Functional Groups of Lisinopril

The IR spectra of pure showed peaks at which are consistent with the presence of the functional groups of lisinopril (Fig.no.12) Furthermore, the calibration curve of lisinopril obeyed Beer’s law in the range of 10-60 g/ml (Fig.no.11)
An IR spectrum of the drug-polymer (methylcellulose) mixture was taken to study and check the drug- polymer interaction. The spectrum revealed that not much interaction between the drug and polymer (Fig.no.13).
In TLC studies, the prepared lisinopril microspheres (M4, M7) showed (Table.no.9) the same Rf (0.5512, 0.5769) value as pure compound (0.5897) and no additional spots were detected. TLC studies (Fig.no15) thus indicated no interaction between lisinopril and polymer (methylcellulose) in the floating microspheres prepared. This observation also indicated that lisinopril was not decomposing during the preparation of floating microspheres.
Differential Scanning Colorimetry:
The thermal behavior of floating microspheres of lisinopril was studying using DSC are shown in (Fig no.16). The DSC thermogram of pure drug lisinopril exhibited an exothermic peak at corresponding to its melting point. For formulation (M7) this peaks are at respectively. The characteristic exothermic peak is slightly shifted to lower temperature, indicating that there is no interaction between drug and carrier.

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Percentage yield:
Percentage yield of different batches of the prepared floating microspheres were determined by weighing the floating microspheres after drying. All batches of methylcellulose floating microspheres showed a percentage yield of greater than 75%, the percentage yields of all the prepared formulations (M1-M9) were in the range of 76.8 to 92.16% (Table.no.11). Percentage yield is found to be higher with formulation M7 (92.16%).
Scanning Electron Microscopy:
The surface morphology of the prepared floating microsphere (M7) was shown to be spherical by the SEM photography (Fig.no.19).
Particle size analysis:
The particle size analysis was carried out using an optical microscope. The arithmetic mean particle size of the methylcellulose floating microspheres significantly increased with increasing polymer concentration were shown in (Table.no.18).The particle size distribution of the methylcellulose floating microspheres ranged between 163.125 to 252.375µm.
Micromeritic properties of the floating microspheres 61
The various micromeritic properties of the prepared floating microspheres were studied.
Acceptable range of angle of repose is between 20ο-40ο and angle of repose for methylcellulose floating microspheres (M1-M9) was between 24.44 to 35.53ο (Table no. ), thus indicating good flow property for methylcellulose floating microspheres.
Acceptable range of Hausner’s ratio is up to 1.25 and Hausner’s ratio for methylcellulose floating microspheres(M1-M9) was between 1.085 to 1.181(Table.no.21) ,all the prepared floating microspheres had a value less than 1.25 thereby exhibiting good flow properties.
Acceptable range of Carr,s index (%)is up to 5-21%, and carr’s index for methylcellulose floating microspheres(M1-M9) was between 7.910 to 15.379 % (Table.no.21) all the formulations showed an Carr,s index (%) less than 16% and hence had a flow properties.
Percentage drug content of the floating microspheres
The percentage drug content of different batches of floating microspheres was found in the range of 55.33 to 88%.All batches of the methylcellulose floating microspheres formulation shown percentage drug content more than 55% (Table no.23) and it is found that percentage drug content increases with an increase in the polymer concentration (except M2,M6). Formulation M5 has shown maximum percentage drug content (88.0%).
Buoyancy percentage: (Floating ability)
The buoyancy test was carried out to investigate the buoyancy percentage (floating ability) of the prepared methylcellulose floating microspheres. The buoyancy percentage of the different batches of floating microspheres was found in the range of 48.0 to 85.0% at the end of 12 hrs (Table.no.25). All the formulated floating microspheres of lisinopril showed buoyancy (floating ability) more than 48%. Amongst the batches of prepared methylcellulose floating microspheres, batch M5 showed highest buoyancy (85%). Floating ability of different formulations was found to be differed according to the increase polymer concentration and it is found that percentage of buoyancy increases with an increase in the amount of polymer.
In-vitro release studies
Lisinopril release from the all formulated floating microspheres were studied in SGF (0.1N HCl) for 12 hrs.The floating microspheres showed sustained release of the lisinopril (drug) in acidic environment and the drug release was found to be approximately linear (fig no. ). The drug release from methylcellulose floating microspheres was found to be 82.35, 78.75, 74.25, 71.55, 66.15, 83.70, 90.45, 94.5 and 97.65% at the end of 12 h for M1,M2,M3,M4,M5,M6,M7,M8 and M9 respectively (Table.no.27). The sustained release pattern was observed for the prepared floating microspheres (M1-M9) clearly exhibiting an increase in the polymer concentration results decrease in-vitro drug release of lisinopril. Amongst the batches of prepared methylcellulose floating microspheres, batch M5 showed higher drug entrapment efficiency 88.0% and the minimal in-vitro drug release 66.15% at the end of the 12 hrs with compared to the other prepared methylcellulose floating microspheres.
Drug release kinetics
The results for the mathematic modeling of the in-vitro drug release data for the methylcellulose floating microspheres have been complied and the R2 values shown in the table no.
The in-vitro drug release profile for the formulations M1-M9 were subjected to various drug release kinetic studies and are depicted in the following figures. (Fig.no.30-38)
The release profile for the formulations M1-M9 exhibiting a maximum R2 values (0.9613, 0.9421, 0.9386, 0.9446, 0.9382, 0.9546, 0.9520, 0.9599 and 0.9660) was found to obey that particular kinetics. From the results it is apparent that the regression coefficient value closer to unity as in the case of the Zero orders plots. The Zero order plots of different formulation were found to be fairly linear, as indicated by their high regression values. Thus, it seems that drug release from the floating microspheres followed Zero order kinetics. The data indicates a lesser amount of linearity when plotted by the First order equation. Hence it can be concluded that the major mechanism of drug release follows Zero order kinetics.
Further, the conversion of the data from the dissolution studies suggested possibility of understanding the mechanism of drug release by configuring the data into various mathematical modeling such as Higuchi’s and Korsemeyer’s -peppas plots. The mass transfer with respect to square root of time has been plotted, revealed a linear graph with regression value close to one stating that the release from the matrix was through diffusion. Data based on the Higuchi model usually provide a evidence to the diffusion mechanism of drug release from matrix systems such as the methylcellulose floating microspheres developed in this work. R2 values based on the Higuchi’s model ranged from 0.8882, 0.8578, 0.8507, 0.8603, 0.8542, 0.8773, 0.8708, 0.8858 and 0.8978. (Table.no.29). As these values were close to 1.0, the drug release mechanism of the developed floating microspheres can be said to be Higuchian and, therefore, matrix diffusion-controlled.
CHITOSAN FLOATING MICROSPHERES
IR Spectra of chitosan floating microspheres
An IR spectrum of the drug-polymer (chitosan) mixture was taken to study and check the drug- polymer interaction. The spectrum revealed that not much interaction between the drug and polymer (Fig.no.14).
Thin Layer Chromatography:
In TLC studies, the prepared lisinopril microspheres (C4, C7) showed the same Rf (0.5384, 0.5000) value as pure compound (0.5897) and no additional spots were detected(Fig.no.15). TLC studies thus indicated no interaction between lisinopril and polymer (chitosan) in the floating microspheres prepared. This observation also indicated that lisinopril was not decomposing during the preparation of floating microspheres.
Differential Scanning Colorimetry:
The thermal behavior of floating microspheres of lisinopril was studying using DSC are shown in Fig.no.17. The DSC thermogram of pure drug lisinopril exhibited an exothermic peak at corresponding to its melting point. For formulation (C7) this peaks are at respectively. The characteristic exothermic peak is slightly shifted to lower temperature, indicating that there is no interaction between drug and carrier.
Percentage yield:
Percentage yield of different batches of the prepared floating microspheres were determined by weighing the floating microspheres after drying. All batches of methylcellulose floating microspheres showed a percentage yield of greater than 75%, The percentage yields of all the prepared formulations (C1-C9) were in the range of 78.0 -93.66% (Table.no.12). Percentage yield is found to be higher with formulation C7 (93.66%).
Scanning Electron Microscopy:
The surface morphology of the prepared floating microsphere (C7) was shown to be spherical by the SEM photography (Fig.no.20).
Particle size analysis:
The particle size analysis was carried out using an optical microscope. The arithmetic mean particle size of floating microspheres significantly increased with increasing polymer concentration were shown in Table. No. 19. The particle size distribution of the chitosan floating microspheres ranged between 32.50 to 55.80µm.
Micromeritic properties of the floating microspheres 61
The various micromeritic properties of the prepared floating microspheres were studied.
Acceptable range of angle of repose is between 20ο-40ο and angle of repose for chitosan floating microspheres (C1-C9) was between 19.02 to 23.49ο (Table.no.22), thus indicating good flow property for chitosan floating microspheres.
Acceptable range of Hausner’s ratio is up to 1.25 and Hausner’s ratio for chitosan floating microspheres(C1-C9) was between 1.100 to 1.230 (Table.no.22) ,all the prepared floating microspheres had a value less than 1.25 thereby exhibiting good flow properties.
Acceptable range of Carr,s index (%)is up to 5-21%, and carr’s index for chitosan floating microspheres(C1-C9) was between 9.090 to 18.746% (Table.no.22) all the formulations showed an Carr,s index (%) less than 18% and hence had a flow properties.
Percentage drug content of the floating microspheres
The percentage drug content of different batches of floating microspheres was found in the range of 50.66 to 88.0%.All batches of the chitosan floating microspheres formulation shown percentage drug content more than 50% (Table.no.24) and it is found that percentage drug content increases with an increase in the polymer concentration. Formulation C5 shown maximum percentage drug content (88.0%).
Buoyancy percentage: (Floating ability)
The buoyancy test was carried out to investigate the buoyancy percentage (floating ability) of the prepared chitosan floating microspheres. The buoyancy percentage of the different batches of floating microspheres was found in the range of 46.0 to 82.0% at the end of 12 hrs (Table.no.26). All the formulated floating microspheres of lisinopril showed buoyancy (floating ability) more than 46%. Amongst the batches of prepared chitosan floating microspheres, batch C5 showed highest buoyancy (85%). Floating ability of different formulations was found to be differed according to the increase polymer concentration and it is found that percentage of buoyancy increases with an increase in the amount of polymer.
In-vitro release studies
Lisinopril releases from the all formulated floating microspheres were studied in SGF (0.1N HCl) for 12 hrs.The floating microspheres showed sustained release of the lisinopril (drug) in acidic environment and the drug release was found to be approximately linear (Fig.no.29). The drug release from chitosan floating microspheres was found to be 66.6, 61.65, 58.95, 57.15, 52.2, 69.3, 71.55, 74.7 and 78.75% at the end of 12 h for C1,C2,C3,C4,C5,C6,C7,C8 and C9 respectively (Table.no.28). The sustained release pattern was observed for the prepared floating microspheres (C1-C9) clearly exhibiting an increase in the polymer concentration results decrease in-vitro drug release of lisinopril. Amongst the batches of prepared chitosan floating microspheres, batch C5 showed higher drug entrapment efficiency 88.0% and the minimal in-vitro drug release 52.2% at the end of the 12 hrs with compared to the other prepared chitosan floating microspheres.
Drug release kinetics
The results for the mathematic modeling of the in-vitro drug release data for the methylcellulose floating microspheres have been complied and the R2 values shown in the table no.
The in-vitro drug release profile for the formulations C1-C9 were subjected to various drug release kinetic studies and are depicted in the following figures. (Fig.no.39-47)
The release profile for the formulations C1-C9 exhibiting a maximum R2 values (0.9834, 0.9646, 0.9556, 0.9244, 0.9305, 0.9656, 0.9655, 0.9646, and 0.9759) were found to obey that particular kinetics. From the results it is apparent that the regression coefficient value closer to unity as in the case of the Zero orders plots. The Zero order plots of different formulation were found to be fairly linear, as indicated by their high regression values .Thus, it seems that drug release from the floating microspheres followed Zero order kinetics. The data indicates a lesser amount of linearity when plotted by the First order equation. Hence it can be concluded that the major mechanism of drug release follows Zero order kinetics.
Further, the conversion of the data from the dissolution studies suggested possibility of understanding the mechanism of drug release by configuring the data into various mathematical modeling such as Higuchi’s and Korsemeyer’s -peppas plots. The mass transfer with respect to square root of time has been plotted, revealed a linear graph with regression value close to one stating that the release from the matrix was through diffusion. Data based on the Higuchi model usually provide a evidence to the diffusion mechanism of drug release from matrix systems such as the chitosan floating microspheres developed in this work. R2 values based on the Higuchi’s model ranged from 0.9238, 0.8905, 0.8751, 0.8295, 0.8392, 0.8955, 0.8993, 0.8986 and 0.9236. (Table.no.30). As these values were close to 1.0, the drug release mechanism of the developed floating microspheres can be said to be Higuchian and, therefore, matrix diffusion-controlled.
 

