• Achieving reliable and enhanced communication in vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs)

      Eze, Elias Chinedum; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-08)
      With the envisioned age of Internet of Things (IoTs), different aspects of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) will be linked so as to advance road transportation safety, ease congestion of road traffic, lessen air pollution, improve passenger transportation comfort and significantly reduce road accidents. In vehicular networks, regular exchange of current position, direction, speed, etc., enable mobile vehicle to foresee an imminent vehicle accident and notify the driver early enough in order to take appropriate action(s) or the vehicle on its own may take adequate preventive measures to avert the looming accident. Actualizing this concept requires use of shared media access protocol that is capable of guaranteeing reliable and timely broadcast of safety messages. This dissertation investigates the use of Network Coding (NC) techniques to enrich the content of each transmission and ensure improved high reliability of the broadcasted safety messages with less number of retransmissions. A Code Aided Retransmission-based Error Recovery (CARER) protocol is proposed. In order to avoid broadcast storm problem, a rebroadcasting vehicle selection metric η, is developed, which is used to select a vehicle that will rebroadcast the received encoded message. Although the proposed CARER protocol demonstrates an impressive performance, the level of incurred overhead is fairly high due to the use of complex rebroadcasting vehicle selection metric. To resolve this issue, a Random Network Coding (RNC) and vehicle clustering based vehicular communication scheme with low algorithmic complexity, named Reliable and Enhanced Cooperative Cross-layer MAC (RECMAC) scheme, is proposed. The use of this clustering technique enables RECMAC to subdivide the vehicular network into small manageable, coordinated clusters which further improve transmission reliability and minimise negative impact of network overhead. Similarly, a Cluster Head (CH) selection metric ℱ(𝑗) is designed, which is used to determine and select the most suitably qualified candidate to become the CH of a particular cluster. Finally, in order to investigate the impact of available radio spectral resource, an in-depth study of the required amount of spectrum sufficient to support high transmission reliability and minimum latency requirements of critical road safety messages in vehicular networks was carried out. The performance of the proposed schemes was clearly shown with detailed theoretical analysis and was further validated with simulation experiments.
    • Alcohol use and misuse of university students: the role of personal and environmental factors

      Sharipova, Dilshoda; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-05)
      The aim of the mixed methods study was to explore students’ alcohol use and misuse taking into account personal, micro, macro level factors influencing their choice in the behaviour performance based on analysis of quantitative data obtained from longitudinal surveys and interpreting narrative data obtained during interviews and to use the findings from the quantitative and the qualitative studies to facilitate focus groups of university services, to discuss and recommend variables to be targeted during interventions for students. The first study was a cross sectional quantitative study in which the questionnaire constructed for the current study has been evaluated and the reliability of the measures was identified. In addition, the correlations of the study variables have been explored. The path analysis has been performed to examine the Theory of Planned Behaviour, Self-Determination Theory, Prototype Willingness Model and Social Learning Theory. The second study a longitudinal quantitative study in which before mentioned theories have been explored in a 3 month follow up. The change over time have been investigated by constructing models, path analysis, and the predictors of the change in outcome variables alcohol consumption, alcohol related problems, frequency of alcohol use, units consumed in a single occasion and binge drinking occasions, have been identified. The third study, a qualitative study, interviews with the students were organised to explore further the variables used in the study and explain the quantitative findings with help of interview data. The data assisted in identifying contextual factors of alcohol use and locate the components of researched theories within this context. The fourth study, another qualitative study, which explored the alcohol use of university students from the perspectives of the staff of university support services. Extra contextual factors have been identified and were added to the matrix of students’ alcohol use. The results of the research supported the use of the theories selected as Self-Determination Theory explained the predictors of Theory of Planned Behaviour.
    • Aspects of the population biology of the cyst nematode parasites of oilseed rape

      Bowen, Simon Andrew; University of Bedfordshire; Luton College of Higher Education (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1988)
      Investigation of the host-parasite relationship between oilseed rape, Heterodera cruciferae and H. schachtii has shown that the rate of hatching, development and reproduction is strongly influenced by temperature, two possible generations occurring on an autumn-sown crop. H.schachtii preferred warmer temperatures, hatched and reproduced more than H. cruciferae. Comparisons between newly-formed eggs in cysts and egg sacs showed that their different hatching responses were related to their physiology; cyst-bound eggs hatched poorly whereas juveniles hatched readily from egg sacs and facilitated the early establishment of a second generation. Multiplication of both species varied greatly between cultivars and differences in hatching and multiplication were attributed to the effects of plant growth and intrinsic differences between cultivars. Plant age influenced the hatching activity of root diffusates and nematode development. Multiplication rates of single and mixed species populations declined with increaSing initial population density indicating that intraspecific competition and root damage limited population growth. Nematodes multiplied synergistically in concomitant infestations suggesting that interspecific competition was less important. In a damage assessment test, root and shoot growth of nematodeinfested plants was reduced and the increased accumulation of calcium in their shoots indicated that they used water less efficiently than uninfested plants. These effects were density-dependent and H.schachtii was more damaging than H.cruciferae. Tolerance to nematode attack was attributed to good root establishment. The rate of decline of H.cruciferae populations varied with time, soil depth and between populations; low soil moisture and temperature favouring nematode survival. The role of weeds as ~maintainer hosts' of H.cruciferae was assessed but considered negligible. Nematode population dynamics were simulated using a computer model. Population densities fluctuated considerably under typical crop rotations but large populations had generally declined to less damaging levels before a host was cropped again. It was indicated that a long run of non-hosts or nematicide use would achieve better control of H.schachtii than H.cruciferae.
    • The beam and shadow of the spotlight: visibility and invisibility in women’s experiences of domestic violence and abuse

