• Nanoparticles based drug delivery platform to improve oral uptake for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

      Kaur, Gurpreet (University of Bedfordshire, 2020)
      Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a rapidly progressive chronic neurodegenerative disease, which eventually leads to brain damage. Despite combined efforts of the research community, no fully effective treatment has been identified yet. Drug delivery is a major issue in neurodegenerative diseases due to the complexity of the diseases but the difficulty in accessing targets. A medicine is only effective if it reaches its target. As such, while some active molecules can be demonstrated very efficiently in vitro, side effects and unreachable targets bring delivery at the forefront of drug efficiency. Rivastigmine is one of the reversible Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) Inhibitors, which is used for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia of either AD or Parkinson’s disease (PD). As a cholinesterase inhibitor, its role is to inhibit AChE activity to maintain ACh level by decreasing its breakdown rate, therefore boosting cholinergic neurotransmission in forebrain regions and compensate for the loss of functioning brain cells Rivastigmine has shown some success in improving ACh level in AD patients and also inhibiting amyloid plaques deposition in the brain. It is commercially available in different forms including oral solutions, tablets, and patches but therapeutic regimens require frequent dosing causing fluctuations is the plasma level. Whereas the oral form has been associated with a high incidence of gastrointestinal side effects, the transdermal patch formulation has been shown to have a better tolerability profile but adverse dermatologic reactions remain a concern. In addition, an important safety concern persists with dermal application with the risk of treatment overdose by administering multiple patches at the same time, potentially leading to fatal outcomes. Therefore, the oral form could be safer if its side effects could be controlled. Following initial uptake, crossing the blood-­‐brain barrier (BBB) is another major obstacle to be considered. Due to its hydrophilic nature, rivastigmine efficacy is also restricted by its poor ability to cross BBB. Its bioavailability is reported to be only up to 35%. To overcome these issues, this work has focused on the delivery of rivastigmine, particularly its uptake with nanoparticle-­‐based formulations that can facilitate uptake, protect the active molecule from early degradation, and provide targeted delivery while preventing side effects due to unwanted interactions. Rivastigmine loaded nanoparticles have previously been designed and proven to have numerous fundamental properties that assist their effectiveness such as biocompatibility, lack of toxicity, reduced side effects, and increased tolerated dose of the drug but not effective enough for the treatment. Their enhanced retention time within the systemic circulation and their ability to cross BBB still remains challenging. The novel formulations designed in this study were designed for slow release to prevent cytotoxicity while providing stability and high uptake in GI tract to reach the systemic circulation. Biodegradable composition of these formulations will prevent the risks that may contribute to accumulation of inorganic material inside the brain. As the aim of the research is the successful targeted delivery of Rivastigmine, the first objective of this study was to design an efficient method to monitor and analyse delivery, using UPLC in an analytical set up standardised using in house developed standard solutions. In the second part of this study, several formulations were designed and investigated to improve rivastigmine intestinal uptake, where both negatively and positively charges drug loaded nanoparticles were formulated. In the third part of this work ,a Caco-­‐2 cell duodenal model was used to assess membrane permeability, uptake, and intake of Rivastigmine. Cytotoxicity of nanoformulations was determined by MTT assay showing low toxicity in the case of rivastigmine-­‐loaded nanoparticles. The final results of this study demonstrate that nanoparticle formulations provide a slower stable release of rivastigmine from nanoparticles than previously designed nanoformulations. I addition, some of these formulations provide high bioavailability over both apical and basal membrane, therefore, providing higher intake to target the BBB, with limited unwanted interaction in the intestine therefore limiting the major concern about side effects
    • New media and its impact on marketing communications

      Curran, Wayne (University of Bedfordshire, 2007)
      New media marketing is now a crucial weapon in a companies quest to communicate with their target audience. In particular the widespread adoption of the internet has presented significant opportunities, as has the convergence of various mediums. Recent TV programmes such as Big Brother and Pop Idol have successfully integrated mobile technology with internet and traditional TV. This has provided for additional opportunities for communicating with the programmes target audience. Additionally companies are increasingly adopting new techniques such as viral marketing, SMS messaging and e-mail marketing. This research programme has culminated in a 30 minute documentary that provides a critical overview of the current state of these technologies. Major areas covered are advertising, in the form of traditional web sites, banner ads and SEO. Direct marketing covering the topics of e-mail marketing, viral and SMS marketing. And marketing PR covering blogs, social media and online discussion forums. The final documentary produced achieved it's overall aim of providing a comprehensive overview of new media marketing technologies for an audience of marketing professionals. However there were apparent weaknesses in tenns of documentary form.
    • Not just anodyne confections: responding to Jack Zipes' post-Marxist reading of Disney's fairy tale films with a specific focus on 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

