• The internal and external demands of multi-directional running and the subsequent effect on side cut biomechanics in male and female team sport athletes

      Smith, Grace; Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; Oxendale, Chelsea L. (University of Chester, 2021-11)
      The aim of this thesis was to examine the physiological and biomechanical responses to multi-directional running in male and female team sport athletes. Chapter 4 compared measures of energy expenditure derived from indirect calorimetry and microtechnology, as well as high power and high-speed activity, during linear and multi-directional running. Measured energy expenditure was higher during the multidirectional trial (9.0 ± 2.0 cf. 5.9 ± 1.4 kcal.min-1), whereas estimated energy expenditure was higher during the linear trial (8.7 ± 2.1 cf. 6.5 ± 1.5 kcal.min-1). Whilst measures of energy expenditure were strongly related (r > 0.89, p < 0.001), metabolic power underestimated energy expenditure by 52% (95% LoA: 20-93%) and 34% (95% LoA: 12-59%) during the multi-directional and linear trial, respectively. Time at high power was 41% (95% LoA: 4-92%) greater than time at high speed during the multidirectional trial, whereas time at high power was 5% (95% LoA: -17-9%) lower than time at high speed during the linear trial. Chapter 5 explored the internal and external responses to linear and multi-directional running, specifically examining if measures of high speed and high power reflect changes in internal load. High speed distance (p < 0.001) was higher during the linear trial, whereas time at high power (p = 0.046) and accelerations performed (p < 0.001) were higher during the multi-directional trial. Summated HR (-0.8; ±0.5, p = 0.003), B[La] (-0.9; ±0.6, p = 0.002) and RPE (-0.7; ±0.6, p = 0.024) were higher during the multi-directional trial. There was a large difference in the ratio of high speed:summated HR (1.5; ±0.5, p = 0.001) and high speed:total V̇O2 (2.6; ±1.2, p < 0.001) between linear and multi-directional running, whilst high power:summated HR (0.3; ±0.5, p = 0.246) and high power:total V̇O2 (0.1;±0.8, p = 0.727) were similar. A small decrement in knee flexor torque was observed after the multi-directional (0.4; ±0.4, p = 0.017) and linear (0.2; ±0.3, p = 0.077) trials, respectively. Collectively, Chapters 4 and 5 reveal that more directional changes induce a greater internal response, despite reducing the high-speed distance someone is likely to cover. High power better reflects internal responses to multidirectional running than high speed, but microtechnology cannot be used to determine the absolute energy cost of multi-directional running. Chapters 6 and 7 explored alterations in side cut biomechanics in males and females immediately (Chapter 6) and 48 h (Chapter 7) after multi-directional running. In Chapter 6, 20 m sprint time was higher (ES: 0.65 – 1.17, p < 0.001) after multidirectional running, indicating the presence of fatigue. Males and females displayed trivial to moderate changes in trunk flexion (0.16 – 0.28, p = 0.082), peak hip internal rotation (0.46 – 0.54, p = 0.090), and knee flexion (0.17 – 0.41, p = 0.055) and higher knee abduction (0.40 – 0.51, p = 0.045) and internal rotation (0.59 – 0.81, p = 0.038) angular velocities, during the weight acceptance phase of side cuts after multidirectional running. Peak hip extensor (0.19 – 0.29, p = 0.055) and knee internal rotation moment (0.22 – 0.34, p = 0.052) displayed trivial to small increases after multidirectional running, whereas peak hip external rotation (0.44 – 0.57, p = 0.011), knee extensor (0.33 – 0.45, p = 0.003) moment and knee to hip extensor ratio (0.15 – 0.45, p = 0.005) were lower. In addition, IGRF displayed trivial to moderate changes (0.04 – 0.79, p = 0.066) and lateral GRF was lower (0.29 – 0.85, p = 0.002) after multidirectional running. In Chapter 7, CK concentration (2.4 – 4.94, p = 0.009), perceived muscle soreness (4.2 – 4.8, p < 0.001) and 20 m sprint time (0.6 – 0.9, p < 0.001) were higher 48 h after multi-directional running, indicating the presence of EIMD. Males and females displayed trivial to moderate changes in peak torso flexion (0.13 – 0.35, p = 0.055), hip internal rotation angular velocity (0.43 – 0.64, p = 0.073) and more knee internal rotation (0.31 – 0.5, p = 0.009) 48 h after multi-directional running. A tendency for an interaction between sex and time was noted for peak knee flexion (p = 0.068) and internal rotation angular velocity (p =0.057), with males only displaying a moderate increase. Males and females also displayed a lower peak knee extensor moment (0.43 – 0.56, p = 0.001) and a small increase in extensor moment (0.21 –0.46, p = 0.066) and knee external rotation moment (0.34 – 0.78, p = 0.062). An interaction between sex and time was noted for IGRF (p = 0.037); there was a large increase in IGRF at 48 h in females (1.4) but not males (0.08). For the first time, these data highlight multi-directional running which elicits fatigue and EIMD causes alterations in side cut biomechanics which can persist for at least 48 h. Specifically, both males and females performed side cuts in a more extended position, with higher peak angular velocities, and peak knee external rotation moments and less knee extensor moments both immediately and 48 h after multi-directional running.
    • Interlaboratory Comparison of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Assays: Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) Intercomparison Study 2 – Part 2 Ligand Binding Assays – Impact of 25 Hydroxyvitamin D2 and 24R,25- Dihydroxyvitamin D3 on Assay Performance