      Neale, Jo; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-01-29)
      Although it has received greater policy attention in recent years, domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a global problem that, at a national level, remains under-reported, under-prosecuted and under-convicted. The apparent ineffectiveness of policy approaches in reducing the incidence of DVA, or mitigating its social and economic costs, not least upon those directly experiencing DVA, forms the backcloth of this enquiry. The aim of the study presented in this thesis was to explore, from a feminist poststructuralist perspective, the processes by which heterosexual women enter, endure and leave abusive relationships. Using semi-structured narrative style interviews, I worked with fourteen women with a wide range of characteristics in terms of age, ethnicity, physicality, socio-economic status and the length of time elapsed since their experiences of abuse. Using Nicola Gavey’s (2005) concept of cultural scaffolding (the discourses and [hetero]normative practices that make it so difficult to identify a relationship as abusive), I examined the space between normalised heterosexual relationships and abuse and, in the process, provided a better understanding of women’s routes into DVA. I have shone a spotlight on the full range of perpetrators’ behaviours that entrap and oppress their female partners and have identified four key domains in which the tactics of the abuser work to: ensnare his victim; dismantle her previous identities; prevent her from leaving the relationship; and punish her for leaving. These include behaviours used to manipulate women’s social and support networks in order to prolong or sabotage their attempts to escape the abuse. From a feminist poststructuralist perspective, participants’ experiences of entering, enduring and leaving abusive relationships can be read as part of the wider cultural scaffolding of heteropatriarchy, which left them exposed to ensnarement and exploitation. Using Dark Triad (Paulhus 2002) as a model for conceptualising perpetrators’ manipulation of their ex-partners, their children, and professionals, I offer an alternative way of understanding men’s abuse of their female partners.
    • A computer assisted analysis of literary text: from feature analysis to judgements of literary merit

      Crosbie, Tess; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-11)
      Using some of the tools developed mainly for authorship authentication, this study develops a toolbox of techniques towards enabling computers to detect aesthetic qualities in literature. The literature review suggests that the style markers that indicate a particular author may be adapted to show literary style that constitutes a "good" book. An initial experiment was carried out to see to what extent the computer can identify specific literary features both before and after undergoing a "corruption" of text by translating and re-translating the texts. Preliminary results were encouraging, with up to 90 per cent of the literary features being identifi ed, suggesting that literary characteristics are robust and quanti fiable. An investigation is carried out into current and historic literary criticism to determine how the texts can be classified as "good literature". Focus groups, interviews and surveys are used to pinpoint the elements of literariness as experienced by human readers that identify a text as "good". Initially identified by human experts, these elements are confirmed by the reading public. Using Classics as a genre, 100 mainly fiction texts are taken from the Gutenberg Project and ranked according to download counts from the Gutenberg website, an indicator of literary merit (Ashok et al., 2013). The texts are equally divided into five grades: four according to the download rankings and one of non- fiction texts. From these, factor analysis and mean averages determine the metrics that determine the literary quality. The metrics are qualified by a model named CoBAALT (computer-based aesthetic analysis of literary texts). CoBAALT assesses texts by Jane Austen and D. H. Lawrence and determines the degree to which they conform to the metrics for literary quality; the results demonstrate conformity with peer reviewed literary criticism.
    • Counter-terrorist hybrid orders and the right to a fair trial: the perpetual quasi-emergency

