig. Kirkko brändinä? Suomen evankelis-luterilaisen kirkon brändäys viestintästrategioissa vuosina 1992–2020) studied the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s communication strategies published in the years 1992, 2002, 2007, and 2016, and observed how marketing was applied in those cases. The second article, titled "Adopting Marketing Communications: Publicity Campaigns in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland", examined the Lutheran Church's publicity campaigns during the parish elections, held every four years, between 1992 and 2018. It was concluded that advertising campaigns in parish elections began as an experiment with a marketing agency in 1998, and that the Church uses meaning-making in its campaigns by highlighting a selected ‘brand story’. The third article, “The Dichotomy of Branding: Discourses in the Orthodox Church of Finland”, investigated branding discourses in the Finnish Orthodox Church. In this article, the Church´s communication workers were interviewed, and the strategies documents were discussed. It was observed that the discourses involved are diverse and overlap and sometimes contradict each other. The identified discourses simultaneously defend the core of the Church, make use of marketing methods, and establish that the Church is unsuitable for marketing purposes. The fourth article, titled "Established Churches in the Social Media: The Case of the Finnish Churches", included information from both the Lutheran and Orthodox churches, as their social media presence was examined. In addition to the general social media review, a total of 156 posts from official Facebook pages were analysed. It was concluded that, on this particular social media platform, both churches operate very similarly: the dominant discourse focused on education about church life and Christianity. In this study it is argued that established Finnish churches negotiate their communication and modify marketing processes in order to represent themselves in the public sphere. As a result, earlier findings regarding established Nordic churches applying marketing techniques, how their discourse is affected by the process of marketisation, and how communications are reformed according to marketing principles are supported. In addition, there are several processes involved in communication that can be better understood through the lens of branding. Based on the data and observations gathered from the sub-studies, it is suggested that the studied churches construct their communication by applying ideas and models of marketing, and specifically branding; although the term "branding" is rarely used, and as a practice is never fully adopted. Throughout the case studies and the empirical chapters of this study, it is demonstrated how the churches apply branding in various ways: they use some methods, avoid others, make use of what is appropriate for them, and reject those that are not. It is suggested that this process that takes place between church communications and marketing communications is best described as a negotiation, since the studied churches have special characteristics that require reconfiguring their communication methods. The need for the churches to be visible and recognizable is operationalized through the portrayal of stories and the identification of their purpose through narrative presentation.
  • Lähteenmäki, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Chronic periodontitis and peri-implantitis are complex inflammatory conditions in the periodontium. Periodontal tissues are mainly made up of type I collagen, which is a major component of the extracellular matrix of both soft and hard periodontal tissues, and collagen breakdown is one of the main events in periodontal destructive lesions. Oral bacteria and their metabolites can penetrate peri-implant tissues more easily than permanent teeth tissues, and the inflammatory state progresses more rapidly to destruction of bone tissue in peri-implantitis. This is mainly due to differences between natural dental tissues and peri-implant tissues. The treatment of periodontitis and peri-implantitis is challenging, and therefore, prevention and early diagnoses are crucial. Traditional methods are used to assess the health status of periodontal and implant tissues. However, these measures assess past disease rather than the present pathology of these tissues. Current clinical assays do not work properly in the early diagnosis of peri-implant diseases. This thesis demonstrated the active form of matrix metalloproteinase (aMMP-8) is possible to be determined from the gingival crevicular fluid (GCF)/peri-implant sulcus fluid (PISF) in the initial and real-time diagnosis. Elevated levels of aMMP-8 occur at the onset of periodontal tissue inflammation and can found in GCF/PISF or saliva, contributing to the progression of the disease. Study I aimed to investigate the strongest possible biomarker that can be linked to periodontitis and peri-implantitis. This study confirmed that the elevated level of aMMP-8 is associated with connective tissue diseases, with Study II subsequently focusing on the validation of the aMMP-8 enzyme test in PISF. The hypothesis was that the aMMP-8 enzyme assay provides reliable results for detection of early inflammation in patients and for determination of the rate of progression of peri-implant disease. Studies III and IV investigate whether the aMMP-8 point-of-care (PoC) /chairside test can be implemented beyond the dentist´s office. Studies V and VI investigate the applicability of the aMMP-8 enzyme test in evaluation of the health effects of different home therapies such as fermented lingonberry and dual-light therapy. This thesis showed that aMMP-8 PoC tests used to diagnose periodontal disease can reliably detect and predict both early and ongoing disease and monitor the efficacy of various substances or devices used at home.