      Mushtaq, Sohail; University of Chester (Springer, 2021-08-25)
      An interlaboratory comparison study was conducted by the Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) to assess the performance of ligand binding assays (Part 2) for the determination of serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]. Fifty single-donor samples were assigned target values for concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 [25(OH)D2], 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH)D3], 3-epi-25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [3-epi-25(OH)D3], and 24R,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [24R,25(OH)2D3] using isotope dilution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ID LC-MS/MS). VDSP Intercomparison Study 2 Part 2 includes results from 17 laboratories using 32 ligand binding assays. Assay performance was evaluated using mean % bias compared to the assigned target values and using linear regression analysis of the test assay mean results and the target values. Only 50% of the ligand binding assays achieved the VDSP criterion of mean % bias ≤ |± 5%|. For the 13 unique ligand binding assays evaluated in this study, only 4 assays were consistently within ± 5% mean bias and 4 assays were consistently outside ± 5% mean bias regardless of the laboratory performing the assay. Based on multivariable regression analysis using the concentrations of individual vitamin D metabolites in the 50 single-donor samples, most assays underestimate 25(OH)D2 and several assays (Abbott, bioMérieux, DiaSorin, IDS-EIA, and IDS-iSYS) may have cross-reactivity from 24R,25(OH)2D3. The results of this interlaboratory study represent the most comprehensive comparison of 25(OH)D ligand binding assays published to date and is the only study to assess the impact of 24R,25(OH)2D3 content using results from a reference measurement procedure.
    • Non-territorial GPS-tagged golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos at two Scottish wind farms: avoidance influenced by preferred habitat distribution, wind speed and blade motion status

      Fielding, Alan H; Anderson, David; Benn, Stuart; Dennis, Roy; Weston, Ewan; Whitfield, Philip; Natural Research Ltd; Forestry and Land Scotland; RSPB Scotland; Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation; University of Chester (Public Library of Science, 2021-08-05)
      Wind farms can have two broad potential adverse effects on birds via antagonistic processes: displacement from the vicinity of turbines (avoidance), or death through collision with rotating turbine blades. These effects may not be mutually exclusive. Using detailed data from 99 turbines at two wind farms in central Scotland and thousands of GPS-telemetry data from dispersing golden eagles, we tested three hypotheses. Before-and-after-operation analyses supported the hypothesis of avoidance: displacement was reduced at turbine locations in more preferred habitat and with more preferred habitat nearby. After-operation analyses (i.e. from the period when turbines were operational) showed that at higher wind speeds and in highly preferred habitat eagles were less wary of turbines with motionless blades: rejecting our second hypothesis. Our third hypothesis was supported, since at higher wind speeds eagles flew closer to operational turbines; especially – once more – turbines in more preferred habitat. After operation, eagles effectively abandoned inner turbine locations, and flight line records close to rotor blades were rare. While our study indicated that whole-wind farm functional habitat loss through avoidance was the substantial adverse impact, we make recommendations on future wind farm design to minimise collision risk further. These largely entail developers avoiding outer turbine locations which are in and surrounded by swathes of preferred habitat. Our study illustrates the insights which detailed case studies of large raptors at wind farms can bring and emphasises that the balance between avoidance and collision can have several influences.
    • A single dose of ChAdOx1 Chik vaccine induces neutralising antibodies against four chikungunya virus lineages in a phase 1 clinical trial