      Syer, Paul (University of Bedfordshire, 2011-10)
      Within the fairy tale corpus, there are constant retellings of the tales using a range of mediums. Furthermore, amongst these retellings, Disney’s fairy tale films stand alone as being both the most popular and most criticised of all fairy tale adaptations. Leading the criticism toward Disney’s films is fairy tale scholar and critic Jack Zipes. However, Zipes only presents one reading of Disney’s fairy tale adaptations, that of denouncing them by applying both a historicist and post-Marxist reading to them. This thesis looks at two interconnected areas in order to be better placed to respond to Zipes’ comments regarding Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and to answer the questions of why the film has such an enduring longevity and popular reception. Firstly, there needs to be a clear definition of what constitutes a fairy tale. This is especially pertinent as Zipes dismisses Disney’s films as a ‘violation’ of the genre (Zipes, 1999, p. 353). Once this has been achieved, a close reading of Snow White as belonging to a larger fairy tale corpus which includes literary, dramatic, live-action and animated versions of fairy tales can be embarked upon and it is here that the link between chapters one and two of this thesis are to be found. If Disney’s Snow White adheres to the characteristics that delimit and define all fairy tales, then Zipes’ dismissal and partial reading of the film can be responded to by approaching Disney’s film from the same perspective as one would approach any other version of a fairy tale: by judging the film on its own merits as a version of a literary tale. Chapter two looks at these merits which include the adoption and innovation of new technology, and the multimodal nature of the film to render meaning and produce pleasure.
    • A novel graph-based method for targeted ligand-protein fitting

      Hannaford, Gareth James (University of Bedfordshire, 2008-08)
      The determination of protein binding sites and ligand -protein fitting are key to understanding the functionality of proteins, from revealing which ligand classes can bind or the optimal ligand for a given protein, such as protein/ drug interactions. There is a need for novel generic computational approaches for representation of protein-ligand interactions and the subsequent prediction of hitherto unknown interactions in proteins where the ligand binding sites are experimentally uncharacterised. The TMSite algorithms read in existing PDB structural data and isolate binding sites regions and identifies conserved features in functionally related proteins (proteins that bind the same ligand). The Boundary Cubes method for surface representation was applied to the modified PDB file allowing the creation of graphs for proteins and ligands that could be compared and caused no loss of geometric data. A method is included for describing binding site features of individual ligands conserved in terms of spatial relationships allowed identification of 3D motifs, named fingerprints, which could be searched for in other protein structures. This method combine with a modification of the pocket algorithm allows reduced search areas for graph matching. The methods allow isolation of the binding site from a complexed protein PDB file, identification of conserved features among the binding sites of individual ligand types, and search for these features in sequence data. In terms of spatial conservation create a fingerprint ofthe binding site that can be sought in other proteins of/mown structure, identifYing putative binding sites. The approach offers a novel and generic method for the identification of putative ligand binding sites for proteins for which there is no prior detailed structural characterisation of protein/ ligand interactions. It is unique in being able to convert PDB data into graphs, ready for comparison and thus fitting of ligand to protein with consideration of chemical charge and in the future other chemica! properties.
    • A nurse led assessment prior to elective admission for surgery

      Jackson, Jane Elizabeth (University of Bedfordshire, 1999)
      'This thesis reports on a study undertaken at an NHS Trust during a thirty month period commencing January 1994. The aim of the study was to evaluate the results of a preoperative assessment clinic for adult patients due to undergo major and minor elective surgery, (other than those admitted for gynaecological procedures). The primary focus was on hospital efficiency, within government initiatives, and the use of assessment as a means to guarantee a bed on admission, reducing theatre cancellations and waiting list times. The main outcome measures are the reduced theatre cancellation rates, increased patient throughput, and a clear reduction in length of stay. A secondary theme was explored, that of multi-disciplinary collaboration in particular doctor nurse collaboration; the role and ability of an advanced nursing role, whereby the assessment clinic provided the environment for comparison of patient outcome between those seen by doctor or by nurse assessor. The study compared all patient admission episodes and outcomes with respect to patients assessed and those not assessed. The study is able to demonstrate that a nurse performed at least as well as the doctor.
    • Online brand advocates of luxury fashion accessories