  • Calvete, Ana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    What conceptions of ‘authenticity’ can we find in contemporary travel writing? Where do they come from and how can they be challenged? To answer these questions, this study maps out what seven travel writers portray as ‘authentic’ in relation to travel, to nature, to local populations and to artistic representations in travelogues published between 1970 and 2019, mostly in French and in English. In the field of criticism on travel writing, the concept of ‘authenticity’ has only been addressed head on in relation to tourists. Previous studies neglect to explain what travel writers deem ‘authentic’ in natural destinations, what an ‘authentic’ relation to nature or to the local inhabitants may be for them, and how ‘authenticity’ is redefined by semioticians who travel to hyperreal places. I argue that three conventional and constructed conceptions of ‘authenticity’ dominate the corpus under study: ‘authenticity’ as exoticism and reverence to tradition, as the belief in the ability of the wilderness to return the self to its original state, and as the postmodern acknowledgement of the limits of art and literature. I contend that some of these conceptions are legacies of the travel-writing and nature-writing genres, while others correspond to the authors’ own theories and approaches to writing or comply with postmodern aesthetics. The present study blends a formalist approach that brings to the fore the stylistic, rhetorical and compositional strategies devised by travel writers to achieve certain effects, and an ideological criticism of the premises and implications of their representational choices. Part I explores the conceptions of ‘authenticity’ upheld in travelogues that focus entirely or partly on the wilderness: Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard, Colin Thubron’s In Siberia, Sara Wheeler’s Terra Incognita and Sylvain Tesson’s Consolations of the Forest and La panthère des neiges. Aided by Lawrence Buell’s and Greg Garrard’s ecocritical concept of “toxic discourse”, Chapter 1 shows that nature gives the travellers a sense of ‘authenticity’ when it is free of the elements of modern life that they seek to escape. In Chapter 2, I contend that the emphasis these travellers place on epiphanies and contemplation is uniquely illuminated by their indebtedness to the Transcendentalists. In Chapter 3, I argue that physical strain and endangerment give the travellers the opportunity to showcase and authenticate their performance as risk-taking adventurers. Chapter 4 focuses on the metaphors Matthiessen and Tesson use to express the immersive relation to nature for which they long, and which takes the shape of “Becoming-Animals” that are best accounted for with the help of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept. The predominance of a multifaceted self reflexivity in the texts of Tesson and Thubron leads me to argue that they abide by a postmodern conception of ‘authenticity’ that I discuss in Chapter 5. The focus shifts towards the conceptions of authenticity that underpin their approach to writing. I show that Tesson and Thubron conform to the postmodern convention that consists in mitigating their own authority and reflecting on the limits of the literary medium. Part II charts the conceptions of ‘authenticity’ that semioticians endorse in relation to artistic and literary representations and foreign cultures. In Chapter 6 and 7, I analyse Umberto Eco’s “Travels in Hyperreality”, and argue that Eco adheres to a postmodern conception of ‘authenticity’ that valorises irony, parody and the type of art that acknowledges its own artificial nature and encourages critical interpretations. Lastly, in Chapter 8, by analysing Roland Barthes’s Empire of Signs and Jean Baudrillard’s America in the light of their authors’ theoretical works, I show that they represent their destinations in an abstract way to match their preference for non referentiality and to avoid representational claims that they implicitly portray as inauthentic.