      Folegatti, Pedro M.; Harrison, Kate; Preciado-Llanes, Lorena; Ramos Lopez, Fernando; Bittaye, Mustapha; Kim, Young Chan; Flaxman, Amy; Bellamy, Duncan; Makinson, Rebecca; Sheridan, Jonathan; et al. (Nature Research, 2021-07-30)
      Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a reemerging mosquito-borne virus that causes swift outbreaks. Major concerns are the persistent and disabling polyarthralgia in infected individuals. Here we present the results from a first-in-human trial of the candidate simian adenovirus vectored vaccine ChAdOx1 Chik, expressing the CHIKV full-length structural polyprotein (Capsid, E3, E2, 6k and E1). 24 adult healthy volunteers aged 18–50 years, were recruited in a dose escalation, open-label, nonrandomized and uncontrolled phase 1 trial (registry NCT03590392). Participants received a single intramuscular injection of ChAdOx1 Chik at one of the three preestablished dosages and were followed-up for 6 months. The primary objective was to assess safety and tolerability of ChAdOx1 Chik. The secondary objective was to assess the humoral and cellular immunogenicity. ChAdOx1 Chik was safe at all doses tested with no serious adverse reactions reported. The vast majority of solicited adverse events were mild or moderate, and self-limiting in nature. A single dose induced IgG and Tcell responses against the CHIKV structural antigens. Broadly neutralizing antibodies against the four CHIKV lineages were found in all participants and as early as 2 weeks after vaccination. In summary, ChAdOx1 Chik showed excellent safety, tolerability and 100% PRNT50 seroconversion after a single dose.
    • Responses of dispersing GPS-tagged Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) to multiple wind farms across Scotland

      Fielding, Alan H; Anderson, David; Benn, Stuart; Dennis, Roy; Geary, Matthew; Weston, Ewan; Whitfield, Phil; Natural Research Ltd; Forestry and Land Scotland; RSPB Scotland; Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation; University of Chester (Wiley, 2021-07-20)
      Wind farms may have two broad potential adverse effects on birds via antagonistic processes: displacement from the vicinity of turbines (avoidance), or death through collision with rotating turbine blades. Large raptors are often shown or presumed to be vulnerable to collision and are demographically sensitive to additional mortality, as exemplified by several studies of the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos. Previous findings from Scottish Eagles, however, have suggested avoidance as the primary response. Our study used data from 59 GPS-tagged Golden Eagles with 28 284 records during natal dispersal before and after turbine operation < 1 km of 569 turbines at 80 wind farms across Scotland. We tested three hypotheses using measurements of tag records’ distance from the hub of turbine locations: (1) avoidance should be evident; (2) older birds should show less avoidance (i.e. habituate to turbines); and (3) rotor diameter should have no influence (smaller diameters are correlated with a turbine’s age, in examining possible habituation). Four generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) were constructed with intrinsic habitat preference of a turbine location using Golden Eagle Topography (GET) model, turbine operation status (before/after), bird age and rotor diameter as fixed factors. The best GLMM was subsequently verified by k-fold cross-validation and involved only GET habitat preference and presence of an operational turbine. Eagles were eight times less likely to be within a rotor diameter’s distance of a hub location after turbine operation, and modelled displacement distance was 70 m. Our first hypothesis expecting avoidance was supported. Eagles were closer to turbine locations in preferred habitat but at greater distances after turbine operation. Results on bird age (no influence to 5+ years) rejected hypothesis 2, implying no habituation. Support for hypothesis 3 (no influence of rotor diameter) also tentatively inferred no habituation, but data indicated birds went slightly closer to longer rotor blades although not to the turbine tower. We proffer that understanding why avoidance or collision in large raptors may occur can be conceptually envisaged via variation in fear of humans as the ‘super predator’ with turbines as cues to this life-threatening agent.
    • Assessment of serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D assay commutability of Standard Reference Materials and College of American Pathologists Accuracy-Based Vitamin D (ABVD) Scheme and Vitamin D External Quality Assessment Scheme (DEQAS) materials: Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) Commutability Study 2

