Business & Economics Collected Works - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 85
Toll-like receptor 4: innate immune regulator of neuroimmune and neuroendocrine interactions in stress and major depressive disorder
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2014-09-30)
Major depressive disorder (MDD) poses one of the highest disease burdens worldwide. Yet, current treatments targeting serotonergic and noradrenaline reuptake systems are insufficient to provide long-term relief from depressive symptoms in most patients, indicating the need for new treatment targets. Having the ability to influence behavior similar to depressive symptoms, as well as communicate with neuronal and neuroendocrine systems, the innate immune system is a strong candidate for MDD treatments. Given the complex nature of immune signaling, the main question becomes: What is the role of the innate immune system in MDD? The current review presents evidence that toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), via driving both peripheral and central immune responses, can interact with serotonergic neurotransmission and cause neuroendocrine disturbances, thus integrating with widely observed hallmarks of MDD. Additionally, through describing the multi-directional communication between immune, neural and endocrine systems in stress, TLR4-related mechanisms can mediate stress-induced adaptations, which are necessary for the development of MDD. Therefore, apart from exogenous pathogenic mechanisms, TLR4 is involved in immune changes as a result of endogenous stress signals, playing an integral part in the pathophysiology, and could be a potential target for pharmacological treatments to improve current interventions for MDD.
Oxytocin as an Indicator of Psychological and Social Well-Being in Domesticated Animals: A Critical Review
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2017-09-13)
Oxytocin is often portrayed as a hormone specific to social behavior, reflective of positive welfare states, and linked to mental states. Research on oxytocin in domesticated animal species has been few to date but is rapidly increasing (in dog, pig, cattle, sheep), with direct implications for animal welfare. This review evaluates the evidence for the specificity of oxytocin as an indicator of: 1. Social, 2. Positive, and 3. Psychological well-being. Oxytocin has most often been studied in socially relevant paradigms, with a lack of non-social control paradigms. Oxytocin research appears biased toward investigating positive valence, with a lack of control in valence or arousal. Oxytocin actions are modulated by the environmental and social contexts, which are important factors to consider. Limited evidence supports that oxytocin's actions are linked to psychological states; nevertheless whether this is a direct effect of oxytocin per se remains to be demonstrated. Overall, it is premature to judge oxytocin's potential as an animal welfare indicator given the few and discrepant findings and a lack of standardization in methodology. We cover potential causes for discrepancies and suggest solutions through appropriate methodological design, oxytocin sampling or delivery, analysis and reporting. Of particular interest, the oxytocinergic system as a whole remains poorly understood. Appreciation for the differences that social contact and group living pose in domesticated species and the way they interact with humans should be key considerations in using oxytocin as a psychosocial indicator of well-being.
Reducing inequities in early childhood mental health: How might the neighborhood built environment help close the gap? a systematic search and critical review
(MDPI AG, 2019-05-01)
Background: Optimal mental health in early childhood is key to later mental health, physical health, education, and social outcomes; yet, children facing disadvantage tend to have worse mental health and fewer opportunities to develop this foundation. An emerging body of research shows that neighborhoods provide important opportunities for the development of children’s mental health. Synthesizing this evidence can advance understandings of the features of the neighborhood built environment (e.g., housing, parks) that (1) promote optimal mental health in childhood and (2) reduce mental health inequities. Methods: We systematically searched and critically reviewed the international quantitative literature investigating associations between the neighborhood built environment and young children’s mental health. Results: 14 articles met inclusion criteria; most examined nature or public open space. Studies tended to find greater access to or quantity of neighborhood nature or public open space were associated with better mental health. Significant gaps included a lack of studies investigating social infrastructure, and few studies examined how the built environment related to positive mental health (i.e., functioning, rather than problems). Conclusions: Current evidence suggests there is some relationship, but additional research is needed that addresses these gaps and examines differences in associations between child subgroups (e.g., diverse socioeconomic backgrounds).
Cortisol-induced increases of plasma oxytocin levels predict decreased immediate free recall of unpleasant words.
(Frontiers Media SA, 2012)
Cortisol and oxytocin have been shown to interact in both the regulation of stress responses and in memory function. In the present study we administered cortisol to 35 healthy female subjects in a within-subject double-blind placebo-controlled design, while measuring oxytocin levels, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels, and free recall of pleasant and of unpleasant words. We found that cortisol administration suppressed ACTH levels and (1) induced a decrease in oxytocin associated with ACTH suppression and (2) an increase in oxytocin that was independent from ACTH suppression. This cortisol-induced increase in plasma oxytocin was associated with a selective decrease in immediate free recall of unpleasant words from primacy positions. The present results add to evidence that cortisol-induced increases in oxytocin could mediate some of the effects of stress and cortisol on memory, and possibly play a role in the regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal stress response. This mechanism could significantly impact affective and social behaviors, in particular during times of stress.
