The Faculty of Life Sciences is predominantly based on the Chester Campus, with sports-related and computer-related courses also delivered at Warrington. A number of specialist courses are also delivered at our partner associate college at Reaseheath in Cheshire, as well as some delivery outside the UK. The Faculty also supports several research centres.

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  • High speed running and repeated sprinting in male academy football players

    Twist, Craig; Gibson, Neil V (University of Chester, 2019-08)
    High speed running and repeated sprinting are component parts of training and match play among academy football players. Despite players having to self-pace running speed and the intervening recovery periods during match play, the way these qualities are trained and tested are often externally regulated with specific work-to-rest ratios and prescribed intensities. The aims of this thesis were to investigate high speed running separated by externally regulated and self-selected recovery periods under conditions that replicate training and testing practices analogous with football. Under controlled conditions replicating training practices common amongst academy players, Chapter 4 showed that high speed running and repeated sprinting separated by externally regulated recovery periods resulted in running speeds that differed by a smaller magnitude than those used in their prescription. These data question the fidelity of this approach and the ability of players to replicate prescribed running speeds in the field. Data from Chapter 4 also demonstrated that neuromuscular function was likely reduced 14 hours after high speed running (-5.6%; ES –0.44 ± 0.32; P = 0.01) and combination running (-6.8%; ES -0.53 ± 0.47; P = 0.07) . During 10 x 30 m repeated sprints there was a most likely higher percentage decrement (65%; 0.36 ± 0.21; P = 0.12) and most likely increased physiological load evidenced by between sprint heart rate recovery (-58.9%; ES -1.10 ± 0.72; P = 0.05) when sprints were interspersed by self-selected compared to externally regulated recovery periods (Chapter 5). Performance decrements were, however, attenuated in more mature players (Chapter 6). When considering biological maturity, prePHV players displayed a lower percentage decrement (2.1 ± 1.1%) than post-PHV (3.2 ± 2.1%) players across all sprints when recovery periods were externally regulated (37%; ES 0.41 ± 0.51; P = 0.03). When self-selected recovery periods were used, percentage decrement was lower in the post-PHV group. In Chapter 7, ratings of perceived exertion were used to guide 4 running speed and recovery distribution during a high speed running test performed to volitional exhaustion. Peak running speed in the self-paced (21.8 ± 1.4 km·h-1 ) was likely (4.1%: ES 0.63 ± 0.43; P = 0.03) higher than in the externally regulated YYIRT1 (20.9 ± 1.1 km·h-1); however, average running speed in the self-paced (13.5 ± 1.2 km·h-1) was likely (6.5%; ES 0.67 ± 0.51; P = 0.05) slower (12.7 ± 1.6 km·h-1). There was a moderate difference in total between shuttle recovery periods (13.3%; ES 0.58 ± 0.81; P = 0.16) in the self-paced (552 ± 132 s) compared to externally regulated versions (634 ± 125 s) of the YYIRT1. When exposed to running drills separated by self-selected and externally regulated recovery periods, academy footballers allocate insufficient recovery to preserve running performance and are unable to differentiate between sprinting and high speed running when prescribed according to specific speeds (Chapter 4) and subjective ratings of exertion (Chapter 7). Prescribing self-paced high intensity running interspersed with self-selected recovery periods results in higher physiological loads when compared to externally regulated recovery intermissions and therefore should be considered during training programmes that target adaptations in aerobic capacity. Despite this, where coaches are using high speed running programmes to improve speed and/or speed endurance, externally regulated recoveries are likely to result in the preservation of performance across the repetition range and, as such, are more beneficial to the intended adaptation.
  • Low Body Fat Does Not Influence Recovery after Muscle-Damaging Lower-Limb Plyometrics in Young Male Team Sport Athletes.

    Fernandes, John F T; Lamb, Kevin L; orcid: 0000-0003-4481-4711; Twist, Craig; orcid: 0000-0001-6168-0378 (2020-11-05)
    This study assessed the influence of fat mass to fat-free mass ratio (FM:FFM) on recovery from plyometric exercise. After assessment of body composition, 20 male team sport players (age 20.7 ± 1.1 years; body mass 77.1 ± 11.5 kg) were divided into low- ( = 10; 0.11 ± 0.03) and normal- ( = 10; 0.27 ± 0.09) fat groups based on FM:FFM ratio. Thereafter, participants completed measurements of knee extensor torque at 60 and 240°∙s , countermovement jump flight time, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and perceived muscle soreness (VAS) before and at 0, 24 and 48 h after 10 × 10 maximal plyometric vertical jumps. Evidence of muscle damage was confirmed by alterations in VAS, peak torque at 60 and 240°∙s and flight time at 0, 24 and 48 h after plyometric exercise ( < 0.05). CK was increased at 0 and 24 h ( < 0.05) but returned to baseline values by 48 h. No time by group effects were observed for any of the dependent variables ( > 0.05). The current findings indicate that while muscle damage was present after plyometric exercise, the magnitude was similar across the two body composition groups. Applied practitioners can allow for a similar recovery time after plyometric exercise in those with low and normal body fat.
  • Leading brand products and their supermarket economy line equivalents, is there a difference in nutritional content?