      Kanthavanich, Poramate (University of Bedfordshire, 2011)
      This study observes brand advocacy and online brand advocates behaviours. The research is using a netnographic approach to uncover perceptions, behaviours and characteristics of online brand advocates within the framework of the loyalty ladder and online brand communities in the context of luxury fashion accessories, particularly handbags. The study analyses discussions, conversations and activities in four online communities. The findings show that brand advocates perceive hedonic values of luxury fashion accessories such as being a source of happiness, fulfilment and belonging. Frequent participation in discussions and activities with others brand fans in the online communities can increase advocacy level and love for the brands, and subsequently turn participants into active brand advocates. Positive word-of-mouth, recommending, defending and sharing love for fashion brands are the key online advocacy behaviours which are caused by love and passion for luxury fashion accessories. The findings also suggest that brand advocacy may not be a stable state depending on the favour and love of the brands at a particular point of time. Thus, brand advocates can exhibit advocacy behaviours for several fashion brands simultaneously. The study makes a contribution to brand advocacy by extending the loyalty ladder with the behaviours and characteristics of online luxury fashion brand advocates. The research provides insights to online advocacy which will be beneficial to both academic research and provide valuable feedback to brand managers.
    • An online sharable diary system using Sun Technologies

      Farrow, Roger (University of Bedfordshire, 2009-10)
      The need for an online sharable diary came from a company who were having trouble keeping track of their employees during the day using a traditional paperbased diary solution, they had tested a variety of software solutions (Outlook and iCal) but these solutions didn't gel well across the variety of operating systems employed by the company. So a solution was sought that was free of operating system dependency yet robust and secure. The technologies chosen for this implementation were those owned by Sun and include OpenSolaris, Netbeans, MySQL and GlassFish. With Servlet and JSP being the intended programming and scripting approaches. This was for a variety of reasons but predominantly because they are available free, are enterprise level software, and because Sun offers comprehensive support options. Initial research was collected from the company in the form of questionnaires and diary samples and these contributed heavily to the development. The methodology chosen for this implementation was prototyping which worked well and enabled communication between the client and developer on a variety of issues, it helped the client feel more involved and that they would receive a useful product at the end. The implementation undertaken suffered a wide range issues both software and hardware that resulted in the program not being completed successfully. This caused changes to be made in both the development process and for the developer to have to favour JSP over Servlet for programming approach. However the HTML, CSS, database, logo and branding components were completed. An unexpected but positive outcome was also the development of a five bit binary style access control system, that reduced the number of database records and interactions required. Whilst it is impossible to state that this project was a success for either the client or the developer. The client although they are still looking for an adequate solution were interested in the development process undertaken as a means to producing criteria that would inform a decision on a solution they were also interested in the combination of use of Google calender and Doodle as means to share diary events, and to smooth the organisation of events. The developer found the taking of client requirements and using them to shape the development process was very informative, and the use of Prototyping was successful and contributed to good communication between the client and developer, there were also significant learning points relating to testing and establishing a development environment. The unexpected benefit of the creation of a binary style access control was also interesting although more development is required.
    • Optimisation of 802.16m (WiMAX2) relay station for enhanced performance

