• A tabular method for performing Fourier analysis of complex biological shape

      Lewis, Stephen J.; Chester College of Higher Education (Oxbow Books (for The Osteoarchaeological Research Group), 1997-12-01)
      Whilst linear dimensions are easily measured and analysed numerically, curvilinear forms are difficult both to define and to compare and are frequently left unexplored. A method of describing curved or non-uniform shapes, which has become popular among a number of biological workers, is Fourier analysis — a numerical analytical technique with an established mathematical background. Of the three stages followed when using this technique to describe biological shape - the construction of a wave-like curve from the shape being studied, the numerical (Fourier) analysis and the use of the Fourier coefficients to perform statistical analyses - that of how the Fourier analysis is performed is largely unreported. This leaves many unclear about how to perform a technique which they may otherwise find useful. A tabular method, which allows the computational steps of Fourier analysis to be monitored throughout, is described. This procedure can be readily performed, using a computer spreadsheet or on paper. The original curve may also be reconstructed from the Fourier coefficients, allowing one to check the success and accuracy of the method and to determine the number of coefficients necessary to define the shape to the required precision.
    • A tale of two sites - how RIGS can complement SSSIs

      Burek, Cynthia V. (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 2005)
      This article discusses the Dee Cliffs SSSI in Farndon and the Holt Castle quarry RIGS.
    • Targeting burrows improves detection in giant pangolin Smutsia gigantea camera trap surveys

      Matthews, Naomi; Nixon, Stuart; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Geary, Matthew; University of Chester; North of England Zoological Society; Chester Zoo
      The Endangered giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) is rare and elusive across its central African range. Due to its solitary and nocturnal nature, the species is difficult to study and subsequently its ecology is poorly known. Pangolins are considered the World’s most-trafficked mammals. Therefore, accurately confirming presence and monitoring trends in distribution and abundance is essential to inform and prioritise conservation efforts. Camera traps are a popular tool for surveying rare and cryptic species. However non-targeted camera trap surveys yield low camera trapping rates for pangolins. Here we use camera trap data from surveys conducted within three protected areas in Uganda to test whether targeted placement of cameras improves giant pangolin detection probability in occupancy models. The results indicate that giant pangolin detection probability is highest when camera traps are targeted on burrows. The median number of days from camera deployment to first giant pangolin event was 12, with 97.5% of events captured within 32 days from deployment. The median interval between giant pangolin events at a camera trap site was 33 days. We demonstrate that camera trap surveys can be designed to improve detection of giant pangolins and outline a set of recommendations to maximise the effectiveness of efforts to survey and monitor the species.
    • Technical note: Validation of an automatic recording system to assess behavioural activity level in sheep (Ovis aries).

      McLennan, Krista M.; Skillings, Elizabeth, A.; Rebelo, Carlos J. B.; Corke, Murray J.; Pires Moreira, Maria A.; Morton, A. Jennifer; Constantino-Casas, Fernando; University of Cambridge; Universidade Federal Rural do Semi-Arido (Elsevier, 2015-06-01)
      The welfare of an individual can be assessed by monitoring behavioural changes, such as inactivity, that may indicate injury or disease. In this study we validated the Actiwatch Mini® activity monitor (AM) for automatic recording of behavioural activity levels of nine Texel ewes. The AM devices were attached to collars placed around the necks of the ewes. AM recordings were taken at 25 second intervals for 21 consecutive days and in addition, direct behavioural observations made on days 9 to 13. AM recordings were compared with direct behavioural observations to investigate whether different levels of behaviour activity could be distinguished by the AM. Six different behaviours were matched to the activity scores recorded by the AM which were low activity (lying ruminating, lying), medium activity (standing, standing ruminating, and grazing) and high activity behaviours (walking). There were differences in the activity scores for all three scores. However, higher levels of accuracy in distinguishing between activity levels were achieved when combining high and medium activity level behaviours. This method of capturing data provides a practical tool in studies assessing the impact of disease or injury. For example, assessing the effects of lameness on the activity level of sheep at pasture, without the presence of an observer influencing behaviour.
    • The long-term impact of infant rearing background on the behavioural and physiological stress response of adult common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)