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Jackson, Emma; University of Chester
    Since the introduction of supermarket economy lines (SELs) in the early 1990s, their popularity has been established nationwide(1).However, these economical alternatives are commonly perceived to be of lower nutritional quality than their leading brand (LB)equivalents(2,3,4). The present study aimed to determine if there is a significant difference in nutritional content between the UKtop-selling LBs and their SEL equivalents. Additionally, the study aimed to investigate if on average, LBs or SELs provide better‘value for money’.The LBs of 38 most popular food categories were identified from UK market research, and equivalent SEL products were identifiedfrom each of the retailers with the top-five majority UK market share: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Aldi. In each foodcategory, differences between LBs and SELs in: energy, fat, saturated fatty acid, carbohydrate, sugar,fibre, protein and salt content,per 100 g of food product were determined using a one-sample T-test. The nutritional quality of each product was also determined bya nutrient profiling system. Cost was analysed in relation to shopping baskets containing 33 equivalent products. Six shopping basketswere analysed, one containing LB products and one from each SEL retailer. The cost of each shopping basket was calculated usingpack price and price per 100 g or 100mL of food product.Data was collected for 219 products; 38 LBs and 181 SELs. 86 significant differences were identified in specific nutrients across thefood categories, but the direction of the differences was inconsistent. Based on pack price, the total LB shopping basket cost was£61·91 whereas average SEL basket cost £28·62, a difference of £33·29 or 54 % (P = 0·001). However, there was no difference betweenthe nutrient profile of LBs and SELs.Although significant differences were identified between nutrients in some food categories, overall, there appeared to be no differ-ence in nutritional content between LBs and SEL equivalents. This association is consistent with previous studies and is contrary tothe common perception that SELs are of lower nutritional quality than LBs(2,3,4,5,6). Pertinent to public health, the present studyfound that SEL breakfast cereals contained a significantly higher amount of salt than the LB (P = 0·035)(4,6). Additionally, althoughthe majority of food categories did not show a significant difference in energy content per 100 g of food product (29 of 38) LB pastahad significantly higher energy content per 100 g of food product than SEL equivalents (P = 0·017)(6).In conclusion, there appears to be no difference in nutritional content between the LB and SEL equivalents in 38 popular foodcategories, however, there appears to be twofold difference in price The cost analysis demonstrates that consumers can purchasethe same quantity of foodstuff for significantly less when opting for SEL products. Low income households may therefore be encour-aged to purchase SEL products to reduce weekly household expenditure and enable a greater proportion of the budget to be availablefor the purchase fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables and meat
  • Estimates of fibre intake and percentage of the population with intake below the dietary reference values (DRVs) in England (1991–2015)

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Farzad, Amirabdollahian; Buczkowski, Bartek; Davies, Ian; University of Chester
    In 1991, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Foods (COMA) defined dietary fibre as non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) and set the DRV as the population average intake of 18 g/day 1 , determined using the Englyst method of analysis 2 . The latest publication of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) 3 broadened the definition of dietary fibre beyond NSP to broader definition of Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) fibre, recommending the DRV to be 30 g/day based on AOAC method. The COMA 1991, DRV of 18 g/day of NSP corresponds to around 24 g/day of AOAC fibre 3 and therefore the new DRV of fibre would represent a higher recommendation (around 22·5 g fibre as per the Englyst method) for the average population. The purpose of this study was to investigate variation in fibre intake of English population by age and gender, in comparison with the COMA and SACN DRVs. Data on the core sample of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme from 2008–2012 was reanalysed. Children aged below 16 years were excluded in consideration of their different DRVs. The data on dietary fibre was extracted from fully productive individuals (i.e. participants who completed three/four diary days), as an average daily intake based on the NSP/Englyst fibre. Inferential statistics included the analysis of variance to discover if there were any significant variations in fibre intake of males and females in relation to their age groups. The statistical significance was set at 0·05. For all age groups, the average fibre intake is below the DRVs. The average daily fibre intake slightly increased with age for both genders until 64 years. When differences in energy intake were taken into account, the average daily fibre density (g/1000 kcal) still increased with the age of participants. Overall, less than a third of populations had an intake above the COMA DRV 1 . More than 90 % of the population had intake below the SACN DRV 3 , demonstrating a challenge for future policies to meet the nutritional guidelines, particularly amongst females and younger adults. The findings should be treated with caution considering the definition of AOAC fibre used as the basis for the SACN DRV includes non-digestible oligosaccharides, resistant starch and polydextrose, going beyond NSP/Englyst variables analysed.
  • Full fat cheese intake and cardiovascular health: a randomised control trial

