• "I cannot sit here and eat alone when I know a fellow Ghanaian is suffering": Perceptions of food insecurity among Ghanaian migrants.

      Osei-Kwasi, Hibbah Araba; Nicolaou, Mary; Powell, Katie; Holdsworth, Michelle (2019-05-17)
      In the UK, ethnic minority groups tend to have higher levels of poverty than the white British population and therefore may be at high risk of food insecurity. Ghanaians, living in Ghana or as migrants are thought to have a high level of social support in their communities, but the role of this resource in relation to food security is unknown. We explored participants' perceptions of social and economic factors influencing food security among Ghanaian migrants in Greater Manchester. Participants aged ≥25 years (n = 31) of Ghanaian ancestry living in Greater Manchester were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide developed by the researchers. Participants varied in socioeconomic status (SES), gender and migration status. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using a framework approach. Participants offered similar accounts of the social and economic factors influencing food security. Accounts were based on participants' perceptions and/or personal experiences of food insecurity within the community. Participants indicated that they and their fellow Ghanaians can 'manage' even when they described quite challenging food access environments. This has negative implications on their food choices in the UK. Participants reported food insecure households may be reluctant to make use of food banks for fear of 'gossip' and 'pride'. Paradoxically, this reluctance does not extend to close network. Many participants described the church and other social groups as a trusted base in which people operate; support given through these channels is more acceptable than through the 'official context'. Government assisted food banks could partner with the social groups within this community given that these are more trusted. Keywords: food insecurity; food choice; social networks; Ghanaians; healthy eating; migrants. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.]
    • ICT : A threat to the traditional university?

      Bhanot, Rakesh; Fallows, Stephen; Coventry University : Chester College of Higher Education (Kogan Page, 2002-03-01)
      This book chapter discusses some of the problems and possibilies in the use of ICT in higher education, focusing on redefining roles, institutioanl development, staff/student training and development, and curriculum development.
    • Ida Slater: A Collection Researcher in a Male World at the Beginning of the 20th Century

      Sendino, Consuelo; Ducker, Erik; Burek, Cynthia V. (SAGE Publications, 2019-06-27)
      Ida Lilian Slater (1881-1969) was one of the first women to work as a geologist in a male world, and although her career was short, she made important contributions to the Early Palaeozoic of Wales and Scotland. Her main work was based on a collection of a group of fossil scypho-zoan polyps gathered not by her but by another significant woman, Elizabeth Anderson, widely known as Mrs. Robert Gray (1831-1924). The majority of this collection is kept at the Natural History Museum (NHM), London, and the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge. She worked in the former one for two years describing species and comparing specimens for her monograph on British conulariids. Although her work was based not only on this group, she will be remembered by her important contribution to the conulariids through collections. The NHM collection is considered the best in the world in terms of diversity and the second best in its number of specimens, while the Sedgwick Museum has a smaller collection that is still considered the second best in diversity and number of specimens in the United Kingdom. Her work has been cited for more than 100 years and continues to be cited to this day by researchers on this group of fossils.
    • Identifying the cellular targets of drug action in the central nervous system following corticosteroid therapy