      Ash, Hayley; Smith, Tessa E.; Buchanan-Smith, Hannah M.
      Although triplet litters are increasing in captive colonies of common marmosets, parents can rarely rear more than two infants without human intervention. There is however much evidence that early life experience, including separation from the family, can influence both vulnerability and resilience to stress. The current study investigated the behavioural and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis response to the routine stressor of capture and weighing in adult common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), reared as infants under 3 different conditions: family-reared twins (n = 6 individuals), family-reared animals from triplet litters where only 2 remain (2stays: n = 8) and triplets receiving supplementary feeding from humans (n = 7). In the supplementary feeding condition, infants remained in contact with each other when they were removed from the family. There were no significant differences (P > 0.5) in cortisol level or behaviour between the rearing conditions. In all conditions, salivary cortisol decreased from baseline to post-capture, which was accompanied by increases in agitated locomotion. Family reared 2stays demonstrated significant cortisol decreases from baseline to post capture (post 5 min.: P = 0.005; post 30 min.: P = 0.018), compared to the other conditions. Family reared twins displayed significantly more behavioural changes following the stressor than the other conditions, including significant increases in scent marking (post 5 min. and post 30 min.: P = 0.028) and significant decreases in inactive alert (post 5 min.: P = 0005; post 30 min.: P = 0.018), calm locomotion (post 5 min.: P = 0.028; post 30 min.: P = 0.046) and proximity to partner (post 5 min.: P = 0.046). There were increases in behaviour suggesting reduced anxiety, including significantly more exploration post-capture in supplementary fed triplets (post 5 min.: P = 0.041), and significantly more foraging post capture in family reared 2stays (post 5 min. and post 30 min.: P = 0.039). However, as differences between rearing conditions were minimal, supplementary feeding of large litters of marmosets at this facility did not have a major effect on stress vulnerability, suggesting that this rearing practice may be the preferred option if human intervention is necessary to improve survival of large litters.
    • The role of specific biomarkers, as predictors of post-operative complications following flexible ureterorenoscopy (FURS), for the treatment of kidney stones: a single-centre observational clinical pilot-study in 37 patients

      Hughes, Stephen Fôn; orcid: 0000-0001-6558-9037; email: Stephen.hughes6@wales.nhs.uk; Moyes, Alyson Jayne; Lamb, Rebecca May; Ella-tongwiis, Peter; Bell, Christopher; Moussa, Ahmed; Shergill, Iqbal (BioMed Central, 2020-08-14)
      Abstract: Background: The number of patients diagnosed and subsequently treated for kidney stones is increasing, and as such the number of post-operative complications is likely to increase. At present, little is known about the role of specific biomarkers, following flexible ureterorenoscopy (FURS) for the surgical treatment of kidney stones. The main aim of the study was to evaluate the role of kidney and infection biomarkers, in patients undergoing FURS. Methods: Included were 37 patients (24 males, 13 females), who underwent elective FURS, for the treatment of kidney stones. Venous blood samples were collected from each patient: pre-operatively, and at 30 min, 2 and 4 h post-operatively. Changes to kidney (NGAL, Cystatin-C) and infection (MPO, PCT) biomarkers was quantified by means of ELISA, Biomerieux mini-vidas and Konelab 20 analysers. Results: Four patients developed post-operative complications (3 - UTIs with urinary retention, 1 - urosepsis. NGAL concentration increased significantly following FURS (p = 0.034). Although no significant changes were seen in Cystatin C, MPO and PCT (p ≥ 0.05) some key clinical observation were noted. Limiting factors for this study were the small number of patients recruited and restriction in blood sampling beyond 4 h. Conclusions: Although not confirmative, changes seen to biomarkers such as Cystatin C, NGAL and MPO in our observational clinical pilot-study may warrant further investigation, involving larger cohorts, to fully understand the role of these biomarkers and their potential association with post-operative complications which can develop following FURS.
    • Thermal niche predicts recent changes in range size for bird species