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Butler, Thomas; Davies, Ian; University of Chester
    Milk and milk products contribute approximately 22 % of the nation's saturated fat (SFA) intake. Recently, the role of dairy and its SFA composition and link to cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been analysed( 1 ), suggesting a beneficial action of this food group on reducing cardiovascular risk in high-risk groups( 2 , 3 ). The aim of this study was to examine the effects of 4 weeks full-fat cheese on circulating lipoprotein fractions, blood pressure and arterial stiffness in healthy adults. Participants were recruited in the city of Chester, UK. Those meeting entry criteria of: 18–65 years of age, not taking antihypercholesterolaemic or antihypertensive medication took part in the study. Participants were randomised to receive either 50 g of a full-fat Red Leicester (FFC) or placebo (virtually zero fat Cheddar cheese, ZFC) per day for 4 weeks. Anthropometry, blood pressure, brachial and aortic augmentation index (BAIX and AAIX, respectively), pulse-wave velocity (PWV) and a full lipid profile were determined at baseline and post-intervention. Participants were asked to keep a 3-day food diary prior to and for the last 3 days of the protocol. All procedures were approved by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee at the University of Chester. Eighty-six (86) individuals completed the study (43 per group). No significant changes were observed in any measured parameter (Table 1). Both ZFC and FFC groups showed a significant increase in calcium intake during the course of the study (1002·1 ± 639·1 mg to 1815·0 ± 1340·1 mg and 1219·6 ± 1169·1 mg 1845·8 ± 1463·2 mg, P < 0·001, respectively) showing good adherence to the protocol. In conclusion, these results suggest that inclusion of 50 g full fat cheese into the diet of a healthy population does not impact negatively on traditional CVD risk markers. Future strategies to reduce SFA intake should focus on – and acknowledge the importance of the source – of SFA in the diet.
  • Effect of a single serving of pecan nuts on blood lipids and weight: a single blind randomised control trial

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Butler, Thomas; Confue, Charlotte; Guild, Joanne; University of Chester
    Nuts are a common component of many traditional cardioprotective diets primarily due to their ability to lower blood lipids and reduce cardiovascular risk(1, 2). Studies consistently show nut intake is associated with favourable changes in energy balance(3). However there is a paucity of data examining the acute changes following nut consumption. We sought to examine the effect of a single serving of pecan nuts on plasma lipids and bodyweight. Participants were sampled from the University of Chester, UK. Individuals (n = 54) were screened for eligibility to participate. Those meeting entry criteria (n = 25) of being either male or female aged 30 years or more and with no previous history of CVD were randomised to either a control (CON) or pecan nut group (PECAN). Participants in the PECAN group received a single 50 g serving of pecan nuts. Capillary blood was taken for analysis of triacylglycerol, total-cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol (TAG, TC, LDL-C, HDL-C and non-HDL-C, respectively), and anthropometric measurements were performed. All measurements were repeated after 3 days. Participants were instructed to record all food and drink consumed, and not to change their habitual eating habits. Procedures were approved by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Clinical Sciences Research Ethics Committee, University of Chester. No significant effect on TC, HDL-C or TAG was observed during the study (Fig. 1A–C). LDL-C decreased by 0.09 ± 0.37 mmol/L and increased by 0.16 ± 0.40 mmol/L in CON and PECAN groups, respectively. Non-HDL-C showed a similar pattern with the CON group showing a decrease and PECAN group displaying an increase (−0.18 ± 0.36 mmol/L vs. 0.16 ± 0.40 mmol/L, respectively). Bodyweight significantly (P = 0.025) decreased in the PECAN group when compared to the CON group (−0.58 ± 0.56 kg vs. −0.05 ± 0.55 kg, respectively). In conclusion, a single serving of pecan nuts had no significant impact on lipid markers of cardiovascular risk. Bodyweight was significantly reduced consistent with recent literature showing a favourable relationship with nut intake and energy balance(3).
  • Acute and chronic effects of beetroot supplementation on blood pressure and arterial stiffness in humans

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Turner, Emma; University of Chester
    Dietary supplementation of beetroot juice, containing nitrate- a potent vasodilation agent, has been shown to be vasoprotective( 1 ), and dose dependent decreases in blood pressure (BP) have been previously demonstrated(2,3). To our knowledge there has been only one study investigating the effect of beetroot supplementation in humans on arterial stiffness, measured using pulsewave velocity (PWV) and, although there was no effect of supplementation on PWV, there was a significant reduction due to beetroot supplementation in acute diastolic BP (3hrs, P = 0·023)( 4 ). A double-blind, randomised, cross-over intervention trial was carried out in a cohort of 12 healthy male participants (mean age (SEM) = 43 (2·1) yrs, BMI = 27·8 (1·1) kg.m2) who underwent both beetroot juice and placebo supplementation for 14 days. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of 6·45 mmol of nitrate in a concentrated 70 ml beetroot drink (James White Ltd, Ipswich, UK) on systolic and diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure (MAP) and arterial stiffness (PWV, aortic augmentation index (Aix), brachial Aix) in humans. BP and arterial stiffness measurements weretaken using PWV (Arteriograph, TensioMed,Hungary). Measurements were taken intriplicate at baseline, 3 hours post-supplementation (either beetroot juice orplacebo) and post-intervention (day 15). This was followed by a 7-day washoutperiod before participants were transferred to the alternate supplement. Table 1 shows that there was no significant acute or short term effect of beetroot juice supplementation on the parameters measured when compared to placebo. However, there was a significant decrease in systolic BP (P = 0·009), diastolic BP (P = 0·035), MAP (P = 0·017), aortic and brachial AIX (P = 0·042 and 0·041 respectively), 3hours post beetroot supplementation. These results confirm previous findings( 4 ) that beetroot supplementation does not have an acute or short term effect on arterial stiffness measures. However, acute effects on arterial stiffness and BP within the beetroot juice supplementation group were observed. Further large scale studies on dietary nitrate supplementation and cardiovascular health are required to further assess efficacy.
  • Dietary supplementation with n-3 fatty acids (n-3 FA) for 4 weeks reduces post-exercise fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in trained male athletes