      Stanford, Ben; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-11)
      This thesis examines a number of closely connected counter-terrorist executive mechanisms in the United Kingdom (UK) and the manner in which they are administered, in order to evaluate the implications of the mechanisms for, and ultimately their compatibility with, the right to a fair trial under international human rights law (IHRL). More specifically, this study critically analyses Control Orders, Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs), and Temporary Exclusion Orders (TEOs). For reasons made clear in this thesis, these mechanisms are termed ‘counter-terrorist hybrid orders’ and are collectively analysed as such. As the study identifies a number of issues pertaining to the current design and administration of these mechanisms that can adversely affect the right to a fair trial, the thesis argues that they should be substantially reformed to make them more consistent with IHRL fair trial standards. Moreover, the thesis examines how these mechanisms, as they are currently designed and administered, have been accepted in a legal system with a recognised and long-established attachment to upholding high human rights standards. Having identified, generated and analysed a substantial body of research to perform this task, the thesis argues that the acceptance of the mechanisms as they are currently administered may have occurred as a result of the establishment of a state of ‘perpetual quasi-emergency’. This denotes a particular legal phenomenon in which the UK has responded to an evolving legal problem, namely, how to deal with terror suspects who cannot be prosecuted, deported, or indefinitely detained, in a manner that, whilst being grounded in law, actually resembles the behaviour of States enduring ‘prolonged emergencies’. The thesis asserts that the state of perpetual quasi-emergency, which creates the space necessary for the acceptance of these mechanisms, was established and is preserved by a number of legal and extra-legal factors. As such, some of the research, analysis and methods used to evaluate the phenomena in this study represents an original contribution to knowledge. This study encompasses a variety of approaches in order to examine a particular type of counter-terrorist power, the implications of these mechanisms for the right to a fair trial under IHRL, and the relationships between these issues and wider society. The study requires traditional doctrinal analysis when exploring what the right to a fair trial in the context of national security entails, and in order to examine the various counter-terrorist hybrid order regimes in light of this framework. When assessing what factors may play a role in the establishment and preservation of the state of perpetual quasi-emergency, the study necessitates methods which are less doctrinal and more socio-legal in nature.
    • Developing a strategy to address low youth education attendance in Malawi

      Usi, Michael B.; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      This study explores the complex factors that contribute to low youth education attendance in Malawi. While current education and youth policy is framed in terms of providing access to quality education for all Malawians, this has proved challenging to implement in practice. A qualitative approach involving a range of stakeholders was adopted. 341 respondents participated in one–to-one and group interviews and provided in-depth insights into the issues affecting educational attendance. Data was thematically coded using NVivo and network analysis was used to determine the complexity of the interrelationships of the factors undermining youth attendance. Human capital theory (HCT) underpins the design of the study and the analysis of the data collected; however, HCT alone was insufficient to account for patterns in the data and therefore post-colonial, women's empowerment, motivation, decentralization, corruption and media development theories were used to complement and extend HCT in the analysis undertaken. Furthermore, while, in HCT, education and training are considered strategies for empowering people to make informed choices, enter employment and contribute to personal and national development, a central concern of the Malawian education system is the preparation of young people, and particularly young women, to undertake traditional roles. This study demonstrates that youth, especially young women in rural settings, face many challenges to their remaining in education and achieving employment outcomes beyond traditional expectations. This also limits the potential for wider-ranging social changes and economic development. Examples provided illustrate how sector-wide patterns of educational resourcing and provision, organisational issues, teacher and learner attitudes, and cultural practices interact. Policy formation and evaluation in Malawi are driven by external funder priorities and political expediency rather than being evidence-based. This study, contrastingly, offers an empirical basis for policy formation and decision-making vis-a-vis youth education, and proposes a strategic plan to improve levels of education attendance.
    • Developing dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability: the role of knowledge transfer between supply chain partners

      Wu, Qiang; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-03)
      Persistent differences in corporate commitments to sustainability have led to an increasing debate. However, reasons behind such differences still lack a generic theorization. To address this research gap, the purpose of this study is to: 1) explicate key organizational functions and process underpinning dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability; 2) explore the relationship between supply chain knowledge transfer and the development of dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability. For such a purpose a theoretical framework is established with proposed hypotheses deriving from existing literature. Then a two-stage, mixed method is designed to test the model. In Stage One, a case study and a large-scale archival analysis are performed to elaborate the microfoundations, i.e. key organizational functions and process underpinning dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability. In Stage Two, a largescale survey is conducted among about 2,500 CILT members. The validity and reliability of the collected data are then verified through a series of tests. Finally the empirical data are fitted into a Structural Equation Model (SEM) to test proposed hypotheses. The findings of the research are twofold. The result of Stage One study suggests that three types of dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability, namely scanning, sensing, and reconfiguration capabilities, underpin a firm’s competence to successfully respond to the environmental and social concerns of various stakeholders and mobilize internal resources to make strategic change towards sustainability. Moreover, key organizational functions and process underpinning dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability show commonalities among firms across various industrial sectors and geographic regions. In Stage Two study, the empirical finding is that supply chain knowledge transfer positively impacts the development of firm's scanning capability and sensing capability. However, the impact patterns vary significantly between focal firms' upstream and downstream supply chain partnerships. The research contributes to knowledge from three perspectives. To theory, as an early attempt to extend Dynamic Capabilities View (DCV) to the area of corporate sustainability, the research not only introduces the concept of dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability to the literature, but also examines how these capabilities can be developed through supply chain knowledge transfer. It thus contributes to the theories of both DCV and corporate sustainability. To research, the empirical findings of the research indicate that the effect of inter-firm knowledge transfer on capabilities development of supply chain customers tends to be underestimated by previous studies, thus providing a new potential research direction. To practice, professionals could possibly use the theoretical framework developed in the study to better understand what types of dynamic capabilities should be developed to more effectively overcome emerging sustainability challenges, and how to further develop these capabilities through supply chain knowledge transfer.
    • The Development of an assistive chair for elderly with sit to stand problems