      Ahmed, Naveed (University of Bedfordshire, 2012)
      The relay stations are widely used in major wireless technologies such as WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) and LTE (Long term evolution) which provide cost effective service to the operators and end users. It is quite challenging to provide guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS) in WiMAX networks in cost effective manner. In this thesis the WiMAX RS (relay station) is investigated for the purpose of saving overall cost by decreasing the number of RS to cover the territory of base station and also to provide the services to mobile users out of the range of base station. Secondly, the throughput and delay matrices have been taken to enhance the system performance. In addition to cost effective deployment of RS and evaluation of throughput and delay using relay station, the third factor which is with comparison of QoS classes is also made in order to see the overall performance of WiMAX network. As a technical challenge, radio resource management, RS selection, and QoS parameters are also primarily considered. The main objective is to decrease the overall deployment cost in relay stations and utilize the available spectral resources as efficiently as possible to minimize the delay and improve throughput for end users with high demanding applications such as voice and video. Having in mind the cost and the increasingly more demanding applications with ever growing number of subscribers, main consideration of this thesis have set the parameters and contribute to the technology in cost effective way to improve QoS. Within the pool of scheduling algorithms and for the purpose of achieving efficient radio resource management, link adaptation methods, AMC scheme, cell sectoring and directional antenna have been studied in detail. Some of the IEEE802.16m standard parameters are not supported in current version of OPNET 16 due to new amendment and evolution of new techniques applied in WiMAX2.
    • Optimisation of spore production by the potential fungal biocontrol agent for aphids, Erynia Neoaphidis

      Mukiibi, Joy Lois Nalweyiso (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2003-02)
      The optimisation of spore production by the potential fungal biological control agent for aphids, Erynia neoaphidis Remaudiere and Hennebert (Zygomycetes: Entomophthoraceae) was studied. The fungus was able to grow in semi-defined Frynia medium (SDEM) containing glucose, yeast extract, mycological peptone, and 0.02% oleic acid buffered to a pH 6. Oleic acid was fungicidal at 0.1 % (v/v) while 0.02% (v/v) oleic acid was the optimum for radial grovvth. Plugs cut 5-10 mm from the margin ofa colony produced more conidia than plugs cut 13-20 mm from the colony margin. Renewed grovvth continued through two subcultures on solid SDEM lacking yeast extract (SDEML YE), and SDEM lacking mycological peptone (SDEMLMP). The continued growth was attributed to the carry over of nutrient in the inoculum. Growth was supported on SDEMNH4S04 when ammonium sulphate was used as the nitrogen source instead of mycological peptone suggesting that the fungus could obtain the growth factors it required from yeast extract. When chitin was added to SDEM in insoluble powder form instead ofglucose (SDEMC 1 & SDEMC2), the absence of a clearing zone around the developing colony suggested that chitin was not metabolised by E. neoaphidis. Biomass grown on SEMA and on SDEMDG (containing double the original concentration ofglucose 3 2grl), resulted in production of fewer conidia oflarger volume compared to SDEMDMP containing double and half the original concentration of mycological peptone (SDEMHP), SDEM containing halfthe original concentration ofglucose (SDEMHG). Increasing the glucose to double the original concentration resulted to an increase in biomass. Erynia neoaphidis grown on aphid cadavers produced many, smaller conidia. Mycelial mats harvested from biomass grown in fed-batch liquid fermenter culture in SDEMDG at the end ofthe exponential phase and placed on water agar discharged conidia at a rate of 6,700 conidia mm -2 h-1which persisted for approximately 3 days. When E. neoaphidis was subcultured onto SDEM from SEMA medium, the colony growth rate increased on the second subculture on SDEM where more lipases and aminopeptidases were detected at higher concentrations using the API ZYM system. This shows that attenuation might have taken place by either a phenotypic or genotypic (eg mutation) change or both when E. neoaphidis was grown on SDEM from SEMA medium. Growth in GASP medium resulted in the production of more biomass and a delay in the onset of decline phase compared to cultures grown in SDEM. Fewer enzymes were detected at a lower concentration in cultures grown in GASP compared to cultures grown in SDEM, this difference might be more likely to relate to the balance of nutrients and the fact that GASP medium is more similar in composition to the nutrients found in the haemocoel of an aphid. Based on this research. It is recommend that E. neoaphidis be grown in SDEM liquid cultures containing 32 grl glucose instead of 16 grl glucose. Biomass for field applications should be harvested at the end ofthe exponential growth and mycelial mats made. The mycelial mats should be maintained at high relative humidity and can be expected to discharge conidia for 3 days.
    • Outside the frame : an investigation into visual narrative structures of three urban environments

