• Personality in the cockroach Diploptera punctata: Evidence for stability across developmental stages despite age effects on boldness

      Stanley, Christina R.; Mettke-Hofmann, Claudia; Preziosi, Richard F.; University of Chester; University of Manchester; Liverpool John Moores University; Manchester Metropolitan University (PLOS, 2017-05-10)
      Despite a recent surge in the popularity of animal personality studies and their wide-ranging associations with various aspects of behavioural ecology, our understanding of the development of personality over ontogeny remains poorly understood. Stability over time is a central tenet of personality; ecological pressures experienced by an individual at different life stages may, however, vary considerably, which may have a significant effect on behavioural traits. Invertebrates often go through numerous discrete developmental stages and therefore provide a useful model for such research. Here we test for both differential consistency and age effects upon behavioural traits in the gregarious cockroach Diploptera punctata by testing the same behavioural traits in both juveniles and adults. In our sample, we find consistency in boldness, exploration and sociality within adults whilst only boldness was consistent in juveniles. Both boldness and exploration measures, representative of risk-taking behaviour, show significant consistency across discrete juvenile and adult stages. Age effects are, however, apparent in our data; juveniles are significantly bolder than adults, most likely due to differences in the ecological requirements of these life stages. Size also affects risk-taking behaviour since smaller adults are both bolder and more highly explorative. Whilst a behavioural syndrome linking boldness and exploration is evident in nymphs, this disappears by the adult stage, where links between other behavioural traits become apparent. Our results therefore indicate that differential consistency in personality can be maintained across life stages despite age effects on its magnitude, with links between some personality traits changing over ontogeny, demonstrating plasticity in behavioural syndromes.
    • A Pilot Study to Evaluate Haemostatic Function, following Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL) for the Treatment of Solitary Kidney Stones

      Hughes, Stephen F.; Thomas-Wright, Samantha J.; Banwell, Joseph; Williams, Rachel; Moyes, Alyson J.; Mushtaq, Sohail; Abdulmajed, Mohamed; Shergill, Iqbal; University of Chester; BCUHB Wrexham Maelor Hospital (Public Library of Science, 2015-05-04)
      Purpose: The number of patients undergoing shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) in the UK for solitary unilateral kidney stones is increasing annually. The development of postoperative complications such as haematuria and sepsis following SWL is likely to increase. Comparing a range of biological markers with the aim of monitoring or predicting postoperative complications following SWL has not been extensively researched. The main purpose of this pilot-study was to test the hypothesis that SWL results in changes to haemostatic function. Subsequently, this pilot-study would form a sound basis to undertake future investigations involving larger cohorts. Methods: Twelve patients undergoing SWL for solitary unilateral kidney stones were recruited. From patients (8 male and 4 females) aged between 31–72 years (median—43 years), venous blood samples were collected pre-operatively (baseline), at 30, 120 and 240 minutes postoperatively. Specific haemostatic biomarkers [platelet counts, prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), fibrinogen, D-dimer, von Willebrand Factor (vWF), sE-selectin and plasma viscosity (PV)] were measured. Results: Platelet counts and fibrinogen concentration were significantly decreased following SWL (p = 0.027 and p = 0.014 respectively), while D-dimer and vWF levels significantly increased following SWL (p = 0.019 and p = 0.001 respectively). PT, APTT, sE-selectin and PV parameters were not significantly changed following SWL (p>0.05). Conclusions: Changes to specific biomarkers such as plasma fibrinogen and vWF suggest that these represent a more clinically relevant assessment of the extent of haemostatic involvement following SWL. Analysis of such markers, in the future, may potentially provide valuable data on “normal” response after lithotripsy, and could be expanded to identify or predict those patients at risk of coagulopathy following SWL. The validation and reliability will be assessed through the assessment of larger cohorts.