  • Leskelä, Leealaura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Tämän tutkimuksen aiheena on keskustelupuhe kehitysvammaisen henkilön ja ammattilaisena keskusteluun osallistuvan henkilön välillä. Kehitysvammaisen puhujan kieleen liittyvät kognitiiviset rajoitukset ilmenevät näissä tilanteissa usein erilaisina puhujien välisinä yhteistyön vaikeuksina. Seurauksena on kielellinen epäsymmetria, joka voi haastaa ammattilaisen tavanomaiset keinot ratkaista vuorovaikutuksessa eteen tulevia ongelmia. Tutkimusaineistona on 16 videoitua keskustelua, joissa kehitysvammaiset aikuiset henkilöt keskustelevat erityyppisissä, kahdenkeskisissä tilanteissa heidän kanssaan työskentelevien ammattilaisten kanssa. Tutkimus on laadullinen, ja tutkimusmetodina on keskustelunanalyysi. Tutkimus koostuu neljästä osatutkimuksesta, joissa käsitellään kielellisen epäsymmetrian eri ilmentymiä: korjaamisen keinoja ja pitkittyviä korjausjaksoja, puhujien erilaisia tiedollisia asemia ja niistä neuvottelemista, myönteisen palautteen antamista ja vastaanottoa ohjaustilanteissa sekä kehitysvammaisen puhujan kielellisen osallisuuden tukemista. Tutkimuksen päätavoitteena on selvittää, miten osallistujat näissä tilanteissa kielellisesti toimivat ja miten he ratkaisevat yhteistyön ajoittaisia haasteita. Tutkimuksen tuloksia voidaan soveltaa selkokielisen puheen ja vuorovaikutuksen ohjeistukseen, jota on kehitetty tukemaan vuorovaikutusta kielellisesti epäsymmetrisissä tilanteissa. Selkokielen tutkimus koskee Suomessa ja muissa maissa lähinnä kirjoitettua kieltä, joten puhuttua selkokieltä koskeva ohjeistus on vasta muotoutumassa. Tämän tutkimuksen tavoitteena on tuottaa yksityiskohtaista tietoa yhden kielellisesti haavoittuvan ryhmän vuorovaikutuksen erityiskysymyksistä ja saadun tiedon avulla kehittää selkopuheen ja -vuorovaikutuksen ohjeistusta. Tutkimuksen tulokset osoittavat, että puhujilla on useita keinoja toimia kielellisesti haastavissa tilanteissa. Ymmärrysvaikeuksien selvittämisessä olennaista oli ammattilaisen pyrkimys osallistaa kehitysvammainen puhuja mukaan korjaamiseen sen sijaan, että korjaustyö jäi vain ammattilaisen oman päättelyn varaan. Tiedollisia asemia koskevia ristiriitoja ammattilaiset ratkoivat hakemalla lisävarmistuksia jo vahvistettuun asiaan, tekemällä epäsuoria lisätiedusteluja sekä kyseenalaistamalla suoraan kehitysvammaisen puhujan kontribuution. Kaikkiin tapoihin liittyi piirteitä, jotka voivat sekä vahvistaa että heikentää kehitysvammaisen puhujan täyttä osallisuutta. Ohjaustilanteissa ammattilaiset antoivat kehitysvammaisille työntekijöille runsaasti myönteistä palautetta muotoillen arvioinnit kielellisesti yksinkertaisesti, ja arvioinnin vastaanotossa korostui kehitysvammaisen työntekijän sensitiivinen suuntautuminen tilanteen edellyttämään toimintaan. Kehitysvammaisen henkilön kielellistä osallisuutta ammattilaiset tukivat muun muassa erilaisia kysymyksiä esittämällä sekä tarttumalla kehitysvammaisen puhujan keskustelualoitteisiin, jolloin nämä pääsivät vaikuttamaan keskustelun kulkuun ja siinä käsiteltyihin aiheisiin. Kehitysvammaiset puhujat viittasivat usein itseensä persoonallisina, aktiivisina toimijoina, ammattilaiset taas ammattiroolinsa kautta. Tutkimuksessa ehdotetaan muokkauksia useisiin selkopuheen ja -vuorovaikutuksen suosituksiin sekä uusia suosituksia, jotka koskevat muun muassa puhujien erilaisia tiedollisia asemia keskustelussa, kehitysvammaisen puhujan rohkaisua itsearviointiin ohjaustilanteissa sekä ammattilaisen kokemaa ristipainetta yhdenvertaisuuden edistämisen ja kielellisen yksinkertaistamisen välillä. Yleisesti tutkimustulokset viittaavat siihen, että ohjeistus voi toimia keinovalikoimana kielellisesti ja vuorovaikutuksellisesti haastavissa tilanteissa ja avartaa ammattilaisten käsitystä siitä, millaisia kielellisiä erityistarpeita kehitysvammaisella puhujalla on. Ohjeistus ei kuitenkaan saa muodostua ammattilaisille heidän vuorovaikutuksellista liikkumavaraansa kaventavaksi säännöstöksi, vaan päinvastoin sen tulee lisätä heidän toimintamahdollisuuksiaan ja tietoisuuttaan kielen ja keskustelupuheen eri keinoista.

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