      Mushtaq, Sohail; Camara, Johanna E.; Wise, Stephen A.; Sempos, Christopher T.; University of Chester; National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); National Institutes of Health (NIH); Vitamin D Standardization Program LLC (Springer, 2021-06-28)
      An interlaboratory study was conducted through the Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) to assess commutability of Standard Reference Materials® (SRMs) and proficiency testing/external quality assessment (PT/EQA) samples for determination of serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] using ligand binding assays and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). A set of 50 single-donor serum samples were assigned target values for 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 [25(OH)D2] and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH)D3] using reference measurement procedures (RMPs). SRM and PT/EQA samples evaluated included SRM 972a (four levels), SRM 2973, six College of American Pathologists (CAP) Accuracy-Based Vitamin D (ABVD) samples, and nine Vitamin D External Quality Assessment Scheme (DEQAS) samples. Results were received from 28 different laboratories using 20 ligand binding assays and 14 LC-MS/MS methods. Using the test assay results for total serum 25(OH)D (i.e., the sum of 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3) determined for the single-donor samples and the RMP target values, the linear regression and 95% prediction intervals (PIs) were calculated. Using a subset of 42 samples that had concentrations of 25(OH)D2 below 30 nmol/L, one or more of the SRM and PT/EQA samples with high concentrations of 25(OH)D2 were deemed non-commutable using 5 of 11 unique ligand binding assays. SRM 972a (level 4), which has high exogenous concentration of 3-epi-25(OH)D3, was deemed non-commutable for 50% of the LC-MS/MS assays.
    • Sleep disruption and depression, stress and anxiety levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) during the lockdown measures for COVID-19 in the UK

      Kite, Chris; Atkinson, Lou; McGregor, Gordon; Clark, Cain C T; Brown, James E; Kyrou, Ioannis; Randeva, Harpal S; University of Chester; Aston University; University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire National Health Service (NHS) Trust; Coventry University; University of Warwick (Frontiers Media, 2021-06-04)
      Background: Lockdown measures have been enforced globally in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the comorbidity burden in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), these lockdown measures may have a particularly negative impact on sleep health, quality of life (QoL), and depression/stress levels in this population. The aim of this study was to explore whether such potential problems were present in women with PCOS during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. Methods: UK women with PCOS were recruited through social media into a cross-sectional study during the COVID-19 lockdown. The study survey was delivered online, and included demographic and COVID-19 relevant questions, as well as validated questionnaires/scales, namely the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21), and PCOSQOL questionnaire. Results: Three hundred and thirty-three women with PCOS [median age: 30.0 (9.0) years] were recruited. Participants were dichotomized based on responses regarding the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on their sleep [negative (N = 242) vs. no/positive (N = 91) impact]. No differences were noted between groups regarding age, time since PCOS diagnosis, body mass index, or number of comorbidities. Based on the ISI, 44.2% of participants reporting a negative impact on sleep exhibited at least moderately severe clinical insomnia. Compared to those who reported no/positive effect on sleep, the participants reporting a negative impact on sleep also reported poorer QoL, based on the total PCOSQOL score, with a greater impact of PCOS and poorer mood in the corresponding PCOSQOL domains. Based on the DASS-21, the latter also had statistically higher depression and stress levels compared to the former. Finally, for this cohort significant inverse correlations were noted between the ISI and PCOSQOL scores (total and domain scores), whilst the DASS-21 and ISI scores were positively correlated (all p-values <0.001). Conclusion: The majority of recruited UK women with PCOS reported that the COVID-19 lockdown had a negative impact on their sleep, which was also associated with impaired QoL and higher depression/stress levels. Whilst further research is required, women with PCOS should be considered a vulnerable population that may experience an adverse impact on sleep, QoL and mental health well-being due to lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour due to enforced covid-19-related lockdown and movement restrictions: A protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

      Kite, Chris; Lagojda, Lukasz; Clark, Cain C T; Uthman, Olalekan; Denton, Francesca; McGregor, Gordon; Harwood, Amy E; Atkinson, Lou; Broom, David R; Kyrou, Ioannis; et al. (MDPI, 2021-05-14)
      Prolonged lockdown/restriction measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have reportedly impacted opportunities to be physically active for a large proportion of the population in affected countries globally. The exact changes to physical activity and sedentary behaviours due to these measures have not been fully studied. Accordingly, the objective of this PROSPERO-registered systematic review is to evaluate the available evidence on physical activity and sedentary behaviours in the general population during COVID-19-related lockdown/restriction measures, compared to prior to restrictions being in place. Defined searches to identify eligible studies published in English, from November 2019 up to the date of submission, will be conducted using the following databases: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, PSYCinfo, Coronavirus Research Database, Public Health Database, Publicly Available Content Database, SCOPUS, and Google Scholar. The applied inclusion criteria were selected to identify observational studies with no restrictions placed on participants, with outcomes regarding physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour during lockdown/restriction measures, and with comparisons for these outcomes to a time when no such measures were in place. Where appropriate, results from included studies will be pooled and effect estimates will be presented in random effects meta-analyses. To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first systematic review to evaluate one complete year of published data on the impact of COVID-19-related lockdown/restriction measures on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Thus, this systematic review and meta-analysis will constitute the most up-to-date synthesis of published evidence on any such documented changes, and so will comprehensively inform clinical practitioners, public health agencies, researchers, policymakers and the general public regarding the effects of lockdown/restriction measures on both physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
    • Street-level green spaces support a key urban population of the threatened Hispaniolan Parakeet Psittacara chloropterus