      Lu, Hang; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-06)
      Standing up from a seated position, known as sit-to-stand (STS) movement, is one of the most frequently performed activities of daily living (ADLs). However, the aging generation are often encountered with STS issues owning to their declined motor functions and sensory capacity for postural control. The motivated is rooted from the contemporary market available STS assistive devices that are lack of genuine interaction with elderly users. Prior to the software implementation, the robot chair platform with integrated sensing footmat is developed with STS biomechanical concerns for the elderly. The work has its main emphasis on recognising the personalised behavioural patterns from the elderly users’ STS movements, namely the STS intentions and personalised STS feature prediction. The former is known as intention recognition while the latter is defined as assistance prediction, both achieved by innovative machine learning techniques. The proposed intention recognition performs well in multiple subjects scenarios with different postures involved thanks to its competence of handling these uncertainties. To the provision of providing the assistance needed by the elderly user, a time series prediction model is presented, aiming to configure the personalised ground reaction force (GRF) curve over time which suggests successful movement. This enables the computation of deficits between the predicted oncoming GRF curve and the personalised one. A multiple steps ahead prediction into the future is also implemented so that the completion time of actuation in reality is taken into account.
    • Effects of the new regulations of the audit profession on the audit firms’ strategies

      Eldaly, Mohamed Khaled; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-11)
      The audit firms play an important role in the capital markets by verifying that auditors provide reliable information to the decision makers. However, trust in auditing firms has been questioned following Enron‘s failure and accounting scandals at WorldCom and other companies. As a result, Arthur Anderson failed and the number of big audit firms fell to four firms and no one knows who might be next. Defond and Francis (2005) believe that a critical trigger occurred when Deloitte & Touch issued a “clean” peer review report on Arthur Andersen in December 2001, just a few weeks before Andersen publicly announced that it had shredded documents related to Enron audit. The credibility and integrity of the profession‘s self-regulation program was immediately in doubt. To protect public interests and to restore confidence in the capital markets, the USA government issued the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in 2002. Similarly, the Financial Reporting Council in the UK provided the Professional Oversight Board with similar mission. This thesis aims to explore the role of independent audit regulators in promoting confidence in the audit profession, and analyse the big four firms’ strategies that react toward these regulatory changes in the audit markets. The lack of studies in this area supports the use of grounded theory as a research methodology. 24 semi-structured interviews were conducted with the top management level of the audit regulators and big four firms’ partners. This study contributes to the literature as it provides a better understanding of the satisfaction of the big four audit firms toward the new independent regulators, and how these firms react toward the additional requirements of the independent inspectors.
    • Examining the factors affecting U.K. manufacturing small and medium sized enterprises’ corporate sustainability behaviour

      Oyedepo, Gbemisola Aramide; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-01)
      This study explores the factors that affect the corporate sustainability behaviour of UK manufacturing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). To date, SMEs have been reported as being generally reluctant to engage in corporate sustainability activities. However, due to their significant negative environmental impacts, volume, and the contributions they make to economic growth and stability, no meaningful progress can be made towards corporate sustainability without SMEs’ involvement. As extant literature has focused more on the corporate sustainability activities of large or multinational companies with limited focus on SMEs, this study contributes to addressing this gap by adopting an SME perspective to exploring the factors affecting their corporate sustainability behaviour. The study was conducted as a qualitative study and data was collected through semi-structured interviews with a total of forty SME owner-managers from manufacturing companies in the South-East region of the UK and a focus group conducted with an additional twelve SME owner-managers from the same sector and region. Based on the study’s findings and an elaboration of the Responsible Environmental Behaviour (REB) framework, a framework for exploring the factors affecting SMEs’ corporate sustainability behaviour was developed. This framework suggests that SME Capacity Building in the form of information on corporate sustainability issues as they relate to SMEs, action strategies they can employ for corporate sustainability and transparency of the corporate sustainability business case, as well as Organisational Attitude, Stakeholder Influence and Resource Constraints are the main factors affecting UK manufacturing SMEs’ corporate sustainability behaviour.
    • Factors influencing the performance of tour guides in Thailand

