Recent Submissions

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace: An examination of the underlying causes and contributory risk factors

    Fallows, Stephen; Gellatly, Pamela (University of Chester, 2018-05-16)
    Introduction The incidence of musculoskeletal disorders remain the most common single condition, by incidence, affecting the working population. This remains true even though the apparent historic causation of manual handling, has reduced significantly. Back pain alone has been termed a 20thcentury medical disaster, which has reverberated into the 21stcentury, with 85% of low back pain having no clear clinical diagnosis yet individuals continue to seek a clinical solution. Understanding pain remains as complex as ever with very little evidence to suggest progress. The overall scale and cost of MSDs in the workplace are not easily identifiable as objective and accurate data are rare. Other workplace incidence and costs are either, not recorded or not published, in documents or grey literature, that are generally only accessible to individual organisations on a regular basis. Objectives The epistemology of this thesis is complexity and the extent to which this influences outcomes. The trilogy of complexity considered includes: 1. The issues facing organisations in how they prevent and manage MSDs; 2. The individual’s perspective and what they understand about possible causation, their beliefs, fears and expectations; 3. The interface with clinical and non-clinical practitioners, and whether interventions provided, are beneficial to the individual. Consideration of the multiple perspectives that arise from the various influences affecting the organisation, the employees within that organisation and the practitioners, has been possible by the metaphoric use of a “bricolage” methodology, and suggests that the current medical model is no longer appropriate. Methods A mixed method research design comprising four studies was undertaken. Firstly, a retrospective quantitative study of data (n = 21,092) from benefits provided by four organisations followed by a qualitative case example study (n = 21) of supporting documents and clinical information. These studies then informed the need for a qualitative study (n= 9) symptomatic individuals who participated in a focus group and (n= 6) face-to-face interviews and finally a qualitative study of practitioners involved in the provision of treatment services to the participating organisations. The data from each study informed the others and the data merged with the findings from the literature review and common interventions. Conclusions A disparity was found between what has been identified in literature and what actually is considered in clinical practice. The healthcare industry operates in “silos” and this separation of disciplines is reflected in organisational management. The range of underlying risk factors, evident in modern society, which are affecting or may affect an individual’s future musculoskeletal health are not being addressed by the medical model, and practitioners require training, or need to work in a multidisciplinary team, if they are to improve long-term outcomes. This thesis discusses the complexity of the multifactorial nature of musculoskeletal health, and provides a framework to challenge current practice and promote a fundamental change in the way in we assess, and treat the range of MSDs including a move towards educating individuals to take personal responsibility.
  • Factors affecting the quality of Acacia senegal gums

    Al-Assaf, Saphwan; Hamouda, Yasir (University of Chester, 2017-04)
    Gum arabic is a natural gummy exudate from acacia trees and exhibits natural built-in variations commonly associated with hydrocolloids. This study is concerned with the determination of factors which could influence its properties and functionality. These factors include origin (location, soil type, rainfall), different collections, age of the trees and storage condition. Previous studies acknowledged the influence of some of these factors but somehow lack providing definitive answers to questions being asked by the end user and required for the development of Gum arabic industry in Sudan. Local knowledge as well as the various stages of gum collection and processing were reviewed in order to provide a clear background and the justification for the experimental design. In this study samples were collected from six plantations located in the west and east regions in Sudan. Samples were collected from trees of different age (5, 10, 15 and 20 years old) and also from different picking interval (1-4). Each sample was divided into three portions (UK, Khartoum and Port Sudan) and stored for 5 years in order to determine the effect of the respective location. Various analytical parameters (% loss on drying, Optical rotation, % protein, intrinsic viscosity, molecular weight and molecular weight distribution) were measured to fully characterise the gum samples and to determine their functionality (emulsification). The results obtained for all samples were consistent with those previously reported in the literature (see Chapter 4). The only exception, identified in a number of samples from the western region, is the high proportion (~30%) of high molecular weight fraction termed arabinogalactan-protein complex (AGP). The results clearly demonstrated significant variations between plantations located in western region compared with the eastern region. However, the variations between the plantations within the same region are statistically not significant. High values of % protein, viscosity, Mw and % AGP were obtained from the 1st pick, from both regions, and then significantly decreased thereafter to the fourth pick. Samples from west region in Sudan, from 1st and 2nd pick and from tree age (15) years gave the highest viscosity, molecular weight, % AGP and superior emulsification performance compared to other samples from different tree ages. The regression statistical analysis for the physiochemical properties correlation with emulsification performance demonstrated the role of % AGP to be the most influential factor followed by viscosity. The major finding of this study is the effect of storage condition on the properties and functionality of Acacia senegal. An increase in the molecular weight for all stored samples (for 5 years) irrespective of region was evident and statically significant. However, this increase was more prominent for samples from the western region compared to the eastern region. The AGP fraction was increased by the storage treatment up to 40% in Port-Sudan, 20% in Khartoum-Sudan and 15% in UK. The result clearly demonstrated that the temperature and humidity are the crucial factors to induce the natural maturation process in acacia gums. Statistical analysis (linear regression) suggested statistically significant models and equations to predict and explain the variations in the physiochemical and functional properties based on the environmental factors, picking set and age of the tree.
  • The genetics and evolution of the critically endangered Trinidad Piping Guan Pipile pipile, synonym Aburria pipile.