      Fairchild, Anna (University of Bedfordshire, 2011-12)
      Narrative structures were explored and examined between the culturally contrasting urban environments of London, Luton and Istanbul. Through the visual creative processes of drawing, printmaking and photography images were used to explore how these processes could be combined with a view to revealing alternative narrative structures within two-dimensional images. A large body of two-dimensional work of varying scales was made between 2009 and 2011. Throughout the project a visual and written journal was kept using reflection onof the deconstruction of the combinations of images to clarify the insights gained The results of the analysis and evaluation in this journal combined with contextualization of the emerging work formed the basis for working methods, which revealed new narratives or stories between and within the developing series of two-dimensional images. It was these results of this analysis and evaluation combined with qualitative responses to from artists, filmmakers, writers and others which enabled these working methods to establish the base for practice- led research into visual narrative structures. Through this practice- led research it was established that using the working methods above, alternative narrative structures could articulate a complex range of both personal memories together with that of wider range of experiences across culturally contrasting urban environments selected at the beginning of the 21st Century.
    • Oxidant production in exercise: effects of exercise intensity and an environmental stressor on rate of oxidant production

      Mathie, Annabel K. (University of Bedfordshire, 2005-10)
      Oxidant production in exercise was investigated with the aim of determining whether certain exercise intensities could cause increases in post exercise concentrations of urinary free radical markers, when compared to pre-exercise marker concentrations, by use of a simple, easy to repeat study. Subjects exercised at a variety of set percentages of maximum oxygen intake capacity (V02 Max) for 30 minutes, following which urine samples were taken at scheduled time points for up to 24 hours. Samples were analysed for markers of free radical damage to cellular structures. No significant differences in concentrations were found between individual sample time-points in each urinary free radical marker (p=>O.OS). However urinary concentrations of each marker were significantly different (p=
    • Partnerships - cracking under the pressure of organisational change?

      Smith, Sally (University of Bedfordshire, 2007-10)
      The concept of partnership and its success or failure has attracted much debate since its inception as a model in the early 1990s. It has become apparent that partnership can entail changing deeply held beliefs and attitudes on both the management and union sides of the relationship. The pace of change has increased exponentially in recent times, necessitating new organisational responses. These responses can be seen by some as sympathetic to the development of partnership work, but at the same time it is acknowledged that organisational change can become a pressure on partnership. The purpose of this research is to look at existing partnerships as they experience the pressures of organisational change over a period of time, and analyse the effect these pressures have on both managers and union representatives, the partnership itself, and the success of organisational change. Extrapolated from key literature, theoretical models were developed to demonstrate the changes in partnership. Using an explanatory causal comparative case study approach, across two organisations; the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust; and the Royal Mail. The research uses primary and secondary data obtained through a series of semi-structured questionnaires completed by key leads involved in the partnership, on both the union and management sides; and study of academic and professional literature with a key focus on both partnerships in the subject organisations. The resulting data was analysed using a matrixed pattern matching technique. The research identifies that there are many influences involved in the deterioration, or stability of partnership: whether the approach to the creation of partnership is cynical or positive; whether management and union attitudes are allowed to deteriorate, or the partnership seeks for ways to overcome these pressures; the strength of the partnership does help it to endure, but there are contributing factors to this strength, such as the embedding of partnership, and equal voice to management. The research concludes that partnership does not necessarity deteriorate under the pressure of organisational change, but rather establishes that they can survive these pressures through a focused application of partnership strategy on both the management and union sides. The existing typologies for definition of the strengths of partnership were demonstrated to have neglected the wider more complex variables existing that make a partnership weak or strong, and rather that the theoretical models proposed, demonstrated a more valid theory of this complex environment and therefore could be said to demonstrate what occurs to partnerships enduring the pressures of organisational change, and therefore could be used for prediction purposes. It is suggested that this presents an opportunity for further research focused on the stability of partnership, utitising the validated models proposed herewith.
    • Performance analysis of routing protocols in Manet

      Kaur, Pardeep (University of Bedfordshire, 2012)
      The history of wireless network is around 20 year old, when in 1997 IEEE start working on it and define the wireless standards in 1999. As Mobile Adhoc Network (MANET) is self managing and governing network, so it is the challenging task to handle the network in most effective and better way due to dynamic changes In the network as the nodes can join and leave the network without getting any authorization and these nodes are independent in nature. This research is based on the performance measurement of proactive and reactive protocols with respect to quality of service.
    • Performing phenomenology: a practice-led investigation of contemporary performance