      Jenkins, Stuart I.; Pickard, Mark R.; Khong, Melinda; Smith, Heather L.; Mann, Carl L. A.; Emes, Richard D.; Chari, Divya M.; Keele University, University of Nottingham, University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, United Kingdom (American Chemical Society, 2014-01-15)
      Corticosteroid (CS) therapy is used widely in the treatment of a range of pathologies, but can delay production of myelin, the insulating sheath around central nervous system nerve fibers. The cellular targets of CS action are not fully understood, that is, "direct" action on cells involved in myelin genesis [oligodendrocytes and their progenitors the oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs)] versus "indirect" action on other neural cells. We evaluated the effects of the widely used CS dexamethasone (DEX) on purified OPCs and oligodendrocytes, employing complementary histological and transcriptional analyses. Histological assessments showed no DEX effects on OPC proliferation or oligodendrocyte genesis/maturation (key processes underpinning myelin genesis). Immunostaining and RT-PCR analyses show that both cell types express glucocorticoid receptor (GR; the target for DEX action), ruling out receptor expression as a causal factor in the lack of DEX-responsiveness. GRs function as ligand-activated transcription factors, so we simultaneously analyzed DEX-induced transcriptional responses using microarray analyses; these substantiated the histological findings, with limited gene expression changes in DEX-treated OPCs and oligodendrocytes. With identical treatment, microglial cells showed profound and global changes post-DEX addition; an unexpected finding was the identification of the transcription factor Olig1, a master regulator of myelination, as a DEX responsive gene in microglia. Our data indicate that CS-induced myelination delays are unlikely to be due to direct drug action on OPCs or oligodendrocytes, and may occur secondary to alterations in other neural cells, such as the immune component. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comparative molecular and cellular analysis of CS effects in glial cells, to investigate the targets of this major class of anti-inflammatory drugs as a basis for myelination deficits.
    • Imaging atherosclerotic plaque inflammation with [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography

      Rudd, H. F.; Warburton, E. A.; Fryer, Tim D.; Jones, H. A.; Clark, J. C.; Antoun, N.; Johnström, Peter; Davenport, Anthony P.; Kirkpatrick, Peter J.; Arch, Barbara N.; et al. (American Heart Association, 2002-06-20)
      This study demonstrates that atherosclerotic plaque inflammation can be imaged with 18FDG-PET, and that symptomatic, unstable plaques accumulate more 18FDG than asymptomatic lesions.
    • Immunoassays: Their history, development and current place in food science and technology

      Bonwick, Graham A.; Smith, Christopher J.; University College Chester (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-10-20)
      This article discusses the types and variety of immunoassays, which are currently available. Immunoassays provide a powerful tool, which can be used in the analysis and quality control of food materials. For both the novice and the experienced worker the specialist terminology of a subject presents an initial barrier, which must be overcome before full understanding is achieved. In this paper an attempt is made to introduce the important terms with which the reader should be familiar and to try to set the various technologies in context. The various basic methods are described and the theoretical and practical basis of more sophisticated assays now being devised are introduced.
    • Impact of tank background on the welfare of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis (Daudin)

      Holmes, Andrew M.; Emmans, Christopher J.; Jones, Niall; Coleman, Robert C.; Smith, Tessa E.; Hosie, Charlotte A.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2016-09-14)
      The captive environment of a laboratory animal can profoundly influence its welfare and the scientific validity of research produced. The African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) is a common model organism, however current husbandry guidelines lack supporting quantitative evidence. The visual environment is a fundamental aspect of a captive animal’s housing and may affect a number of physiological and behavioural responses. This is particularly important for species such as X. laevis where cryptic camouflage is a fundamental defence mechanism. Here male (n = 16) and female (n = 20) X. laevis were housed in tanks with ecologically relevant (black) and non-relevant (white) background colours and physiological and behavioural responses observed. Higher levels of water-borne corticosterone were observed in tanks with a white background compared to a black background in females (p = 0.047). Increased atypical active behaviours (Swimming: p = 0.042; Walling: p = 0.042) and a greater degree of body mass loss (p < 0.001) were also observed in the white background condition. Together these responses are indicative of increased stress of X. laevis when housed in tanks with a non-ecologically relevant background compared to an ecologically relevant background and suggest refined tank background colour may improve welfare in this species.
    • Impact of vitamin D supplementation on endothelial and inflammatory markers in adults: A systematic review.