    McDowall, Ian; Hosie, Charlotte A.; Grass, Amelia (University of Chester, 2018-02)
    The Trinidad Piping Guan, Pipile pipile synonym Aburria pipile (Jaquin, 1784) is the only endemic Cracid on the island of Trinidad. The species is currently listed as Critically Endangered and is considered to be in ‘on-going decline’ by the IUCN, BirdLife International and Cracid Specialist Group. This study aims to examine aspects of genetic variation and the evolution of the mitochondrial genome in the Trinidad Piping Guan utilising, for the first time, samples collected from individuals in the wild and reference specimens of the genus Pipile sourced from museum collections. In this study the complete mitochondrial genome of the Trinidad Piping Guan was sequenced for the first time. Analysis of intra-specific variation of wild Trinidad Piping Guan individuals using single nucleotide polymorphisms demonstrates extremely limited variation within the genes of the mitochondrial genome and nuclear gene intron sequences. Limited variation within this population is consistent with both historical and contemporary contractions of populations within a restricted island system, which may have serious implications for the future of this species in terms of both genetic diversity and conservation management. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete mitochondrial genome of the Trinidad Piping Guan enabled placement of the genus Pipile within the Galliforme evolutionary tree for the first time, and subsequently places the genus within the broader context of the Aves class. Mito-genomic analysis confirms that the Cracids are one of the basal Galliforme clades, and sister taxa to the Megapodidae. Phylogenetic placement of the Pipile genus is basal to that of the Crax species within the Cracidae family, indicative of an earlier evolutionary origin of the Piping Guans. The inclusion of the Trinidad Piping Guan, in the avian evolutionary tree using the whole mitochondrial genomes expands the current genetic phylogeny of the Cracid family, yielding a better understanding of evolutionary relationships among the Galliforme order and the diversification of modern avian lineages. This study has established novel molecular techniques for the analysis of mitochondrial DNA in historical specimens of the genus Pipile from museum reference collections. The analysis of inter-specific relationships within the genus Pipile has clarified the evolutionary and biogeographic relationships between the Piping Guan species. Additionally, the Trinidad Piping Guan is genetically defined for the first time as an evolutionarily significant unit, which represents a unique evolutionary pathway within this important genus in a closed island system on the island of Trinidad.
  • Exploring hygiene compliance in the small independent restaurant sector in Abu Dhabi

    Fallows, Stephen; Bonwick, Graham A.; Idriss, Johaina (University of Chester, 2017-10)
    Introduction: Food safety is widely recognised as one of the problems in the fight for improving public health. Many governments are trying to improve public health through reducing foodborne illnesses and setting the climate for implementing HACCP-based food safety management systems (FSMS). Following the global trend, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) launched the HACCP for Catering Project (2010 – 2014), which aimed at helping foodservice businesses, licensed in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in implementing HACCP-based FSMS. Purpose: The project team recognised the limited resources and the diversity in education levels, ethnic backgrounds, and number of languages spoken among managers/supervisors and food handlers, as points of concern in the small independent restaurant (SIR) subsector. Thus, the Salamt Zadna (SZ) initiative, a simplified FSMS, was developed to train SIRs on implementing a set of safe operating procedures to improve compliance with food safety laws and regulations. Previous studies in the GCC region have mainly focused on governments’ attempts to enhance public health by developing laws, regulations, and policies, and recounting the barriers to implementing food safety controls. Methodology: This thesis took a different approach to food safety issues in the GCC region. It is comprised of two studies, which were conducted in two groups of SIRs – seven SZ participants and five non-participants – licensed in Al Ain, a major city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The first explored awareness and understanding of food safety, related laws, regulations, and policies, and attitudes towards ADFCA services and inspectors, among managers/supervisors, by interviewing them. The second examined the efficacy of SZ in improving food handlers’ food-safety behaviours by observing their conduct, and comparing between the two SIR groups. Results: The study indicated low levels of awareness and understanding of food safety, related laws, regulations, and policies, in both groups of managers/supervisors; regardless of whether or not they were SZ Cparticipants. Both groups of interviewees expressed both negative and positive attitudes towards ADFCA’s services and inspectors; sometimes by the same interviewees, within the same, or between the two groups. However, SZ participating SIRs were slightly more positive than their counterparts. Key results highlighted the low impact of SZ on changing food handlers’ behaviours, except in two areas; namely, the food handlers working in SZ-participating SIRs scored higher than the other group in handwashing and changing gloves between handling raw meats and other foods. Implications: This research adds a new dimension to the food safety profile of the UAE, since it is the first of its kind in the UAE and the region as a whole. Its originality opens the door for other researchers to increase the volume of research in this field, which would help in understanding and tackling the barriers to improving the food safety status in the country, as well as the region.
  • Learning to Play: How working-class lads negotiate working-class physical education