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Benson, Lindsay; University of Chester
    High intensity exercise in the form of eccentric contractions can lead to the formation of free radicals, stimulating an inflammatory response( 1 , 2 ). Consumption of n-3 FA may help modify inflammation and immune reactions beneficial to health by decreasing interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and C-reactive protein( 3 ). For trained athletes to improve athletic performance, recovery from training is important and DOMS is frequently experienced following eccentric exercise, impacting negatively on strength( 4 ). The Western diet is however, characterised by a high n-6 FA consumption relative to n-3 FA, formulating ratios often in excess of 16:1( 5 ). The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the form of n-3 FA has been investigated by a number of clinical trials in untrained athletes, but whether this can be translated into attenuating exercise induced inflammation in trained athletes is still under investigation. A double-blind, randomised controlled trial was conducted in 22 trained male athletes who supplemented their diet with either 3000 mg/d of fish oil (gel capsules) consisting of 990 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 660 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (n = 11), or 3000 mg/d olive oil placebo (n = 11), for 28d. Participants underwent 3 sets of eccentric bicep curls in their dominant arm until failure and arm circumference, number of repetitions completed and DOMS/fatigue scores via visual analogue scale (VAS) were recorded at 0, 24 and 48 h after exercise, pre and post supplementation. No group performed better during the eccentric bicep test, pre and post supplementation, and at baseline, no differences were observed between groups for DOMS and fatigue. However, post supplementation, DOMS was significantly lower at 24 h (P = 0·005) and 48 h (P = 0·002) and fatigue was significantly lower at 24 h (P = 0·043) and 48 h post exercise (P < 0·001) in the n-3 FA group compared to the placebo group (Fig. 1). These findings indicate that n-3 FA supplementation has the potential to promote recovery and subsequently increase athletic performance in trained male athletes and may be a useful ergogenic aid. Possible anti-inflammatory mechanisms of n-3 FA should be further investigated using specific biomarkers of inflammation.
  • Acute glycaemic management before, during and after exercise for cardiac rehabilitation participants with diabetes mellitus; a joint statement of the British and Canadian Associations of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, the International Council for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

    Buckley, J.P.; Riddell, Michael; Mellor, Duane; Bracken, Richard; Ross, Marie-Kristelle; LaGerche, Andre; Poirier, Paul; University of Chester; University College London; York University, Toronto; LMC Healthcare; Aston University; Swansea University College of Engineering; Laval University; Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute; St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne; Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec
    Type 1 (T1) and type 2 (T2) diabetes mellitus (DM) are significant precursors and comorbidities to cardiovascular disease and prevalence of both types is still rising globally. Currently,~25% of participants (and rising) attending cardiac rehabilitation in Europe, North America and Australia have been reported to have DM (>90% have T2DM). While there is some debate over whether improving glycaemic control in those with heart disease can independently improve future cardiovascular health-related outcomes, for the individual patient whose blood glucose is well controlled, it can aid the exercise programme in being more efficacious. Good glycaemic management not only helps to mitigate the risk of acute glycaemic events during exercising, it also aids in achieving the requisite physiological and psycho-social aims of the exercise component of cardiac rehabilitation (CR). These benefits are strongly associated with effective behaviour change, including increased enjoyment, adherence and self-efficacy. It is known that CR participants with DM have lower uptake and adherence rates compared with those without DM. This expert statement provides CR practitioners with nine recommendations aimed to aid in the participant’s improved blood glucose control before, during and after exercise so as to prevent the risk of glycaemic events that could mitigate their beneficial participation.
  • The role of brain size on mammalian population densities