Density Functional Theory (DFT): Literature Review

Theoretical Background and Literature Review
2.1 Density Functional Theory
This section covers basics about Density Functional Theory (DFT), which is the theoretical method behind our investigations. For those who are interested in a much more deep knowledge about the DFT we refer to textbooks such as [29] and [30].
2.1.1 History of Density Functional Theory
To get precise and accurate results from both theoretical and computational methods, the scale of physical phenomena must be well defined. In physics and material science the relevant scales of matter are time and size. In computational material science, for the multiscale understanding in both time and size scale the smallest relevant scale of atomic interactions are best described by ab initio techniques. These techniques are based on the determination of electronic structure of the considered materials and an intelligent transfer of its characteristics to higher-order scales using multidisciplinary schemes. More specifically, if the interaction of electrons is solely described using universal principles such as the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics condensed in the Schrodinger equation, these simulations are called firstprinciples, or ab initio methods. One can also separate those methods as Hartree-Fock and post-HF techniques that mainly uses by quantum chemistry field and Density Functional Theory (DFT) which is typically used in of material science.
Ab initio simulations are becoming remarkably popular in scientific research fields. For example in DFT case, in a simple search at Web Of Science
[31] or any other publication search tool, one can easily see that number of publications that include ”Density Functional Theory” in their title or abstract is over 15000 in 2013. Therefore, it can be concluded that, ab initio based research already an important third discipline that makes the connection between experimental approaches and theoretical knowledge.
Figure 2.1: Usage trend of DFT over years

Within ab initio simulations quantum mechanical equations for any system that may be ordered or disordered are solved. That actually gives one drawback which is, solving that kind of equations is generally only possible for simple systems, because of the expensive electron-electron interaction term. So, in general, the ab initio simulations are restricted to 150-200 atoms calculations with most powerful computer clusters. Due to the that severe limitation, better techniques and methods are developed and implemented to bring the real materials into realm of ab initio simulations. The major development of ab initio methods with practical applications took place when many electron interactions in a system was possible to be approximated using a set of one electron equations (Hartree-Fock method) or using density functional theory

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In 1927, Thomas [32] and Fermi [33] introduce a statistical model to compute the energy of atoms by approximate the distribution of electrons in an atom. Their concept was quite similar to modern DFT but less rigorous because of the crucial manybody electronic interaction was not taken into account. The idea of the Thomas and Fermi was that, at the starting point for simplicity that electrons do not interact with each other and using classic terms, therefore, one can describe the kinetic energy as a functional of electron density of non-interacting electrons in a homogeneous electron gas. 3 years later, in 1930, Dirac [34] succeeded to include the many-body exchange and correlation terms of the electrons and actually he formulated the local density approximation (LDA), that is still used in our days. However, the Thomas-Fermi and Dirac model that are based on homogeneous electron gas do not cover the accuracy demand in current applications.
In same the years as Thomas and Fermi, Hartree [35] also introduce a procedure to calculate approximate wavefunctions and energies for atoms and that was called Hartree function. Some years later, to deal with antisymmetry of the electron system, his students Fock [36] and Slater[37], separately published self-consistent functions taking into account Pauli exclusion principals and they expressed the multi-electron wavefunction in the form of single-particle orbitals namely Slater-determinants. Since the calculations within the Hartree-Fock model are complicated it was not popular until 1950s.
The fundamental concepts of density functional theory were proposed by Hohenberg and Kohn in their very well known paper in the year 1964 [38]. The main idea was trying to use the electron density instead of complex and complicated wavefunction. A wavefunction contains 3N variables, where N is the number of electrons and each electron has 3 spatial degrees of freedom. In contrast to that electron density contains only 3 variables. Therefore, the implementation of the electron density with 3 variables will be more easy to handle than 3N wavefunction variables. In their work, Hohenberg and Kohn proved that all ground state properties of a quantum system, in particular the ground state total energy, are unique functionals of the ground state density. However, the Hohenberg-Kohn (HK) formulation is not useful for
actual calculations of ground state properties with enough accuracy.
A major improvement was achieved one year later, in 1965. Kohn and Sham [39] proposed a formulation by partially going back to a wavefunction description in terms of orbitals of independent quasi particles. The main idea was that the many-body problem can be mapped onto a system of non-interacting quasiparticles. This approach simplified the multi-electron problem into a problem of non-interacting electrons in an effective potential. This potential includes the external potential and the effects of the Coulomb interactions between the electrons, e.g., the exchange and correlation interactions. Since then up to now the Kohn-Sham equations are used in practically all calculations based on DFT.
2.1.2 Schr¨odinger’s Equation
In quantum mechanics, analogue to Newtons equations in classical mechanics, the Schr¨odinger equation is used. This is a partial differential equation and used to describe the physical quantities at the quantum level. The Schr¨odinger equation forms the basis of many ab initio approaches and its non-relativistic form is an eigenvalue equation of the form:
HˆΨ(ri,Rj)= EΨ(ri,Rj) (2.1)
where Ψ(ri,Rj) is the wavefunction of the system depending on the electron coordinates ri,i =1…N and the coordinates of all nuclei in the system Rj,j =1…M. Hˆis the Hamiltonian of a system that contains M nuclei and N electrons. Therefore, the Schr¨odinger equation that involves both nuclei and electrons has to be solved for the many-body eigenfunctions Ψ(r1,r2, …, rN ; R1,R2, …, RM ). The many-body Hamiltonian can be written in the form:
Hˆ= Tˆe + Tˆn + Vˆnn + Vˆen + Vˆee (2.2)
ˆˆ
where all of parts are operators. Te and Tn are the kinetic energies of the ˆˆ
electrons and nuclei, respectively. Ven, Vee and Vˆnn represent the attractive electrostatic interaction between the electron and the nuclei and the repulsive potential due to the electron-electron and nucleus-nucleus interactions.
One can also write them down explicitly:
N
f2
ˆ
Te = −
2
i
(2.3)
2me
i=1
M
2Mn
n=1
f2
ˆ
Tn = −
2
n
(2.4)
11
M
ZnZme2
= (2.5)
4π 0 2 |Rn − Rm|
=1;n,mn
=m
ˆ
Vnn
ˆ
Ven = −
11
MN
Zne2
(2.6)
4π 0 2 |ri − Rn|
n=1 i=1
j=
M
e
= (2.7)
4π 0 2 |ri − rj|
i,j=1;i
2
11
ˆ
Vee
where me and Mn are the electron and nuclei masses, Zn is the nuclear number of the n-th atom, e is the electronic charge and f is the Planck constant. For simplicity one can also use atomic units. Then the Hamiltonian takes the form:
NMM
ZnZm
in
22 |Rn − Rm|
i=1 n=1 n,m=1;n
=m
1
1
ˆ
H = − 2 2

+
(2.8)
j=
MNMZn
− +
|ri − Rn||ri − rj|
n=1 i=1 i,j=1;i
2.1.3 Born-Oppenheimer Approximation
It is clear that forces on both electrons or nuclei is in the same order of magnitude because of their electric charge. Therefore, the expected momen
1
tum changes due to that forces must be the same. However electrons are much smaller than nuclei (e.g. even for Hydorgen case nuclei nearly 1500 times larger than an electron) they must have higher velocity than nuclei. One can conclude that electrons will very rapidly adjust themselves to reach the ground state configuration if the nuclei start moving. Born and Oppenheimer [40] published their work in 1927, they simply separated the nuclear motion from electronic motion which is now known as the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. Therefore, while solving the Hamiltonian Equation in (2.8) one can simply assume nuclei as stationary and solve the electronic ground state at first then calculate the energy of the system in that configuration and solve the nuclei motion. Then the separation of electronic and nuclear motion leads to an separation of the wavefunctions Ψ = ψφ of electrons and nuclei, respectively. Via the separation one can treat the nuclear motion externally by not including the Hamiltonian and the “electronic” Hamiltonian can be written as:
Hˆe = Tˆe + Vˆen + Vˆee (2.9)
Solving the equation (2.9), one can get the total energy of the ground state of the system, which can be defined as:
E0 = ψ0|He|ψ0 + Vnn (2.10)
where E0 is the ground state total energy of the system and ψ0 is the eigenfunction of the electronic ground state.
2.1.4 Hohenberg-Kohn Theorem
However, the Hamiltonian in Equation (2.9) is quite complicated to solve for realistic systems due to the high number of electrons and especially the term Vee makes it impossible to solve the problem exactly. Therefore, instead of solving the many-body wavefunctions, Hohenberg-Kohn deal with that problem by reducing it to the electron density ρ(r). This approach makes the fundamentals of DFT. According to Hohenberg and Kohn, the total energy of the system can be defined via the electron density as E = E[ρ(r)] and it will be the minimum for the ground state electron distribution, namely ρ0(r). Therefore, the exact theory of many-body systems reduced to the electron density that can be defined as:
ρ(r)= … d3 r2…d3 rN |ψ(r1, …rN )|2 (2.11)
and has to obey the relation:
ρ(r)d3 r = N (2.12)
where N is the total number of electrons in the system. One can also summarize the HK theorem in the form of the two main theorems,

Theorem I : The external potential vext(r), which is the potential energy generated by the nuclei, can be determine from the ground state electron density ρ0(r). Then Hamiltonian will be fully defined, also the wavefunction for the ground state will also be known.
Theorem II : E0,the ground state total energy of the system with a particular vext will be the global minimum when ρ = ρ0.

From the perspective of these two theorems one can write down the total electronic energy as:
E[ρ]= Te[ρ(r)] + ρ(r)vext[ρ(r)] + EH [ρ(r)] + Exc[ρ(r)]d3 r (2.13)
One can also add the kinetic energy of the electrons T − e[ρ(r)], the classical Coulomb interaction (or Hartree interaction) between electrons EH [ρ(r)] and the remaining complex non-classical electron exchange correlations Exc[ρ(r)] into an universal functional FHK [ρ(r)]:
E[ρ]= FHK [ρ]+ ρ(r)vext[ρ(r)]d3 r (2.14)
The remaining will be to apply the variational principle to extract the ground state energy
δE[ρ(r)]
|ρ=ρ0 = 0 (2.15)
δρ(r)
2.2 Kohn-Sham Equations
However, the Equation (2.14) does not give an accurate solution. In that point, Kohn and Sham reformulated the current approach and introduced a new scheme by considering the orbitals by mapping the fully interacting electronic system onto a fictitious system of non-interacting quasi particles moving in an effective potential.The Kohn-Sham equations solution can be written as:
ˆ
HKSψi = iψi (2.16) where the Hamiltonian is
HˆKS =[− 1 2 + Veff (r)] (2.17)
2
Therefore, the problem of finding the many-body Schr¨odinger equation is now replaced by solving single particle equations. Since the KS Hamiltonian is a functional of just one electron at the point r then the electron density can be defined according to HK theorem:
occ.
ρ(r)= |ψi(r)|2 (2.18)
i=1
Besides, kinetic energy term and the classical Coulomb interaction energy of the electrons can be define as:
N
1
d3
Te = − r|ψi(r)|2 (2.19)
2
i=1
1 ρ(r)ρ(r )
EH [ρ]= d3rd3 r(2.20)
2 |r − r | Then the Hohenberg-Kohn ground state energy cn be written according to Kohn-Sham approach:
N
δExc
EKS = i − EH [ρ]+ Exc − (2.21)
δρ(r)
i
i are the one electron energies and are coming from the results of KS equations results, however it has low physical meaning. The most significant term in the Equation (2.20) is the last term. which is the exchange correlation term that contains all the many-body interactions of exchange and interactions of the electrons. One can also write down it as in the form of Hohenberg-Kohn universal functional from the equation:
Exc[ρ]= FHK [ρ] − (Te[ρ]+ EH [ρ]) (2.22)
The total ground state energy can be obtained from EKS in Equation (2.21). Since it contains only the electronic energy, the total ground state energy of the system is calculated by adding the nuclei-nuclei repulsion term:
E0(R1, …, RM )= i − EH [ρ0]+ Exc[ρ0] − vxcρ0dr + Vnn(R1, …, RM )
(2.23) where E0 is the total ground state energy for a given atomic configuration (R1, …, R2). Therefore, the total energy depend on ionic positions that is actually depends on the volume and cell shape, so one can easily compute the ground state structure by minimizing the total energy. Also one can find the force acting on the particular atom, say atom A, by taking the derivative of the energy with respect to ionic position of A:
δE0(R1, .., RM )
FA(RA) = (2.24)
δRA
which also shows the total energy dependence on atomic positions.
2.3 Calculating the Exchange-Correlation Energy
The derived and briefly explained KS equations from the fundamentals of all modern DFT calculations today. The most important point in the solution of KS equations are the exchange-correlation functional Exc which also determines the quality of the calculation. There are two well known approximation methods to get the exchange correlations: local density approximation (LDA)[39] and generalized gradient approximation (GGA)[41, 42].
2.3.1 Local Density Approximation
The local density approximation starts with a very simple approximation that, for regions of material where the charge density is slowly varying, the exchange-correlation energy at that point can be considered as the same as for a local uniform electron gas of the same charge density. In that case one can write the Exc as:
Exc = ρ(r) xc(r) (2.25)
where xc(r) is the exchange correlation energy per electron in an homogenous electron gas of density ρ(r). Even though the approximation is seemingly simple it is suprisingly accurate. However, it also has some drawbacks such as under-predict on of ground state energies and ionisation, while overpredicting binding energies as well as slightly favouring the high spin state structures and does not work fine for some systems where the charge density is rapidly changing.
2.3.2 Generalized Gradient Approximation
Knowing the drawbacks of LDA the most logical step to go beyond LDA is not to limit oneself to the information about the charge densitiy ρ(r) at a particular point r, but also adding the information about the gradient of the charge density ρ(r) to be able to take into account the unhomogeneous density in the system. Then one can write the exchange correlation energy as :
Exc[ρ]= f(ρ, ρ)dr (2.26)
That way of description leads to an improvement over LDA, nevertheless in some systems LDA still works better. There also several different parameterizations of GGA while in LDA its only one. In GGA some of these parameterizations are semi-emprical, in that experimental data (e.g. atomization energies) is used in their derivation. Others are found entirely from first principles. A commonly used functional is the PW91 functional, due to Perdew and Yang [43, 44] and most commonly used today is PBE [45, 46] by Perdew, Burke and Ernzerhof.
2.4 Ultra-Soft Pseudopotentials and the Projector-Augmented Wave Method
In the previous section, the calculation of Exc is described. Nevertheless this is not the single sensitive point of DFT calculations. The other point is the treatment of the electron-nuclei interaction. There are several available methods that describes the electron-nuclei interaction, but the most effective
 

Functional and Structural Factors for Different Animal Tissues

Construct a table, listing the structure and function of the different plant tissues described in this section (e.g. phloem).  Then write a short essay (700 – 1000 words) briefly describing both the functional and structural properties of each of the four animal tissues described in this section.

Tissue

Category

Location in Plant

Structure

Function

Epidermis

Simple 1

Outer surface of all plant organs2 (e.g. leaves.1)

Upper and lower epidermis made of a single layer of epidermal cells that contain cutin which forms a waxy cuticle on their outward facing surface.2

Secretion of a waxy cuticle that prevents loss of water 1, regulating transpiration. 3

Cork

Simple 1

Roots and stems of older plants. 4

Dead cells with thick walls containing lipophilic suberin.4

Replaces the stem epidermis in older plants to prevent water loss and to protect the stem and roots from damage.1

Parenchyma

Simple 1

Most plant organs (e.g. roots, stem and leaves) 1

Thin-walled living cells with an unspecialised structure so they can carry out different functions.5

Storage of food, tissue renewal and photosynthesis.1

Collenchyma

Simple 1

Stems, roots1 and leaves. 6

Elongated cells with irregularly thick cell walls containing a lot of cellulose. 6

Maintaining plant structure 6 and storage of starch.1

Sclerenchyma

Simple 1

Bark and mature stems (regions that don’t grow) 7

Dead, rigid cells due to thick secondary wall containing lignin.1

Structural support and protection from damage. 1

Xylem

Complex 1

Roots and the stem 8

Dead, elongated cells in the shape of tubes. Formed from tracheids, xylem vessels, fibers and parenchyma cells.9

Where transpiration (transport of water from roots to leaves) occurs. 10

Phloem

Complex 1

Leaves and stem 11

Made up of sieve tubes, companion cells, parenchyma cells and fibres.11

Transport of food from leaves throughout the plant.1

Figure 1: Table to show the structure and function of different types of plant tissues and where they are located on a plant

 

Structural and Functional Properties of the Four Types of Animal Tissue

Tissues are a collection of cells that work together to carry out the functions necessary to sustain life. They are of fundamental importance to biology as they make up organs, such as the heart and the lungs, without which the body could not survive. Animal tissue must have the ability to rapidly change shape and not be too rigid, or else animals would not be able to move quickly nor be as agile as what is necessary to survive. The four types of animal tissue: connective, epithelial, muscular and nervous are all specialised in unique ways to execute their responsibilities around the different parts of the body.