    Green, Ken; Scattergood, Andrew J. (University of Chester, 2017)
    Adults from the middle-classes are up to three times more likely to be regularly involved in sport than those from the working-class. The reason for this participation anomaly has been consistently linked to the differing lifestyles and opportunities to which young people from working and middle-class backgrounds are exposed. More specifically, working-class children are more likely to develop narrow, class-related leisure profiles and sporting repertoires during their childhood that serve to limit the likelihood of them remaining physically active in adulthood. In relation to this, one of the key aims of physical education (PE) in mainstream schools is to develop the range of skills and knowledge for all pupils and widen their sporting repertoires in an attempt to promote long-term participation throughout their lives. However, not only has PE provision in British mainstream schools been shown to be unsuccessful in promoting working-class pupils’ sporting/ability development, some suggest that the subject may even be perpetuating the social difference that has been shown to exist in relation to sports participation between social class groups. In order to address these issues the study set out to examine the extent to which the wider social background of white, working-class ‘lads’ and the actions and attitudes of their PE teachers came to impact on the way the lads influenced and experienced their PE curriculum/lessons. It also aimed to examine the impact that school PE then had on their sporting repertoires and participation in sport/active leisure outside of school. A total of 24 days were spent in Ayrefield Community School (ACS), a purposively selected, working-class state secondary school as part of a case study design. Over 60 practical PE lessons were observed that led to differing roles being adopted and guided conversations being conducted before, during, and after these lessons. Eight focus group interviews were also conducted with specifically chosen lads as well as one with the four members of male PE staff. Additional observations were also carried out during off-site trips, external visits, and in a range of classroom-based lessons. The findings were then considered and examined in relation to the work of the sociologists Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu. The findings revealed that the pressures related to the modern education system and the social expectations linked to their working-class backgrounds caused a split between the lads at ACS in to three broad groups, namely: Problematics, Participants and Performers. These groupings came to impact on the ways that these lads engaged and achieved in school as well as the ways in which they came to negotiate and experience PE. The ‘Problematic’ group held largely negative views of education, but valued PE, especially when playing football, the ‘Participants’ were relatively successful at school yet apathetic regarding the content and delivery of their PE lessons, and a Performer group of lads emerged who engaged and achieved highly at school and participated in a range of activities in PE, but showed little intention of participating outside of school due to their pragmatic attitude to ‘learning’ in PE. Despite these differing school and PE experiences between the lads’ groups, the potential and actual impact of school PE on their sporting repertoires, skills, and interests was ultimately constrained by a range of issues. In the first instance the lads’ narrow, class-related leisure profiles and sporting repertoires linked closely to recreational participation with friends, alongside a lack of proactive parenting were significant limiting factors. In addition, the ability of some lads to constrain the actions of PE staff and peers to get what they wanted in PE rather than what they needed, and the negative views of most lads to skill development and structured PE lessons meant that PE at ACS was never likely to have a positive impact on the sporting repertoires and participation types/levels of its male pupils either currently or in their future lives.
  • Production of DNA aptamers with specificity for bacterial food pathogens

    Bonwick, Graham A.; Drasbek, Mette R.; Young, Niall; Smith, Christopher; McDowall, Ian; Kärkkäinen, Riikka M. (University of Chester, 2012-09)
    Aptamers are biomolecular ligands composed of nucleic acids. They can be selected to bind specifically to a range of target molecules and subsequently exploited in a fashion analogous to more traditional biomolecules such as antibodies. In this study a method for selecting new aptamers which specifically bind whole live bacterial cells is described. A non-pathogenic strain of Escherichia coli K12 was used to develop the method. A DNA library containing 100 bases long random nucleotide sequences was produced and the aptamer selection process was repeated nine times. An enzyme-linked technique was first used to detect bound aptamers thereafter fluorimetry and fluorescence microscopy methods were used for the detection. The aptamers were cloned and sequenced and the cloned aptamers produced with fluorescent labels. The E. coli K12-binding aptamers were used to demonstrate the detection of the bacterial cells in a complex food matrix, namely probiotic yogurt, by using fluorescence based detection method. The aptamer selection method with some modifications was also used to select aptamers with specificity for the food pathogens E. coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, L. innocua, S. typhimurium and S. enteritidis. The aptamers against E. coli O157 and S. typhimurium were cloned and the sequences and the binding properties of these aptamers were analysed. The use of E. coli K12 as a target organism and the aptamer sequences presented in this study, have not previously been published in scientific literature. This is also the first report where the aptamers have been used in detection of live bacterial cells in yogurt.
  • Vitamin D and cardiometabolic disease risk: A RCT and cross-sectional study

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Hughes, Stephen F.; Agbalalah, Tari (University of Chester, 2017-01-30)
    Given the strong evidence for a beneficial role of vitamin D in diabetes and CVD pathogenesis, and the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation has been advocated for the prevention of cardiometabolic disease. To provide information on the effects of 5,000IU (125µg) vitamin D3 on cardiometabolic risk, a double blind, RCT in a cohort of overweight and obese UK adult males with plasma 25(OH)D concentration < 75nmol/L for a duration of 8 weeks was conducted. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first RCT to investigate the effect of 5,000IU (125µg) vitamin D3 on cardiometabolic markers in vitamin D insufficient, non-hypertensive and non-diabetic overweight and obese adult males.
  • Investigating the role of heatshock on diabetic wound healing

