• ICT : A threat to the traditional university?

      Bhanot, Rakesh; Fallows, Stephen; Coventry University : Chester College of Higher Education (Kogan Page, 2002)
      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.
    • 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.; Pickard, John D.; Weissberg, P. L.; University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital (American Heart Association, 2002-06)
      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)
      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.
    • The importance of perturbations in elite squash: An analysis of their ability to successfully predict rally outcome

      Roddy, Ryan; Lamb, Kevin L.; Worsfold, Paul R.; University of Chester (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, 2014-12)
      This study investigated the presence of perturbations within elite squash through the analysis of critical incidents responsible for successful rally outcome.
    • The importance of quaternary geoconservation

      Burek, Cynthia V.; University of Chester (Quarternary Research Association, 2012)
    • Improving the extractability of arabinoxylans and the molecular weight of wheat endosperm using extrusion processing

      Abdulmannan, Fadel; Jason, Ashworth; Andrew, Plunkett; Ayman M., Mahmoud; Yazan, Ranneh; University of Leeds; Manchester Metropolitan University; Beni-Suef University; Universiti Putra Malaysia; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018)
      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.
    • 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, 2005)
      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.
    • Increased circulating Dickkopf-1 in Paget's disease of bone

      Marshall, Michael J.; Evans, Sally F.; Sharp, Christopher A.; Powell, Diane E.; McCarthy, Helen S.; Davie, Michael W. J.; Charles Salt Centre, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Oswestry / University of Chester ; Charles Salt Centre, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Oswestry (Elsevier, 2009-07)
      This article discusses Dickkopf-1 (Dkk-1), which is a secreted inhibitor of Wnt signaling which in adults regulates bone turnover. Dkk-1 over-production is implicated in osteolytic disease where it inhibits bone formation and stimulates bone breakdown. Recently it was reported that osteoblastic cells from Paget's disease of bone (PDB) over-expressed Dkk-1. This study aimed yo see if increased Dkk-1 was detected in serum from patients with PDB. The results showed that Dkk-1 and total serum alkaline phosphatase activity (tsAP) were significantly elevated in sera from PDB patients. Patients with polyostotic PDB had significantly higher levels of tsAP but not Dkk-1, than monostotic patients. TsAP but not Dkk-1, was significantly lower in sera from bisphosphonate treated versus untreated PDB patients. Dkk-1 and tsAP were not significantly correlated. Dkk-1 may be a useful biomarker of PDB and the authors speculate that Dkk-1 may play a central role in the etiology of PDB.
    • Increasing awareness of healthy eating through the use of performing arts: An evaluation of the StarBites project

      Perry, Catherine; May, Stephanie (Centre for Public Health Research, University of Chester, 2006-01)
      This project report discusses an evaluation of StarBites - a joint initiative between the arts for health and foods for health strands of Halton's Healthy Living Programme. StarBites aims to convey healthy eating messages through drama, dance, poetry, and music performed by school children.
    • Individual differences and risk taking in rock climbing

      Llewellyn, David J.; Sanchez, Xavier; University of Cambridge : University of Chester (Elsevier, 2008-07)
      This article discusses the notion that risk taking populations are homogenous, and that risk taking in sport necessarily reflects the expression of trait sensation seeking. 116 active rock climbers took part in a quantitative cross-sectional study.
    • Inequalities in dental health: An ecological analysis of the interaction between the effects of water fluoridation and social deprivation on tooth decay in children living in England

      Tocque, Karen; Kennedy, Lynne; University of Chester; KT Intelligence CIC (Academic Journals, 2015-07-31)
      Oral health in England has improved considerably in recent years but continues to show a strong inequalities gradient. This study was aimed at investigating variations in dental decay and elation to social deprivation and local water fluoridation. An ecological analysis using the 2007 and 2008 National Dental Epidemiology Programme survey of 5 year old children in England. Postcode of residence was mapped to census lower super output area (LSOA). LSOAs were assigned a national deprivation quintile and a fluoridation category based upon therapeutic level of 1 mg/L. Multiple logistic regression was applied to determine independent influences on tooth decay. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to investigate interactions between fluoridation and deprivation on the mean levels of dental caries. Analysis is based on 142,030 clinical dental examinations, representing 25% of estimated population of 5 year olds in England. Overall, 31% of children had at least one decayed missing or filled tooth (dmft). Multiple logistic regression showed that children living in the most deprived areas were three times more likely to experience tooth decay than those living in affluent areas; whereas children living in fluoridated areas were 1.5 times less likely to have dmft than those living in non-fluoridated areas. Therefore, although both are independently significant, living in the most deprived quintile of social deprivation doubled the impact on the likelihood of dental decay compared to non-fluoridation. ANCOVA showed a strong gradient of increasing mean dmft with increasing social deprivation in both water-fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas, with 3 times more dental decay in more deprived areas than in more affluent areas. In all deprivation quintiles, children living in fluoridated areas have significantly (p < 0.001) lower mean dmft than those living in equivalent deprivation with no water fluoridation. Fluoridated drinking water may moderate dental caries; however, socioeconomic deprivation has a stronger influence on dental decay than local fluoridation of water.
    • Influence of Amplitude of Oscillating Magnetic Fields on Magnetic Nanoparticle-Mediated Gene Transfer to Astrocytes