      Geary, Matthew; Celia, Brailsford; Laura, Hough; Fraser, Baker; Simon, Guerrero; Yolanda, Leon; Nigel, Collar; Stuart, Marsden; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University; Autonomous University of Santo Domingo; Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo; BirdLife International (Springer, 2021-04-14)
      While urbanisation remains a major threat to biodiversity, urban areas can sometimes play an important role in protecting threatened species, especially exploited taxa such as parrots. The Hispaniolan Parakeet Psittacara chloropterus has been extirpated across much of Hispaniola, including from most protected areas, yet Santo Domingo (capital city of the Dominican Republic) has recently been found to support the island’s densest remaining population. In 2019, we used repeated transects and point-counts across 60 1 km2 squares of Santo Domingo to examine the distribution of parakeets, identify factors that might drive local presence and abundance, and investigate breeding ecology. Occupancy models indicate that parakeet presence was positively related to tree species richness across the city. N-Mixture models show parakeet encounter rates were correlated positively with species richness of trees and number of discrete ‘green’ patches (> 100 m2) within the survey squares. Hispaniolan Woodpecker Melanerpes striatus, the main tree-cavity-producing species on Hispaniola, occurs throughout the city, but few parakeet nests are known to involve the secondary use of its or other cavities in trees/palms. Most parakeet breeding (perhaps 50‒100 pairs) appears to occur at two colonies in old buildings, and possibly only a small proportion of the city’s 1,500+ parakeets that occupy a single roost in street trees breed in any year. Our models emphasise the importance of parks and gardens in providing feeding resources for this IUCN Vulnerable species. Hispaniola’s urban centres may be strongholds for populations of parakeets and may even represent sources for birds to recolonise formerly occupied areas on the island.
    • Physiological characteristics of female soccer players and health and performance considerations: A narrative review

      Randell, Rebecca; Clifford, Thomas; Drust, Barry; Moss, Samantha; Unnithan, Viswanath; De Ste Croix, Mark; Datson, Naomi; Martin, Daniel; Mayho, Hannah; Carter, James; et al. (Springer, 2021-04-12)
      Female soccer has seen a substantial rise in participation, as well as increased financial support from governing bodies over the last decade. Thus, there is an onus on researchers and medical departments to develop a better understanding of the physical characteristics and demands, and the health and performance needs of female soccer players. In this review we discuss the current research, as well as the knowledge gaps, of six major topics: physical demands, talent identification, body composition, injury risk and prevention, health, and nutrition. Data on female talent identification are scarce, and future studies need to elucidate the influence of relative age and maturation selection across age groups. Regarding the physical demands, more research is needed on the pattern of high-intensity sprinting during matches and the contribution of soccer-specific movements. Injuries are not uncommon in female soccer players, but targeting intrinsically modifiable factors with injury prevention programmes can reduce injury rates. The anthropometric and physical characteristics of female players are heterogenous and setting specific targets should be discouraged in youth and sub-elite players. Menstrual cycle phase may influence performance and injury risk; however, there are few studies in soccer players. Nutrition plays a critical role for health and performance and ensuring adequate energy intake remains a priority. Despite recent progress, there is considerably less research in female than male soccer players. Many gaps in our understanding of how best to develop and manage the health and performance of female soccer players remain.
    • Differences in the vertical and horizontal force-velocity profile between academy and senior professional rugby league players, and the implications for strength and speed training.

