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  • Nursing interventions for people who use new psychoactive substances

    Solomon, David; ; University of Bedfordshire (RCN publishing, 2024-07-09)
    The use of new psychoactive substances is a growing concern across healthcare services in the UK. To date, more than 1,000 types of new psychoactive substances have been identified and they have a wide range of effects, potency and mechanisms of action, which can result in overdose and death. This article reviews the challenges experienced by nurses including in identifying new psychoactive substances, their associated risks and various psychosocial and pharmacological interventions. Currently, evidence surrounding the appropriate nursing interventions required for the misuse of new psychoactive substances is limited. Further research and training opportunities are required for nurses to manage service users who present having taken new psychoactive substances, particularly in hospital, substance misuse and mental health settings.
  • Comparative genomics and secondary metabolite analysis to gain novel insights into the mycoparasite

    Patel, Denise (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-06)
    The main aims of this study were to gain genome level novel insights into the functional basis of the mycoparasite Coniothyrium minitans, including the identification of novel genes/gene clusters associated with the biocontrol process. For this research, a set of seven C. minitans isolates were selected, representing geographical diversity, alongside two isolates of the fungal crop pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Two interaction types were utilised, 1. hyphal-hyphal and 2. spore-sclerotia, to decipher patterns and variations of mycoparasitism. Hyphal-hyphal interactions revealed that both C. minitans isolates were able to colonise and invade regions containing S. sclerotiorum, however, this did not lead to complete loss of viability of the host fungus hyphae or sclerotia. Spore-sclerotial interactions displayed distinct differences between the C. minitans isolates; with isolate Conio all sclerotia colonised were non-viable, whilst with isolate DPM01 despite colonisation all sclerotia were viable. These assays revealed that overall, isolate Conio had stronger mycoparasitic capabilities and S. sclerotiorum isolate DSS03 was less susceptible to both C. minitans isolates, particularly in hyphal-hyphal interactions. A high-quality reference genome (e.g., 34 scaffolds) has been established for C. minitans isolate Conio, alongside resequenced genome assemblies for an additional six C. minitans isolates representing diverse geographic locations. Comparative analysis highlighted new insights into genome-level variations in orthologous protein clusters among the isolates, and the overall conservation of secretory and effector-like proteins, CAZymes and GPCRs. Phylogenomic analysis based on single copy orthologs (~800 to ~1100) revealed a lack of clear geographic association; further analysis including sister-species of C. minitans and alongside Trichoderma species, including mycoparasites, presented that the C. minitans clade was genetically highly conserved. Four biosynthetic gene clusters were identified in this study, potentially associated with mycoparasitism. The complete ETP-type gene cluster has been annotated for all C. minitans isolates including isolate ZS-1. Additionally, this study is the first to present an annotated gene cluster of macrosphelide A in C. minitans, alongside two novel gene clusters, one of which is putatively annotated as involved in the biosynthesis of macrophorin A and is the first report of these gene clusters in C. minitans. The quantification of macrosphelide A carried out with the seven C. minitans isolates using LC-MS/MS analysis enabled categorisation as high producers including isolates Conio, DPM01 and DPM05, and low producers including isolates DPM02, DPM03, DPM04 and DPM06. This is the first report of the quantification of macrosphelide A using a range of geographically distinctive C. minitans isolates. Additionally, this study is the first to confirm the production of an ETP-type compound by C. minitans. Current results suggest that the compound is gliovirin and confirmed that it is not gliotoxin as previously hypothesised. The new knowledge and resources developed in this study will contribute to an advancement in the understanding of the functional basis of mycoparasitism by C. minitans providing a platform for further investigations into the production of secondary metabolites and their association with mycoparasitism by this fungus.
  • Cloud native architecture middleware for 5G enhanced autonomous robot

    Popescu, Radu (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-06)
    This report presents the cloud-native design for a 5G Enhanced Robot Autonomy (5G-ERA) Middleware System. The system is built to integrate vertical applications e.g., autonomous robots handled by the Robot Operating System (ROS), with the 5G infrastructure handled by Open-Source Management and Orchestration (OSM) in the form of Cloud-native Network Applications (NetApps). The cloud-native architecture realised by the Middleware System is an additional layer of the virtual services to facilitate intent-based network and resource orchestration for large-scale deployment of robots under distributed environment. The 5G-ERA Middleware System, which runs on the cloud and edges, allows robots to send data to be processed by distributed robot services, subsequently utilising the computational power of the cloud and edges, and transmitting the outcome of the cloud/edges-based processing back to the robots. This paradigm reduces physical constraints imposed on the robots’ intelligence by local computing resources and simplifies the application development process of distributed robotics. To enable seamless integration, the Middleware System is built with containerised restful APIs, following the microservice and cloud-native paradigms, orchestrated with Kubernetes, and acts as a Kubernetes operator itself by deploying orchestrated applications on demand. The microservices synchronisation problem of the cloud-native design is optimised by introducing the Redis Cluster, a distributed key-value datastore. The contribution integrates local stateless services and a global stateful set for data persistence and paves the way for the Edge switchover required by the connected intelligence.
  • The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on an integrated care programme for older people with different frailty levels (OPDFL): a qualitative study with service providers in the East of England

    Khan, Nimra; Hewson, David; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire; University of Oxford (Ubiquity Press, 2024-07-01)
    While populations of all ages were affected by the pandemic, older people with frailty had much worse outcomes. The NHS England has mandated identifying and proactively managing older people with moderate and severe frailty in the General medical services (GMS) contract 2017/18. As a result of this policy, an integrated care programme for older people with different frailty levels (OPDFL) was introduced in Luton in 2018 (known as, Luton Framework for Frailty - LFF). This study was conducted to explore the views of service providers in Luton regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of LFF. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with service providers in Luton between April 2021 to July 2021. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. Eighteen service providers took part in the study. Three main themes were identified, the first of which was that proactive and frailty-related health promotion services were halted. Secondly, existing relationships due to the LFF facilitated the implementation of services for care home residents during the pandemic. Finally, participants identified that some of the challenges impacting the delivery of health promotion services were those that affected the health system in general, such as healthcare staff feeling stressed and the centralised decision-making by the government. The lessons learnt from this study could be useful in managing services for older people with frailty in times of emergencies or epidemics.
  • Multiscale impacts of land environmental features and planning on apartment resale prices in Jinan City, China

    Xu, Jiaqian; Zhang, Zhihua; Crabbe, M. James C.; Shandong University; Oxford University (MDPI, 2024-06-29)
    As a typical city with a population of 5 to 10 million in China, Jinan has undergone significant increases in land supply during the past decade, resulting in substantial volatility in apartment sale/resale market prices. In this study, we investigated all second-hand apartment transactions from 826 communities of Jinan city and explored the multiscale impacts of land environmental features and planning on apartment resale prices throughout the city. Specifically, central and eastern regions had significantly positive impacts on apartment resale prices, while western regions had significantly negative impacts; education resources had consistently positive impacts throughout the city while shopping, business buildings, and medical resources had insignificant impacts; subway stations had insignificant impacts and bus stations had significant effects only in congestion points and northeastern edges. Our results revealed the formation mechanisms and spatial heterogeneity of apartment resale prices in Jinan. Our work will not only help in the decision making of potential apartment purchasers, but will also be conducive to enhancing the spatial justice of local governments in land supply and planning policies.

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