      Khornjamnong, Butsakorn; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      The purpose of this study is to critically evaluate the performance of tour guides in Thailand and their impact on the tourist experience. The research objectives include a: review of the literature on service quality and tour guide performance; a survey of tourists’ expectations and satisfaction with tour guides in Thailand; a critical evaluation of tour operators’ and tourists’ perspectives on the variables that constitute a high standard of performance for tour guides; analysing how the performance of tour guides influences the experiences of foreign tourists; and understanding the attributes of tour guides that influence the satisfaction of foreign tourists. The sample in this research comprised 400 tourists in Thailand who were currently on or had previously been on a group package tour in Thailand within the past two years. The survey took place in 2014 between January 1 and July 31and was conducted in the cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. A convenience sampling technique was utilised, with respondents being requested to provide a range of demographic variables. Descriptive analyses of these variables were conducted to examine tourists’ demographic profiles in order to understand tourists’ characteristics and their behaviours. The results of the questionnaires were analysed using statistical methods including factor, regression and multivariate analyses. Based on the results, a tour guide service quality evaluating model (TGSQEM) was developed, composed of eight dimensions: reliability (informative); personal traits; empathy1 (service-oriented mind); assurance1 (knowledgeable); professionalism; attitude; assurance2 (able to generate an atmosphere of trust); and empathy. The results identified the various factors that affect tour guide performance whilst enhancing the understanding of the perceptions of tourists’ expectations of tour guide performance and associated service quality. Using quantifiable data, these were then calculated and plotted into a graph utilising the Important Performance Analysis (IPA) technique. This investigation of the variables that influence the service quality performance of tour guides in Thailand has subsequently been used to create a theoretical framework that can be utilized to enhance the service quality of tour guides and contribute to a more successful tourism industry in Thailand. The development of this model represents a furthering of the knowledge about the performance of tour guides and, whilst constituted in a specific cultural context, it is envisaged that it would have generic transferability to tour guiding elsewhere.
    • A functional derivative action framework for Pakistan

      Abbas, Aamir; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-01)
      Company law in Pakistan does not recognise shareholders’ right of derivative action. This situation raises the question as to what extent derivative action, if recognised under the company law in Pakistan, can promote good corporate governance and contribute to reinforce enforcement powers of shareholders as to safeguarding their rights? The purpose of this thesis is twofold. First, this thesis argues that an effective derivative action system could act as a means of disciplining corporate management in Pakistan. Second, it presents it argumentations that other legal and extra-legal managerial disciplinary mechanisms have limitations of their own that support the introduction of a statutory derivative action system in Pakistan. The methodologies used in this thesis are doctrinal, historical, case study, comparative and semi-structured interviews. Doctrinal analysis has been employed when analysing statutes and case law. Case study methodology has been used to exemplify problems of directorial misconduct and providing empirical evidence for carrying out further analysis. A comparative approach has been utilized for which the UK has been chosen for comparative purposes to identify lessons that Pakistan can learn from the UK derivative action system while finding ways for effective use of derivative action system in Pakistan. Semi-structured interviews are aimed at providing an evaluation of the reform proposals. This study contributes to the subject of derivative action in three key ways. First, it provides an in-depth examination of the regulatory framework pertaining to shareholder protection in Pakistan in order to highlight the inherent challenges presented by un-updated legal framework. Second, based on the findings from this thesis, reform proposals are made as to codifying derivative actions, clarifying the procedural route for derivative proceedings and providing a funding mechanism to attract shareholders to bring derivative actions to enforce corporate rights. Third, suggestions proposed in this thesis are supported by both the opinions of the interviewees and original research on judicial experience of other jurisdictions, particularly the UK. The findings made in this study and proposals have implications for law reforms and are expected to inform practitioners, academics, legislators and policy makers on the way forward in reforming shareholder protection in Pakistan. Thus, this thesis would inform reforms in the company law in order to strengthen the enforcement power of shareholders and ensure corporate accountability in Pakistan.
    • An investigation into cardiometabolic risk in children and adolescents

      Bailey, Daniel Paul; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-02)
      The principle aim of this work was to provide an insight into the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in children and adolescents and to examine the associations of body composition measures, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and physical activity with cardiometabolic risk. The combined association of adiposity and CRF on cardiometabolic risk in youths is also explored, as is the association of CRF with potentially modifiable variables, such as physical activity. This work has shown that, dependent on the definition employed, MetS may be present in 2.3% to 9.8% of children and adolescents in Bedfordshire, UK. When applying modified Adult Treatment Panel III definitions (Cook et al. 2003; de Ferranti et al. 2004), the condition was significantly more prevalent in overweight compared to non-overweight youths. Backward regression analyses identified that only body mass index (BMI) explained significant amounts of variance in clustered cardiometabolic risk, although being overweight according to internationally proposed cut points for BMI, waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-height ratio conferred participants to increased risk compared to their non-overweight counterparts. Clustered risk was also elevated in children and adolescents with low levels of CRF compared to those with high levels, whereas time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and vigorous physical activity (VPA) held no association. When stratified into groups according to level of fatness (BMI z-score) and CRF, those with high fatness/low CRF generally exhibited the most unfavourable cardiometabolic risk profiles. Cardiometabolic risk was higher in the high fatness/low CRF group compared to those with low fatness/low CRF and low fatness/high CRF when excluding WC from the score, and those with low fatness/low CRF when including WC in the score. Multiple regression and ANCOVA revealed that increased visceral fatness (indirectly measured using WC) was associated with reduced CRF, while increased time spent in VPA was associated with elevated CRF. These data suggest that BMI may be the best simple measure of obesity to employ when exploring adiposity-related cardiometabolic in children and adolescents. In addition, results from this iv investigation indicate that low CRF and overweight/obesity may have deleterious effects on the cardiometabolic health of children and adolescents and that interventions to reduce risk may target decreases in fatness and improvements in CRF and VPA as standard.
    • Investigation of the effects of different cryopreservation parameters on the genome of 51/4 hpf zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos

      Ahmed, Raju; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-06)
      In recent years, numerous studies have linked cryopreservation with increased occurrence of mutations, DNA fragmentation and the event of apoptosis in biological objects. However, the evidence emerged from such studies is somewhat inconclusive. The current study, therefore, aimed to analyse the DNA damage response (DDR) from the cryopreserved cells in order to characterise the nature of the putative DNA damage. The study set out to investigate the effects of different cryopreservation parameters on the genome in terms of double strand breaks (DSBs), single strand breaks (SSBs), and various forms of sequence alteration using 5¼ hour post fertilisation (hpf) zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos. The experimental conditions under which the investigation was carried out were short term chilling at 0˚C, treatment with two cryoprotective agents (CPA), namely, MeOH and Me2SO, and cooling to -35˚C. Assays for detecting DSB-activated DDR proteins and SSB-activated DDR proteins in 5¼ hpf zebrafish (Danio rerio) were developed and then utilised to investigate the occurrence of DSBs and SSBs in the genome of the embryos treated with the experimental conditions. The study then analysed the expression profiles of a set of genes unique to the base excision repair (BER), nucleotide excision repair (NER) and mismatch repair (MMR) pathways as indicators of the occurrence of various forms of sequence alterations in the genome of the embryos treated with the experimental conditions. It was found that chilling and CPA treatment did not induce DSBs or SSBs but up-regulated the MMR and BER, respectively. CPA treatment also down-regulated the NER and the MMR mechanisms. Cooling, on the contrary, did not induce DSBs but induced SSBs in the genome, which were repaired when the embryos were provided with a recovery time. Cooling also up-regulated the NER and the BER mechanisms in the embryos. The overall finding of the study indicated that the experimental conditions increased the occurrence of various single stranded DNA lesions in the genome of the embryos. The present study provided important insights into how eukaryotic cells respond to different cryopreservation parameters, which will significantly enhance the current knowledge of the effects of cryopreservation on the genome of biological objects.
    • Living in the shadows: street culture and its role in the development and maintenance of survival strategies of socially marginal young people

      Melrose, Margaret; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2005-11)
      This text demonstrates that my work on young people who are exploited through prostitution and young people involved in problematic drug use in Britain at the end ofthe twentieth and beginning ofthe twenty-first century constitutes a significant contribution to advancing our knowledge ofthese inter-related issues. The text demonstrates that, in Britain, at the end of the twentieth and beginning ofthe twenty-first century, young people exploited through prostitution and young people involved in problematic drug use share in common lived experiences in poverty at the margins of society. The common theme demonstrated here is that, as a result ofthe poverty generated by social and economic policies adopted in Britain in response to gIobalisation, 'street cultures' play an important role in the development and maintenance of survival strategies adopted by socially marginalised and economically disadvantaged young people. The discussion argues that these cultures perform important functions in time and space for socially and economically marginal young people. They do so in different ways for different young people. At the same time, however, they serve to further entrench their social and economic exclusion and disadvantage.
    • Narrative self-inquiry to capture transformation in mental health nursing practice

      Foster, Lei; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-06)
      The aim of the study is to identify and map the process of transformation of the practice of a mental health nurse from everyday practice to desirable practice (that is, the realisation of mental health Recovery) through self-inquiry into a series of narratives derived from that practice. Recovery is desirable in terms of clinical governance and is also desirable practice for mental health nurses as a standard to which they should practice. A series of reflexive narratives signposted the transformative journey and also captured the lived experience of transformation. Experiences from practice were captured as spontaneous stories. Guided reflection obtained insights from these stories, and the insights derived from the stories were subsequently reflexively deepened by inquiring into them. In time the cues in the model of guided reflection became internalized to the extent that practitioner narratives arose that already embedded insights. Self-inquiry into these practitioner narratives indicated the nature and the felt affect of constraints met within practice. The affect of these constraints upon the individual practitioner and upon the ability of the individual practitioner to achieve desirable practice is indicated by self-inquiry into them. The result of the study was the realisation that transformation is unable to take place without the individual practitioner being fully aware of who one is, in order that s/he may effect transformation and change. Whilst self-inquiry into the narratives indicated the constraints upon the individual practitioner, the psychological unpreparedness also indicated by that self-inquiry indicated why that the tension between the reality of practice and desirable practice could not be adequately explored. The thesis takes the form of a narrative about writing narratives. The narratives illustrate the norms and values that affect individual practice both vertically (that is, from the organisation and the government), and horizontally (that is, from colleagues and managers), and how an individual practitioner experiences these as obstructive to delivering the service they desire. There have been no narratives written by practitioners about the journey to realise Recovery in their practice; and the structure of the narratives as performances is unique to this subject of thesis by a mental health nurse.
    • Over-the-counter drugs and non-febrile thermoregulation: is there cause for concern?