      Agbalalah, Tari; Hughes, Stephen F.; Freeborn, Ellen J.; Mushtaq, Sohail; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2017-01-23)
      This systematic review aims to evaluate randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effect of vitamin D supplementation on endothelial function and inflammation in adults. An electronic search of published randomised controlled trials, using Cochrane, Pubmed and Medline databases was conducted, with the search terms related to vitamin D and endothelial function. Inclusion criteria were RCTs in adult humans with a measure of vitamin D status using serum/plasma 25(OH)D and studies which administered the intervention through the oral route. Among the 1107 studies retrieved, 29 studies met the full inclusion criteria for this systematic review. Overall, 8 studies reported significant improvements in the endothelial/inflammatory biomarkers/parameters measured. However, in 2 out of the 8 studies, improvements were reported at interim time points, but improvements were absent post-intervention. The remaining 21 trial studies did not show significant improvements in the markers of interest measured. Evidence from the studies included in this systematic review did not demonstrate that vitamin D supplementation in adults, results in an improvement in circulating inflammatory and endothelial function biomarkers/parameters. This systematic review does not therefore support the use of vitamin D supplementation as a therapeutic or preventative measure for CVD in this respect.
    • Impacts of Reducing UK Beef Consumption Using a Revised Sustainable Diets Framework

      Chalmers, Neil; email: neil.chalmers@abdn.ac.uk; Stetkiewicz, Stacia; email: s.stetkiewicz@lancaster.ac.uk; Sudhakar, Padhmanand; orcid: 0000-0003-1907-4491; email: Padhmanand.Sudhakar@earlham.ac.uk; Osei-Kwasi, Hibbah; orcid: 0000-0001-5084-6213; email: h.oseikwasi@chester.ac.uk; Reynolds, Christian J; orcid: 0000-0002-1073-7394; email: c.reynolds@sheffield.ac.uk (MDPI, 2019-12-02)
      The impact of beef consumption on sustainability is a complex and evolving area, as sustainability covers many areas from human nutrient adequacy to ecosystem stability. Three sustainability assessment frameworks have been created to help policy makers unpack the complexities of sustainable food systems and healthy sustainable dietary change. However, none of these frameworks have yet to be applied to a case study or individual policy issue. This paper uses a hybrid version of the sustainability assessment frameworks to investigate the impact of reducing beef consumption (with a concurrent increase in consumption of plant-based foods, with a focus on legumes) on sustainability at a UK level. The aim of this paper is to understand the applicability of these overarching frameworks at the scale of an individual policy. Such an assessment is important, as this application of previously high-level frameworks to individual policies makes it possible to summarise, at a glance, the various co-benefits and trade-offs associated with a given policy, which may be of particular value in terms of stakeholder decision-making. We find that many of the proposed metrics found within the sustainability assessment frameworks are difficult to implement at an individual issue level; however, overall they show that a reduction in beef consumption and an increase in consumption of general plant-based foods, with a focus around legumes production, would be expected to be strongly beneficial in five of the eight overarching measures which were assessed.
    • The importance of clinician, patient and researcher collaborations in Alport syndrome

      Rheault, Michelle N.; Savige, Judith; Randles, Michael J.; Weinstock, André; Stepney, Melissa; Turner, Neil; Parziale, Gina; Gross, Oliver; Flinter, Frances A; Miner, Jeffrey H; et al. (Springer Nature, 2019-05-01)
      Alport syndrome (AS) is caused by mutations in the genes COL4A3, COL4A4 or COL4A5 and is characterised by progressive glomerular disease, sensorineural hearing loss and ocular defects. Occurring in less than 1:5000, AS is rare genetic disorder but still accounts for >1% of the prevalent population receiving renal replacement therapy. There is also increasing awareness about the risk of chronic kidney disease in individuals with heterozygous mutations in AS genes. The mainstay of current therapy is the use of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, yet potential new therapies are now entering clinical trials. The 2017 International Workshop on Alport Syndrome in Glasgow was a preconference workshop ahead of the 50th anniversary meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Nephrology. It focussed on updates in clinical practice, genetics, basic science and also incorporated patient perspectives. More than 80 international experts including clinicians, geneticists, researchers from academia and industry, and patient representatives took part in panel discussions and breakout groups. This report summarises the workshop proceedings and the relevant contemporary literature. It highlights the unique clinician, patient and researcher collaborations achieved by regular engagement between the groups.
    • The importance of long-term genetic monitoring of reintroduced populations: inbreeding in the natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita)