    Contractor, Taha (University of Chester, 2017-05)
    The increasing occurrence of diabetes in the general population as a result of over nutrition and increasingly inactive lifestyle has led to an obesity epidemic which is set to grow over time. With an ever increasing obese population type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications are set to become the major causes of human mortality. Chronic non healing wounds are a major cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with type 2 diabetes. They are predominantly caused by macrophage dysfunction and a lack of migration of fibroblasts into the wound. This study aimed to investigate diabetic wound healing through development of an artificial scratch assay. An in vitro scratch assay developed in WS1 cells. The effect of heat shock treatments from 39°C to 45° was tested to determine if cell migration increased; however, no significant difference was seen. Mitomycin C was used to determine if wound closure occurred as a result of cell proliferation and migration or migration alone. 10μg/ml of mitomycin C inhibited cell division by 79.9% without exhibiting cytotoxicity over a 12h period. The effect of hyperglycaemia and heat shock was also tested and showed no significant difference when compared to control conditions, suggesting that fibroblast migration in vivo is hindered through other factors such as debridement or macrophage dysfunction in the wound. GLUT4 is present in insulin sensitive organs (liver, adipose and muscle) and is the major glucose transporter responsible for the clearance of glucose from the blood after a meal, thus playing a central role in glucose homeostasis. Monocytes are precursors to macrophages and can easily be isolated from whole blood. They have also been shown to express GLUT4 in response to insulin and could be used as model to assess inflammation in diabetes. A glucose uptake assay was developed in U937 cells using a fluorescent glucose analogue, 2NBDG. 2NBDG fluorescence was shown to be competitively inhibited by increasing concentrations of glucose suggesting that 2NBDG enters the cell through glucose transporters. 2NBDG uptake was also assessed at different pH and in presence of membrane fluidizers (DMSO, benzyl alcohol and phenethyl alcohol). Extremes of pH significantly reduced cell viability and only at pH 4 was 2NBDG fluorescence significantly reduced. Treatment with DMSO showed that at high concentrations (≤ 1.56%) cell viability was reduced with a concurrent reduction in 2NBDG fluorescence. The effect of benzyl alcohol and phenethyl alcohol was foundto be insignificant at the concentrations and time points tested. The presence of GLUT4 was also determined by flow cytometry and Western blotting and found to be situated in the cytoplasmic region of the cell. This study indicates that monocytes and macrophages could be a potential therapeutic target to improve diabetic wound healing as they are a source of growth factors and cytokines that can bring about resolution of inflammation and it is their dysfunction in diabetic wounds that causes poor clinical outcomes.
  • A retrospective analysis of talent selection and progression within England’s Rugby Football Union Elite Player Performance Pathway

    Worsfold, Paul R.; Green, Ken; Velentza, Elisavet (University of Chester, 2017-02)
    The England Rugby Football Union (RFU) Elite Player Performance Pathway (EPPP) is a player development system, structured into five playing squads (Under 18 [U18], Under 20 [U20], National academy [NA, age: 18-23 years], Saxons [Saxon, age: 18+ years] and Senior National Squad [SNS, age: 18+ years]), which attempts to develop players to play within the SNS. Despite its importance however, there is yet to be any scientific appraisal of its efficacy in successfully producing SNS players. Appraising the performances of 396 players enrolled on to the EPPP between 2008 and 2014, the purpose of this programme of research was therefore to investigate the nature of player transition and determine the key features associated with match performance between respective squads of the EPPP. To achieve this, the progression rates to subsequent squads, and the anthropometrical and position-specific technical performance data was quantified in conjunction with individual player progression within the EPPP system. Of the 396 players assessed within the thesis, 121 reached the SNS. Involvement in the EPPP was defined by high rates of de-selection during progression to subsequent squads and this was most apparent within the U18, U20 and NA squads. Analyses revealed the proportion of selected players for higher squads was 48.70%, 37%, 57.10% and 61% for U18-U20, U20-NA, NA-Saxon and Saxon-SNS squads, respectively. Within the SNS (n = 121), only 5.80% experienced a linear development (U18-U20-NA-Saxons-SNS) whereas all other players displayed variability with respect to squad pathway trajectories (NA-SNS 0.82%, Saxon-SNS: 50.4%, U20-Saxon-SNS 4.95%, NA-Saxon-SNS 12.39%, U18-U20-NA SNS:2.57%, U18-U20-Saxon-SNS 3.30%, U20-NA-Saxon-SNS 2.47%, side entries [selection from outside the EPPP system] 17.35%) within the EPPP. Thus, progression within the talent development (TDE) system was typified by variable patterns of sequential selection and de-selection processes throughout U18 to senior squads. The prerequisite level of technical performance indicators (TPI), related to generic and position-specific performance characteristics, and anthropometrical features (body mass and stature) specific to six predefined positional groups (front row [FR], second row [SR], Back row [BR], scrumhalf [SH], inside backs [IB], outside backs [OB]), were examined. The SNS revealed similar TPIs to the Saxon squad in all positional groups, only SNS FR were heavier (p ≤ 0.01; r = 0.18) and taller (p ≤ 0.001; r = 0.25) than Saxons FR. Likewise, the results demonstrate that anthropometrical characteristics consistently differentiated respective squads though, on occasion, there were aspects of TPIs that discriminated youth (U18) adult (U20, NA) and senior (Saxons, SNS) age international squads for the six positional groups within the EPPP. Used in isolation therefore, TPIs might offer benchmarks across the respective squads, however the extent of the observed differences between younger (U18 and U20) and older (NA, Saxons & SNS) squads suggests they could be used in conjunction with coach intuition to improve the objectivity of player selection to future squads. Where the performances of progressed and non-progressed players were considered results revealed that taller and heavier players, competing within a higher number of matches, for an increased period of time, were the most important variables influencing progression or deselection from the programme. Where the match TPIs were considered, there were stochastic differences between groups though it appeared as though selected players typically outperformed the non-selected group albeit by small margins and there were fewer differences between progressed and non-progressed in older age squads. Finally, in players selected to progress and those deselected, there was notable within-group variation in the technical demands. Such variation was typified by overlapping IQRs when groups were compared meaning selected players could perform more, or less, effectively than deselected players in any given match. Clearly, such an issue suggests that the technical performance during competition cannot be used to determine talent in such instances. Collectively, the results provide insight to the key requirements of the EPPP, which could be used to develop future coaching, scouting methods, player TDE systems by providing normative levels of attainment for aspiring players, both enrolled or not, within the elite player developmental system.
  • The effect of dietary components on non-haem iron absorption in healthy and iron-deficient women