      Scridel, D.; Bogliani, Giuseppe; Pedrini, P.; Iemma, A.; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Brambilla, M.; Museo delle Scienze, Trento; University of Pavia, University of Chester, Fondzione Lombardia per l'Ambiente (Inter-Research Science Center (IR), 2017-08-30)
      Species’ distributions are strongly affected by climate, and climate change is affecting species and populations. Thermal niches are widely used as proxies for estimating thermal sensitivity of species, and have been frequently related to community composition, population trends and latitudinal/elevational shifts in distribution. To our knowledge, no work has yet explored the relationship between thermal niche and change in range size (changes in the number of occupied spatial units over time) in birds. In this study, we related a 30 yr change in range size to species thermal index (STI: average temperature at occurrence sites) and to other factors (i.e. birds’ associated habitats, body mass, hunting status) potentially affecting bird populations/range size. We analysed trends of breeding bird range in Italy for a suite of poorly studied cold-adapted animals potentially sensitive to global warming, and for a related group of control species taxonomically similar and with comparable mass but mainly occurring at lower/warmer sites. We found a strong positive correlation between change in range size and STI, confirming that recent climatic warming has favoured species of warmer climates and adversely affected species occupying colder areas. A model including STI and birds’ associated habitats was not so strongly supported, with forest species performing better than alpine open habitat and agricultural ones. In line with previous works highlighting effects of recent climate change on community composition, species’ population trends and poleward/upward distributional shifts, we found STI to be the most important predictor of change in range size variation in breeding birds.
    • Time to take responsibility for collections

      Burek, Cynthia V.; University College Chester (English Nature, 2003)
      This journal article discusses how geological collections can be preserved.
    • Total hip and knee replacement surgery results in changes in leukocyte and endothelial markers

      Hughes, Stephen F.; Hendricks, Beverly D.; Edwards, David R.; Maclean, Kirsty M.; Bastawrous, Salah S.; Middleton, Jim F.; University of Chester; North Wales (Central) NHS Trust; Keele University (BioMed Central, 2010-01-19)
      BACKGROUND: It is estimated that over 8 million people in the United Kingdom suffer from osteoarthritis. These patients may require orthopaedic surgical intervention to help alleviate their clinical condition. Investigations presented here was to test the hypothesis that total hip replacement (THR) and total knee replacement (TKR) orthopaedic surgery result in changes to leukocyte and endothelial markers thus increasing inflammatory reactions postoperatively. METHODS: During this 'pilot study', ten test subjects were all scheduled for THR or TKR elective surgery due to osteoarthritis. Leukocyte concentrations were measured using an automated full blood count analyser. Leukocyte CD11b (Mac-1) and CD62L cell surface expression, intracellular production of H(2)O(2 )and elastase were measured as markers of leukocyte function. Von Willebrand factor (vWF) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) were measured as markers of endothelial activation. RESULTS: The results obtained during this study demonstrate that THR and TKR orthopaedic surgery result in similar changes of leukocyte and endothelial markers, suggestive of increased inflammatory reactions postoperatively. Specifically, THR and TKR surgery resulted in a leukocytosis, this being demonstrated by an increase in the total leukocyte concentration following surgery. Evidence of leukocyte activation was demonstrated by a decrease in CD62L expression and an increase in CD11b expression by neutrophils and monocytes respectively. An increase in the intracellular H(2)O(2 )production by neutrophils and monocytes and in the leukocyte elastase concentrations was also evident of leukocyte activation following orthopaedic surgery. With respect to endothelial activation, increases in vWF and sICAM-1 concentrations were demonstrated following surgery. CONCLUSION: In general it appeared that most of the leukocyte and endothelial markers measured during these studies peaked between days 1-3 postoperatively. It is proposed that by allowing orthopaedic surgeons access to alternative laboratory markers such as CD11b, H(2)O(2 )and elastase, CD62L, vWF and sICAM-1, an accurate assessment of the extent of inflammation due to surgery per se could be made. Ultimately, the leukocyte and endothelial markers assessed during this investigation may have a role in monitoring potential infectious complications that can occur during the postoperative period.
    • Transcobalamin polymorphism and serum holo-transcobalamin in relation to Alzheimer's disease