      Dobbin, N; Cushman, S; Clarke, J; Batsford, J; Twist, C; Manchester Metropolitan University; Reasheath College; England RFU; Salford Red Devils Rugby League Football Club; University of Chester (Edizioni Minerva Medica, 2021-03-26)
      BACKGROUND: This study compared the vertical and horizontal force-velocity (FV) profile of academy and senior rugby league players. METHODS: Nineteen senior and twenty academy players from one professional club participated in this study. The vertical FV profile was determined using a series of loaded squat jumps (0.4 to 80 kg) with jump height recorded. The horizontal FV profile involved a 30-m over-ground sprint with split times recorded at 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 m. Theoretical maximal force (F0), velocity (V0) and power (Pmax), optimal F0 and V0, and activity specific variables (e.g. vertical FV imbalance) were determined. RESULTS: Absolute F0 and Pmax from the vertical and horizontal profile were moderately different between groups (standardised mean difference (SMD) = 0.64-1.20, P <0.001-0.026), whilst for V0, differences were small (SMD = 0.33-0.41, P = 0.149-0.283). Differences in relative F0, Pmax and optimal F0 during both assessments were trivial to moderate (SMD = 0.03-0.82, P = 0.021-0.907). CONCLUSION: These results highlight senior and academy players present with different FV profiles and highlight some potential developmental opportunities for senior and academy rugby league players that sport scientists, strength and conditioning and rugby coaches can implement when designing programmes and considering long-term athlete development.
    • 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.
    • 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 (Wiley, 2020-12-22)
      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).
    • Public Policy for Obesity Prevention in Lebanon

      Fallows, Stephen; Kennedy, Lynne; Al Kattan, Malika (University of Chester, 2020-12)
      Background: In Lebanon, the population is experiencing nutrition transition and a high prevalence of obesity. Studies have shown that the Lebanese people are shifting their dietary behaviours from the traditional Lebanese diet, a variation of the Mediterranean diet, towards a westernised diet and are being physically inactive. To achieve a population behaviour change and address the obesity epidemic, the root causes of these behaviours and food choices should be explored and addressed. This approach requires joint efforts from different sectors such as the government, healthcare, and civil society to develop action plans and enact policies. In Lebanon, the factors that influence eating behaviours and physical activity are still not explored, national level policies are still lacking, and researchers have called for an urgent need to implement policies to halt the rise of obesity prevalence. Aims and objectives: The general aim of this thesis is to explore the perceived factors that influence adults’ eating behaviours and physical activity using the socio-ecological model as the conceptual framework. In addition, this PhD research explores the relevant contribution and the position of different stakeholders towards obesity prevention in Lebanon. Finally, this thesis draws on lessons learned from countries worldwide that help in developing guidelines for obesity prevention in Lebanon. Methods: Two studies were conducted for this PhD research. In the first study, the Photovoice method was used to engage Lebanese adults from the North Governorate to explore different factors that influence their eating behaviours and physical activity and to identify their perceptions towards the actions needed to address obesity. The second study involved a series of one-to-one face-to-face semi-structured interviews which were conducted with key stakeholders from different public and private sectors (government, civil society, education, and healthcare). These interviews aimed to explore the key stakeholders’ perceptions towards obesity and its causes, their relevant contribution towards obesity prevention, their priority of action to address obesity, and finally the barriers to effective action to reduce obesity in Lebanon. Results: The findings of the two qualitative studies show that obesity is commonly perceived as a body image issue rather than a health issue. Some of the main factors that were perceived to influence Lebanese adults’ eating behaviours and physical activity were: females’ (wives’ and mothers’) employment, social gatherings, and social norms (e.g. food and meal sharing), safety concerns, the availability of countless unhealthy food options that are relatively cheaper than healthy food, the lack of a physical environment that encourages physical activity, and food marketing and advertisements. The results of the stakeholder’s interviews show that the key stakeholders are aware of the nutrition transition and some of the underlying environmental factors that caused these behaviour changes. Yet, most of the key stakeholders framed obesity in an “individualistic approach” by focusing on unhealthy dietary behaviours, the physical inactivity and placed the responsibility on individuals for their lifestyle. Due to their approach, most of them focused their actions on raising awareness such as the role of education. Some of the barriers to effective policy action to address obesity in Lebanon are the political instability, lack of public demand for action, and lack of coordinated multi-sectoral actions. Implications: The recognition of obesity as a disease as well as strengthening the public, stakeholders’, and policymakers’ support towards obesity prevention strategies are essential to overcome the “policy inertia” in Lebanon. The key areas that need to be addressed for obesity prevention are raising awareness on obesity health consequences, increasing access to healthy food in public and private settings, limiting unhealthy food advertisements, and fiscal measures such as taxing unhealthy food and subsidising healthy food. To facilitate the implementation of policies that aim to prevent obesity, a systematic plan of action should be developed. To engage stakeholders from different sectors and establish a national multi-sectoral collaboration, national strategies and policies that follow a Health in all Policies Approach (HiPA) are recommended. This requires strong leadership from the government. Conclusions: There is an urgent need to shift the actions beyond targeting the individual by implementing public policies to address the obesogenic environment in Lebanon. Recommendations for research, policy actions, and practice are provided to guide the action towards establishing an appropriate public policy that recognises the need to adopt a socioecological model of implementation.
    • Nutrition knowledge and dietary intake of hurlers