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Connective tissue mainly consists of the extracellular matrix1 (University of Kent, 2018), a substance containing proteins and fluids, which provides the tissue with strength and structure12.(Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 2009) Collagen is an extremely important protein from the extracellular matrix as it has a triple stranded helical structure which makes it very stiff, ideal for giving tissue strength.13 (K. Gelsea, E. PÖschlb, T. Aigner, 2003. Collagens—structure, function, and biosynthesis)

Figure 2: Image showing the triple stranded helical structure that makes up the collagen fibers.14 (Lina Jakimaviciene, 2018. What to do to have perfectly healthy hair?)

Connective tissue can be divided into two further sub-groups: Loose and Dense Connective Tissue. Loose connective tissue is found between muscles, around joints and blood vessels, along respiratory and digestive tracts and beneath the dermis of the skin. It is important for protecting organs and providing support, but the loose property allows joints and muscles to move freely. Contrastingly, dense connective tissue makes up tendons and ligaments which provides a strong attachment between muscle and bones and pulls muscle to make it move. It also covers skeletal muscle and internal organs to keep bones in place and limit overexpansion of organs.1(University of Kent, 2018)

Figure 3: Image showing the structural difference between loose and dense connective tissue. Dense tissue is much firmer whereas loose tissue allows for movement of joints.15 (Dr. Ray Burkett, 2006. A&P I – Tissue Lab)

Epithelial tissue also relies on connective tissue for support, as the basal lamina is made of extracellular matrix arranged into a tough sheet.1 (University of Kent, 2018) The tissue is composed of epithelial cells and desmosomes which form continuous sheets that cover organ walls, line internal cavities and surround glands. Molecules are prevented from leaking across the epithelium by tight junctions within the sheets, helping the epithelium tissue contribute towards its role as a barrier to regulate transport of substances into and out of a cell. The apical surface of epithelial tissue is on the outside of the cell and is exposed to fluids containing nutrients that are to be absorbed into the cell. Epithelium cells of the small intestine have microvilli on their apical surface which increases the surface area, therefore increasing the rate of absorption.1 (University of Kent, 2018) Some cells have cilia on their surface, for example the fallopian tubes have ciliated epithelial cells to help the egg cells travel towards the uterus.16(Study.com, n.d. Ciliated Epithelium: Function, Structure & Diagram)        

Figure 4: Image of columnar epithelial tissue with an arrow pointing to the microvilli that increase absorption rate 17 (SOCRATIC Anatomy and Physiology, 2016. What is the function of the simple columnar epithelium?)

There are three different forms that epithelial cells can take: squamous, columnar and cuboidal. Squamous cells form one cell thick (simple) epithelial layers in blood capillaries that allow gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) to easily diffuse in and out of the blood at the lungs and muscles.1 (University of Kent, 2018) As shown by Figure 4, columnar cells are very absorptive due the microvilli on their surface.17 (SOCRATIC Anatomy and Physiology,2016. What is the function of the simple columnar epithelium?) Cuboidal cells line small cavities in the body and areas specialised for secretion and can withstand more pressure due to their sturdier structure.18 (The Virtual Biology Labs, n.d. Simple cuboidal epithelium)                                                                                                         Stratified epithelium tissue consists of more than one layer of cells and is protective as it can withstand high abrasion, making it ideal to line places such as the oesophagus.19 (Histology Guide, University of Leeds, 2003. Epithelium: Stratified Epithelia)

Another vital animal tissue is nervous tissue, which transmits nerve impulses around the body to allow movement of muscle and trigger release of hormones. Nervous tissue is made up of neurons (conducting cells) that transmit signals, and neuroglia (non- conducting cells) that protect the neurones.1 (University of Kent, 2018)

Figure 5: Labelled diagram showing the generic structure of a neuron 20 (Alan Barker, 2009. Learning to juggle helps your brain grow – official!)

Sensory neurones transmit electrical impulses when stimulated by a receptor (shown in figure 6), then carry the impulse to the central nervous system. Another electrical impulse is then sent along a motor neuron to an effector (e.g. muscle) to generate a response. Relay neurones are used in the simple reflex response, which is an involuntary reaction to a stimulus using a reflex arc. The electrical impulse doesn’t travel through conscious parts of the brain, instead the relay neuron in the spinal cord carries the signal directly from the sensory neuron to the motor neuron. This is a protective and rapid response to shield the body from damage, for example, it would stimulate muscle effector cells very quickly if thermoreceptors in the skin came into contact with an extremely hot surface.21(CGP, 2016.  AQA A-Level Biology)        

 

Figure 6: Diagram showing the difference in structure between the three types of neurons. Sensory neurons receive signals from receptor cells and motor neurons are connected to effectors. 22 (Joseph Sparks, n.d. Biopsychology: Sensory, Relay and Motor Neurons)

Insulation of the axon is provided by the myelin sheath which increases the speed of impulse transmission by allowing the impulse to jump along the axon from node of Ranvier to node of Ranvier (known as saltatory conduction.)23 (CGP, 2016.  AQA A-Level Biology)

Electrical impulses sent along the central nervous system can reach voluntary muscle tissue which then moves according to a conscious thought. Microfilaments containing the contractile proteins actin and myosin work together and use ATP to move muscle fibres.

Figure 7: Diagram showing the structure of myosin and actin, and how they interact with one another (myosin head binds to troponin on an actin filament)24 (Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Myosin)

There are three main types of muscle cells: cardiac, smooth muscle and skeletal. Cardiac muscle cells are located in the heart and work together to synchronise the heartbeat with the aid of intercalated disks that join the cells to one another.1 (University of Kent, 2018) Electrical impulses are carried through the heart via the myocardium, a layer of muscle fibre in the heart wall that can conduct electricity, triggering the atria walls contract and push blood into the ventricles. The electrical activity  travels to the apex of the heart and up through Purkyne tissue (thin muscle fibres) resulting in strong, continuous contractions.25 (CGP, 2016.  AQA A-Level Biology) This is an example of involuntary muscle tissue controlled by the autonomic nervous system, where there is no conscious thought controlling the movement. Smooth muscle, situated in blood vessels and hollow organs also contracts involuntarily, but slower and weaker.  Skeletal muscle is striated body muscle connected to bone by tendons that aids voluntary movements controlled by the peripheral nervous system, resulting in a fast and strong discontinuous reaction.1(University of Kent, 2018)

Although the different types of animal tissue have different structures which are adapted to suit their individual functions, none of the tissues work exclusively by themselves, they all depend on one another to be able to carry out their roles. Muscle tissue wouldn’t be able to contract if it didn’t receive signals from nervous tissue or if it wasn’t supported by connective tissue. Their reliance on each other highlights the importance of each component around the body in order to sustain life.

University of Kent, 2018. Cell Biology: Cells to Systems Study Guide. [Online] Available from: https://moodle.kent.ac.uk/2018/mod/book/view.php?id=237532 [Accessed 07/12/18]

Soumendra Kumar, n.d. The Epidermal Tissue System of Plants [Online.] Available from: http://www.biologydiscussion.com/plant-tissues/the-epidermal-tissue-system-of-plants-with-diagrams/13880  [Accessed 07/12/18]

Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Epidermis [Online] Available from: https://www.britannica.com/science/epidermis-plant-tissue [Accessed on 07/12/18]

Anon., April 2017. What are the types of plant tissues and their functions? [Online] Available from: https://www.aplustopper.com/types-of-plant-tissues-and-their-functions/ [Accessed 07/12/18]

Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Parenchyma [Online] Available from: https://www.britannica.com/science/parenchyma-plant-tissue [Accessed on 07/12/18]

Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Collenchyma [Online] Available from: https://www.britannica.com/science/collenchyma [Accessed 07/12/18]

Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Sclerenchyma [Online] Available from: https://www.britannica.com/science/sclerenchyma [Accessed on 07/12/18]

Oxford dictionaries, n.d. Xylem [Online] Available from: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/xylem [Accessed 07/12/18]

Cecil Hampton, January 2016. Xylem Structure and Function [Online] Available from: http://slideplayer.com/slide/9246677/ [Accessed 07/12/18]

CGP, 2016.  AQA A-Level Biology. Page 192.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Phloem [Online] Available from: https://www.britannica.com/science/phloem [Accessed 07/12/18]

Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 9th edition, 2009. Extracellular Matrix. [Online] Available from: https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/extracellular+matrix [Accessed 08/12/18]

K. Gelsea, E. PÖschlb, T. Aigner, January 2003. Page 2. Collagens—structure, function, and biosynthesis. [Online] Available from: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/2756387.pdf [Accessed 08/12/18]

Lina Jakimaviciene, February 2018. What to do to have perfectly healthy hair?  [Online] Available from: https://fenoq.co.uk/what-to-do-to-have-perfectly-healthy-hair/ [Accessed 08/12/18]

Dr. Ray Burkett, 2006. A&P I – Tissue Lab  [Online] Available from: http://faculty.southwest.tn.edu/rburkett/a&p1%20tissues.htm [Accessed 08/12/18]

Laura Enzor, Study.com, n.d. Ciliated Epithelium: Function, Structure & Diagram [Online] Available from: https://study.com/academy/lesson/ciliated-epithelium-function-structure-diagram.html [Accessed 08/12/18]

Earnest Z, SOCRATIC Anatomy and Physiology, August 2016. What is the function of the simple columnar epithelium? [Online] Available from: https://socratic.org/questions/what-is-the-function-of-the-simple-columnar-epithelium [Accessed 08/12/18]

The Virtual Biology Labs, n.d. Simple cuboidal epithelium [Online] Available from: https://bio.rutgers.edu/~gb102/lab_6/601cm-simplecu.html [Accessed 09/12/18]

Histology Guide, University of Leeds, 2003. Epithelium: Stratified Epithelia [Online] Available from: https://www.histology.leeds.ac.uk/tissue_types/epithelia/epi_stratified.php [Accessed 08/12/2018]

Alan Barker, 2009. Learning to juggle helps your brain grow – official! [Online] Available from: https://justwriteonline.typepad.com/distributed_intelligence/2009/11/learning-to-juggle-helps-your-brain-grow-official.html [Accessed 08/12/2018]

CGP, 2016.  AQA A-Level Biology. Page 314-315.

Joseph Sparks, n.d. Biopsychology: Sensory, Relay and Motor Neurons [Online] Available from: https://www.tutor2u.net/psychology/reference/biopsychology-sensory-relay-and-motor-neurons [Accessed 08/12/2018]

CGP, 2016.  AQA A-Level Biology. Page 333.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Myosin [Online] Available from: https://www.britannica.com/science/myosin  [Accessed 09/12/18]

CGP, 2016.  AQA A-Level Biology. Page 324.

Role of Flaxseed as a Functional Food for the Heart

The Role of Flaxseed as a Functional Food for the Heart

 

Abstract

The aim of the present literature review was to evaluate the potential use of flaxseed, which is notably rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fibre, in the management of cardiovascular disease risk factors. The results of three meta-analyses and other studies which had been carried out in the intervening time were analysed to determine the effects of flaxseed on serum lipid profile and blood pressure, as well as the hypothesised mechanisms of action of the three main bioactive compounds found in flaxseed. The main findings were that flaxseed supplementation resulted in significant decreases in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to control; the overall magnitude of these improvements was relatively small, but a much greater benefit was seen in certain patient subgroups, in particular those with high baseline measurements (i.e. hypercholesterolaemia and hypertension). In conclusion, evidence suggests that daily ingestion of 30-50g of ground flaxseed would be a safe, cost-effective and well-tolerated intervention. Although its positive effects alone are limited, there is clear potential for it to be used alongside conventional drug therapies and long-term lifestyle changes, including healthy diet and exercise, to provide maximum benefit to patients in mitigating cardiovascular disease risk.

Introduction

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, representing approximately 30% of all deaths, and is strongly associated with behavioural risk factors such as lack of exercise, smoking and unhealthy diet (World Health Organisation, 2017). Current dietary recommendations focus on modifying eating habits and improving the overall quality of the diet by increasing intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and reducing unhealthy components such as saturated fats and sodium – however, an area of emerging interest in recent years are ‘functional foods’, which may be added into the diet to provide physiological benefits and mitigate the risk of developing disease (Hu, 2011). One such example is flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum), which is being investigated for potential cardioprotective effects associated with its high content of three main biologically active compounds – omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and soluble fibre (Kajla et al., 2014).

Nutritional Composition of Flaxseed

Flaxseed is considered to be a rich source of fat, fibre and protein (Morris, 2007). The protein content of flaxseed is usually between 20-30% and it has an amino acid profile similar to that of soybeans (Goyal et al., 2014).

Flaxseed contains 35-45% oil, which is made up of around 10% saturated fatty acids (SFAs; mainly palmitic and stearic), around 20% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs; mainly oleic), and 70% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (Martinchik et al., 2012). The PUFA component consists of linoleic acid (LA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid, in a favourable ratio of roughly 0.3:1 (Morris, 2007). Flaxseed is the richest plant source of ALAs, and 5-10% are converted in the body into longer chain omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid (Singh et al., 2011).

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Flaxseed is also the richest plant source of lignans, which are thought to function as phytoestrogens and antioxidants (Goyal et al., 2014). The main lignan in flaxseed, secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), is metabolised by intestinal bacteria first to secoisolariciresinol, then to enterodiol and finally to enterolactone; however, the efficiency of this conversion is less than 75% and varies considerably between individuals (Peterson et al., 2010).

Fibre accounts for around 30% of the weight of the whole seed, and the ratio of soluble to insoluble fibre ranges between 20:80 and 40:60 (Goyal et al., 2012). The insoluble fibre fraction consists mainly of cellulose and lignin, and its main role is to maintain bowel health by improving laxation; it is the water-soluble fibre found in flaxseed (also called mucilage) that is thought to play a direct role in lowering blood cholesterol levels (Goyal et al., 2014). Mucilage consists of polysaccharides and forms a viscous gel when mixed with water or other fluids (Singh et al., 2011).

Blood Lipids

CVD occurs as a result of atherosclerosis, which is characterised by inflammation and the formation of plaques in the blood vessel walls (Morris, 2007). Hypercholesterolaemia, which is defined as high total cholesterol and/or low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol in the blood, is one of the main risk factors for atherosclerosis (Santos and Martin, 2018). Several studies with flaxseed have been carried out to investigate its potential beneficial effects on serum lipid profile.

A meta-analysis investigating the effects of flaxseed on lipid levels found that among the studies that reported total cholesterol, including 1548 participants, the flaxseed intervention lowered total cholesterol by 0.10 mmol/L (95% CI: –0.20, 0.00 mmol/L; P=0.06) compared to control (Pan et al., 2009). The same meta-analysis found that among the studies that reported LDL-cholesterol, including 1471 participants, those in the intervention groups had a reduction in LDL-cholesterol by 0.08 mmol/L (95% CI: –0.16, 0.00 mmol/L; P=0.04) compared to control.