      McCaddon, Andrew; Bleenow, Kaj; Hudson, Peter R.; Hughes, Alan; Barber, Joan; Gray, Rob; Davies, Gareth K.; Williams, John H. H.; Duguid, Jennifer; Lloyd, Alwyn; et al. (S. Karger AG, 2004)
      Isoforms of the vitamin B<12< carrier protein transcobalamin (TC) might influence its cellular availability and contribute to the association between disrupted single-carbon metabolism and Alzheimer's disease (AD). We therefore investigated the relationships between the TC 776C>G (Pro259Arg) genetic polymorphism, total serum cobalamin and holo-TC levels, and disease onset in 70 patients with clinically diagnosed AD and 74 healthy elderly controls. TC 776C>G polymorphism was also determined for 94 histopathologically confirmed AD patients and 107 controls. Serum holo-TC levels were significantly higher in TC 776C homozygotes (p = 0.04). Kaplan-Meier survival functions differed between homozygous genotypes (Cox's F-Test F(42, 46) = 2.1; p = 0.008) and between 776C homozygotes and heterozygotes (Cox's F test F(46, 108) = 1.7; p = 0.02). Proportionately fewer TC 776C homozygotes appear to develop AD at any given age, but this will require confirmation in a longitudinal study.
    • Translating from egg- to antigen-based indicators for Schistosoma mansoni elimination targets: A Bayesian latent class analysis study

      Clark, Jessia; Moses, Arinaitwe; Nankasi, Andrina; Faust, Christina L.; Adriko, Moses; Ajambo, Diana; Besigye, Fred; Atuhaire, Arron; Wamboko, Aidah; Rowel, Candia; et al.
      Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease affecting over 240-million people. World Health Organization (WHO) targets for Schistosoma mansoni elimination are based on Kato-Katz egg counts, without translation to the widely used, urine-based, point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen diagnostic (POC-CCA). We aimed to standardize POC-CCA score interpretation and translate them to Kato-Katz-based standards, broadening diagnostic utility in progress towards elimination. A Bayesian latent-class model was fit to data from 210 school-aged-children over four timepoints pre- to six-months-post-treatment. We used 1) Kato-Katz and established POC-CCA scoring (Negative, Trace, +, ++ and +++), and 2) Kato-Katz and G-Scores (a new, alternative POC-CCA scoring (G1 to G10)). We established the functional relationship between Kato-Katz counts and POC-CCA scores, and the score-associated probability of true infection. This was combined with measures of sensitivity, specificity, and the area under the curve to determine the optimal POC-CCA scoring system and positivity threshold. A simulation parametrized with model estimates established antigen-based elimination targets. True infection was associated with POC-CCA scores of ≥ + or ≥G3. POC-CCA scores cannot predict Kato-Katz counts because low infection intensities saturate the POC-CCA cassettes. Post-treatment POC-CCA sensitivity/specificity fluctuations indicate a changing relationship between egg excretion and antigen levels (living worms). Elimination targets can be identified by the POC-CCA score distribution in a population. A population with ≤2% ++/+++, or ≤0.5% G7 and above, indicates achieving current WHO Kato-Katz-based elimination targets. Population-level POC-CCA scores can be used to access WHO elimination targets prior to treatment. Caution should be exercised on an individual level and following treatment, as POC-CCAs lack resolution to discern between WHO Kato-Katz-based moderate- and high-intensity-infection categories, with limited use in certain settings and evaluations.
    • Tspan18 is a novel regulator of the Ca2+ channel Orai1 and von Willebrand factor release in endothelial cells.