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Ahmad Fuzi, Salma F. (University of Chester, 2017-02)
    Two clinical trials investigating the effect of modulating two dietary components, tea containing polyphenols and vitamin D aimed at improving non-haem iron absorption and iron status recovery, were carried out in a cohort of healthy and iron deficient UK women, respectively. Tea has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of non-haem iron absorption but it remains unclear whether the timing of tea consumption relative to a meal influences iron bioavailability, with limited published evidence, especially in human trials. The aim of the first study was to investigate the effect of tea consumption on non-haem iron absorption and to assess the effect of time interval of tea consumption on non-haem iron absorption relative to an iron-containing meal, in a cohort of healthy female participants using a stable iron isotope (57Fe).
  • Psychiatric responses to traumatic events

    Mason-Whitehead, Elizabeth; Green, Ben (University of Chester, 2015-01)
    The main aims and objectives of this Ph.D. by publication are: • To analyse, explore and contextualise the psychiatric response to trauma and aetiological issues • To analyse and explore the management of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) • To critically analyse the wider historical, legal and political management of mental disorder. Five peer-reviewed publications from recent years are presented on the theme of psychiatric responses to traumatic events. Two papers focus on the aetiology, (where the Oxford definition of aetiology is the ‘cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a condition’), of PTSD and therefore consider the injuries that cause PTSD and also potential vulnerability factors (Green & Griffiths, 2013). These papers contain a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods – examining characteristics such as psychological conceptions of risk in relation to illness duration within a case series for instance and a comparative statistical analysis of birth order in differing samples. Two papers consider modern aspects of the treatment of PTSD – including pharmacological and psychotherapeutic and difficulties and use a methodology of a structured review of the literature including analysis of the evidence base for trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) including Numbers Needed to Treat (NNT) (Green 2013, Green 2014). A final paper looks at admissions trends for PTSD and a range of other mental disorders and uses a statistical analysis of national data looking for emerging trends against a historical and political background of changes in the management of mental disorder (Green & Griffiths, 2014). These recent papers are set in context against older papers from a career which has spanned epidemiological research into risk factors for depression over six years, writings about psychopharmacology, and planned future research into birth order and domestic violence, and an editorial for the British Journal of General Practice (Green & Gowans, 2014) seeking to promote future epidemiological research into unmet mental health needs in the community. The papers can be viewed as being within the context of a continuum of research interests and publications (represented diagrammatically below in Figure One). In the narrative text I refer to this earlier work and also explain my plans for progress in terms of future research and publications, thus setting the work in this Ph.D. by publication in context within a continuing pattern of interests.
  • The nature and practice of primary physical education: A study of the perceptions of subject leaders

    Green, Ken; Jones, Luke (University of Chester, 2015-09)
    Much of the existing research on primary physical education (PE) has focused on the supposed importance and potential of the subject at this age range, rather than on its actual nature and practice. It is repeatedly claimed within the literature that the development of movement skills during early learning experiences is significant as it lays the foundation for continuing participation in health enhancing physical activity. While much of the existing research has focused on the supposed importance of primary PE, further study in this area expresses concerns about the deficiencies in the preparation of primary generalists to teach the subject; over the quality of learning and teaching within the subject; and over a perceived lack of investment (in the long term) in the primary age phase. In the light of the comparatively limited research relating to primary PE, the reported issues which surround the provision of the subject and the current emphasis on its promotion through the PE and Sport Premium, the study aimed to examine change alongside continuity in what has been identified, rhetorically at least, as an important area of PE. Drawing upon data gathered from one-to-one interviews with 36 subject leaders (SLs), this study sought to describe and explain the nature and practice of primary PE and develop a more adequate understanding of what is actually happening in the name of the subject. The analysis of primary PE was undertaken through the use of a case study of one School Sport Partnership (SSP) in the north-west of England, with the theoretical framework for this study being formed by the figurational sociological perspective. The findings revealed that the most common model for the delivery of PE involved responsibility being shared between the generalist class teacher and either a sports coach or specialist PE teacher. The SLs recognised strengths and weaknesses in all of the three main approaches used. However, while they favoured the use of specialist teachers because of their subject knowledge and expertise, the more prosaic constraints of cost and flexibility meant that the use of coaches had become increasingly popular. Whether or not, the growth of coaches is de-professionalizing the delivery of PE, it certainly appears to be exacerbating any existing tendency to turn primary PE into a pale imitation of the sport-biased curricular of secondary schools. Ironically, the apparent ‘threat’ to the status of PE in the primary curriculum (as well as the status of PE specialists) posed by the growth of coaches in curricular PE in primary schools may well be exaggerated by the primary PE and Sport Premium which appears to have added momentum to a change of direction regarding staffing the subject – towards sports coaches and away from generalist classroom teachers and PE specialists. The data also showed that while the pedagogical approaches adopted in primary PE lessons did include some inclusive and developmentally appropriate methods, the overriding focus was on didactic teaching approaches being used to achieve narrow skills based outcomes. The historical dominance of games, the inclusion of primary teachers in lengthening chains of interdependence with sporting groups and individuals, and the conflation of sport with PE were all thought to have influenced the adoption of a teaching model that is unduly influenced by sport. It was also clear from SLs responses, that the prevalence of teaching methods that bind didactic and skill based pedagogy are unlikely to be challenged by the greater inclusion of sports coaches within primary PE. Finally, the contents of primary PE lessons were shown, by the data, to be dominated by sport and traditional team games; and to be organised around the timings of the major inter-school competitions and tournaments. Overall it was argued that the portents of a future with sports coaches as the main deliverers of primary ‘sport’ lessons are there for all to see, and that this apparent change is best understood by locating the subject leaders of PE in the networks of interdependent relationships that they have with others.
  • Understanding university students’ time use: a mixed-methods study of their leisure lives