    González-Suárez, Manuela; Gonzalez-Voyer, Alejandro; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Santini, Luca; University of Reading; Universidad Autonoma de Mexico; University of Chester; Italian National Research Council
    1. The local abundance or population density of different organisms often varies widely. Understanding what determines this variation is an important, but not yet fully resolved question in ecology. Differences in population density are partly driven by variation in body size and diet among organisms. Here we propose that the size of an organism’ brain could be an additional, overlooked, driver of mammalian population densities. 2. We explore two possible contrasting mechanisms by which brain size, measured by its mass, could affect population density. First, because of the energetic demands of larger brains and their influence on life history, we predict mammals with larger relative brain masses would occur at lower population densities. Alternatively, larger brains are generally associated with a greater ability to exploit new resources, which would provide a competitive advantage leading to higher population densities among large‐brained mammals. 3. We tested these predictions using phylogenetic path analysis, modelling hypothesized direct and indirect relationships between diet, body mass, brain mass and population density for 656 non‐volant terrestrial mammalian species. We analysed all data together and separately for marsupials and the four taxonomic orders with most species in the dataset (Carnivora, Cetartiodactyla, Primates, Rodentia). 4. For all species combined, a single model was supported showing lower population density associated with larger brains, larger bodies and more specialized diets. The negative effect of brain mass was also supported for separate analyses in Primates and Carnivora. In other groups (Rodentia, Cetartiodactyla and marsupials) the relationship was less clear: supported models included a direct link from brain mass to population density but 95% confidence intervals of the path coefficients overlapped zero. 5. Results support our hypothesis that brain mass can explain variation in species’ average population density, with large‐brained species having greater area requirements, although the relationship may vary across taxonomic groups. Future research is needed to clarify whether the role of brain mass on population density varies as a function of environmental (e.g. environmental stability) and biotic conditions (e.g. level of competition).
  • Development of a reliable and valid kata performance analysis template

    Augustovicova, Dusana; Argajova, Jaroslava; Rupcik, Lubos; Thomson, Edward; University of Chester
    Abstract With the new kata evaluation procedure, examination of the underpinning features of successful kata performance appears warranted.The purpose of the study was to create a valid and reliable analysis template for the assessment of the movement characteristics of competitive kata. Following the creation, and scrutiny, of action variables and operational definitions, three observers were provided with the operational definitions of the performance indicators, example kata clips and instructions detailing the method of ‘tagging’ using a computerized analysis software. Intra- and inter-rater reliability assessment and median sign tests, and Cohen’s Kappa coefficient were conducted. There were no significant differences (p ˃ 0.05) between the observer’s and analyst’s test-retest observations for all the performance indicators. The intra-rater reliability was found to be “almost perfect” in all raters (LA K = 0.99 [95% CI: 0.98-0.99]; PA K = 0.94 [95% CI: 0.93-0.95]; KR K = 0.94 [95% CI: 0.93-0.95]) and the inter-rater Kappa coefficients were moderate (K = 0.55 ± 0.05). This study has demonstrated that a novel performance analysis template yields reliable observations of the key movements during kata and the procedures could therefore be used to objectively appraise features of successful performance.
  • Combined bezafibrate, medroxyprogesterone acetate and valproic acid treatment inhibits osteosarcoma cell growth without adversely affecting normal mesenchymal stem cells.

    Sheard, Jonathan J.; Southam, Andrew D.; MacKay, Hannah L.; Ellington, Max A; Snow, Martyn D.; Farhat, Khanim L.; Bunce, Christopher M.; Johnson, William E. B.; Aston University, Birmingham; University of Birmingham; University Centre Shrewsbury; Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham; University of Chester
    Drug repurposing is a cost effective means of targeting new therapies for cancer. We have examined the effects of the repurposed drugs, bezafibrate, medroxyprogesterone acetate and valproic acid on human osteosarcoma cells, i.e., SAOS2 and MG63 compared with their normal cell counterparts, i.e. mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs). Cell growth, viability and migration were measured by biochemical assay and live cell imaging, whilst levels of lipid-synthesising enzymes were measured by immunoblotting cell extracts. These drug treatments inhibited the growth and survival of SAOS2 and MG63 cells most effectively when used in combination (termed V-BAP). In contrast, V-BAP treated MSCs remained viable with only moderately reduced cell proliferation. V-BAP treatment also inhibited migratory cell phenotypes. MG63 and SAOS2 cells expressed much greater levels of fatty acid synthase and stearoyl CoA desaturase 1 than MSCs, but these elevated enzyme levels significantly decreased in the V-BAP treated osteosarcoma cells prior to cell death. Hence, we have identified a repurposed drug combination that selectively inhibits the growth and survival of human osteosarcoma cells in association with altered lipid metabolism without adversely affecting their non-transformed cell counterparts.
  • Estimation of fruit and vegetable consumption in a cohort of Ghanaian women and evaluation of knowledge, attitudes and practice