Further subgroup analysis in the meta-analysis by Pan et al. (2009) revealed that the beneficial effects of flaxseed were significant only in interventions that used whole flaxseed, which showed a decrease in total cholesterol of –0.19 mmol/L (95% CI: –0.29, –0.09 mmol/L; P=0.0003), and studies using lignan extract (–0.28 mmol/L; 95% CI: –0.55, –0.01 mmol/L; P=0.04). A similar pattern was observed in the reduction of LDL-cholesterol also. The differences observed may be attributed to the distinct mechanisms of action of the different bioactive compounds found in whole flaxseed.

The effects of ALAs on cholesterol metabolism are not yet fully understood, but some of the cardioprotective effects may be due to their ability to inhibit local inflammatory reactions in the endothelium associated with atherosclerosis – human studies have shown that consumption of flaxseed oil results in a fall in production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids from arachidonic acid, such as thromboxane A2 (which promotes platelet aggregation, a key factor in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, as well as heart attacks and stroke) and leukotriene B4 (which increases the production of reactive oxygen species and cytokines, including TNF-, IL-1, IL-6 and IL-8) (Morris, 2007). Evidence also suggests that ALAs directly suppress the production of these pro-inflammatory cytokines by immune cells in the endothelium (Zhao et al., 2007), as well as the production of oxygen free radicals (Prasad, 1997). In addition to this, a study found that consumption of a diet rich in ALAs (from walnuts, walnut oil and flaxseed oil) resulted in a significant decrease in expression of cell adhesion molecules, including vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and E-selectin, which are thought to mediate the attachment of immune cells to the endothelium and drive the formation of atherosclerotic plaques (Zhao et al., 2004). It is interesting to note that the meta-analysis by Pan et al. (2009) reported that interventions using flaxseed oil did not result in a significant change in total cholesterol; however, they hypothesise that this may be because the effects of flaxseed oil were masked by the use of oils rich in MUFAs or PUFAs as the control regimen, which may have similar physiological effects to the ALAs found in flax.

The precise role that lignans play in lowering cholesterol has not yet been fully determined, but animal studies indicate that SDG may decrease mRNA expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) in the liver, which is a transcription factor involved in regulating the activity of synthetase enzymes that are needed for the metabolism of cholesterol and fatty acids (Fukumitsu et al., 2008). In addition to this, SDG may exert a protective effect by scavenging oxygen free radicals, which are thought to contribute to endothelial cell injury and atherosclerosis (Prasad, 1997).

The exact mechanism of water-soluble fibre action is also uncertain, but evidence suggests that it most likely reduces cholesterol by increasing viscosity in the intestine, thereby limiting absorption of cholesterol from the diet, as well as decreasing reuptake of bile acids, which triggers increased synthesis of bile acid by the liver, causing serum cholesterol levels to fall (Theuwissen and Mensink, 2008). A double-blind, randomised, crossover study of 17 healthy volunteers conducted by Kristensen et al. (2012) showed that daily ingestion of a flaxseed fibre drink over 7 days lowered fasting total cholesterol by 12% and LDL-cholesterol by 15% compared to control (P
Another finding of the meta-analysis by Pan et al. (2009) was that there was a strong correlation between the observed efficacy of flaxseed interventions and the baseline cholesterol concentrations. The meta-analysis reported that total cholesterol levels decreased significantly in the group with initial concentration  5.7 mmol/L (–0.17 mmol/L; 95% CI: –0.32, –0.03 mmol/L; P=0.02), but no significant change was detected in the
The meta-analysis by Pan et al. (2009) also reported that a greater effect was observed in women compared to men – a significant net change of –0.24 mmol/L (P
The individuals who experienced the greatest benefit in the meta-analysis by Pan et al. (2009) – i.e. those using whole flaxseed, those with high baseline cholesterol levels and women – showed a reduction in total cholesterol of around 0.2 mmol/L, which although small, is estimated to correspond to a 3.5% risk reduction in all-cause mortality, a 4.9% risk reduction in coronary heart disease-related mortality and a 5.9% risk reduction in all coronary heart disease events (Gould et al., 2007).

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP)  140mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure (DBP)  90mmHg (World Health Organisation, 2017). Several animal and human studies have been carried out investigating the potential beneficial effects of flaxseed or its components on blood pressure.

A meta-analysis including 15 trials with a total of 1302 participants found significant reductions in both SBP (–2.85mmHg; 95% CI: –5.37, –0.33; P=0.027) and DBP (–2.39mmHg; 95% CI: –3.78, –0.99; P=0.001) following flaxseed supplementation (Ursoniu et al., 2016). These findings were consistent with an earlier meta-analysis, which included 14 trials with a total of 1004 participants and reported significant reductions in both SBP (–1.77mmHg; 95% CI: –3.45, –0.09; P=0.04) and DBP (–1.58mmHg; 95% CI: –2.64, –0.52; P=0.003) following flaxseed supplementation (Khalesi et al., 2015). Even though the magnitude of the reduction in blood pressure reported by these meta-analyses is small, this may still have significant clinical implications at the population level – according to a meta-analysis investigating the relationship between blood pressure and vascular disease mortality, lowering SBP by 2mmHg may reduce stroke mortality by 10% and mortality from ischaemic heart disease by 7% (Lewington et al., 2002).

Both meta-analyses displayed similar trends on comparison of the subgroup analyses. A greater reduction in DBP was observed in trials lasting 12 weeks or more, of more than 2mmHg (see table 1; significant results have been highlighted).

TABLE 1 – SUBGROUP ANALYSIS (TRIAL DURATION)

SBP

DBP

Mean reduction in mmHg (95% CI)

P

Mean reduction in mmHg (95% CI)

P

Khalesi et al.

–1.60 (–4.71, 1.52)

0.87

–0.27 (-2.17, 1.64)

0.78

Ursoniu et al.

–1.60 (–5.44, 2.24)

0.413

–1.74 (–4.41, 0.93)

0.202

 12 weeks

Khalesi et al.

–1.84 (–3.86, 0.18)

0.07

–2.17 (–3.44, –0.89)

Ursoniu et al.

–3.10 (–6.46, 0.27)

0.072

–2.62 (–4.39, –0.86)

0.003

Another consistent finding between the meta-analyses was that a significant reduction in blood pressure was observed only in interventions using whole or ground flaxseed, compared to consumption of oil or lignan extract alone, with one exception (see table 2; significant results have been highlighted).

TABLE 2 – SUBGROUP ANALYSIS (SUPPLEMENT TYPE)

SBP

DBP

Mean reduction in mmHg (95% CI)

P

Mean reduction in mmHg (95% CI)

P

Whole/ ground

Khalesi et al.

–3.39 (–6.86, 0.07)

0.05

–1.93 (–3.65, –0.21)

Ursoniu et al.

–1.81 (–2.03, –1.59)

–1.28 (–2.44, –0.11)

0.031

Oil

Khalesi et al.

–1.44 (–4.47, 1.60)

0.33

–0.38 (–2.79, 2.03)

0.76

Ursoniu et al.

–4.62 (–11.86, 2.62)

0.211

–4.10 (–6.81, –1.39)

0.003

Lignan extract

Khalesi et al.

–0.09 (–3.27, 3.08)

0.95

–2.39 (–5.32, 0.54)

0.11

Ursoniu et al.

0.28 (–3.49, 4.04)

0.885

–1.78 (–4.28, 0.72)

0.162

This explains why among the trials included in the meta-analyses, the trial carried out by Rodriguez-Leyva et al. (2013) showed the most potent antihypertensive effect, as it had the longest study period (6 months) and the participants in the intervention arm ingested foods containing 30g ground flaxseed every day. The study reported that the flaxseed intervention maintained SBP at 9.4mmHg lower than placebo (P=0.04), and DBP at 6.7mmHg lower than placebo (P=0.004). It is important to note that these results were achieved from a trial that was carried out in a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomised manner, and participant compliance was monitored via plasma ALA and enterolignan levels. Another finding of the study was that the magnitude of reduction in blood pressure was closely correlated to the baseline blood pressure, as the subgroup of patients with an initial SBP  140mmHg responded to dietary flaxseed with a greater average decrease of 15.2mmHg over the 6 month period (P=0.002).

The exact physiological mechanisms by which blood pressure is reduced are not fully understood, but the greater reductions found in whole flaxseed (compared to extracts alone) suggest that ALAs, lignans and fibre may all contribute to the overall antihypertensive effects of flax. It is hypothesised that hypertension occurs a result of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, leading to an imbalance in the production of vasodilatory and vasoconstrictive factors (Puddu et al., 2000). One proposed mechanism, based on the results of a double-blind randomised controlled trial including 110 participants, is that ALAs inhibit the activity of soluble epoxide hydrolase, resulting in decreased production of oxylipins (including eicosanoids) that are responsible for loss of vasodilation and promote endothelial inflammation, as discussed previously (Caligiuri et al., 2014). A different study showed that consumption of 3.7-6.0g of ALAs from walnuts per day significantly improved vasodilation by 64% (P=0.043) compared to the control olive oil diet, which may be attributed to incorporation of ALAs into the membrane of endothelial cells, resulting in increased membrane fluidity and synthesis or release of the endogenous vasodilator nitrous oxide (Ros et al., 2004). Experimental evidence suggests that SDG may independently lower blood pressure by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) via the stimulation of guanylate cyclase (Prasad, 2013). Soluble fibre may also favourably affect blood pressure by reducing postprandial glucose absorption, thereby improving insulin sensitivity, which is relevant as it thought that insulin may play a role in the pathogenesis of hypertension (Streppel et al., 2005).

Conclusion

At present, it is difficult to draw conclusions from epidemiological studies regarding the direct role of ALAs and lignans in the prevention of CVD, as the majority of studies evauluate omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources, and lignans are typically only found in very small quantities in the average diet. Further research is also needed to investigate the long-term effects of flaxseed interventions (i.e. over several years), to better understand the impact on cardiovascular mortality and life expectancy. However, current evidence suggests that daily supplementation with 30-50g flaxseed would be a safe, feasible and well-tolerated intervention, that is cost-effective in comparison with modern drug therapies, and may have the potential to improve lipid profile and lower blood pressure in certain patient subgroups, which are two key clinical risk factors for CVD. All three meta-analyses discussed previously reported that ground flaxseed was most effective; this is most likely because it provides optimal bioavailability of all the active compounds found in flaxseed.

According to the study by Rodriguez-Leyva et al. (2013), flaxseed consumption had maximum benefit in those who were severely hypertensive, while those with blood pressure values in the normal range showed a more modest reduction. This is a clear advantage of dietary interventions over conventional drug therapy, as there is no danger of inadvertently lowering blood pressure to a potentially harmful degree. Similarly, the meta-analysis by Pan et al. (2009) reported that the beneficial effects of flaxseed on blood lipid levels were only observed in those with high cholesterol concentrations at baseline, which is again important as the body requires a moderate level of cholesterol for normal physiological functioning. Overall, this makes flaxseed an ideal dietary intervention at the population level, as there is a very low risk of complications or negative side effects if only those with lipid or blood pressure values beyond the normal range experience much of its effects.

Furthermore, a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, in which participants consumed 30g of ground flaxseed or placebo a day, showed that flaxseed supplementation may delay the need for cholesterol lowering medications (CLMs) (Edel et al., 2015). In the subgroup of patients who were not taking any CLMs at the start of the trial, those who were consuming flaxseed did not need any CLMs over the course of the study period, which lasted 12 months; on the other hand, one third of the participants in the placebo arm of the trial were prescribed CLMs by the end. This is a clear advantage for patients, as it reduces the time that they are on long-term medications and the potential for negative side effects. In addition, the study by Edel et al. (2015) showed that flaxseed supplementation resulted in significant decreases in LDL-cholesterol both independently and in the presence of CLMs, suggesting that they may also be used as an adjunct for patients who are already taking conventional treatments. Overall, the results from this study indicate that flaxseed supplementation may be beneficial for patients in both the early and late stage of disease.

However, it is important to keep in mind that benefits shown by any functional food (not only flaxseed) will be modest for the vast majority of people. The reported cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering effects exerted by flaxseed are small and therefore unlikely to correspond to any significant long-term benefit. Such interventions do little to tackle the root cause of the problem, and a much greater and more sustainable effect will be seen by focusing on bigger lifestyle modifications. For example, a study of 97 non-diabetic, sedentary older men showed that a combined aerobic exercise and weight loss intervention over 9 months decreased SBP and DBP by 9.7 mmHg and 7.2 mmHg respectively (P
References

Caligiuri, S., Aukema, H., Ravandi, A., Guzman, R., Dibrov, E. and Pierce, G. (2014). Flaxseed Consumption Reduces Blood Pressure in Patients With Hypertension by Altering Circulating Oxylipins via an α-Linolenic Acid–Induced Inhibition of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase. Hypertension. 64(1), 53-9.

Dengel, D., Galecki, A., Hagberg, J. and Pratley, R. (1998). The independent and combined effects of weight loss and aerobic exercise on blood pressure and oral glucose tolerance in older men. American Journal of Hypertension. 11(12), 1405-12.

Edel, A., Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Maddaford, T., Caligiuri, S., Austria, J., Weighell, W., Guzman, R., Aliani, M. and Pierce, G. (2015). Dietary flaxseed independently lowers circulating cholesterol and lowers it beyond the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications alone in patients with peripheral artery disease. The Journal of Nutrition. 145(4), 749-757.

Fukumitsu, S., Aida, K., Ueno, N., Ozawa, S., Takahashi, Y. and Kobori, M. (2008). Flaxseed lignan attenuates high-fat diet-induced fat accumulation and induces adiponectin expression in mice. British Journal of Nutrition. 100(3), 669-76.

Gould, A., Davies, G., Alemao, E., Yin, D. and Cook, J. (2007). Cholesterol reduction yields clinical benefits: meta-analysis including recent trials. Clinical Therapeutics. 29(5), 778-794.

Goyal, A., Sharma, V., Upadhyay, N., Gill, S. and Sihag, M. (2014). Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 51(9), 1633-1653.

Hu, F. (2011). Do Functional Foods Have a Role in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease? Circulation. 124(5), 538-540.

Kajla, P., Sharma, A. and Sood, D. (2014). Flaxseed—a potential functional food source. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 52(4), 1857-1871.

Khalesi, S., Irwin, C. and Schubert, M. (2015). Flaxseed consumption may reduce blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. The Journal of Nutrition. 145(4), 758-65.

Kristensen, M., Jensen, M., Aarestrup, J., Petersen, K., Søndergaard, L., Mikkelsen, M. and Astrup, A. (2012). Flaxseed dietary fibers lower cholesterol and increase fecal fat excretion, but magnitude of effect depend on food type. Nutrition & Metabolism. 9, 8.