    Green, Ken; Wilson, Lee S. (University of Chester, 2015-06)
    This thesis explores patterns of time use among university students to further understand their leisure time as an aspect of their day-to day lives, especially with regard to their time spent drinking alcohol. Attending university can be viewed as a key aspect in the prolongation of the youth life-stage for some young people, and a key influence on how they develop their own identities and spend their leisure time. In this regard, research suggests that far from being a homogeneous group, there can be a marked difference between sub-groups of students. Residence, for example, has been shown to be a particularly significant factor influencing how students report their university experience. Furthermore, a number of studies report that rather than being fixed, young people’s leisure lives, including their time spent drinking, tend to be dynamic, context-dependent and develop in some significant ways during their university careers. However, studies that have focused on university students have tended to study aspects of their leisure in isolation. This study aimed to address this limitation by studying students’ lives ‘in the round’ in order to more adequately understand the contextual complexity of their lives and how this might shape patterns of time use on leisure in general and drinking alcohol in particular.
  • Exploring the London 2012 Olympic legacy experiences of a non-host city: a policy based case study of those delivering sport in Birmingham before and after the Games

    Bloyce, Daniel; Lovett, Emily L. (University of Chester, 2016-11)
    In bidding to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the London bid committee promised a range of ambitious legacies. Planning for legacy pre-Games was a relatively new aspect of event planning (Leopkey & Parent, 2009). For the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), the sporting legacy from London 2012 was intended to be experienced across Britain. As such, a significant impact was expected on the sporting lives of people in non-host areas. To this extent it seems entirely appropriate, therefore, to examine the attempts to establish a ‘legacy’ in a city outside of London. Birmingham, one of the most populated cities in the UK, is therefore the focus of this study. The aim of this project was to investigate the legacy experiences of those delivering sport in Birmingham prior to, and soon after, the Games. This research was conducted from a figurational approach. A case study design was used to provide a detailed insight into a complex network of people and their perceptions that influence sport policy and development. The methods employed within this case study include documentary analysis of national policy documents and semi-structured interviews with key personnel in Birmingham. Interviews were conducted in the months prior to the Games and follow-up telephone interviews several months after the Games.
  • A sociological analysis of an area-based health initiative: a vehicle for social change?

    Thurston, Miranda; Powell, Katie (University of Chester, 2012-11)
    This thesis explores the implementation of an area-based health improvement initiative in the north west of England called Target Wellbeing. In the decades before Target Wellbeing was commissioned in 2007, health inequalities between people living in different areas of the UK had been widening. ABIs were identified by the Labour Government as a key tool for improving the health and wellbeing of residents in areas of socio-economic disadvantage and addressing inequalities in health. ABIs such as this have been well evaluated but there remains no firm evidence about the ability of such initiatives to improve health or to reduce health inequalities. In addition to the problems associated with evaluation, the processes through which ABIs might be used to influence change are not well understood and the value of using area-based services to improve health has been taken for granted. There is little understanding about the processes through which service provider partnerships might develop and limited knowledge about the processes through which residents might develop relations with providers. The key aim of this research was to examine the social processes through which ABIs develop over time. Using a case study approach, the research examined one Target Wellbeing programme as a social figuration of interdependent people. Ethnographic methods, including documentary analysis, non-participant observation and interviews, were used to explore the processes and networks that mediated the planned public health development. The study also drew on relevant quantitative data to describe changes over time. Ideas from figurational sociology were used as sensitising concepts in the development of a substantive theory about the processes through which ABIs develop. The study developed theoretical insight into processes of joint working that helps to explain why, in the context in which services are commissioned and performance managed, provider co-ordination is unlikely to be implemented as planned. It also provided a more sociologically adequate account of the ways in which relations between residents and providers were influenced by the history of relations in the town. Changes to residents’ relations with other residents and providers in the town influenced a greater sense of control over their circumstances. These findings demonstrate that, in relation to public health policy and practice, ABIs might more usefully be conceptualised as a series of interrelated processes that might be used to establish the preconditions for influencing change among residents. However, the study showed that interventions targeted at a small part of much wider networks of interconnected people are unlikely to influence sustained changes for residents in deprived areas.
  • Patterns of Parenting, Class Relations and Inequalities in Education and Leisure: A Grounded Theory