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Moss, Jennifer; University of Chester
    Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), previously confined to industrialised nations, are spreading through the developing world at unprecedented rates( 1 ). With communicable diseases still prevalent, this imposes a double-burden of disease in countries with limited resources and ill-equipped health systems( 2 ). An unhealthy diet, including insufficient consumption of fruit and vegetables is one of four main behavioural risk factors in the development of NCDs. However, consumption across the world, including Ghana, is below recommended levels( 3 ). Despite a wealth of research in developed countries, few studies have investigated barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption in Ghana. The aim of the present study was to assess fruit and vegetable consumption and evaluate knowledge, attitudes and practice in a cohort of Ghanaian women. A mixed-methods approach, incorporating a survey delivered in a guided interview format was utilised to investigate patterns and determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption in a cohort of Ghanaian women. Data were collected from female environmental health and nursing students aged 18–33 years (n=74, response rate 98.7%), residing in the Korle-Bu district of Accra, Ghana. A 24-hour recall questionnaire, local handy measures and a specially designed portion size assessment sheet allowed estimation of fruit and vegetable consumption, whilst a questionnaire comprising both qualitative and quantitative questions enabled investigation of barriers to consumption in Ghanaian society. A significantly greater level of low fruit and vegetable consumption was found in the present study (69%), than detailed in the World Health Survey 2002–03 (p⩽0.001). There was a significant positive association between meal frequency and consumption levels (p=0.025), however, no association was found between consumption and knowledge levels, income, home-production or perceived adequate consumption. Themes emerging from the research related to barriers affecting consumption included cost, availability, quality, and health and safety issues. Unhealthy snacking was found to be common, as were unhealthy substitutions during periods of scarcity. Numerous barriers causing the observed decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption were identified in the present study. The interrelating nature of the barriers identified suggests a multidirectional approach to address these issues would offer the greatest benefits for consumption levels. Increasing agricultural infrastructure is key, whilst educational initiatives should also play a major role in future strategies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Future investment and policy in Ghana should focus on prevention rather than cure, if the growing NCD burden is to be halted.
  • Dietary vitamin D supplementation improves haematological status following consumption of an iron-fortified cereal: an 8-week randomised controlled trial

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Ahmad Fuzi, Salma F.; University of Chester
    Vitamin D, a secosteroid, has recently been implicated in the stimulation of erythroid precursors and ultimately the rate of erythropoiesis. However, there are a paucity of randomised controlled trials (RCT), investigating the effect of vitamin D supplementation iron status, especially in populations at risk of iron deficiency. An eight-week, double-blind RCT was carried out in 50 female (mean age (± SD): 27 ± 9 years), iron-deficient (plasma ferritin concentration < 20 μg/L) participants, randomised to consume an iron-fortified cereal containing 9 mg of iron, with either a vitamin D supplement (1,500 international units (IU)/day, 38 μg/day) or placebo. The effect of dietary vitamin D supplementation on haematological indicators was investigated. Blood samples were collected at baseline, 4-weeks and 8-week timepoints for measurement of iron and vitamin D status biomarkers. The effect of intervention was analysed with a mixed-model repeated measures ANOVA using IBM SPSS statistical software (Version 21, IBM Corporation, New York, USA). Significant increases were observed in two haematological parameters: haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit level from baseline to post-intervention in the vitamin D group, but not in the placebo group. The increase from baseline to post-intervention in haemoglobin concentration in the vitamin D group (135 ± 11 to 138 ± 10 g/L) was significantly higher than in the placebo group (131 ± 15 to 128 ± 13 g/L) (P ≤ 0.05). The increase in haematocrit level from baseline to post-intervention was also significantly higher in the vitamin D group (42.0 ± 3.0 to 43.8 49 ± 3.4%) compared to the placebo group (41.2 ± 4.3 to 40.7 ± 3.6%) (P ≤ 0.05). Despite non-significant changes in plasma ferritin concentration, this study demonstrates that dietary supplementation with 1,500IU vitamin D, consumed daily with an iron-fortified cereal led to improvement in haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit levels in women with low iron stores. Further long-term studies are required, however, these findings suggest a potential role for improvement of vitamin D status as an adjunct therapy for recovery of iron status in iron-deficient populations.
  • Dietary vitamin D consumption, sunlight exposure, sunscreen use and parental knowledge of vitamin D sources in a cohort of children aged 1–6 years in North West England