      Bennett, Catherine Ann (University of Bedfordshire, 2013-02)
      This thesis is an analysis of three contemporary performances. These performances are very different, what they have in common is that they were either performed, or curated by the author. The problem under investigation in this thesis concerns the experience of dance practice and the manner in which that experience is articulated. In other words, this MA is an attempt to describe three contemporary performances in a coherent, revealing, analytical way. The central purpose here is to bring into theoretical focus these contemporary accounts of dance practice. It follows that the thesis asks how revealing and how successful these conceptual accounts of dance are? The methodology employed in this thesis may broadly be called phenomenological. This term is characteristically associated with the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961). The emphasis in phenomenology and in this thesis is on the experience and perception of the agent or actor herself. This thesis shares this emphasis. The phenomenological method is best described as a constellation of concepts rather than a series of immutable principles. The primary conclusion of this thesis is to recommend phenomenology as a useful tool for the understanding and analysis of dance practice. Critical, in this respect are the ideas of embodiment and the lived body. In so far as this thesis makes a modest claim to contribute to our knowledge of the subject under enquiry it reminds us that a practice as complex as dance requires a discrete, experience-based theoretical explication. My sincere hope is that the reader will find such an account in what follows.
    • Post transfer of undertakings psychological contract violation: modelling antecedents and outcomes

      Ferreira, Juanique (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-10)
      The purpose of this study was to test a model of antecedents and outcomes of psychological contract violation based on social exchange theory within the context of an acquisition. A cross-sectional quantitative survey research design was used. A total of 200 office and operational employees who had recently gone through a TUPE transfer process as the result of an acquisition partiCipated in the study. PartiCipants were] asked to complete a questionnaire to measure their perceptions of procedural justice and perceived organisational support experienced at the point of TUPE and the resulting psychological contract violation and employee engagement post-TUPE. Multiple regression analysis through SPSS 19.0 was used as the method of analysis. Results indicate that procedural justice and perceived organisational support predicts psychological contract violation. Results indicate that psychological contract violation in turn predicts employee engagement. In addition, psychological contract violation mediates the relationship between procedural justice, perceived organisational support and employee engagement. Therefore, support has been found to state that the psychological contract can be used to explain the relationship between employee perceptions of fairness and support during a TUPE and their post-TUPE reaction of engagement. The study used cross-sectional and self-reported data which limits the conclusions that can be confirmed about causality and also raises concerns about common method bias. Furthermore, it is acknowledged that various extraneous or confounding variable may have an influence on the variables. The study offers insights into employees' responses within the context of TUPE transfers as explored through the psychological contract within the social exchange theory the framework.
    • Practical cooling manoeuvres during simulated soccer in the heat

      McDonald, Peter (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-03)
      The globalisation of soccer match-play has meant that major international and domestic competitions typically occur in hot environments with ambient temperature exceeding 28°C (Taylor and Rollo, 2014). Previous simulated (Aldous et al., 2016) and soccer match-play data (Mohr et al., 2012) in the heat (30 - 43°C) have reported significant reductions in physical performance measures when compared to a temperate environment (18 - 21°C). Practical strategies to reduce these heat-mediated decrements in physical performance whilst fitting in with the time constraints practitioners are faced with in soccer are warranted (Taylor and Rollo, 2014; Russel et al., 2015). Therefore, the aim of the present investigation is to examine the efficacy of practical cooling manoeuvres which can be actively worn during a pre-match warmup and whilst conducting general changing room preparatory tasks (downtime prior to kick off and half-time) on simulated soccer performance in a hot environment (32°C and 60% rH; WBGT: 28°C). Seven male university level soccer-players completed one Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1, two familiarization sessions, one peak speed assessment and four randomized, counterbalanced experimental trials of the intermittent Soccer Performance Test (iSPT) at 32°C. Four experimental trials consisted of cooling during a soccer-specific prematch warm-up (~24 min), downtime prior to kick-off (12 min) and half-time interval (10 min) via (1) Ice Vest (VEST); (2) Neck Cooling (NECK); (3) VEST and NECK (VEST+NECK) used concurrently; or with no-cooling (CON). Physical performance [total distance (TD), highspeed distance (HSD), sprint distance, variable run distance (VRD) and low-speed distance (LSD) covered], body temperatures [rectal temperature (Tre), mean skin temperature (Tsk) and neck temperature (neckTsk)], physiological [heart-rate (HR) and change in body-mass] and perceptual response [rate of perceived exertion (RPE), thermal comfort (TC), thermal sensation (TS) and neck thermal sensation (TSneck)] were all measured. When compared to CON, sprint distance covered was significantly improved (P < 0.05) during the first and last 15 min in NECK, final 15 min in VEST, and final 30 min in VEST+NECK during iSPT, respectively. In xvi VEST, Tsk was significantly reduced (P < 0.05) until 15 min of iSPT compared to CON. In NECK and VEST+NECK, TSneck and neckTsk were significantly reduced (P < 0.01) prior to the start of iSPT with neckTsk also significantly lower post half-time cooling, compared to CON. Furthermore, VEST+NECK also significantly reduced (P < 0.05) TS prior to the start of iSPT, compared to CON. No further significance (P > 0.05) was observed for physical performance, physiological or perceptual responses during iSPT for all conditions. Pre- and half-time cooling via VEST+NECK was most ergogenic and significantly improved sprint performance during the final 30 min of iSPT in 32°C, important given the prominence of sprinting prior to goals and assists during soccer match-play (Faude et al., 2012). Further research with a larger sample size is warranted to further elucidate the mechanisms for the enhanced performance.
    • Pressure sensor array model for collecting user’s responses to test action in active robot learning