Kris-Etherton, P., Eckel, R., Howard, B., St. Jeor, S. and Bazzarre, T. (2001). Lyon Diet Heart Study: Benefits of a Mediterranean-Style, National Cholesterol Education Program/American Heart Association Step I Dietary Pattern on Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation. 103(13), 1823-25.

Lewington, S., Clarke, R., Qizilbash, N., Peto, R. and Collins, R. (2002). Age-specific relevance of usual blood pressure to vascular mortality: a meta-analysis of individual data for one million adults in 61 prospective studies. The Lancet. 360(9349), 1903-1913.

Martinchik, A., Baturin, A., Zubtsov, V. and Iu Molofeev, V. (2012). Nutritional value and functional properties of flaxseed. Voprosy pitaniia. 81(3), 4-10.

Morris, D.H. (2007). Flax — A Health and Nutrition Primer, 4th edn (Flax Council of Canada).

Pan, A., Yu, D., Demark-Wahnefried, W., Franco, O. and Lin, X. (2009). Meta-analysis of the effects of flaxseed interventions on blood lipids. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 90(2), 288-297.

Peterson, J., Dwyer, J., Adlercreutz, H., Scalbert, A., Jacques, P. and McCullough, M. (2010). Dietary lignans: physiology and potential for cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Nutrition Reviews. 68(10), 571-603.

Prasad, K. (1997). Dietary flax seed in prevention of hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis. 132(1), 69-76.

Prasad, K. (2013). Secoisolariciresinol Diglucoside (SDG) Isolated from Flaxseed, an Alternative to ACE Inhibitors in the Treatment of Hypertension. International Journal of Angiology. 22(4), 235-8.

Puddu P., Puddu G., Zaca F., Muscari A. (2000). Endothelial dysfunction in hypertension. Acta Cardiol. 55(4), 221–32.

Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Weighell, W., Edel, A., LaVallee, R., Dibrov, E., Pinneker, R., Maddaford, T., Ramjiawan, B., Aliani, M., Guzman, R. and Pierce, G. (2013). Potent antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients. Hypertension. 62(6), 1081-9.

Ros, E., Núñez, I., Pérez-Heras, A., Serra, M., Gilabert, R., Casals, E. and Deulofeu, R. (2004). A Walnut Diet Improves Endothelial Function in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Circulation. 109(13), 1609-14.

Santos, R. and Martin, S. (2018). Hypercholesterolaemia. [Online]. BMJ Best Practice. Available at: https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/170 [Accessed 20th November 2018].

Saxena, S. and Katare, C. (2014). Evaluation of flaxseed formulation as a potential therapeutic agent in mitigation of dyslipidemia. Biomedical Journal. 37(6), 386-90.

Singh, K., Mridula, D., Rehal, J. and Barnwal, P. (2011). Flaxseed: a potential source of food, feed and fiber. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 51(3), 210-222.

Streppel, M., Arends, L., van ’t Veer, P., Grobbee, D. and Geleijnse, J. (2005). Dietary Fiber and Blood Pressure: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials. Archives of Internal Medicine. 165(2), 150-6.

Theuwissen, E. and Mensink, R. (2008). Water-soluble dietary fibers and cardiovascular disease. Physiology & Behavior. 94(2), 285-292.

Ursoniu, S., Sahebkar, A., Andrica, F., Serban, C. and Banach, M. (2016). Effects of flaxseed supplements on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition. 35(3), 615-625.

World Health Organisation (2017). Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). [Online]. Available at: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds) [Accessed 20th November 2018]

Zhao, G., Etherton, T., Martin, K., West, S., Gillies, P. and Kris-Etherton, P. (2004). Dietary α-Linolenic Acid Reduces Inflammatory and Lipid Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Hypercholesterolemic Men and Women. The Journal of Nutrition. 134(11), 2991-97.

Zhao, G., Etherton, T., Martin, K., Gillies, P., West, S. and Kris-Etherton, P. (2007). Dietary α-linolenic acid inhibits proinflammatory cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in hypercholesterolemic subjects. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 85(2), 385-91.

 

Functional Areas of Organization

INTRODUCTION:
Organisations are built about a group of functions, each of which provides support for the operations of the business. Functional departments each serve a specific purpose with an organisation to achieve its objectives. The most common functional areas of an organisation discussed below. Information need is an individual or group’s desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a conscious or unconscious need. The information and need in information need are inseparable interconnection. Information needs are related to, but distinct from information requirements. An example is that a need is hunger, the requirement is food. In large organizations, each of the functional departments may be separate, whereas smaller organizations may have integrated departments. Different functional areas of an organization are:

Sales
Purchase
Manufacturing
Marketing
Finance
Human resource
Administration

Comparison & Contrasting
Sales
The sales team deal with customers and generate orders. The technioques used to generate sales varies between organisation,but some of the most common are telephone,door-to-door sales,advertising,and direct sales through representatives.
Purchase
The purchasing department is responsible for monitoring how many products or stock is required at any one time and buying accordingly.
Manufacturing
Depending on the type of organisation, one of the functional departments may be manufacturing, who would deal with all of the processing of product service.
Marketing
The marketing department advertise and promote the products or service of the organisation. In some case, it may be integrated with the sales function.
Finance
The primary function of the finance department is to ensure that there is financial stability within an organisation and a steady cash flow to support day-to-day transactions.
Human resource
The role of human resources is to provide support to the employees of an organisation. The primary function is to ensure the welfare of staff, by giving advice, guidance and motivation to enable them to work productively.
Administration
The administration function is integral to almost all organisations. Administrative staff works in all departments within organisations.
Purchase: The purchasing department may also be responsible for buying in consumable products, such as stationery, to support the other functional departments within the organisation.
Sales: the sales department may also provide supporting functions to other departments, particularly if the organisation does not have a dedeicated marketing or customer service department.
Manufacturing : Large national or multi-national organisations offering a diverse range of products or services would certainly need a manufacturing department to spearhead product developments.
Marketing: The marketing department will be involved in the few activities. Such as designing & developing promotional materials, organising marketing events, likely launches and campaigns. Developing websites…
Finance: The finance department is responsible for payment and transaction, investments, accounting procedures, budges and forecasting
Human resource: Human resource departments are also responsible for overseeing the recruitment of staff and the payroll as well as resignations and redundancies.
Administration: Organising meetings, taking minutes, audio and touch typing and letter writing are some of the day to day tasks an office administrator undertakes.
 

Functional Syllabus / Notional Functional Syllabus

Introduction
A notional-functional syllabus is an approach where the organization of the material is determined with notions or ideas that learners expect to be able to express through the target language and the functions acts learners expect to be able to accomplish (Wilkins, 1976). In this type of syllabus, it contains the same teaching materials as traditional syllabus but organizes them in different way such as around uses or functions (Harlow & Linda L, 1978). According to Wilkins (1972), proponents of this kind of approach believe that the usage of language for learners is more important than the digestion of an unapplied system of grammatical forms. Therefore, a notional-functional syllabus is a kind of communicative syllabus which organize units with the foundation of some functions such as asking question, expressing opinions, expressing wishes, making suggestions, complaining, and apologizing rather than including units instructing noun gender or present tense ending (Wilkins, 1976). First of all, I show how the notional-functional syllabus was brought about and influenced by both theories of language and language learning/acquisition.

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In the second part, I discuss on strengths and weaknesses of the notional-functional syllabus by the relation between it and communicative language teaching and putting it into the practice. Because the functional-notional syllabus is intimately related to communicative language teaching, this type of syllabus has lots of significant merits. However, the relationship between communicative language teaching and functional-notional syllabus design is far from clear, it does present some problems when it is put into practice as well (Brumfit, 1984).As criticizing the structural syllabus for being product-based which is focusing on what language is learnt and opposed to process-based which is focusing on how language is learnt, the functional-notional syllabus would contain a list of items to be learnt rather than a specification of how they are to be learnt. However, the notional-functional syllabus is not considered with traditional structure but function, such formal strategies may not be so useful, because it is more difficult to generalize from functions or use them to create new sentences (Wilkins, 1976). A further problem of the notional-functional syllabus was presented with regard to grading, as there was lack of evidence to concern the frequency of functions and when selecting which forms should be used to realize functions, textbook writers had to “depend on intuition” (White, 1988). However, it is an approach which has significant contributions in fulfilling the needs of both foreign language students and teachers.
The last part of the essay, I would argue the best suitable teaching situations for the notional-functional syllabus in English language teaching with the various elements of teaching situations.
Theory of notional-functional syllabus
A notional-functional syllabus is an approach where the organization of the material is determined with notions or ideas that learners expect to be able to express through the target language and the functions acts learners expect to be able to accomplish (Wilkins, 1976). The functional-notional syllabus takes semantic knowledge as primary and attempts to answer the question ‘what do users of the language need to express?’. This implies a belief in language as a system but a system of meaning rather than forms (Johnson, 1982). It answer that learning language consists of learning how to mean. Such a syllabus would seek correlations between form and function but would define the link as being between the forms of the language available to the user and the meanings he wishes to express (Munby, 1978). As described by Wilkins (1976), the functional-notional syllabus has its starting point something different form either the grammatical syllabus or the situational one. He also points that it is not the linguistic items to be taught but rather the behavioral organization in terms of the purposes for which language is being learned and the kinds of language performance (in terms of language functions) necessary for such purposes. The roots of this type syllabus would be to look at kinds of meanings which have to be considered in second-language teaching (Yalden, 1983). Therefore within them a central concerning is that the meaning of an expression originates from the whole situation in which language is used, not from words or sentences in isolation.
1.1 The theories of language
Richards and Rodgers (2001) show a structural view of language, which is that “language is a system of structurally related elements for the coding of meaning”. They also identify a functional aspect, which states that “language is a vehicle for the expression of functional meaning.” The notional-functional syllabus was influenced by the functional view of language, which itself was partly opposite aspect and partly an evolution of the structural view of language. There have been numerous educators to discuss the ‘communicative revolution’ beyond structural analyses of language which is provided by linguists but with considering what ‘communicative ability’ in a language entailed. Therefore, it would apparent that a different view of language would help learners to develop such ability. Malinowshi (1923) showed that the functional view of language was superior to the structural view, and the discourse in context was extremely important. Teaching the knowledge of the structure of written or spoken texts was more important than exclusively teaching grammatical correct, sentences to language learners. The functional view of language also has an intimate relationship with the view expressed by the likes of Hymes (1972), i.e. “linguistic theory needed to be seen as part of a more general theory incorporating communication and culture”. Halliday (1970) argues that since all the functions of language are usage of studied language, linguistic is considered with the description of speech acts or texts, therefore all components of meaning have been brought into focus of the notional-functional syllabus.
Above all, it can say that how the notional-functional syllabus’s focus on the meanings and functions of language was strongly influenced by functional and communicative views of language.
1.2 The theories of language learning/acquisition
Richard and Rodgers (2001) also distinguish between two basic types of learning theories: process-oriented theories which “build on learning processes, such as habit formation, induction, inference, hypothesis testing, and generalization” and condition-oriented theories, which “emphasize the nature of the human and physical context in which language learning takes place”. Although it is true that teaching notions and functions must be with using behaviorist techniques. And Widdowson (1990) notes that teachers were “not bound to interpret the syllabus in line with its intentions”. In practically, there came to be a strong alliance between the functional view of language represented by the notional-functional syllabus, and a condition-oriented, communicative approach to learning.
As Wilkins (1976) points that the meaning must be considered through the study of language in use, language in discourse. So we study the communicative functions of language and their relation to grammatical forms through approach language in this way. Moreover, the goal of learning language is communicative and not formal perfection in the learner. Language is seen as essentially a function of society, serving an interpersonal role, and making each speaker a member of a speech community through its use.
Meanwhile, the grammatical syllabus teaches the language for learners by taking them progressively through the structures of the target language; the situational syllabus does so through recreating the situations in which native speakers use the language (Wilkins, 1976).Wilkins (1976) also points that the combination of grammar, lexis, stylistics, linguistic and non-linguistic context and, in speech, intonation ensures that any two sentences hardly have exactly the same meaning. Since the learning of a language is most commonly identified with acquiring digestion of its grammatical system, it is not surprising that most courses have grammatical pedagogic organization. And courses are based on the systematic introduction of vocabulary and others which take language situations as the starting-point. Therefore, the functional-notional syllabus is not necessarily mutually exclusive. Regarding them form the linguistic point of view, Richards (2001) asserts that the notional-functional syllabus not only be considered with an analytic approach for language learning but also was combined with restating of traditional structural grammar rules as functions.
From above, Richards and Rodgers (2001) asserts that one of the first syllabus models to be proposed for communicative teaching was described as a notional syllabus and the progenitor of the notional syllabuses himself. And Wilkins (1981) highlights that the communicative purposes of language learning link the notional approach to the wider communicative movement in language teaching. Therefore, the notional-functional syllabus was one answer to the question of what kind of course content should be used to lead learners acquire the ability to convey communicative meaning through language.
The strengths and weaknesses of the notional-functional syllabus
The notional-functional syllabus concerns two important elements: one is a notional or conceptual view, which is involved with some concepts such as time, space, movement, cause and effect; another one is functional view which is used for intentional or purposive description and classification. It is a new type of syllabus because it could take notional-functional categories as an organizing principle which would not only be determined by grammatical considerations but also be concerned with communicative categories into account as well (White, 1988). All of the grammatical syllabus, the situational syllabus, and notional-functional syllabus belong to ‘Type A Syllabuses’. Neither grammatical nor situational syllabus would be denied that the purpose of learning languages is to communicate both of them give learners few adequate opportunities to promote the communicative capacity. However, the notional-functional syllabus takes the desired communicative capacity as the starting-point. From the notional-functional syllabus, it asks speakers to communicate through language. So the designers are able to organize language teaching in concerning of the content rather than the form of the language (Wilkins, 1976).
2.1 The strengths of the notional-functional syllabus
The advantages of the notional syllabus include that it could consider the communicative facts of language from the beginning with concerning of grammatical and situational factors. So it is superior to the grammatical syllabus possibly (Wilkins, 1976). In the grammatical syllabus language elements are demonstrated more in complete possibilities of the language than the use of it needed in conversation. So learners would complain that foreign language learning is not practical and they have few opportunities to use out of it. However, a functional-notional syllabus would teach language to use it rather than instructing the use of its exclusive forms. As teaching the language through its uses, learners would consider the utility and the relevance of their study (Wilkins, 1976).Moreover, Harlow and Linda L. (1978) point that by perceiving language as a real means of communication; learners would feel more motivated to learn as they would feel what they were learning is useful. Language functions in a real-life setting would generate a special kind of excitement for learning and leads to productive learning. Therefore, as comparing to the structural syllabus where elements of language are learned in an isolated way from real life, students’ communicative competence and confidence can be well developed, and teachers can revitalize teaching materials to meet learning objectives in functional-notional approach study.
Furthermore, the functional-notional syllabus is superior to the situational syllabus because it can include both of the most important grammatical forms and all kinds of language functions in it rather than concentrate those exist in specific situations typically (Wilkins, 1976).
From above it can say that this type of syllabus does have some significant merits as follows:
The first merit of the functional-notional syllabus is that it emphasizes the fact that students and their communicative purposes are at the very core of the teaching program. The learner’s actual and foreseeable academic, social, and vocational needs will underlie all aspects of the programs of linguistic and cultural content. While due attention is given to certain aspects of selection and grading of linguistic cultural content, the primary consideration is those functions that persons of a particular age level, in a particular situation, would wish or need to express. Thus, it suits the need of learners’. This syllabus is extremely useful for ESP clauses in which the learners can learn part of the language which they are badly in need without wasting their time and energy for detailed study of the whole language system.
The second merit of this syllabus is that the act of communication, even at the elementary levels, will be intrinsically motivating. Unlike the grammatical syllabus which separates the language into discrete items and from which the learners have to communicative competence at the very beginning. The language forms, its functions, and communicative skills they have learned can be used immediately in the communicative activities and in role plays, or even in the real world. This direct effect of language use motivates the learners. They feel quite satisfied and are eager to learn as much as possible according to their needs because they are not passive listeners but active participants.
The third merit is that language functions are quite generalizing. According to Wilkins (1973,1976), eight types of communicative functions are recognized, that is, eight kinds of things learners can do with language, such as:

Modality (to express degrees of certainty, necessity, conviction, obligation, and tolerance)
Moral discipline and evaluation (judgment, approval, disapproval)
Suasion (persuasion, recommendation, predictions)
Argument (information asserted or sought, agreement, denial, concession)
Rational inquiry and exposition (author’s note: similar in sub-categories to argument and evaluation)
Personal emotions (positive and negative)
Emotional relations (greeting, flattery, hostility…)
Interpersonal relations (politeness and status: degree of formality and informality)

In a word, the functions of language, the very cores of the functional-notional syllabus, are fairly generalizing.
2.2 The weaknesses of the functional-notional syllabus
Every syllabus has its demerits, so does the functional-notional syllabus. When putting it into practice, we will find that it presents some problems.
What could make learners be able to communicate best in the foreign language decide the process of what to teach (Wilkins, 1976). So when we can decide the most appropriate forms for each type of communication, we can establish the syllabus. Although Hedge (2000) claims that structural syllabuses are amendable to planning, provide systematicity and make learners feel secure, the symbol of the each learning unit is semantic basically (Wilkins, 1976). Nunan (1988) asserts that an alternative to the grammatically-oriented textbook may not solve all of the problems in language teaching. These lists of functions and notions do not reflect the way languages are learned. Dividing language into discrete units of functions may misrepresent the nature of language as communication (Widdowson, 1978; Nunan, 1988). Therefore, the structural syllabuses coverage with notional-functional ones, they are both product-based, synthetic syllabuses. In short, the semantic needs of learners decide the planning of the linguistic content.
Above all, it is ensure that this type of syllabus has some weaknesses as follows:
The first problem is that language functions alone are not a satisfactory organizing principle. In the first place some realizations of functions are in fact little more than fixed phrases (e.g. ‘You must be joking!’ ‘Come off it!’). It may be important to learn them, but that is all we learn! In other words, some functional exponents are just single items- we cannot use them to generate more language as we can with grammatical structure.
The second problem lies in the selection of items for the syllabus and the grading and sequencing of the items. Which should be selected and come first? As White (1988) notes that there was “a dearth of evidence for the frequency of functions” and that when selecting which forms should be used to realize functions, textbook writers had to “depend on intuition”. What order should the grammar be taught in for students to be able to apply it to functions? White also notes that the small amount of empirical evidence regarding the natural order of acquisition of functions by children was not directly applicable to adult language learning (White, 1988). This problem was exacerbated by the fact that linguistically complex forms could appear in more basic and essential functions, such as requesting (e.g. “Would you mind closing the window?”) In the functional-notional syllabus, the specification of needs may well turn out to be as global as the specification of types of situation does for the situational syllabus. Richards (2001) points that “the term ‘needs’ is not as straightforward as it might appear” and suggests that “what is identified as a need is dependent on judgment, and reflects the interests and values of those making such a judgment.” Moreover, Wilkins (1976) notes that the forms are asked to express the semantic needs, so they would be extremely varied.
The third problem is impossibility of defining functions with precision and clarity. Although speech-act theories have proposed conditions whereby a given speech act may be defined as performing a given function, no reference is made to such specifications in proto-syllabus, nor indeed, in any other similar listings. The absence of a specification of conditions which limit or determine the interpretation of a given functions means that there is at best, some ambiguity, and, at worst, total misunderstanding over what is meant by such functions as expressing intention, expressing one is/ is not obliged to do something or expressing dissatisfaction.
The best suitable teaching situations
Selection of items to be included in this syllabus would be concerned with a variety of ways. According to Peck (1971), this type of syllabus contains the methods such as self-communion, observational research (research based on observation of oral and written use of the language), polls and surveys to users and learners of the language, and teachers’ identification of concepts that students want to express. In the notional-functional syllabus, each unit would include both of productive and receptive usage of language and use artificial situations. Therefore, teaching situations which adopted the notional-functional syllabus, learners would be the center of the teaching situations and listen to more than they would be asked to produce (Harlow & Linda L, 1978).
In its transatlantic version, the functional-notional syllabus has been in Canada to all levels in education. At the time of writing, there has been the appearance of the functional-notional syllabus in the United States chiefly in courses for vocational or occupational purposes; however it has been discussed among the professional fields certainly (Yalden, 1983).
Define teaching situations
There are numerous elements have power to define teaching situations and decide whether can a notional-functional syllabus be adopted by them. Therefore, it will assume that language being taught in English and teachers are native speakers in order to narrow the discussed field down to analysis.
3.2 Best suitable teaching situations
3.2.1 Short-time courses
According to Harlow and Linda L (1980) identify that language is used to realize communicative functions and convey meanings. Moreover, language teaching should focus more on the purposes (functions) of using the language and the meanings (notions) expressed through the language rather than grammatical forms. Therefore, a situation of short-term courses teaching where the students have two or three months to reach a given standard of English for a given purpose and are taught by native English teachers would be one of most suitable teaching situations. In this situation, students’ language level is intermediate. Learning content would be a degree of structural competence which students are able to produce a number of grammatical sentences by them, but may not be able to put them to appropriate use. Students also can be given some of the basics necessary for communication such as have the opportunity to talk with the native speakers who are their teachers. From that student will easily learn to be appropriate as they operate in the native speaker environment. After learning in this situation, students can get help for their vital needs and reap benefit from leaning immediately. As lack of the grammatical foundation to generalize and apply, the knowledge which is taught should be restricted in its area of application to meet students’ immediate needs and interests. In this period of restricted time available, teachers should spend time in teaching the use of knowledge and provide students with a general ‘overview’ of how the language operates by covering the main structures (Johnson, 1982).
The language level of students has implications for both the language and methodology employed in the classroom (Harmer, 2001). In this kind of teaching situation, students’ language level is intermediate that they have capacity to apply grammatical structure in the areas of functional use. Moreover, there are two major categories of motivation: instrumental and integrative. The former refers to learners need a language as an instrument to achieve other purposes such as doing a job effectively or studying successfully at an English-speaking institution and latter one implies that learners wish to integrate into the activities or culture of another group of people (Hedge, 2000). Motivation can be linked with needs analysis so that it is an important element to decide whether to adopt a notional-functional syllabus. Meanwhile, White (1988) emphasizes that proponents of the notional-functional syllabus should be considered with which functions will be required for the future roles in which learners are expected to use the target language. It seems that the notional-functional syllabus would supply the functional language content to apply the presence of integrative or instrumental motivation. It would be invaluable to such learners who have certain purpose in the short-term courses. According to above, we can point that the functional-notional syllabus can promote learners’ motivation through meeting their needs and adapt learners’ language level in the short-term course. Therefore, the functional-notional syllabus can play the role fully in this kind of teaching situation.
3.2.2 Private remedial teaching situation
The private remedial course is for students who have already followed one (structural) course, and have failed to learn properly or achieve the communicative purpose. In this kind of course, students either repeat the course or follow a similar one as complementary study. The grammatical knowledge would be provided in a different kind of framework in this kind of course. Comparing with the structural syllabus teaching the rules of grammar, the functional-notional syllabus teaches the rules of use as an additional dimension. Both of rules and rules of use are mastery of the language. The functional-notional approach can word off the tedium which is the potential danger inherent in remedial teaching (Johnson, 1982).
Considering the status as one element of teaching situation, private institution may afford more freedom in which the syllabus is more commercially viable and attractive to potential students. Moreover, Hedge (2000) asserts that the effective and practical syllabus being used in this kind of teaching situation is extremely important. So in this commercial teaching situation, the notional-functional syllabus’s theoretical weaknesses, such as its product-based, synthetic nature (White, 1988), may be seemed as its pragmatic strength. Consequently, the functional-notional syllabus would have a dominant position in the private remedial teaching situation.
Conclusion
The notional-functional syllabus is brought and influenced by both theories of language and language learning/acquisition. And there are clear benefits connected with the notional-functional syllabus associated with a communicative teaching approach and plenty of criticisms exist when put it into practice as well. As considering theories which influence the functional-notional syllabus and characteristics of this type of syllabus, there are two kinds of teaching situations to be discussed are best suitable ones. However, there are also lots of questions haven’t been solved such as: What kinds of particular circumstances are in when students are instructed in the notional-functional approach? How much grammatical knowledge can be assumed? How restricted is the need for English? How long will the students study English? Will they have the time and the opportunity to learn how to apply any grammatical foundation provided in a course? Above these questions it cannot be automatically assumed that which kind of common teaching situation is the best suitable one. However, as a communicative teaching approach, the utility of the functional-notional syllabus will be in a wide range of teaching situations across the world continually.
 

Concerns and Functional Literacy of Consumers on the Laws on Privacy Protection

ONLINE CONSUMER PRIVACY PROTECTION: A STUDY ON THE CONCERNS AND FUNCTIONAL LITERACY OF CONSUMERS ON THE LAWS ON PRIVACY PROTECTION

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Research Topic and Description ————————————————————  2

Aims and Objectives ————————————————————————–  3

Literature Review ——————————————————————————  4

3a. General Overview of Online Consumer Privacy ————————————–  4

3b. Categorization of Online Consumers Concerns on Privacy ————————-  5

3c. Legalities Surrounding Online Consumer Privacy ————————————  7

3d. Conclusion ———————————————————————————  9

References ————————————————————————————-  10

Critical Analysis of a Peer Reviewed Article ———————————————  11

Sample Bibliography of at least 20 additional sources ———————————-  14   

 

RESEARCH TOPIC

The proposed researchable topic here is ONLINE CONSUMER PRIVACY PROTECTION: A STUDY ON THE CONCERNS AND FUNCTIONAL LITERACY OF CONSUMERS ON THE LAWS ON PRIVACY PROTECTION.

With the advancement of technology, the ability to be anywhere in the world and access anything has become quite easily possible. Thus, I may be in West Africa and be able to access and buy an item somewhere all the way down in South America and still be able to receive my item in my home in West Africa by just a few clicks on the computer and the provision of some information which would enable my item to be delivered to me by the company or business I am buying from which essentially makes me an online consumer of that company.

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However, this ease has brought about various forms of issues and concerns which affect the privacy of online consumers. As the world continues to become globalized, the technological developments which we use everyday evolve as well and with it comes new fears and concerns. Online consumers have begun to have concerns about how their private and personal information is being used, handled and protected by the companies or businesses they have provided their information to.

This research topic deals not only with these concerns of the online consumers but also the capability of online consumers to fully understand what they sign up for when they agree to divulge their information and the laws put in place for the protection of their data as well as the ways in which these consumers can play a part in the protection of their data.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

As individuals and particularly as consumers, we want our private information to be respected and protected and we hope that where our personal information is given out to an organization or business, they protect such information given so that we do not incur any loss whatsoever by divulging our personal information in the course of transacting with such entity.

This research basically aims at looking at online consumer privacy protection first from a general perspective of what it means and entails and then gradually narrows it down to the consumers point of view, what the consumers understand as privacy protection and their concerns, to determine if online consumers know what exactly they may be signing up for when accepting to give their data to businesses either by way of cookies or inputting their data themselves while carrying out online transactions , to determine if consumers are aware of the laws on privacy protection and if they understand these laws and finally, to determine and provide suggestions as to what can be done by consumers to help protect their data.

It is expected that the major outcome of this research would be to provide a better understanding to online consumers of the terms of the agreement they enter into while doing online transactions and inform consumers of the available privacy protection laws and to ultimately proffer solutions which would help consumers in not only understanding the laws on privacy but also give them an insight as to what they can do in the fight in online consumer privacy protection.

LITERATURE REVIEW

GENERAL OVERVIEW OF ONLINE CONSUMER PRIVACY

As far back as the 1970’s, online consumer privacy has been an issue that has cropped up over and over again in the minds of online consumers all over the world. According to (Louis Harris and Associates & Westin (1981) as cited in O’Neil, 2001, p. 18), public concerns about privacy increased during the 1970s largely as a result of the increasingly technological, computer oriented nature of the U.S. society. Fifty-two percent of the public did not believe that the privacy of personal information maintained in computer systems was adequately safeguarded.

As noted by (Warren and Brandeis (1890) as cited in Fernback and Papacharissi, 2007, p. 716), Western nations value privacy as a basic human right – “the right to be left alone”. Since then, the US and European Courts have expanded privacy rights to include the citizens entitlement to control information about themselves.

Privacy as already stated, can be described as the right to be left alone. However, when it relates to consumer activities, (Wang, Lee and Wang, 1998) state that privacy usually refers to personal information and the invasion of privacy is usually interpreted as the unauthorized collection, disclosure or other use of personal information as a direct result of electronic commerce transactions.

The advent of electronic commercial transactions have brought about a downside for online consumers as their activities on the internet in the long run, leaves behind a trail of information not only pertaining to the purchasing information of these consumers, but also information concerning the interests and activities of these consumers, allowing online marketers the ability to develop the profiles of individual users (Caudill and Murphy, 2000). According to Phelps et al (2000, p. 27), fifteen years ago, direct marketers were among the few businesses to track and analyze individual consumer purchases and characteristics using databases. Today, retailers, manufacturers, service providers and nonprofit organizations routinely collect and use individual specific consumer information.

Marketers now employ various online collection techniques, including e-mail addresses from list servers, chat rooms and news groups. In effect, an advantage of the internet which is its ability to collect real time behavioral data, which are accessed through the use of cookies (Caudill and Murphy, 2000, p. 9) has enabled marketers the capacity to tailor the visits of consumers on their sites to meet their specific interests and likes. Cookies are the most common method of identifying and tracking online consumer activity which involves the placement of small text files on a consumer’s hard drive that are often offered back to the Website during subsequent visits by the consumer. Cookies can be designated to last for a particular period of time or indefinitely on a consumers hard drive (Bayan (2001), Gralla (2007), Linn (2005), Millet, Friedman and Felten (2001) as cited in Miyazaki, 2008, p. 20).