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Aitken, Amanda; University of Chester
    Hospital admission for children with rickets in England has dramatically increased, from <1 child per 100,000 in the early 1990's to 4·78 (4·58–4·99) per 100 000 between 2007 and 2011( 1 ). The re-emergence of rickets thus suggests poor vitamin D status( 2 ). Additionally, there has been a plethora of publications associating low vitamin D status with many adverse health outcomes other than the classical role of vitamin D in the development, maintenance and function of a healthy skeleton( 3 ). Vitamin D is a fat lipophilic steroid pro hormone obtained from few foods in the diet. However, the majority (90–95%) of vitamin D is synthesised from exposure of bare skin to sunlight( 4 ), and casual sunlight exposure has been considered adequate for the majority of the population. Consequently, there is no reference nutrient intake (RNI) for ages 4–65 yrs( 5 ). With modern indoor lifestyles, cautious sun screen usage and changes in food habits, sunlight exposure may no longer be sufficient to maintain adequate vitamin D status. To avoid vitamin D deficiency, supplementation and fortification may need to play a more prominent role in everyday lives( 6 ). The aim of the present study was to investigate vitamin D dietary intake in children, parents’ knowledge of vitamin D sources, children's outdoor habits and sun screen application practices. A retrospective, cross sectional study approach was utilised. Parents of children (n = 42) aged between 1 and 6 yrs completed a semi-validated food frequency questionnaire, a sources of vitamin D knowledge questionnaire, and a sunlight exposure and sunscreen use questionnaire, in Adlington, N.W. England (latitude 55oN) during May 2013. Children's mean (±SD) dietary vitamin D intake was 4·4 ± 2·5 μg/d, significantly lower than 7μg/d (P = < 0·001, for comparison 7μg/d, the RNI for ages 3 months-4 yrs was used). As expected, children taking supplements had a significantly higher mean (±SD) vitamin D intake (8·49 ± 1·78 μg/d) compared to those that did not supplement (3·34 ± 1·23 μg/d, P < 0·001). The greatest contribution to dietary vitamin D intake from food was from butter and spreads (0·028μg/d), followed by cakes, biscuits & scones (0·023μg/d). Parents' knowledge of food sources was poor, with a mean (±SD) incorrect response of 76% ±11·2. Contrastingly, 93% correctly identified sunlight exposure as a potential source of vitamin D. Eighty nine percent of participants played outdoors daily for 1 hour or more, 81% used sunscreen with an SPF ≥30 and only 2% rarely applied sunscreen. This study revealed that children's diet in the NW England is lacking sufficient vitamin D content, in line with larger surveys( 7 , 8 ). Parents' knowledge regarding vitamin D dietary sources was poor but 93% of parents knew that sunlight was the non-dietary source of vitamin D. Outdoor play indicated sufficient exposure time to produce endogenous vitamin D but sunscreen usage may have potentially diminished epidermal UVB exposures. Further research is needed using biomarkers to confirm vitamin D insufficiency, and public health strategies should be implemented to promote existing recommendations regarding supplementation and consumption of vitamin D rich foods. Additionally, guidelines for safe sun exposure and sunscreen use are required.
  • Aging and Recovery After Resistance-Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage: Current Evidence and Implications for Future Research

    Fernandes, John F. T.; Lamb, Kevin L; Norris, Jonathan P; Moran, Jason; Drury, Benjamin; Borges, Nattai; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; Hartpury University; University of Essex; The University of Newcastle (Australia); Derbyshire County Cricket Club
    Aging is anecdotally associated with a prolonged recovery from resistance training, though current literature remains equivocal. This brief review considers the effects of resistance training on indirect markers of muscle damage and recovery (i.e., muscle soreness, blood markers, and muscle strength) in older males. With no date restrictions, four databases were searched for articles relating to aging, muscle damage, and recovery. Data from 11 studies were extracted for review. Of these, four reported worse symptoms in older compared with younger populations, while two have observed the opposite, and the remaining studies (n = 6) proposed no differences between age groups. It appears that resistance training can be practiced in older populations without concern for impaired recovery. To improve current knowledge, researchers are urged to utilize more ecologically valid muscle-damaging bouts and investigate the mechanisms which underpin the recovery of muscle soreness and strength after exercise in older populations.
  • Perfectionism Among Young Female Competitive Irish Dancers: Prevalence and Relationship with Injury Responses

    Pentith, Rebecca; Moss, Samantha; Lamb, Kevin; Edwards, Carmel; University of Chester
    The present study investigated the prevalence of perfectionism among young competitive Irish dancers and examined the relationships between three different types of perfectionistic tendencies and coping strategies ultilised when experiencing injury. Sixty-eight female dancers (Mage = 14 ± 2.3 years) completed the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, alongside a record of injuries incurred during their championship careers. Participants reported 189 injuries, mostly involving lower extremities. Seventy-nine percent of dancers reported perfectionistic tendencies (mixed perfectionism 40%, pure self-oriented perfectionism 29%, pure socially prescribed perfectionism 10%), and most frequently adopted planful problem-solving, seeking social support, distancing, and self-controlling strategies to cope with injury. Perfectionism and the utilisation of two coping strategies were found to be significantly (p = .03) related; planful problem-solving was used typically ‘quite a bit or a great deal’ by the mixed perfectionism group, but only ‘somewhat’ by the non-perfectionism group, whereas confrontive coping was typically not used by the non-perfectionism group, but was used ‘somewhat’ by the mixed perfectionism group. Given the high frequency and intensity of perfectionism and the simulaneous employment of problem- and emotion-focused strategies when coping with injuries, it is suggested that practitioners acknowledge such tendencies when supporting their athletes’ in order to reduce the likely negative psychological impact.
  • Eukarion-134 Attenuates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Human Skeletal Muscle Cells