      Noy, Peter J.; Gavin, Rebecca L.; Colombo, Dario; Haining, Elizabeth J.; Reyat, Jasmeet S.; Payne, Holly; Thielmann, Ina; Lokman, Adam B.; Neag, Georgiana; Yang, Jing; et al. (2018-12-20)
      Ca entry via Orai1 store-operated Ca channels in the plasma membrane is critical to cell function, and Orai1 loss causes severe immunodeficiency and developmental defects. The tetraspanins are a superfamily of transmembrane proteins that interact with specific partner proteins and regulate their trafficking and clustering. The aim of this study was to functionally characterize tetraspanin Tspan18. We show that Tspan18 is expressed by endothelial cells at several-fold higher levels than most other cell types analyzed. Tspan18-knockdown primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells have 55-70% decreased Ca mobilization upon stimulation with the inflammatory mediators thrombin or histamine, similar to Orai1-knockdown. Tspan18 interacts with Orai1, and Orai1 cell surface localization is reduced by 70% in Tspan18-knockdown endothelial cells. Tspan18 over-expression in lymphocyte model cell lines induces 20-fold activation of Ca -responsive NFAT signaling, in an Orai1-dependent manner. Tspan18-knockout mice are viable. They lose on average 6-fold more blood in a tail-bleed assay. This is due to Tspan18 deficiency in non-hematopoietic cells, as assessed using chimeric mice. Tspan18-knockout mice have 60% reduced thrombus size in a deep vein thrombosis model, and 50% reduced platelet deposition in the microcirculation following myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. Histamine- or thrombin-induced von Willebrand factor release from endothelial cells is reduced by 90% following Tspan18-knockdown, and histamine-induced increase of plasma von Willebrand factor is reduced by 45% in Tspan18-knockout mice. These findings identify Tspan18 as a novel regulator of endothelial cell Orai1/Ca signaling and von Willebrand factor release in response to inflammatory stimuli. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2018, Ferrata Storti Foundation.]
    • UKCES: Understanding Human Centred Management

      York, Peter; Bonwick, Graham A.; Birch, Catherine S.; University of Chester (UKCES, 2016-04-03)
      The Human Centred Management project was required to solve the problem of supply chain inefficiencies brought about by unproductive human behaviours. Specifically, the project sought to used Behavioural Economics to improve the decisions made by making people aware of their illogical ‘Biases’ and ‘Heuristics’. Use of Transactional Analysis to make people more aware of their impressions and their audience to reduce antagonism in communication. Combine these methods using Behavioural Management Theory to create one unified approach which will create a 21st century solution to behavioural inefficiencies. The project primarily targeted two supply chains, led by two larger or ‘Prime’ organisations that had SME’s feeding the production process. The two supply chains underwent a number of interventions in the form of one-to-one sessions, workshops, master classes and simulations, in order to understand and influence the behavioural inefficiencies they were suffering. An Action Research methodology was used to both provide a flexible approach and also generate qualitative data. Before each intervention, questionnaire data and in some cases a behavioural health check was carried out in order to gain baseline data. Once complete the same questionnaires were completed and interviews with key participants were carried out. The interventions were a success producing a large amount of positive change and behavioural insights for analysis. Such improvements included dramatically improving the supply chain communication leading to claims of improved supply chain effectiveness over all, development of closer ties between supply chains in a geographically separated area and improved logical decision making where managers are aware of their biases and take the time to reflect on all the options. The three areas of psychology introduced proved to combine extremely well, complimenting one another’s weaker areas in order to produce the unified approach envisaged. Behavioural Economics was found to be an excellent analytical tool capable of deconstructing the root causes of behaviours. Transactional Analysis provided a suite of easily implementable and practical techniques for improving communication. Behavioural Management Theory provided a flexible approach to implementing the changes required. From the experience of the project and analysis of the data a Behavioural Framework was generated in order to allow other supply chains to benefit from this effective 21st century solution to behavioural inefficiencies.
    • UKRIGS - What is it?