However, this collection of data for the improvement of consumers visits to marketers’ sites has resulted in the consumers worries as to how their data is being stored, used, divulged and protected. Ultimately, serious questions as to the extent to which marketers should be allowed to gather and use personal information about specific consumers continue to exist (Culnan (1995), Nowak and Phelps (1995) as cited in Phelps, Nowak and Ferrell, 2000, p. 27).

 CATEGORIZATION OF ONLINE CONSUMERS CONCERNS ON PRIVACY

With the increasing use of the internet as a marketplace for businesses and consumers, there has continued to be a growth in the concerns of online consumers as it relates to their privacy. These concerns vary with the age of the consumers and also, the magnitude of concern vary from one consumer to the other.

Very often, consumers may be aware that their information is being collected by a business entity and in circumstances like that, consumers may not be as concerned about the collection of such information. However, where consumers begin to receive some form of marketing communication where they have not previously given out any information about themselves, consumers concerns arise as they realize that certain information of theirs has been collected without their knowledge or permission being given (Cespedes and Smith (1993) as cited in Sheehan and Hoy, 2000, p. 63).

As reported by (Wang, Lee and Wang, 1998, p. 64), various cases regarding consumer privacy in marketing communications have arisen over the years. Some of these are

i.)                  Privacy concerns surrounding web-based advertisements which track the usage history and preferences of a user through the use of cookies.

ii.)               Privacy concerns relating to malicious programs that can be constructed through security holes in various internet tools which may obtain the credit information (e.g. ActiveX) or personal files (e.g. JavaScript) of a user.

iii.)             Privacy concerns with respect to the use and transfer of a consumer’s private information.

iv.)             Privacy concerns where the purpose for which a consumer’s information was collected ends up being used for another purpose.

v.)                Privacy concerns over the acceptance of a marketer’s policy of using cookies to better their services to you without an option to refuse.

Wang et al (1998) provides for a taxonomy or classification of consumer privacy concerns. Ultimately, the concerns of consumers as it affects their privacy would involve one of more of the following;

–          Improper Access

–          Improper Collection

–          Improper Monitoring

–          Improper Analysis

–          Improper Transfer

–          Unwanted Solicitation

–          Improper Storage

The above are the different ways in which consumer’s concerns on privacy may be categorized. To sum all of the above in a statement, a consumers lack of knowledge awareness or insight and control or restraint over what happens to their personal information is the major concern of any consumer when it comes to privacy (Caudill and Murphy, 2000, p. 13).

LEGALITIES SURROUNDING ONLINE CONSUMER PRIVACY

With an increase in consumers concerns for privacy comes a need for there to be made available basic legal frameworks which seek to alleviate consumers of their concerns and worries over their privacy as online consumers.

One of the first approaches to building a legal framework for consumer privacy protection was the one taken by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. In 1999, the Federal Trade Commission alongside the Commerce Department carried out a workshop on online profiling. The major issues identified by the participants was the potential for consumer privacy (Caudill and Murphy, 2000, pp. 9–10).

As stated by Caudill and Murphy(2000, p. 10), the Federal Trade Commission in trying to address these issues raised, tackled the concern of defining the concept of personal information as being both private (income) and public (drivers license) data, as it concerns who bears the responsibility of ensuring consumer privacy, the Federal Trade Commission endorses industry self regulation and in trying to ensure success, the Federal Trade Commission went ahead to develop five fair information principles designed to protect consumers in the collection, use and dissemination of their information. These five fair principles are

a)      Giving Notice / Awareness by companies or businesses to consumers.

b)     Allowing consumers the right to give their consent or have the choice to opt-out.

c)      Ensuring consumers are given access or participatory rights especially when it involves confirming the accuracy of information.

d)     Establishing integrity and security measures for theft or tampering of consumers information by companies or businesses.

e)      The provision of a mechanism for enforcement or redress in favour of consumers where companies fail to comply.

Another approach taken is that of the European Union. The European Union in addressing the concerns of consumers privacy protection, established a directive in 1995 with the intent to harmonize privacy protection in all of its member states.

Lee ((2000) as cited in Fernback and Papacharissi, 2007, p. 720), states that the European Union regulations that protect consumer privacy specified by the Directive on Data Protection of 1998, safeguards individual control over consumer data and requires that foreign trading partners adhere to the same level of equal protection. Thus, the transmission of personal information from EU member countries to other countries without adequate privacy protection is prohibited.

Harbert ((1998) as cited in Caudill and Murphy, 2000, p. 12) expressed that the EU directive takes a more consumer oriented perspective than the U.S does as its structure is based on when and how a company can collect and use consumer information. As conveyed by Caudill and Murphy (2000, p. 12), the EU directive specifies that

i)                    A company in collecting information must have a legitimate and clearly defined purpose.

ii)                 That the company must disclose such a purpose to the consumer from whom the information is being collected.

iii)               That the permission given to use any information must be specifically traceable to the original purpose for which it was authorized.

iv)                The company may keep the data collected to satisfy that reason and that reason alone. Where the company intends to use that data for another purpose, then the company must initiate a new information collection and use process.

From the above, one could say that the approach of the EU directive is much more consumer friendly and is tailored to ameliorate the concerns of consumers as it concerns privacy protection. However, the main issue is not whether one is a better approach, but whether the legalities provided for actually do what they ought to do and whether consumers understand the rights which these legalities provide for them in protecting their privacy.

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As explicitly put forward by Lwin et al (2007, p. 574), where an online consumer perceives that corporations are acting responsibly in terms of their privacy policies, and that sufficient legal regulations are in place and enforced to protect their privacy, users are expected to show less concern for privacy protection and therefore not to resort to carrying out countermeasures. On the other hand, if those power positions are not perceived as acting responsibly, consumer concern is likely to intensify, leading to consumers undertaking defensive measures to try to protect their data privacy.

d. CONCLUSION

Ultimately, it is desired that undergoing this research paper would be beneficial in expatiating on all the points made above by the literature which has so far been reviewed. Additionally, this research paper would go further to fill the gaps in the literature reviewed above by giving an insight as to whether online consumers know what exactly they are signing up for in carrying out online transactions and taking a look extensively at the provisions of the laws on consumer privacy and how consumers understand these legal provisions.

It is expected that at the end of this research paper, useful suggestions and recommendations would be made in ensuring that consumers are made aware of their rights in better and more understandable ways as well as keep them informed as to the steps they may take in ensuring their data is properly protected by the companies or businesses which they make such data known to.

REFERENCES

Caudill, E. M. and Murphy, P. E. (2000) ‘Consumer Online Privacy: Legal and Ethical Issues’, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 19(1), pp. 7–19. doi: 10.1509/jppm.19.1.7.16951.

Eur-Lex (1995) Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A31995L0046 (Accessed: 2 December 2018).

Fernback, J. and Papacharissi, Z. (2007) ‘Online privacy as legal safeguard: the relationship among consumer, online portal, and privacy policies’, New Media & Society, 9(5), pp. 715–734. doi: 10.1177/1461444807080336.

Lwin, M., Wirtz, J. and Williams, J. D. (2007) ‘Consumer online privacy concerns and responses: a power–responsibility equilibrium perspective’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 35(4), pp. 572–585. doi: 10.1007/s11747-006-0003-3.

Miyazaki, A. D. (2008) ‘Online Privacy and the Disclosure of Cookie Use: Effects on Consumer Trust and Anticipated Patronage’, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 27(1), pp. 19–33. doi: 10.1509/jppm.27.1.19.

O’Neil, D. (2001) ‘Analysis of Internet Users’ Level of Online Privacy Concerns’, Social Science Computer Review, 19(1), pp. 17–31. doi: 10.1177/089443930101900103.

Phelps, J., Nowak, G. and Ferrell, E. (2000) ‘Privacy Concerns and Consumer Willingness to Provide Personal Information’, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 19(1), pp. 27–41. doi: 10.1509/jppm.19.1.27.16941.

Sheehan, K. B. and Hoy, M. G. (2000) ‘Dimensions of Privacy Concern among Online Consumers’, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 19(1), pp. 62–73. doi: 10.1509/jppm.19.1.62.16949.

Simitis, S. (1994) ‘From the Market to the Polis: The EU Directive on the Protection of Personal Data Symposium: Data Protection Law and the European Union’s Directive’, Iowa Law Review, 80, pp. 445–470.

Wang, H., Lee, M. K. O. and Wang, C. (1998) ‘Consumer Privacy Concerns About Internet Marketing’, Commun. ACM, 41(3), pp. 63–70. doi: 10.1145/272287.272299.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF A PEER REVIEWED ARTICLE

Full Reference of Peer Reviewed Text:

Caudill, E. M. and Murphy, P. E. (2000) ‘Consumer Online Privacy: Legal and Ethical Issues’, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 19(1), pp. 7–19. doi: 10.1509/jppm.19.1.7.16951.

1. What review question am I asking of this text?

My research objective is to determine if online consumers fully understand the implications of their online transactions and to further determine if there are laws which seek to protect online consumers and where these laws exist, if the consumers for whom they provide protection have an understanding of the provisions of these laws. The above named text has been chosen because it seeks to provide an insight into my research objective in a broader way as it gives information as to the issues that arise with consumer online privacy whether they be ethical or legal. My purpose of carrying out an analysis of this text being to have a better understanding and insight as to the concerns and issues which may come up under online consumer privacy protection which would in turn help me to better refine my research objective.

2. What type of literature is this?

The literature is a historical theoretical research paper as it provides insight to how online privacy has been an issue from times past and it goes further to show how far online privacy has come in present times as well as provides brief theoretical positions as it pertains to privacy protection while proposing ways to confront online privacy concerns.

3. What sort of intellectual project for study is being undertaken?

a) How clear is it which project the authors are undertaking?

This research paper is a knowledge for critical evaluation as well as a knowledge for action project, as the authors not only critically evaluate various positions and research works, but go further to outline proactive business actions and policy initiatives in tackling online consumer privacy.

b) How does the sort of project being undertaken affect the research questions addressed?

The project undertaken addresses its research questions by looking at the issues at present and providing ways to try to mitigate the gradual erosion of privacy as it concerns online consumers.

c) How does the sort of project being undertaken affect the place of theory?

The investigation of the project undertaken is primarily backed up by theoretical evidence provided by various authors and legal instruments.

d) How does the authors’ target audience affect the reporting of research?

The research paper offers recommendations for action in tackling online consumer privacy.

4. What is being claimed?

a) What are the main kinds of knowledge claim that the authors are making?

The main knowledge claim made by the authors is that of theoretical and research knowledge.

b) How clear are the authors’ claims and overall argument?

From this research paper, it is clear that the authors’ claims and overall argument is that online consumers have and would continue to have privacy concerns and that there should be an integration of business, ethical, public policy as well as legal standards if there is to be a proper amelioration of the concerns of online consumers.

d) With what degree of certainty do the authors make their claims?

The authors make their claims with the acknowledgment of the fact that although it may be premature to offer definitive directions regarding online consumer privacy, it is however needful that alternative possibilities be considered in addressing online consumer privacy.

e) How generalized are the authors’ claims – to what range of phenomena are they claimed to apply?

The authors claims are mainly derived from specific contexts looking at the positions of the laws under the United States of America as well as the European Union and other similar contextual research work previously carried out by various authors.

5. To what extent is there backing for claims?

a) What, if any, range of sources is used to back the claims?

The authors claims are backed by the reviews of research carried out by various other authors as well as real life illustrations of privacy issues.

b) If claims are at least partly based on the authors’ own research, how robust is the evidence?

A look at this research paper would suggest that although the claims are not based primarily on the authors own research but rather a review of other articles and research work done, there is great evidence to show that an in-depth review has been carried out on all research works used in this research paper.

6. To what extent are claims consistent with my experience?

Looking at the time difference between when this research paper was carried out and now, it is amazing that the claims of the authors as at the time these claims were made are still very much relatable to what is still going on presently and this is very much reconcilable to my experiences as an online consumer.

7. What is my summary evaluation of the text in relation to my review question or issue?

a) How convincing are the authors’ claims, and why?

The claims of the authors are certainly convincing to me because as already stated, their claims are in line with the current occurrences of internet marketing and online consumer privacy protection even though there is a slight time difference between the time the claims were made and the present issues surrounding consumer privacy. However, there is a missing gap in the literature reviewed as it does not address the fundamental understanding of online consumers when carrying out online transactions as well as consumers understanding of the laws provided which is the primary aim of looking at my chosen research topic.

b) How, if at all, could the authors have provided stronger backing for their claims?

I think the authors would have been able to provide stronger backing for their claims if they had gone further to carry out some form of primary research to support the secondary research which they conducted.

 

SAMPLE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF AT LEAST 20 ADDITIONAL SOURCES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bar-Gill, O. and Ben-Shahar, B. (2013) ‘Regulatory Techniques in Consumer Protection: A Critique of European Consumer Contract Law’, Common Market Law Review, 50, p. 109.

Boerman, S. C., Kruikemeier, S. and Zuiderveen Borgesius, F. J. (2018) ‘Exploring Motivations for Online Privacy Protection Behavior: Insights From Panel Data’, Communication Research, p. 0093650218800915. doi: 10.1177/0093650218800915.

Chellappa, R. K. and Sin, R. G. (2005) ‘Personalization versus Privacy: An Empirical Examination of the Online Consumer’s Dilemma’, Information Technology and Management, 6(2), pp. 181–202. doi: 10.1007/s10799-005-5879-y.

Cordera, M. (2001) ‘E-Consumer Protection: A Comparative Analysis of EU and US Consumer Protection on the Internet’, Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal, 27, p. 231.

Culnan, M. J. (2000) ‘Protecting Privacy Online: Is Self-Regulation Working?’, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 19(1), pp. 20–26. doi: 10.1509/jppm.19.1.20.16944.

Donnelly, M. and White, F. (2014) Consumer law: rights and regulation. Dublin: Round Hall.

Earp, J. B. and Baumer, D. (2003) ‘Innovative Web Use to Learn About Consumer Behavior and Online Privacy’, Commun. ACM, 46(4), pp. 81–83. doi: 10.1145/641205.641209.

eISB, electronic I. S. (2003) Data Protection (Amendment Act) 2003. Available at: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2003/act/6/enacted/en/html (Accessed: 2 December 2018).

Eur-Lex (1995) Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A31995L0046 (Accessed: 2 December 2018).

Flavián, C. and Guinalíu, M. (2006) ‘Consumer trust, perceived security and privacy policy: Three basic elements of loyalty to a web site’, Industrial Management & Data Systems, 106(5), pp. 601–620. doi: 10.1108/02635570610666403.

Fromholz, J. M. (2000) ‘The European Union Data Privacy Directive Foreign and International Law’, Berkeley Technology Law Journal, 15, pp. 461–484.