    Nye, Gareth; Thoma, Anastasia; Lyon, Max; Al-Shanti, Nasser; Cooper, Robert; Lightfoot, Adam; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Liverpool
    Maladaptive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is associated with modified reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mitochondrial abnormalities; and is postulated as a potential mechanism involved in muscle weakness in myositis, an acquired autoimmune neuromuscular disease. This study investigates the impact of ROS generation in an in vitro model of ER stress in skeletal muscle, using the ER stress inducer tunicamycin (24 h) in the presence or absence of a superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetic Eukarion (EUK)-134. Tunicamycin induced maladaptive ER stress, which was mitigated by EUK-134 at the transcriptional level. ER stress promoted mitochondrial dysfunction, described by substantial loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, as well as a reduction in respiratory control ratio, reserve capacity, phosphorylating respiration, and coupling efficiency, which was ameliorated by EUK-134. Tunicamycin induced ROS-mediated biogenesis and fusion of mitochondria, which, however, had high propensity of fragmentation, accompanied by upregulated mRNA levels of fission-related markers. Increased cellular ROS generation was observed under ER stress that was prevented by EUK-134, even though no changes in mitochondrial superoxide were noticeable. These findings suggest that targeting ROS generation using EUK-134 can amend aspects of ER stress-induced changes in mitochondrial dynamics and function, and therefore, in instances of chronic ER stress, such as in myositis, quenching ROS generation may be a promising therapy for muscle weakness and dysfunction.
  • Effect of combined home-based, overground robotic-assisted gait training and usual physiotherapy on clinical functional outcomes in people with chronic stroke: a randomized controlled trial

    Wright, Amy; Stone, Keeron; Martinelli, Louis; Fryer, Simon; Smith, Grace; Lambrick, Danielle; Stoner, Lee; Jobson, Simon; Faulkner, James; University of Winchester; University of Gloucestershire; Hobbs Rehabilitation; University of Gloucestershire; University of Chester; University of Southampton; University of North Carolina; University of Winchester; University of Winchester (SAGE, 2020-12-27)
    Objectives:To assess the effect of a home-based over-ground robotic-assisted gait training program using the AlterG Bionic Leg orthosis on clinical functional outcomes in people with chronic stroke. Design:Randomized controlled trial. Setting:Home. Participants:Thirty-four ambulatory chronic stroke patients who recieve usual physiotherapy. Intervention:Usual physiotherapy plus either (1)10-week over-ground robotic-assisted gait training program (n=16), using the device for 30 minutes per day, or (2)control group (n=18), 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Measurements:The primary outcome was the Six-Minute Walk Test. Secondary outcomes included: Timed-Up-and-Go, Functional Ambulation Categories, Dynamic Gait Index and Berg Balance Scale. Physical activity and sedentary time were assessed using accelerometry. All measurements were completed at baseline, 10- and 22-weeks after baseline. Results:Significant increases in walking distance were observed for the Six-Minute Walk Test between baseline and 10-weeks for over-ground robotic-assisted gait training (135±81m vs. 158±93m, respectively; P0.001) but not for control (122±92m vs. 119±84m, respectively). Findings were similar for Functional Ambulation Categories, Dynamic Gait Index and Berg Balance Scale (all P0.01). For over-ground robotic-assisted gait training, there were increases in time spent stepping, number of steps taken, number of sit-to-stand transitions, and reductions in time spent sitting/supine between baseline and 10-weeks (all P<.05). The differences observed in all of the aforementioned outcome measures were maintained at 22-weeks, 12 weeks after completing the intervention (all P >.05). Conclusion:Over-ground robotic-assisted gait training combined with physiotherapy in chronic stroke patients led to significant improvements in clinical functional outcomes and physical activity compared to the control group. Improvements were maintained at 22 weeks.
  • Contrasting responses to salinity and future ocean acidification in arctic populations of the amphipod Gammarus setosus

    Brown, James; Whiteley, Nia; Bailey, Allison; Graham, Helen; Hop, Haakon; Rastrick, Samuel; University of Chester; Bangor University; Norwegian Polar Institute; Institute of Marine Research; Norwegian Polar Institute; Institute of Marine Research
    Climate change is leading to alterations in salinity and carbonate chemistry in arctic/sub-arctic marine ecosystems. We examined three nominal populations of the circumpolar arctic/subarctic amphipod, Gammarus setosus, along a salinity gradient in the Kongsfjorden-Krossfjorden area of Svalbard. Field and laboratory experiments assessed physiological (haemolymph osmolality and gill Na+/K+-ATPase activity, NKA) and energetic responses (metabolic rates, MO2, and Cellular Energy Allocation, CEA). In the field, all populations had similar osmregulatory capacities and MO2, but lower-salinity populations had lower CEA. Reduced salinity (S = 23) and elevated pCO2 (~1000 μatm) in the laboratory for one month increased gill NKA activities and reduced CEA in all populations, but increased MO2 in the higher-salinity population. Elevated pCO2 did not interact with salinity and had no effect on NKA activities or CEA, but reduced MO2 in all populations. Reduced CEA in lower-rather than higher-salinity populations may have longer term effects on other energy demanding processes (growth and reproduction).

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