    Green, Ken; Wheeler, Sharon (University of Chester, 2013-12)
    The class structure of Britain has changed considerably since the 1970s. The gap between the rich and poor has grown, and many individuals can no longer be classified into traditional middle- and working-class categories. Despite polarisation and fragmentation, however, social class has continued to shapes individuals’ daily lives and life-chances. There are distinct class inequalities in education and leisure that appear to be resistant to intervention. Governments and other public organisations have invested considerable funds and deployed various policies, but individuals from affluent backgrounds continue to do better in the education system and be more active in their leisure time than individuals from deprived backgrounds. Academics have also turned their attention to class inequalities in education and leisure, especially of late. Research indicates that such inequalities emerge during early childhood and remain through youth and into adulthood. This, along with evidence of the limited effectiveness of interventions delivered through schools, has made one thing clear: to explain the production and reproduction of class inequalities in education and leisure and do something about them through policy, researchers and governments must look to the family. The ways in which parents from different social classes are involved and invest in their children’s education and leisure have been researched quite extensively. However, the findings in many of the studies are un-integrated and de-contextualised. In addition, much of the research is deductive – academics have tended to test theories and the significance particular family variables and processes. This thesis, therefore, set out to produce a grounded theory of class-specific patterns of parenting in relation to children’s education and leisure. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a case study of parents and children from a small city in the north-west of England. Two main social classes emerged out of the case study, a group tentatively described as an ‘under-class’ and a middle-class divided into fractions. It was found that social class impacted upon several areas of family life, and differences in these areas of family life clustered together to form class-specific patterns of parenting. The under-class pattern of parenting was conceptualised as ‘essential assistance’. It conveys the present-centred and basic involvement of the parents – they did not think a great deal about the future but did what was necessary to keep their children up with their peers on a day-to-day basis. The middle-class pattern of parenting was conceptualised as ‘concerted cultivation’. It conveys the forward-thinking and deliberate nature of the parents’ involvement. Also, the meticulous lengths to which the parents went – every aspect of their children’s development was open to pruning. The middle-class parents were involved in their children’s education and leisure in similar ways, but to different degrees. Thus, concerted cultivation can be regarded as gradational. Class-specific patterns of parenting can be linked to the production of class-related patterns of inequality. Through essential assistance and concerted cultivation, under-class and middle-class parents condition their children to think and act in particular ways. More specifically, they furnish their children with different skills, preferences and mentalities. A detailed discussion of the theoretical and policy implications of these patterns of parenting is provided in the conclusion to the thesis.
  • The Role of Anaerobic Digestion in Achieving Soil Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture for Sustainable Development in the UK

    Burek, Cynthia V.; Bonwick, Graham A.; Alexander, Roy; Duruiheoma, Franklin I. (University of Chester, 2015-12)
    The subjection of soils to degradation directly and indirectly from rising world food demand and resultant intensified agricultural production, population growth, and climate change, demand that soils are better protected. The role of AD in addressing this challenge is examined using a pragmatic research paradigm and the questions: How can we raise awareness of AD in the UK? What factors motivate and hinder farmers towards adopting improved technology and sustainable agricultural practises? What is the perception of farmers about soils? To what extent does sustainable agriculture incorporate soil conservation in theory and practice? What role can legislation and policies play in AD adoption in the UK? The research was in two phases; qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative phase involved interviews with 21 AD stakeholder in the UK using electronic mail. The stakeholders who were divided into groups according to their expertise, were interviewed to explore their views on the areas of focus in the UK strategy and action plan regarding raising awareness of the technology, soil conservation, sustainable agriculture and sustainable development. Thematic analysis of interview data was carried out using MAXQDA 11 statistical software. The quantitative phase involved an online survey of 283 UK farmers aided by Yellow Pages directory for UK, Natural England directory, Twitter and electronic mail. Using SPSS 22.0 statistical software, the Chi square test was used to check for relationships between the variables measured at 95% confidence level (p<.05). Relationship strength was measured by means of Cramer’s V and Phi values. Answers to the 1st research question showed that: aligning AD with sustainable development goals, community AD and localism, small AD plants, provision of an available market for AD products, building UK skills and diversifying biogas use from AD are positive options for raising awareness of AD. Response to 2nd research question revealed: significant relationships between interests in agricultural technology and gender, level of education, and farm size; between knowledge of what AD is and gender, level of education and farm size; between interest in AD and age; between willingness to invest in AD if it improved soil properties and farm ownership; and between organic farming practice and age, farm type and farm size. Responding to the third research question, farmers’ describe soils in abstract, scientific, physical attribute and functional terms; awareness of soil benefits other than crop production was significantly related to age, and farm ownership; educational level was significantly related to familiarity with soil conservation, and opinion on whether soil should be protected like other natural resources. Findings regarding the 4th and 5th research questions showed: limited understanding of soil matters as a key challenge that has restricted the priority given to soil conservation, while level of education, knowledge of soil conservation and sustainable development and understanding of sustainable agriculture were also identified as influencing factors; digestate from AD is the main benefit viewed to contribute to soil conservation; finance, policy and legislation, low awareness and understanding, lack of feedstock and market, land use conflict and inefficiency of AD plants were identified as barriers to AD in the UK; promoting AD, providing finance, minimizing bureaucracy and simplification of AD systems are options for promoting AD adoption. This thesis also documents the implications of these findings for knowledge, policy and practice, and based on these recommendations are made, some of which are: better engagement of farmers in policy development for AD and soil management; use of small AD plants, demonstration, networking and training for AD adoption; promote soil conservation in theory and practice; and provision of enhanced support for owners, potential investors and farmers through incentives, simplified planning approval process, and available market for AD product.
  • Investigating Non-invasive Measures of Stress in Ornamental Fish