      Tickle, Jacqueline A.; Jenkins, Stuart I.; Pickard, Mark R.; Chari, Divya M.; Keele University, United Kingdom (World Scientific, 2014-08-07)
      Functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are emerging as a major nanoplatform for regenerative neurology, particularly as transfection agents for gene delivery. Magnetic assistive technology, particularly the recent innovation of applied oscillating magnetic fields, can significantly enhance MNP-mediated gene transfer to neural cells. While transfection efficiency varies with oscillation frequency in various neural cell types, the influence of oscillation amplitude has not yet been investigated. We have addressed this issue using cortical astrocytes that were transfected using MNPs functionalized with plasmid encoding a reporter protein. Cells were exposed to a range of oscillation amplitudes (100–1000 μm), using a fixed oscillation frequency of 1 Hz. No significant differences were found in the proportions of transfected cells at the amplitudes tested, but GFP-related optical density measurements (indicative of reporter protein expression) were significantly enhanced at 200 μm. Safety data show no amplitude-dependent toxicity. Our data suggest that the amplitude of oscillating magnetic fields influences MNP-mediated transfection, and a tailored combination of amplitude and frequency may further enhance transgene expression. Systematic testing of these parameters in different neural subtypes will enable the development of a database of neuro-magnetofection protocols — an area of nanotechnology research where little information currently exists.
    • The influence of different work and rest distributions on performance and fatigue during simulated team handball match play

      Moss, Samantha L.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2015-05-05)
      This study investigated the effect of different interchange strategies on performance and pacing strategy during a simulated team-sports protocol. Eight youth male team handball players completed two conditions (LONG; work: 3 x 13:00 min, rest: 8:00 min, SHORT; work: 5 x 7:48 min, rest: 3:45 min). Participants were tested for 20 m sprint, counter-movement jump, throwing performance and heart rate during conditions. Postcondition measures included repeated shuttle-sprint and jump ability, session rating of perceived exertion, blood lactate and glucose. Faster sprint (3.87 ± 0.27 s cf. 3.97 ± 0.24 s, ES = 0.39, P= 0.03) and throwing performance (70.02 ± 7.40 km*h-1 cf. 69.04 ± 5.57 km*h-1, P> 0.05, ES = -0.15) occurred in SHORT compared to LONG by a 'likely small' difference. Higher summated heart rate (157 ± 21 cf. 150 ± 15 AU) occurred in SHORT compared to LONG by a 'likely small' difference (ES = 0.37, P> 0.05). SHORT resulted in lower session rating of perceived exertion (224 ± 45 AU cf. 282 ± 35 AU, ES = 1.45, P= 0.001) and higher blood glucose (6.06 ± 0.69 mmol*l-1 cf. 4.98 ± 1.10 mmol*l-1, ES = -1.17, P= 0.03) by a 'most likely moderate' difference compared to LONG. Repeated shuttle-sprint was better preserved after SHORT, with 'moderately lower' 10 m and 25 m times (P< 0.05). Interchange strategies using SHORT rather than LONG work and rest periods result in lower physiological load, leading to improved fatigue resistance and better preservation of high-intensity movements during matches.
    • Influence of environmental factors on the growth and interactions between salt marsh plants: Effects of salinity, sediment and waterlogging

      Huckle, Jonathan M.; Potter, Jacqueline; Marrs, Robert H.; University College Chester ; University College Chester ; University of Liverpool (British Ecological Society, 2009-07-21)
      Artificial environmental gradients were established in a series of pot experiments to investigate the effect of salinity, sediment type and waterlogging on the growth, and interactions between Spartina anglica and Puccinellia maritima. In each experiment, one environmental variable was manipulated and plants grown in pairwise combinations to examine the effect of the environmental factor on the intensity of intra- and interspecific interactions, quantified using the Relative Neighbour Effect (RNE) index. 2 Puccinellia was found to exert an asymmetric, one-way competitive dominance above ground over Spartina in experiments where gradients of sediment type and waterlogging were established. The intensity of the competition was highest in conditions with the least abiotic stress and lower or non-existent where stress was increased. 3 The intensity of the above-ground competition was greatest in loam and least in sand sediments. Reduction in competitive intensity in sand was accompanied by an increase in below-ground Spartina biomass and it is suggested that the production of rhizomes is a potential mechanism by which this species can expand vegetatively into areas without competition. 4 Interspecific competition on Spartina from Puccinellia also varied in intensity in the waterlogging experiment, being more intense in non-immersed treatments, where abiotic stress was reduced. 5 The competitive dominance of Puccinellia and the competition avoidance mechanism shown by Spartina in these experiments help to explain the successional interactions between the species along environmental gradients in natural salt marsh communities.
    • The influence of music genre on explosive power, repetitions to failure and mood responses during resistance exercise

      Moss, Samantha L.; Enright, Kevin; Cushman, Simon; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University (Elsevier, 2018-05-04)
      Objectives: To investigate the influence of different music genres on the psychological, psychophysical and psychophysiological responses during power-based and strength-based resistance exercises. Design: Repeated-measures counterbalanced design. Method: Sixteen resistance-trained participants completed an explosive power test in the squat and bench exercises at 30% 1RM across no music, electronic dance music, metal and self-selected conditions. Peak and mean values were recorded for power and velocity. A progressive loading protocol assessed the impact of condition on repetitions to failure at 60, 70 and 80% 1RM in the squat and bench exercises. For all tests, recording of heart rate and rating of perceived exertion were completed after every set, blood lactate after protocol completion, and mood states before and after. Results: Using magnitude-based inferences, music either had no effect or a small detrimental effect on power and velocity, depending on the exercise. Repetitions to failure increased by a small to moderate amount for all music conditions compared to no music at low but not high intensities. Self-selected music provided additional small benefits in repetitions than other music conditions. Rating of perceived exertion was similar between self-selected, metal and no music conditions, whereas electronic dance music revealed higher responses. Vigour increased after all music conditions but remained unchanged in no music. Conclusions: Explosive power exercises either remain unchanged or are disadvantaged when completed to music. Various music genres could improve repetition to failure training at low to moderate intensities, although individuals might expect greatest improvements using self-selected music, without concomitant increases in perceived effort.