      Foster, Josh; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-04)
      Core temperature (Tc) regulation is fundamental to mammalian survival, since hypothermia (Tc ≤ 35°C) and hyperthermia (Tc ≥ 40°C) are major risk factors for health and wellbeing. The purpose of this thesis was to determine if acetaminophen, an analgesic and antipyretic drug, increased the onset of hypothermia or hyperthermia during passive cold and heat stress, respectively. It was later investigated if acetaminophen induced inhibition of cyclooxygenase mediated these side-effects. In Study 1a, the plasma acetaminophen response to a dose of 20 mg·kg-1 of lean body mass was determined through enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. In Study 1b, the effect of acetaminophen administration on internal temperature (rectal; Tre) during a passive 2-hour mild cold (20°C, 40% relative humidity) exposure was examined. Study 1a showed that the plasma response was homogenous between subjects, reaching peak concentrations between 80-100 minutes (14 ± 4 μg·ml-1). In Study 1b, acetaminophen reduced Tre in all participants compared with baseline, and the average peak reduction was 0.19 ± 0.09°C. In contrast, Tre remained stable when participants ingested a sugar placebo. Study 1 is the first experiment which confirms a hypothermic side-effect of acetaminophen in healthy humans. Study 2 investigated whether acetaminophen augmented the rate of Tre rise during exposure to passive dry (45°C, 30% r.h.) and humid (45°C, 70% r.h.) heat stress for 2-hours and 45-minutes, respectively. This study showed that the rate of Tre rise in the dry (0.005 vs 0.006°C∙min-1) and humid (0.023 vs 0.021 °C∙min-1) conditions were similar between the acetaminophen and placebo trials (p > 0.05). Study 2 is the first experiment which confirms acetaminophen has no meaningful effect on thermoregulation during passive dry or humid heat exposure. Study 3 determined how the hypothermic effect of acetaminophen changes during exposure to a thermoneutral (25°C, 40% r.h.) and cold (10°C, 40% r.h.) environment for 2-hours. In summary, there was no hypothermic effect of acetaminophen in a thermoneutral environment (p > 0.05), whereas Tre fell by 0.40 ± 0.15°C compared with baseline during cold stress (p < 0.05). Compared with the placebo, Tre was ~0.35°C lower at 120 minutes, but was significantly lower from 70-minutes. Study 3 confirmed that there is a relationship between the level of cold stress and magnitude of the hypothermic effect of acetaminophen. Study 4 determined whether ibuprofen (400 mg), a cyclooxygenase inhibitor, reduced Tre during 2-hour passive cold stress (10°C, 40% r.h.) to a level comparable with acetaminophen. Ibuprofen administration did not influence Tre, vastus medialis shivering, or energy expenditure compared with a placebo throughout the cold exposure (p > 0.05). Taken together, this renders it unlikely that cyclooxygenase activity is required for thermogenesis induced by skin cooling. Study 4 provides evidence that acetaminophen induced hypothermia is not exclusively mediated by cyclooxygenase inhibition. In Summary, this series of experiments has shown that acetaminophen has a hypothermic side effect in healthy humans, which is amplified during acute cold stress. Ibuprofen had no such effect on thermoregulation during cold exposure, so it is unlikely that cyclooxygenase inhibition mediates the hypothermic side-effect of acetaminophen.
    • Perinatal mortality in Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers, in Luton