      Murphy, John; orcid: 0000-0002-8337-722X; O’Reilly, James (SAGE Publications, 2020-11-26)
      The current study investigated the association between sports nutrition knowledge and dietary quality in a sample of adult Irish male hurling players. Nutrition knowledge was measured by the validated Sports Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (SNKQ). Diet quality was measured by the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS) calculated from food frequency questionnaire data. Analysis of variance and linear modelling were used to assess associations between variables. A total of 265 (129 elite, 136 sub-elite) players were recruited. No significant difference in nutrition knowledge (SNKQ) was found between groups. Results showed a significant difference (p = 0.02; d = 0.39 ± 0.25; small) in food score (ARFS) between groups. A weak, positive association (r = 0.3, p = 0.007) was found between nutrition knowledge and food score. Elite level players, aged 28–32, with college degrees, that have previously received nutritional guidance displayed the highest levels of both nutrition knowledge and food score. Higher levels of nutrition knowledge and food score were expected in elite players, however were only found in food score. Nutrition knowledge does contribute to dietary quality although future interventions should focus on specific gaps in knowledge such as how to meet total energy/carbohydrate requirements.
    • Fitness Monitoring in Elite Soccer Players: Group vs. Individual Analyses.

      Rabbani, Alireza; Kargarfard, Mehdi; Twist, Craig (2020-11)
      The aims of this study were to (a) examine changes in group and individual HR measures during a submaximal warm-up test, and (b) investigate the relationship between accumulated internal training loads and HR changes during an in-season phase among elite soccer players (n = 14). Before and after an in-season phase (24 days), exercise HR (HRex) and HR recovery (HRR) expressed either as the number of beats recovered (HRR60s) or as the mean HR (HRpost1) during 1 minute of recovery were analyzed. Heart rate measures were expressed as the % of maximal HR. Session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) was computed for all training/match sessions. Group and individual HR changes were analyzed using magnitude-based inferences. Pearson correlation coefficients were also used to examine the relationships. Group analyses of HR changes revealed there were possibly to likely trivial changes in all HR measures. When analyzing individual data, no substantial change was observed for HRR60s%. However, substantial changes in HRex% and HRpost1% were observed for 4/14 and 5/14 players, respectively. The relationships between HRex% and HRpost1% were nearly perfect (r = 0.90, confidence limits [0.82-0.95]). The associations between changes in HRex% and HRpost1% were also nearly perfect (r = 0.92, 0.80-0.97). A very large inverse correlation was observed between HRex% and accumulated sRPE (r = -0.75, -0.44 to -0.90). This study highlights the value of conducting individual vs. group aerobic fitness monitoring. This study also showed the importance of how HRR is reported when aerobic fitness monitoring of elite soccer players.
    • Occurrence of chemical pollutants in major e-waste sites in West Africa and usefulness of cytotoxicity and induction of ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) in determining the effects of some detected brominated flame retardants and e-waste soil-derived extracts.