      Muir, Anna P; orcid: 0000-0002-6896-6915; Phillips, Susanna; Geary, Matt; email: m.geary@chester.ac.uk; Allmark, Matthew; Bennett, Sarah; Norman, Kim; Ball, Rachel J; Peters, Catherine; University of Chester; Cheshire Wildlife Trust; Eni UK Ltd (British Herpetological Society, 2020-07-31)
      Genetic monitoring is an important, but frequently lacking, component of management actions to support long-term persistence in reintroduced populations. Populations that remain small, due to demographic processes and genetic diversity, are more likely to experience a second extinction event. The natterjack toad (Epidelea calamita) is legally protected in Britain and was the subject of a reintroduction programme in the 1990s. However, subsequent genetic assessment has been mostly lacking. The aim of this study was to assess the genetic diversity of two reintroduced populations of natterjack toads in order to inform conservation management. Adults were sampled and nine microsatellites amplified to assess neutral genetic variation within each site and for comparison with the source population. Inbreeding was observed at the reintroduction sites, as evidenced by high FIS values (0.43 and 0.72), low observed compared to expected heterozygosities, and significant deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Observed heterozygosity is currently lower in the reintroduction sites than it was in the source population at the time of the reintroductions (Red Rocks: 0.15±0.20; Talacre: 0.12±0.20; Ainsdale (source): 0.29). Evidence for a bottleneck was not found, although this is likely a result of sampling overlapping generations. No within-site population structuring was observed. Such low genetic diversity has not previously been recorded in any natterjack population. Genetic rescue, combined with pool creation, is the most viable option for safeguarding the species at these sites into the future. Our work highlights the importance of ongoing genetic monitoring, in collaboration with conservation organisations, to support conservation management.
    • The importance of quaternary geoconservation

      Burek, Cynthia V.; University of Chester (Quarternary Research Association, 2012)
    • The importance of research applicability

      McLennan, Krista M.; University of Chester (The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, 2019-06-30)
      Marino & Merskin’s (2019) review contains key information about the complexity of sheep and their intelligence level, but lacks practical application. The key to making any long-term changes to sheep welfare at an industry level is by generating research that is practically relevant to the sector. The practical application of research should be considered at the design stage and in consultation with producers. Additionally, thought needs to be given to how the practical application of the research will be transferred to those people directly involved in animal care (e.g. producers, stockpersons, etc.). Focusing on the practical relevance and application of research at all stages of the process will foster changes to long-held beliefs and attitudes.
    • Improving the extractability of arabinoxylans and the molecular weight of wheat endosperm using extrusion processing

      Abdulmannan, Fadel; Jason, Ashworth; Andrew, Plunkett; Mahmoud, Ayman M.; Yazan, Ranneh; University of Leeds; Manchester Metropolitan University; Beni-Suef University; Universiti Putra Malaysia; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-09-14)
      Cereal derived arabinoxylans (AXs) are non-starch polysaccharides that have immunomodulatory activities. These activities are thought to be related to the low molecular weight fractions of AXs. Wheat and wheat by-products are rich in AXs, however, the water extractable fraction of AXs in wheat products is low. Water extraction of AXs can be improved by extrusion processing, which increases the extractability of the water soluble fraction. The aim of this study was to determine the extractability and molecular weight of the water soluble fraction of AXs from wheat endosperm after extrusion at screw speeds of 80 and 160 rpm. Extrusion processing significantly (P<0.05) increased the water extractability of AXs in a screw-speed dependent manner (13.07±0.12% at 80 rpm and 15.45±0.16% at 160 rpm compared to8.95±0.10% in the non-extruded control) due to a significant increase (P<0.05) in low molecular weight fractions of AXs in extruded samples.
    • Improving the practicality of using non-aversive handling methods to reduce background stress and anxiety in laboratory mice