      Garcia, Rebecca; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-05)
      Addressing modifiable factors in perinatal mortality is a key priority for commissioners and service providers, aiming to improve birth outcomes and reduce preventable deaths (Department of Health, 2016; National Maternity Review, 2016). Luton, a town with a plural population, experiences higher rates of perinatal mortality than the national average (CDOP, 2015). Figures show an ethnic variation; Pakistani and Bangladeshi mothers experience higher rates of perinatal mortality in England compared with White British mothers, and the reasons for this are unclear. Much of the existing literature approaches the problem by examining individual risk factors quantitatively or exploring South Asian women’s experiences qualitatively. There is little research considering how Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British women’s health beliefs impact on their health behaviour through the maternity care pathway, in Luton, and how this might contribute to perinatal mortality. This study takes an intersectional approach, using a convergent mixed-methods research design, reviewing retrospective secondary data (2008-2013) from the Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Circona Maternity information System, to identify risk factors for perinatal mortality in Luton. Additionally, focus groups were conducted with lay women (aged over 16, living in LU1-LU4, who had experienced a live birth, at 37 weeks of gestation in the previous 6-24 months), and face-to-face interviews were held with bereaved mothers (aged over 16, who suffered an infant bereavement in the preceding 6-24 months, living in LU1-LU4). Health care professionals working on the maternity care pathway also took part in focus groups or interviews, providing their views on the service needs of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British women. The results/findings showed that risk factors varied according to ethnicity. Pakistani mothers had a greatest number of risk factors i.e. birthweight, diabetes, gestational diabetes, BMI <18kg/m2, parity two, three and four and later booking (>12 weeks). Deprivation featured in 81% of all deaths in 2014. The findings with the mothers revealed mostly similarities among women, regardless of their ethnicity; the majority of women wanted more pregnancy-related information, especially in respect of stillbirth and adverse outcomes. Similarly, bereaved mothers regardless of their ethnicity also reported mostly similarities, which included experiencing intuition when things were not right with the pregnancy. A few differences according to ethnicity were also identified, which focused on cultural or religious needs, such as cultural therapies (mostly dietary restrictions) undertaken by Pakistani and Bangladeshi women. The intersectional approach allowed simultaneous and aggregated factors (i.e. heritable, socio-economic status, structural factors and health beliefs and health behaviours) to be exposed; staff believed Pakistani and Bangladeshi women were not proactive in seeking pregnancy-related information, relying on verbal information and staff assumed mothers were literate and understood health messages. The intersected findings also revealed that few women took folic acid preconception, and many women co-slept with their baby. This study contributes new knowledge to the understanding of how Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British women’s health beliefs influence their health behaviour, and contributes to perinatal mortality in Luton.
    • Psychosocial and mental health challenges of international students compared to British students in UK universities

      Alsaad, Khaled Saeed M.; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-07)
      According to Harman (2004), international students were one of the main sources of finance in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. These students may face many difficulties once they arrive in countries like the UK, trying to adjust to their new surroundings. They confront, for example, more difficulties and challenges than the British students beginning a university course, especially if English is not their first language and the culture of their motherland is substantially different from British culture. Apart from language and cultural barriers, other reported difficulties include high academic demand, missing family and friends, lack of social support, lower self-confidence, deficiencies with study skills and a need to have more assertiveness (Poyrazli et al., 2002). Currently, not enough research has been published regarding acculturative stress and social support, including its relationship with psychological mental health amongst international students studying at UK universities. The main purposes of this study were threefold: (1) investigate the association between mental health and psychosocial variables amongst both international and British students (in UK universities); (2) explore the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings of international students in the context of acculturation, while they study abroad in the UK universities; and finally (3) to triangulate and integrate the findings of this study obtained from two distinct approaches of combined results. A concurrent triangulation mixed methods design was employed, consisting of three main studies. (a) I (Pilot study): a quantitative study employing simple yet effective cross-sectional approaches through its intention to using sample data; (b) II (Main study): a quantitative method specifically utilising cross-sectional design using authoritative data; and (c) III: a qualitative research conducting semi-structured interviews (using two qualitative questionnaires) to examine the metaphors participants used to describe their experiences in the host society. Study I: A snowball purposive sampling technique was used to select 358 students (international and British) studying in UK universities. Three different UK universities were selected. Eight pre-existing questionnaires were first tested for validity and reliability, then were utilised to examine the relationships between mental health and seven other independent variables. Study II: A snowball purposive sampling technique was used to select 796 students (international and British) studying in UK universities. Ten different UK universities were selected. The previous eight pre-existing questionnaires used in Study I were used in Study II, but the difference was that GHQ-12 was replaced by GHQ-28, and the IAI and SAI forms of the Three Assimilation Indexes were excluded. Study III: A snowball purposive sampling technique was used to select 30 students (international) studying in three UK universities. A semi-structured interview was conducted with these students. This study used thematic analysis to categorise metaphors and analyse the qualitative data. With a response rate of 82%, Study I showed that international students from the Middle East are less affected by cultural distress than other students from outside of Europe. In addition, many students find themselves leaning more towards religion to deal with the new cultural environment. Study II had an 80% response rate and found that there was an association between three out of five predictor variables (coping flexibility, social support and coping) with mental health, for both international and British students. In addition, the study found that there was an association between three out of seven predictor variables (coping strategy, religious problem solving, and acculturation) with mental health in international students. In Study III, the metaphors supported the quantitative results in terms of finding that a substantial number of the respondents had negative feelings about living in the UK and found the new setting depressing. The findings of the two quantitative studies (Study I and Study II) found that there is an association between international students and British students and coping flexibility with mental health. This finding has been confirmed by Study III which addressed metaphorical phrases used by international students. These findings indicate that interventions are strongly required in order to prevent and control potential psychological problems in both groups. The main recommendations are that regular training sessions should be provided for all international students, giving strategies for coping with the new culture. It is concluded that social support played a moderating role in the relationship between culture stress as well as mental health only in international students. These findings imply that strategies could be created to help students to cope with their mental issues and reduce the impact of distress they experience during their study. This might have a positive effect on their academic achievement consequently.