      Eze, Chukwuebuka ThankGod; orcid: 0000-0001-8076-2926; email: thankgod.eze@fuoye.edu.ng; Michelangeli, Francesco; Otitoloju, Adebayo Akeem; Eze, Obianuju Oluchukwu; Ibraheem, Omodele; Ogbuene, Emeka Bright; Ogunwole, Germaine Akinola (2020-10-25)
      We investigated the occurrence of chemical pollutants in major e-waste sites in West Africa and usefulness of cytotoxicity and induction of ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) in determining the effects of some detected brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and e-waste soil-derived extracts. Analysis of the e-waste site samples using AAS and GC-MS techniques revealed the presence of a range of toxic metals as well as persistent and toxic organic pollutants, respectively, in the vicinity of the e-waste sites. As expected, the occurrence (%) of all the detected chemical pollutants in experimental soils significantly (P < 0.05) differs from occurrence (%) in control soil. The calculated LC values on RBL-2H3 cells of the detected tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) were 3.75 μM and 4.2 μM, respectively. Tribromophenol (TBP), dibromobiphenyl (DBB), and decabromodiphenyl ether (DBDE) were remarkably less toxic on RBL-2H3 cells compared with TBBPA and HBCD as they did not reduce RBL-2H3 cell viability below 50% in the tested concentration range (0-20 μM). The study revealed that TBBPA and HBCD could induce significant RBL-2H3 cell death through caspase-dependent apoptosis. The study further shows that the cytotoxicity of some of these BFRs could increase synergistically when in mixtures and potentially activate inflammation through the stimulation of mast cell degranulation. The e-waste soil-derived extracts induced a concentration-dependent increase in EROD activity in the exposed RTG-W1 cells. Ultimately, nonpolar extracts had higher EROD-inducing potency compared with polar extracts and hence suggesting the presence in higher amounts of AhR agonists in nonpolar e-waste soil-derived extracts than polar extracts. Overall, there is urgent need for actions in order to improve the environmental quality of the e-waste sites.
    • 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 (Elsevier, 2020-10-07)
      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).
    • Ecotoxicological and regulatory aspects of environmental sustainability of nanopesticides.

      Grillo, Renato; email: renato.grillo@unesp.br; Fraceto, Leonardo F; Amorim, Mónica J B; Scott-Fordsmand, Janeck James; Schoonjans, Reinhilde; Chaudhry, Qasim (2020-10-02)
      Recent years have seen the development of various colloidal formulations of pesticides and other agrochemicals aimed at use in sustainable agriculture. These formulations include inorganic, organic or hybrid particulates, or nanocarriers composed of biodegradable polymers, that can provide a better control of the release of active ingredients. The very small particle sizes and high surface areas of nanopesticides may however also lead to some unintended (eco)toxicological effects due to the way in which they interact with the target and non-target species and the environment. The current level of knowledge on ecotoxicological effects of nanopesticides is scarce, especially in regard to the fate and behaviour of such formulations in the environment. Nanopesticides will however have to cross a stringent regulatory scrutiny before marketing in most countries for health and environmental risks under a range of regulatory frameworks that require pre-market notification, risk assessment and approval, followed by labelling, post-market monitoring and surveillance. This review provides an overview of the key regulatory and ecotoxicological aspects relating to nanopesticides that will need to be considered for environmentally-sustainable use in agriculture. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.]
    • Sarcopenia during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions: long-term health effects of short-term muscle loss.

      Kirwan, Richard; orcid: 0000-0003-4645-0077; email: r.p.kirwan@2018.ljmu.ac.uk; McCullough, Deaglan; orcid: 0000-0002-9882-9639; Butler, Tom; orcid: 0000-0003-0818-1566; email: t.butler@chester.ac.uk; Perez de Heredia, Fatima; orcid: 0000-0002-2537-3327; Davies, Ian G; orcid: 0000-0003-3722-8466; Stewart, Claire; orcid: 0000-0002-8104-4819 (2020-10-01)
      The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary global emergency that has led to the implementation of unprecedented measures in order to stem the spread of the infection. Internationally, governments are enforcing measures such as travel bans, quarantine, isolation, and social distancing leading to an extended period of time at home. This has resulted in reductions in physical activity and changes in dietary intakes that have the potential to accelerate sarcopenia, a deterioration of muscle mass and function (more likely in older populations), as well as increases in body fat. These changes in body composition are associated with a number of chronic, lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, osteoporosis, frailty, cognitive decline, and depression. Furthermore, CVD, diabetes, and elevated body fat are associated with greater risk of COVID-19 infection and more severe symptomology, underscoring the importance of avoiding the development of such morbidities. Here we review mechanisms of sarcopenia and their relation to the current data on the effects of COVID-19 confinement on physical activity, dietary habits, sleep, and stress as well as extended bed rest due to COVID-19 hospitalization. The potential of these factors to lead to an increased likelihood of muscle loss and chronic disease will be discussed. By offering a number of home-based strategies including resistance exercise, higher protein intakes and supplementation, we can potentially guide public health authorities to avoid a lifestyle disease and rehabilitation crisis post-COVID-19. Such strategies may also serve as useful preventative measures for reducing the likelihood of sarcopenia in general and in the event of future periods of isolation.