      Gouveia, Kelly; Hurst, Jane; University of Liverpool; University of Chester
      Handling can stimulate stress and anxiety in laboratory animals that negatively impacts welfare and introduces a confounding factor in many areas of research. Picking up mice by the tail is a major source of handling stress that results in strong aversion to the handler, while mice familiarised with being picked up in a tunnel or cupped on the open hand show low stress and anxiety, and actively seek interaction with their handlers. Here we investigate the duration and frequency of handling required for effective familiarisation with these non-aversive handling methods, and test whether this is sufficient to prevent aversion and anxiety when animals then experience immobilisation and a mild procedure (subcutaneous injection). Very brief handling (2 s) was sufficient to familiarise mice with tunnel handling, even when experienced only during cage cleaning. Brief but more frequent handling was needed for familiarisation with cup handling, while pick up by tail induced strong aversion even when handling was brief and infrequent. Experience of repeated immobilisation and subcutaneous injection did not reverse the positive effects of tunnel handling. Our findings demonstrate that replacing tail with tunnel handling during routine cage cleaning and procedures provides a major refinement with little if any cost for familiarisation.
    • An In Vitro Comparison of the Incorporation, Growth, and Chondrogenic Potential of Human Bone Marrow versus Adipose Tissue Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Clinically Relevant Cell Scaffolds Used for Cartilage Repair

      Kohli, Nupur; Johnson, William Eustace Basil; Wright, Karina T.; Sammons, Rachel L.; Jeys, Lee; Snow, Martyn
      Aim: To compare the incorporation, growth, and chondrogenic potential of bone marrow (BM) and adipose tissue (AT) mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in scaffolds used for cartilage repair. Methods: Human BM and AT MSCs were isolated, culture expanded, and characterised using standard protocols, then seeded into 2 different scaffolds, Chondro-Gide or Alpha Chondro Shield. Cell adhesion, incorporation, and viable cell growth were assessed microscopically and following calcein AM/ethidium homodimer (Live/Dead) staining. Cell-seeded scaffolds were treated with chondrogenic inducers for 28 days. Extracellular matrix deposition and soluble glycosaminoglycan (GAG) release into the culture medium was measured at day 28 by histology/immunohistochemistry and dimethylmethylene blue assay, respectively. Results: A greater number of viable MSCs from either source adhered and incorporated into Chondro-Gide than into Alpha Chondro Shield. In both cell scaffolds, this incorporation represented less than 2% of the cells that were seeded. There was a marked proliferation of BM MSCs, but not AT MSCs, in Chondro-Gide. MSCs from both sources underwent chondrogenic differentiation following induction. However, cartilaginous extracellular matrix deposition was most marked in Chondro-Gide seeded with BM MSCs. Soluble GAG secretion increased in chondrogenic versus control conditions. There was no marked difference in GAG secretion by MSCs from either cell source. Conclusion: Chondro-Gide and Alpha Chondro Shield were permissive to the incorporation and chondrogenic differentiation of human BM and AT MSCs. Chondro-Gide seeded with BM MSCs demonstrated the greatest increase in MSC number and deposition of a cartilaginous tissue.
    • In vitro cyto-toxic assessment of heavy metals and their binary mixtures on mast cell-like, rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells

      Eze, Chukwuebuka T.; Michelangeli, Francesco; Otitoloju, Adebayo A.; University of Chester, University of Lagos, Nigeria, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Nigeria (Elsevier, 2019-02-11)
      We investigated the cytotoxicity and mechanisms of cell death induced by salts of Cadmium (Cd2+), Lead (Pb2+), Arsenic (AsO4 3−) and Chromium (Cr+6) on RBL-2H3 cells (a model mast cell line). In addition, cyto-toxic effect on cell viability was assessed to reveal their nature of interaction in binary mixture. The individual cytotoxic characteristics of these metals on RBL-2H3 cell viability showed a concentration- dependent reduction of cell viability. We observed that concentration-dependent cytotoxic potency on RBL-2H3 cells of these metals range in the following order Cd2+>Cr+6>As O4 3−>Pb2+ with LC50 values of 0.11 μM, 93.58 μM, 397.9 μM and 485.3 μM respectively. Additive effects were observed with Pb2+ + Cd2+, Pb2+ + AsO4 3−, Pb2+ + Cr+6 and AsO4 3− + Cr+6. The study revealed that Pb2+, Cd2+, AsO4 3− and Cr+6 could induce significant (P<0.01) cell death by apoptosis in RBL-2H3. Highly significant necrotic cell death was observed with Pb2+ and Cr+6 (P<0.01) than Cd2+ and AsO4 3− (P<0.05). Overall, it can be deduced that several cell death executing pathways may be concomitantly activated on exposure to heavy metals and the predominance of one over others might depend on the type of heavy metal, concentration and the metabolic state of the cell. Eventually, binary mixtures of some of these metals showed less cytotoxicity than would be expected from their individual actions and may depend on the co-exposure of the metal ions and their modes of action.
    • An in vitro spinal cord injury model to screen neuroregenerative materials

      Weightman, Alan P.; Pickard, Mark R.; Yang, Ying; Chari, Divya M.; Keele University (Elsevier, 2014-01-29)
      Implantable 'structural bridges' based on nanofabricated polymer scaffolds have great promise to aid spinal cord regeneration. Their development (optimal formulations, surface functionalizations, safety, topographical influences and degradation profiles) is heavily reliant on live animal injury models. These have several disadvantages including invasive surgical procedures, ethical issues, high animal usage, technical complexity and expense. In vitro 3-D organotypic slice arrays could offer a solution to overcome these challenges, but their utility for nanomaterials testing is undetermined. We have developed an in vitro model of spinal cord injury that replicates stereotypical cellular responses to neurological injury in vivo, viz. reactive gliosis, microglial infiltration and limited nerve fibre outgrowth. We describe a facile method to safely incorporate aligned, poly-lactic acid nanofibre meshes (±poly-lysine + laminin coating) within injury sites using a lightweight construct. Patterns of nanotopography induced outgrowth/alignment of astrocytes and neurons in the in vitro model were strikingly similar to that induced by comparable materials in related studies in vivo. This highlights the value of our model in providing biologically-relevant readouts of the regeneration-promoting capacity of synthetic bridges within the complex environment of spinal cord lesions. Our approach can serve as a prototype to develop versatile bio-screening systems to identify materials/combinatorial strategies for regenerative medicine, whilst reducing live animal experimentation.
    • Including pupils with special educational needs in secondary school physical education: A sociological analysis of teachers' views

      Smith, Andy; Green, Ken; University College Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2004-11)
      This paper explores physical education (PE) teachers' views of the inclusion of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in PE from a figurational sociological perspective. Starting from the premise that teachers' views cannot be adequately explained by studying the concept of inclusion or the teacher in isolation, it is argued that we can only begin to make sense of such views by locating teachers within the figurations of which they are a part and by exploring two particularly salient features of those figurations: namely, teachers' habituses and contexts. In doing so, the paper focuses upon the training teachers receive, the constraints imposed upon them by their colleagues and pupils, and, most importantly, the suitability of the National Curriculum for meeting the needs of pupils with SEN. The paper concludes by highlighting some of the unintended consequences of the inclusion of pupils with SEN in PE.
    • Inclusion, special educational needs, disability and physical education

      Smith, Andy; Thomas, Nigel; University College Chester ; Staffordshire University (SAGE, 2004-10-05)
      This book chapter explores some of the aspects of the complex inter-relationships and issues surrounding the inclusion of pupils with special educational needs (SEN)and disabilities in physical education. It focuses on the revised National Curriculum for Physical Education (2000) and dicusses sports suitable for pupils with SEN, the role of staff, assessing pupils with SEN and disabilities, and the experiences of pupils with SEN and disabilities in physical education.