      Burek, Cynthia V.; University College Chester (Geologists' Association, 2004)
    • Understandings of sustainable development in a university community

      Lipscombe, Bryan P.; University of Chester (Georg-Eckert Institut fur internationale Schulbuchforschung, 2008)
      This article discusses a study at a UK university on the subject of education for sustainable development through interviews with staff and students.
    • The use and abuse of RIGS sites

      Burek, Cynthia V.; Chester College of Higher Education (Association of UK RIGS Groups (UKRIGS), 2000)
      The classification of geological sites for conservation management purposes can lead to, what some people might regard as abuse of sites. The difference between true abuse of geologically conserved sites and percieved abuse is explored in order to encourage a holistic approach to site management and conservation. Examples are taken from RIGS sites in north Wales.
    • Use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and flagellin gene typing in identifying clonal groups of campylobacter jejuni and campylobacter coli in farm and clinical environments

      Fitzgerald, Collette; Stanley, Karen; Andrew, Sarah M.; Jones, Keith; Lancaster University (American Society for Microbiology, 2001-04-01)
      Although campylobacters have been isolated from a wide range of animal hosts, the association between campylobacters isolated from humans and animals in the farm environment is unclear. Flagellin gene typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to investigate the genetic diversity among isolates from animals (cattle, sheep, and turkey) in farm environments and sporadic cases of campylobacteriosis in the same geographical area. Forty-eight combined fla types were seen among the 315 Campylobacter isolates studied. Six were found in isolates from all four hosts and represented 50% of the total number of isolates. Seventy-one different SmaI PFGE macrorestriction profiles (mrps) were observed, with 86% of isolates assigned to one of 29 different mrps. Fifty-seven isolates from diverse hosts, times, and sources had an identical SmaI mrp and combined fla type. Conversely, a number of genotypes were unique to a particular host. Molecular evidence is provided which suggests a link between campylobacters in the farm environment with those causing disease in the community.
    • The use of radiography in osteological measurement

      Lewis, Stephen J.; Chester College of Higher Education (Oxbow Books (for the Osteoarchaeological Research Group), 1999-12-01)
      Radiographs provide a means of obtaining permanent images of objects. These images may be readily and repeatedly copied, disseminated or used in a variety of ways without the need further to disturb the original material. Although measurements are frequently taken from such images for metrical analysis, it must be remembered that these images are only representations of the original object. To obtain accurate data, one must be aware of the sources of error inherent in the image-forming process so that radiographs can be used in the appropriate way. This paper outlines the factors involved in the production of radiographic images and applies this to the generation of accurate metrical data.
    • Use of sandwich IgG ELISA for the detection and quantification of adulteration of milk and soft cheese

      Hurley, Ian P.; Coleman, Robert C.; Ireland, H. Elyse; Williams, John H. H.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2006-02-21)
      The aim of the article was to develop an assay capable of detecting adulteration of soft goat, sheep and buffalo milk cheese with bovine milk from cheaper sources.
    • Uses of media-reported female body parameters - A contribution to the study of body image

      Lewis, Stephen J.; Chester College of Higher Education (2001)
      The portrayal of the female body in the media has been shown to influence body image and self esteem amongst young women. While visual comparisons with those portrayed by the media as beautiful are prone to subjective judgment, when numerical values for such parameters as height, weight, bust, waist and hip size are reported, more objective comparisons may be made and may prompt some to strive to attain certain numerical ideals. Whether the measurements given are true or accurate is secondary to the fact of their reportage and their availability for such use. Data pertaining to over 500 of 'Playboy' magazine's 'playmates' were obtained - being readily available via the Internet - from which it was possible to determine a number of anthropometric features. The use of such data in academic studies is not new although the scope of previous use seems to have been somewhat limited. The present study, therefore, sought to determine alternative ways of using such data to characterize the physiques portrayed. A simple comparison with UK dress sizes, available in high street stores, showed that the characteristic 'playmate' physique did not generally conform to standard proportions - bust size, for example, being greater than catered for by standard sizes. However, despite this dimensional excess, the mean Body Mass Index was below 20. This latter finding, representing a state of mild starvation, is a potential cause for concern should the typical heights and weights from which it is derived be used by more vulnerable individuals to influence their own physique.