Oxytocin treatment in pediatric populations
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2014-10-16)
The role of endogenous oxytocin as neuromodulator of birth, lactation and social behaviors is well-recognized. Moreover, the use of oxytocin as a facilitator of social and other behaviors is becoming more and more accepted. Many positive effects have been attributed to intranasal oxytocin administration in animals and humans; with current research highlighting encouraging advances in its potential for use in mental health disorders. The new frontier will be investigating the effective use of oxytocin in pediatric populations. Limited animal data is available on this. Large-scale human studies focusing on autism are currently under way, but many other possibilities seem to lie in the future. However, we need to know more about the risks and effects of repeated use on the developing brain and body. This paper will provide an overview of the current understanding of the role of endogenous oxytocin and its related neuropeptide systems in influencing behaviors, in particular attachment, and will review (a) the literature on the use of intranasal oxytocin in young animals, children (age range birth-12 years) and adolescents (age range 13-19 years), (b) the expected benefits and risks based on the current research, and (c) the risks of oxytocin in children with severe psychopathology and early life trauma. The paper will conclude with a clinical perspective on these findings.
Early social environment affects the endogenous oxytocin system: a review and future directions
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2015-03-11)
Endogenous oxytocin plays an important role in a wide range of human functions including birth, milk ejection during lactation, and facilitation of social interaction. There is increasing evidence that both variations in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and concentrations of oxytocin are associated with differences in these functions. The causes for the differences that have been observed in tonic and stimulated oxytocin release remain unclear. Previous reviews have suggested that across the life course, these differences may be due to individual factors, e.g., genetic variation (of the OXTR), age or sex, or be the result of early environmental influences, such as social experiences, stress, or trauma partly by inducing epigenetic changes. This review has three aims. First, we briefly discuss the endogenous oxytocin system, including physiology, development, individual differences, and function. Second, current models describing the relationship between the early life environment and the development of the oxytocin system in humans and animals are discussed. Finally, we describe research designs that can be used to investigate the effects of the early environment on the oxytocin system, identifying specific areas of research that need further attention.
Harvesting from “Poor Old” China to Harness “Poor Young” Africa’s Demographic Dividend?
(International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 2018-07-05)
As China’s four-decade long demographic dividend is coming to an end, the country is actively seeking to seize new economic opportunities in higher-value-added productive activities. Could Africa be the big winner of this economic restructuring?
Africa, and China’s One Belt, One Road initiative: Why now and what next?
(International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 2016)
China’s growing outbound investment ambitions could be as transformative for today’s poor countries as inbound investment was for China. This will depend upon how recipient developing economies, in particular in Africa, utilise China’s investor interest for their own sustainable development.
The student as customer and quality in higher education
This paper explores some management concepts and how applying these concepts from business to higher education can be problematic, let alone incompatible, particularly in relation to measuring quality in higher education. A number of compelling reasons for this are explored. It discusses that the current bases for perceiving quality such as meeting customer expectations, satisfying the customer, ensuring quality control, meeting standards and assessing the costs associated with poor quality are in disagreement with the principal aims and measures of quality in higher education. Some considerations for understanding quality in higher education are proposed such as when thinking about quality of teaching, quality of programs and quality of the student experience. These considerations aim to refocus education to centre on the student as a learner and an active participant in the learning process.
Critical thinking in business education: current outlook and future prospects
(Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2020-01-01)
This study investigates all available literature related to critical thinking in business education in a survey of publications in the field produced from 1990–2019. It conducts a thematic analysis of 787 articles found in Web of Science and Google Scholar, including a specific focus on 55 highly-cited articles. The aim is to investigate the importance of critical thinking in business education, how it is conceptualised in business education research, the business contexts in which critical thinking is situated, and the key and more marginal themes related to critical thinking outlined in the business and business education literature. The paper outlines six key areas and topics associated with those areas. It suggests future directions for further scholarly work in the area of critical thinking in business education.
Mapping international business and policy research: Intellectual structure and research trends
This paper analyzes the core international business (IB) areas covered by ten IB-focused journals to date using 13,937 documents reflecting more than 300 years of combined publication history. Using bibliometric and citation analysis, it provides a systematic understanding of the current IB landscape, explicates the relevance of the future of IB research and depicts trends in this research field with emerging prevalent themes identified. The strongest themes across IB journals are performance, perspective and emerging economies/MNEs, shared strongly across UK/Europe, US and Asia-based journals. Our findings report on the prevalent research field, economy and geography, the latter analyzing the impact of author numbers and distribution, and thus, scale effects. Within this context, sole authorships are largely replaced by co-authorships, yet often on national level. We further limited the study to IB policy and found the focus centers on key themes of foreign business attraction, transnational governance and IB promotion.