      Zou, Weidong (University of Bedfordshire, 2010-10)
      Active robot learning (ARL) is an approach to the development of beliefs of the robots on their users’ intentions and preferences, which is needed by the robots to facilitate the seamless cooperation with users. Such approach allows the robots to perform tests on its users and to form high-order beliefs according to the users’ responses. This study carried out primary research on designing a pressure sensor array model attached to the robot’s finger tips to collect the user’s responses to test action in the ARL system. A mathematical model and the reference value threshold which decides the pressure distribution were proposed through a benchmark scenario experiment. The robot holds an object and presents it to the user. When the user does not take over the object, the pressure distribution on the robot’s finger tips shown on the pressure sensor array is uneven. When the user takes over the object, the pressure distribution on the robot’s finger tips is even. According to the relationship between the pressure distribution and the user’s responses, the user’s responses to test action can be recognized by the robot. Two cases of the benchmark scenario which is the robot passing an object to the user is simulated in a simulation software, GraspIt, in this study. The simulation results proved the developed pressure sensor array model can successfully collect the user’s responses to test actions in the ARL.
    • Pro inflammatory cytokine production by polymorphonuclear neutrophils following a 12-day period of intensified training

      Thorley, Josh (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-01-15)
      This thesis investigated whether resting and/or exercise-induced interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) production by antigen-stimulated polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) would alter over a 12-day intensified training period (ITP). Ten physically active males completed seventeen exercise sessions in total, including: two main trials (30-min self-paced treadmill run (RPETR), 10 km time trial), completed before (MTPRE) and after (MTPOST) a twelve day ITP, and two V̇O2max tests completed before (VO2PRE) and after (VO2POST) the ITP. Blood samples were collected via venepuncture before and after the RPETR at MTPRE and MTPOST. PMN were isolated from whole blood and incubated for 18 h with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) antigen. IL-8 and TNF-α production by LPS-stimulated PMN was determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests. TNF-α production by LPS-stimulated PMN significantly elevated in response to the RPETR at MTPRE (P = 0.004) and MTPOST (P = 0.047). IL-8 production only significantly increased in response to the RPETR at MTPRE (P = 0.033) but not at MTPOST (P = 0.199). The absolute RPETR-induced increase in TNF-α and IL-8 concentrations by LPS-stimulated PMN were lower at MTPOST compared to MTPRE. Blood PMN concentration increased significantly following the completion of RPETR at MTPRE (P = 0.02) and MTPOST (P = 0.016). Resting and RPETR-induced blood PMN concentrations did not significantly differ between MTPRE and MTPOST (P = 0.521). Following the completion of the ITP, V̇O2max (P = 0.696) and 10 km time to completion scores (P = 0.457; d = 0.32) did not change. The severity of upper-respiratory tract symptoms (URTS) increased in six out of ten participants following the ITP. Self-reported general (P = 0.040) and sport-related (P = 0.005) stress scores were higher at MTPOST compared to MTPRE. The identification of increased stress states, more severe URTS, and decreased physical performance capacities in participants indicates that overreaching may have been achieved following the ITP. Reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine production in response to acute exercise following a period of intensified training may predispose athletes to impaired inflammatory responses during exercise which may contribute to the pathogenesis of reported URTS in athletes who are overtraining.
    • Psychological contract experience of survivor first-line managers during organisational downsizing: the mediating influence of culture in Nigeria