Hoffman, D. L., Novak, T. P. and Peralta, M. (1999) ‘Building Consumer Trust Online’, Commun. ACM, 42(4), pp. 80–85. doi: 10.1145/299157.299175.

Kelleher, D. (2013) Privacy and data protection law in Ireland. 2nd ed. Haywards Heath: Bloomsbury Professional.

Lwin, M. O., Wirtz, J. and Williams, J. D. (2007) ‘Causes and consequences of consumer online privacy concern’, International Journal of Service Industry Management, 18(4), pp. 326–348. doi: 10.1108/09564230710778128.

Milne, G. R. and Rohm, A. J. (2000) ‘Consumer Privacy and Name Removal across Direct Marketing Channels: Exploring Opt-In and Opt-Out Alternatives’, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 19(2), pp. 238–249. doi: 10.1509/jppm.19.2.238.17136.

Mireau, S. (2000) ‘Your Privacy Online Online Law’, LawNow, 25, p. [67]-[70].

Ng, S. (2012) ‘Following Your Virtual Trail: A Multistakeholder’s Approach to Privacy Protection’, Jindal Journal of Business Research, 1(1), pp. 53–63. doi: 10.1177/227868211200100105.

Park, Y. J. (2013) ‘Digital Literacy and Privacy Behavior Online’, Communication Research, 40(2), pp. 215–236. doi: 10.1177/0093650211418338.

Petty, R. D. (2000) ‘Marketing Without Consent: Consumer Choice and Costs, Privacy, and Public Policy’, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 19(1), pp. 42–53. doi: 10.1509/jppm.19.1.42.16940.

Reid, P. (2004) ‘Regulating Online Data Privacy’, SCRIPTed: A Journal of Law, Technology and Society, 1, pp. 488–504.

Schneier, B. (2016) Data and Goliath: the hidden battles to collect your data and control your world. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Simitis, S. (1994) ‘From the Market to the Polis: The EU Directive on the Protection of Personal Data Symposium: Data Protection Law and the European Union’s Directive’, Iowa Law Review, 80, pp. 445–470.

Witzleb, N. et al. (2015) Emerging Challenges in Privacy Law: Comparative Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107300491 (Accessed: 3 February 2019).

Zaidi, K. (2003) ‘Harmonizing U.S.-EU Online Privacy Laws: Toward a U.S. Comprehensive Regime for the Protection of Personal Data’, Michigan State University Journal of International Law, 12, pp. 169–198.

 

Relational Databases: Functional Dependency and Normalization

Abstract

Functional dependencies and Normalization play an important role in relational database design. Functional dependencies are key to establishing the relationship between key and non-key attributes in a relation. Normalization process works towards removing anomalies in a relation and prevents data redundancy. This paper, intended to be a graduate research paper, establishes the definitions of these concepts. The paper introduces Functional Dependency and explains its inference rules. The paper also introduces Normalization and various normal forms 1NF thru 5NF including the BCNF. The paper also explains how Functional Dependencies and Normalization are related, why they are important with regards to relational databases, and advantages of designing a normalized database.

Relational Databases: Functional Dependency and Normalization

Definitions and Concepts

Functional Dependency

A functional dependency is a constraint between two sets of attributes from the database. A functional dependency, represented by X → Y, between two sets of attributes X and Y that are subsets of a relation R specifies a constraint that, for any two tuples t1 and t2 in R that have t1[X] = t2[X],they must also have t1[Y] = t2[Y].

This means the values of the set of attributes Y of a tuple in R are determined by the set of attributes X. In other words, the values of the set of attributes X functionally determine the values of the set of attributes Y. We can also say that Y is functionally dependent on Y.

The set of attributes X on the left-hand side of the functional dependency is called determinant and the set of attributes Y on the right-hand side of the functional dependency is called dependent. Despite the mathematical definition a functional dependency cannot be determined automatically. It is a property of the semantics of attributes – the database designers will have to understand how the attributes are related to each other to specify a functional dependency. (Elmasri, Ramez and Shamkant B. Navathe. 2006)

Example

Consider the example of an SSN (Social Security Number) database. Every individual has a unique SSN. So, the other attributes of the relation, like name, address etc. can be determined using the SSN. That makes SSN a determinant, and name, address, the dependents – thus establishing the functional dependencies:

SSN  name

SSN  address

Inference Rules for Functional Dependency

Armstrong’s axioms are a set of inference rules used to infer all the functional dependencies on a relational database. They were developed by William W. Armstrong.

Axiom of reflexivity: if Y is a subset of X, then X determines Y

If Y is a subset of X then X  Y

Axiom of augmentation: if X determines Y, then XZ determines YZ for any Z

 If X  Y, then XZ  YZ

Axiom of transitivity: if X determines Y and Y determines Z, then X must determine Z

 If X  Y and Y  Z, then X  Z

Union: if X determines Y and X determines Z then X must also determine Y and Z

 If X  Y and X  Z, then X  YZ

Decomposition: if X determines Y and Z, then X determines Y and X determines Z separately

 If X  YZ, then X  Y and X  Z

Normalization

Database Normalization is a process that allows the storage of data without unnecessary redundancy and thereby eliminate data inconsistency. A normalized database eliminates anomalies in updating, inserting, and deleting data, which improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the database. Users can maintain and retrieve data from a normalized database without difficulty. Data Normalization can be used by the designer of a database to identify and group together related data elements (attributes) and establish relationships between the groups.

Database Normalization concept and its ‘Normal Forms’ were originally invented by Edgar Codd, the inventor of the relational model. The ‘Normal Forms’ provide the criteria for determining a table’s degree of vulnerability to logical inconsistencies and anomalies. The higher the normal form applicable to a table, the less vulnerable it is.

First Normal Form (1NF)

An entity type or table is in 1NF when each of its attributes contain simple values which are atomic and contains no repeating groups of data. The domain of an attribute in an 1NF table must include only atomic (simple, indivisible) values and that the value of any attribute in a tuple must be a single value from the domain of that attribute.

Example

Consider the address attribute in a sales database. It is not an atomic attribute, because it is made up of atomic attributes as street, city, state and zip. For the relation to be in 1NF, the appropriate database design should have the atomic attributes street, city, state and zip instead of an address attribute.

Un-Normalized: sales (date, order_no, product_no, product_description, price, quantity_sold, cust_name, cust_address)

1NF: sales (date, order_no, product_no, product_description, price, quantity_sold, cust_name, cust_street, cust_city, cust_state, cust_zip)

Second Normal Form (2NF)

An entity type or table is in 2NF when it is in 1NF and all its non-key attributes depend on the whole key (i.e., functional dependency). There cannot be partial dependencies.

Example

Continuing with the sales database, the order_no and the product_no form the composite key for the table. There are partial dependencies – date is dependent on order_no, but not product_no – which violates the requirement for 2NF. The product_description is dependent on product_no and not on order_no. Removing these partial dependencies will result in 2NF.

1NF: sales (date, order_no, product_no, product_description, price, quantity_sold, customer_name, customer_street, customer_city, customer_state, customer_zip)

2NF: order (date, order_no, cust_no);

product (product_no, product_description, price);

order_detail (order_no, product_no, quantity_sold);

customer (cust_no, cust_name, cust_street, cust_city, cust_state, cust_zip)

Third Normal Form (3NF)

An entity type or table is in 3NF when it is in 2NF and non-key attributes do not depend on other non-key attributes (i.e., there is no transitive dependency).

Example

Continuing with the sales database, the non-key attributes cust_city and cust_state are dependent on cust_zip which is a non-key attribute. Creating a separate zip table will transform the design into 3NF, where in there are no more dependencies between non-key attributes.

2NF: order (date, order_no, cust_no);

product (product_no, product_description, price);

order_detail (order_no, product_no, quantity_sold);

customer (cust_no, cust_name, cust_street, cust_city, cust_state, cust_zip)

3NF: order (date, order_no, cust_no);

product (product_no, product_description, price);

order_detail (order_no, product_no, quantity_sold);

customer (cust_no, cust_name, cust_street, zip_code);

zip (zip_code, city, state)

Boyce Codd Normal Form (BCNF)

An entity type or table is in BCNF when it is in 3NF and all candidate keys defined for the relation satisfy the test for third normal form.

Example

Continuing with the sales database, all the candidate keys already satisfy the 3NF requirements.

Fourth Normal Form (4NF)

An entity type or table is in 4NF when it is in BCNF and there are no non-trivial multi-valued dependencies. To move from BCNF to 4NF, remove any independently multi-valued components of the primary key to two new parent entities.

Example

For example, a professor can teach multiple subjects and can also mentor multiple students. To be in 4NF, the professor to subjects should be a separate relation and professor to students should be a separate relation – since they are independent of each other

Fifth Normal Form (5NF)

To be in 5NF, a relation decomposed into two relations must have lossless-join property, which ensures that no spurious tuples are generated when relations are reunited through a natural join.

Example

In the sales database example, when the sales database was split into order and product, the natural join of those two tables does not result in loss of data (tuples).

(Russell, Gordon. Chapter 4; Nguyen Kim Anh, Relational Design Theory)

Importance of Functional Dependency and Normalization to Relational Model

How are they related

Normalization theory draws heavily on the theory of functional dependencies. When a database designer sets out to design a database, it is essential to understand the semantics of the data – how the attributes are related to one another. This helps in establishing the functional dependencies between attributes. Once the functional dependencies are identified, the design the database in to a ‘normal form’ of the highest order possible is easier. Rules for each normal form, starting from the 1NF are invariably framed around maintaining the functional dependencies and are also based on the inference rules for functional dependencies (refer Inference Rules section). For example, to be in 2NF the non-key attributes should be dependent on the whole-key, which means the functional dependencies should be satisfied. Similarly, to be in 3NF, transitive dependency should be removed, which can be done if the functional dependencies are established correctly.

In other words, database normalization process ensures an efficient organization of data in database tables, which results in guaranteeing that data dependencies make sense, and also reducing the space occupied by the database via eliminating redundant data.

Why are they necessary for Relational Database model?

Functional dependencies play an important role in relational database design. They are used to establish keys that are used to define normal forms for relations. In addition, they help in deriving constraints based on the relationships between attributes. As a database grows in size and complexity it is essential that order and organization be maintained to control these complexities and minimize errors and redundancy in the associated data. This goal is managed by normalization. Database normalization minimizes data duplication to safeguard databases against logical and structural problems, such as data anomalies.

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Normalization can help keep the data free of errors and can also help ensure that the size of the database doesn’t grow large with duplicated data. Normalization permits us to design our relational database tables so that they “(1) contain all the data necessary for the purposes that the database is to serve, (2) have as little redundancy as possible, (3) accommodate multiple values for types of data that require them, (4) permit efficient updates of the data in the database, and (5) avoid the danger of losing data unknowingly (Wyllys, R. E., 2002).”

The resulting normalized database is highly efficient, which can be characterized by –

Increased Consistency: Information is stored in one place and one place only, reducing the possibility of inconsistent data.

Easier object-to-data mapping: Highly-normalized data schemas in general are closer conceptually to object-oriented schemas because the object-oriented goals of promoting high cohesion and loose coupling between classes results in similar solutions.

Moreover, a normalized database is advantageous when operations will be write-intensive or when ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) compliance is required. Some advantages include:

Updates run quickly since no data being duplicated in multiple locations.

Inserts run quickly since there is only a single insertion point for a piece of data and no duplication is required.

Tables are typically smaller than the tables found in non-normalized databases. This usually allows the tables to fit into the buffer, thus offering faster performance.

Data integrity and consistency is an absolute must if the database must be ACID compliant. A normalized database helps immensely with such an undertaking.

Searching, sorting, and creating indexes can be faster, since tables are narrower, and more rows fit on a data page.

Minimizes/avoids data modification issues.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACID_(computer_science))

Summary

The paper defined the concept of functional dependency, which is the basic tool for analyzing relational schemas, and discussed some of its properties. Functional dependencies specify semantic constraints among the attributes of a relation schema. Next it described the normalization process for achieving good designs It presented examples to illustrate how by using the general definition of the normal forms, a given relation may be analyzed and decomposed to eventually yield a set of relations in 3NF. The paper also touches not often used BCNF, 4NF and 5NF normal forms.

Then the paper explains how functional dependencies and normalization are inter-related in the design of a relational model database. It explains the importance of functional dependency and normalization in the design of a relational database. A normalized database is highly efficient and has many advantages.

References

Wyllys, R. E., 2002. Database management principles and applications

Elmasri, Ramez and Shamkant B. Navathe. 2006. Fundamentals of Database Systems. 5th ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley

Russell, Gordon. Chapter 4 – Normalization. Database eLearning

Nguyen Kim Anh, Relational Design Theory. OpenStax CNX

Gaikwad, A.S., Kadri, F.A., Khandagle, S.S., Tava, N.I. (2017) Review on Automation Tool for ERD Normalization. International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET) [Online]. 4 (2), pp. 1323-1325. [Accessed 07 May 2017]. Available from: https://www.irjet.net/archives/V4/i2/IRJET-V4I2259.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACID_(computer_science)

Tables

Un-normalized Table: sales

sales

date

order_no

cust_no

product_description

price

quantity_sold

cust_name

cust_address

12/12/2018

1001

A320

MP3

10.00

8

Tom

1 Main St, Hartford, CT 06106

12/12/2015

1001

B101

Ipod

100.00

4

Tom

1 Main St, Hartford, CT 06106

01/05/2019

1002

C101

Blu Ray

80.00

3

Aaron

1 Holy Lane, Manchester, 06040

1NF Table: sales

sales

date

order_no

product_no

product_description

price

quantity_sold

cust_name

….

12/12/2018

1001

A320

MP3

10.00

8

Tom

12/12/2015

1001

B101

Ipod

100.00

4

Tom

01/05/2019

1002

C101

Blu Ray

80.00

3

Aaron

Continued..

sales

….

cust_street

cust_city

cust_state

cust_zip

1 Main St

Hartford

CT

06106

1 Main St

Hartford

CT

06106

1 Holy Lane

Manchester

CT

06040

2NF Table: order

order

date

order_no

cust_no

12/12/2018

1001

101

01/05/2019

1002

102

2NF Table: product

product

product_no

product_description

price

A320

MP3

10.00

B101

Ipod

100.00

C101

Blu Ray

80.00

2NF Table: order_detail

order_detail

order_no

product_no

quantity_sold

1001

A320

8

1001

B101

4

1002

C101

3

2NF Table: customer

customer

cust_no

cust_name

cust_street

cust_city

cust_state

cust_zip

101

Tom

1 Main Street

Hartford

CT

06106

102

Aaron

1 Holy Lane

Manchester

CT

06040

3NF Table: customer

customer

cust_no

cust_name

cust_street

zip_code

101

Tom

1 Main Street

06106

102

Aaron

1 Holy Lane

06040

3NF Table: zip

zip

zip_code

city

State

06106

Hartford

CT

06040

Manchester

CT