    Wolfenden, David C. C. (University of Chester, 2014)
    The transport of ornamental marine fish may cause stress, which to date has been the subject of limited research. The present study aimed to characterise the behavioural and physiological responses to simulated transport stress in the common clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris (Cuvier, 1830) with the additional goal of validating non-invasive measures of water cortisol in a marine teleost for the first time. Behaviour and physiology of the animals was measured at different stages of transport (from initial capture and handling up to 72 hours transport time) and water quality measurements were taken from the transport water at key sampling points. In a second experiment biological filtration materials (“Bioballs” with denitrifying bacteria) were added to the transport bag to determine if stress was reduced when water quality was improved. The results of the study suggest that capture, handling and transport are stressful for clownfish, and the stress response appears to peak between 24 and 48 hours after the onset of the stressor. Water-borne cortisol was found to be a valid alternative to invasive methods of sampling, although only an average of 53% cortisol was recovered from sea water. Although handling and confinement appeared to be highly significant factors in eliciting the stress response water quality measurements revealed that fish are temporarily subjected to relatively high concentrations of ammonia as transport time increased, which may contribute to long-term effects on the health of the animals. This was reflected in an increased latency to feed and reduced social behaviours in fish transported for 24 hours or longer. Improving water quality did reduce the concentration of ammonia present; however, fish still exhibited elevated cortisol excretion suggesting that water quality is not the primary stressor associated with transport. Thus, the duration of transport should be restricted to a maximum of 24 hours to reduce the stress associated with this practice. A separate study investigated the potential for beauty treatment ‘fish spas’ to elicit stress in the freshwater cyprinid fish Garra rufa (Heckel, 1843). Water cortisol was measured non-invasively to determine if stress was reduced through the provision of environmental enrichment / furnishings, and whether stocking density influenced stress. Water quality was monitored to determine the effects of stocking density on environmental parameters (pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate). Finally, the effect of ii human hands being placed into the aquarium was investigated, to determine whether this influenced stress. Three hundred G. rufa were used in total, with groups being allocated randomly to one of four treatment groups: OP/B (optimum stocking density / barren tank – i.e. no enrichment); OP/E (optimum stocking density / enriched tank); OS/B (overstocked / barren tank); and OS/E (overstocked / enriched tank). Human hands were placed in each tank, and water samples were collected before and after for measurement of cortisol by ELISA, and to determine water quality parameters. The results revealed that overstocking tanks with G. rufa produced relatively higher baseline cortisol levels, suggesting that stocking density may have a significant effect on stress levels. The addition of furnishings into the aquarium did not reduce baseline cortisol levels in the fish prior to the introduction of human hands. However, fish maintained under enriched conditions exhibited a greater cortisol response when compared to individuals in barren tanks. It is hypothesised that the provision of enrichment reduces the available space for fish following the introduction of human hands, thereby increasing stress. Further studies are required to attempt to determine the effect of enrichment based upon the results of the present study. Feeding on human hands resulted in an elevated cortisol response from three out of the four treatment groups (with the exception of OP/B), with the results suggesting that either 1) the lower (i.e. optimal) stocking density and lack of enrichment in holding tanks is preferable for G. rufa fish welfare, or 2) the elevated cortisol reflected a response to a rewarding stimulus and is linked to increased foraging. Overall, the results of these studies have shown that water cortisol measurements are a valid means of assessing physiological stress in two species of fish in different contexts. This negates the need for invasive sampling and is an important refinement to existing protocols where fish are killed for plasma or whole body samples. The results also highlight the welfare impacts of transport and overstocking of ornamental fish providing valuable evidence that may be relevant to improving the husbandry and guidelines with respect to the ornamental fish industry.
  • HSPC1 inhibitors and their use in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia

    Smith, Carly M. (University of Chester, 2015-08)
    HSPC1 (Hsp90), a member of the anti-apoptotic Heat Shock Protein (HSP) family appears to play a pivotal role in the development and maintenance of several tumour cell characteristics and as a result has become a target for novel anti-cancer therapies. HSPC1 inhibitors have been tested in clinical trials on a wide variety of cancer types with moderate success. However, despite recent advantages in HSPC1 inhibitor development, the effects of these drugs are not consistent. A number of factors may play a role in determining cell sensitivity to these inhibitors. As Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) is such a heterogeneous disease with great variation in baseline HSP levels and other proteins amongst the patient cohort, it would not be unreasonable to assume that HSPC1 inhibitors may have varying success as a treatment strategy for this disease. The present study examined the effects of four HSPC1 inhibitors on primary CLL cells, as well as cells from healthy control subjects, and analysed a number of HSPC1 client proteins to assess the efficacy of these inhibitors. Great variation in cellular response to these drugs was observed in both CLL and healthy control subjects. Analysis of HSPC1 client proteins in these cells including ZAP-70, Akt, NF-kB and HSPA1A, revealed that HSPC1 inhibitors do not effect client protein levels in all samples. The results suggest that these inhibitors should not be considered as a universal treatment strategy for CLL and provide a basis for further study into elucidating the mechanisms behind HSPC1 inhibitor resistance. The final aim of this work was to investigate the role of the microenvironment in CLL progression, where a co-culture system was used as an in-vitro tool. Whilst consistent data was obtained using cell lines, and showed that microenvironmental factors promoted resistance to HSPC1 inhibitors, use of primary CLL cells in this model produced inconsistent data, again highlighting the heterogeneity of the disease.
  • Investigating morphometrics, movement and oviposition in the Lissotriton and Triturus newts

    Johnson, Lisa (University of Chester, 2015-09)
    This thesis focuses on the UK pond newts, the smaller bodied species known as Lissotriton newts and the larger Triturus. The primary aims were to identify and address gaps in the current Tritus/Lissotriton literature; to provide a more complete understanding of this group as many assumptions about morphology and physiology exist untested, for example that larger/fatter females will lay more eggs. Specifically for Lissotriton helveticus, many assumptions are based on the similarly sized Lissotriton vulgaris, potentially missing any species specific differences. A further focus of the work was to provide a clearer view over the whole breeding season; using measures of condition over a season and egg-laying.

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