      Uchenna, Christian Obi (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-06)
      Purpose: The purpose of this research is to investigate the effect of breaches psychological contract on survivor first-line managers during organisational downsizing in Nigeria. Secondly, the influence of national culture on their responses to such perceived breaches Literature: Psychological contract PC is an important concept in understanding work relationships, and the obvious impact the construt has on organisational outcomes (Zhao et al., 2007). It is described as a mental model or schema which helps individuals to understand and interprete employment relationships (Rousseau, 1989). The study of PC has increased in recent times because of increasing emphasis on lean management or cost cutting which usually result in perception of breach (Datta et al., 2010). In the past, researches on psychological contract have focused on the understanding of the conditions under which perception of breach arise; the conditions under which perceptions of breach are stronger or weaker; and the conditions that mediate the effects and feeling of breach (Zhao et al., 2007). Most studies on PC have focussed on victims and have been carried out in western context (Sronce and McKinley, 2006; Sparrow, 1998). Researchers have therefore advocated the need for a research to be carried in a non-western context as cognition and perception of PC is said to be influenced by culture. This informed the focus of this investigation, and to focus on survivor-managerial employees because paucity of research on survivors in Nigeria. Research Methodology: The research study adopted a qualitative approach using one-to-one interviews. The data were collected in two staged interviews process. The first started with review of extant literature in the subject area. Semi-structured interviews were used to interview seven participants of managerial cadre who survived downsizing exercise. The second stage equally employed Semi-structured interviews with identified survivor managers. In this stage 13 interviews were conducted. The two stages are complimentary in order to deepen knowledge and gain insight into lived experiences of surviving managers and how culture influences their attitudinal behaviours during downsizing. All data were analysed inductively using interpretative phenomenological analysis IPA Findings: Findings from this study had shown that emotional/psychological experiences and feelings such as anxiety, uncertainty, job insecurity, reduced motivation, and reduced effort/productivity as well as intention to leave experienced by survivor managerial employees consistent with findings from Anglo-American cultures are not cultural bound. The findings indicate that, although managerial survivors were unhappy and dissatisfied with events in the workplace, their work-related attitudes and behavioural responses such as commitment & loyalty were positive. This positive attitudinal response is said to be mediated or influenced by societal cultural values like religious beliefs, extended family obligations, the value of dependency, faith in God, spirituality and high level of unemployment. The findings also indicate the valence of religious beliefs, and faith in God when survivor employees face unforeseen, difficult and unpleasant situations including downsizing in Nigeria.
    • The reality of rights, independence, choice and inclusion for adults with learning disabilities

      Presland, John Richard (University of Bedfordshire, 2013-07)
      The aim of this qualitative research study is to explore the reality of rights, independence, choice and inclusion for adults with learning disabilities; these represent key principles in government policy on this service user group, as set out in Valuing People (2001). The role of professionals (specifically Care Managers) in acting as allies to people with learning disabilities is also considered. The literature review explores the impact of social policy, the interventions arising from it, and the role of professionals, in the lives of people with learning disabilities over the last one hundred years. Focus Groups are used to explore the themes emerging from the literature review with a local group of people with learning disabilities and Care Managers. Originally Direct Payments and now Personal Budgets offer a means of making choices outside of specialist services. Expectations of people with learning disabilities regarding the relationships and models of support to which they aspire are explored, together with issues of communication – written and verbal. The importance of connecting people’s past influences and experiences with the present and future are identified, acknowledging that the story of social policy is also a personal story of people’s lived experiences. The dilemmas Care Managers face in carrying out their assessment role also emerge from the research. The application of social work values and reflective practice for Care Managers is identified as a significant aspect of professional practice.