Traditional picture books for children come with colourful images and a multitude of elements to attract attention and increase the reading interest of typical-developing (TD) children. However, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are less capable of filtering out unimportant elements in pictures and focusing on social items (e.g., human faces). This study proposed that the removal of background and less important elements in the pictures of children's storybooks could facilitate better attention and enhance children with ASD's focus on the main object and thus the intended meaning of the storybook. We adopted pictures from a well-known children's book and modified them by removing the inessential background elements. Then, ASD children with intellectual disabilities (ASD+ID) (n = 40), children with ID (n = 38) and TD (n = 40) were asked to view the original and modified pictures in an eye-tracking experiment, respectively. Additionally, brain activation of ASD+ID participants (n = 10) was recorded as they were viewing those pictures in an fMRI scan. Eye-tracking found that ASD+ID children viewed the modified pictures with significantly longer average fixations, fewer fixations, fewer saccades, and higher fixation/saccade duration ratio. Contrary to the original pictures, no significant differences were found among ASD+ID, ID only and TD. Especially, ASD+ID group showed highly similar visual patterns to the TD participants when viewing the modified pictures and particularly focusing on the main character in the pictures. Additional fMRI evidence on ASD+ID group also revealed that modified pictures were associated with enhanced activation in bilateral fusiform gyri as compared to those from original pictures, which might suggest increased visual attention. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed in light of our findings.
The dispersion of hyperaccumulators used in the phytoremediation process has caused environmental concerns because of their heavy metal (HM) richness. It is important to reduce the environmental risks and prevent the HM to reenter the ecological cycle and thereby the human food web. In this work, supercritical water gasification (SCWG) technology was used to convert Sedum plumbizincicola into hydrogen (H2) gas and to immobilize HMs into biochar. The H2 production correlated with temperature ranging from 380 to 440 ℃ with the highest H2 yield of 2.74 mol/kg at 440 ℃. The free-radical reaction and steam reforming reaction at high temperatures were likely to be the mechanism behind the H2 production. The analyses of bio-oil by the Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS) and Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) illustrated that the aromatic compounds, oxygenated compounds, and phenols were degraded into H2-rich gases. The increase of temperature enhanced the HM immobilization efficiency (>99.2 % immobilization), which was probably due to the quickly formed biochar that helped adsorb HMs. Then those HMs were chemically converted into stable forms through complexation with inorganic components on biochar, e.g., silicates, SiO2, and Al2O3. Consequently, the SCWG process was demonstrated as a promising approach for dispersing hyperaccumulators by immobilizing the hazardous HMs into biochar and simultaneously producing value-added H2-rich gases.