Recent Submissions

  • Increased epigenetic diversity and transient epigenetic memory in response to salinity stress in Thlaspi arvense.

    Geng, Yu-peng; Chang, Na; Zhao, Yuewan; Qin, Xiaoying; Lu, Shugang; Crabbe, M. James C.; Guan, Yabin; Zhang, Ti-Cao (Wiley, 2020-09-20)
    Epigenetic diversity could play an important role in adaptive evolution of organisms, especially for plant species occurring in new and stressful environments. Thlaspi arvense (field pennycress), a valuable oilseed crop, is widespread in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. In this study, we investigated the effect of salinity stress on the epigenetic variation of DNA methylation and epigenetic stress memory in pennycress using methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP) markers. We examined how the status of DNA methylation changes across individuals in response to salinity stress and whether such an effect of maternal stress could be transferred to offspring for one or two generations in nonstressed environments. Our results based on 306 epiloci indicated no consistent change of DNA methylation status in specific epiloci across individuals within the same conditions. In contrast, we found that the epigenetic diversity at population level increased significantly in response to the stimulation of salinity stress; and this “stimulation effect” could be transferred partially in the form of stress memory to at least two generations of offspring in nonstressed environments. In addition, we observed a parallel change in functionally important traits, that is, phenotypic variation was significantly higher in plants grown under salinity stress compared with those of control groups. Taken together, our results provide novel clues for the increased spontaneous epimutation rate in response to stress in plants, of potential adaptive significance.
  • Demography in public health intelligence

    Gee, Ivan; Regmi, Krishna (Springer International Publishing, 2016-12-31)
    Demography is the scientific study of human population. For the last few decades, demographic models and methods have been frequently used to analyse or measure the births, deaths and migration within human populations. Public health practitioners and public health analysts regularly require information about health demography, which deals with the contents and methods of demography within the context of health and healthcare. In other words, health demography deals with the demographic attributes that may infl uence or concern health status and health behaviour, as well as the health-related phenomena which infl uence the demographic attributes of the population (Pol and Thomas 2013). Following an overview of health demography, this chapter will discuss the nature and extent of public health problems within the context of present and future patterns of demographic change. This chapter will also highlight some applications, concepts and methods related to health. After reading this chapter you should be able to: • Define the concept and meaning of populations • Discuss the nature and extent of public health problems within the context of present and future patterns of demographic change • Examine sources of population data and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Synthesising public health evidence

    Gee, Ivan; Regmi, Krishna (Springer International Publishing, 2016-12-31)
    Public Health research is multi-disciplinary, complex and tries to understand problems in a 'real-world' context and this can make it hard to apply to practice and services that aim to improve health outcomes. Increasingly it has been realised that the mass of health evidence generated needs to be synthesised effectively. This chapter will explore the growing focus on this issue, the tools developed to synthesis evidence well and examples of evidence synthesis in practice. After reading this chapter you will be able to: • Define the meaning of research and research process • Understand the need for public health evidence synthesis • Describe the tools and techniques used to synthesise evidence effectively Before we can start to synth esise evidence we need to have some understanding of what evidence is and where the new evidence being explored comes from. Fundamentally as Lomas et al. (2005, p. 1) suggest 'evidence concerns facts (actual or asserted) intended for use in support of a conclusion.' Decision makers tend to view evidence colloquially, that is evidence is anything that can give a reason for believing something relevant is considered evidence. Researchers will tend to view evidence scientifically, it must be produced by robust, systematic and replicable methods that are clearly defined. So evidence is something that can be used to support a conclusion, but it is not the same as a conclusion (Lomas et al. 2005). Evidence can, and should, support decision making but the collection of evidence alone is not going to make the decisions. Evidence for Public Health impacts and interventions is generated through the process of research Research is about generating new information, doing some-thing new, collecting information to answer specific research questions and testing ideas or hypotheses. There are several characteristics of good research It should be: • Systematic: there is an agreed system for performing observations and measurement • Rigorous: the agreed system is followed exactly. • Reproducible: all the techniques, apparatus and materials used in making observations and measurements are written down in enough detail to allow other to reproduce the same process. • Repeatable: researchers often repeat their observations and measurements several times in order to increase the reliability of the data. (Bruce et al. 2008).
  • Public health intelligence: an overview

    Regmi, Krishna; Bendel, Neil; Gee, Ivan (Springer International Publishing, 2016-12-31)
    The notion that medical statistics could be used to assess and then identify potential risks or associated factors to be able to prevent avoidable human loss emerged sometime in the early seventeenth century (http://www.hsj.co.uk/ Journals/2/Files/2010/5/24/APHO%20supplement.pdf). John Snow's work in studying the pattern of disease in order to trace the source of a cholera outbreak in London in 1854 established many of the concepts of modern epidemiology and demonstrated the link between data analysis and the necessary action to tackle the underlying causes of disease and ill health. More recently, the emergence of public health intelligence as a specific public health discipline is a response to the increasing recognition of the need to ensure that the development of appropriate strategies and policies to improve the health of the population and reduce health inequalities is underpinned by a rigorous and robust evidence base. The manner in which public health intelligence has emerged as an accepted public health discipline means that it is not easy to identify a precise starting point or arrive at a commonly accepted definition. However, it is increasingly acknowledged that public health intelligence requires the application of a distinctive range and blend of analytic, critical and interpretive skills in order to generate meaningful information for decision-making. Many of the skills and techniques used to generate public health intelligence are shared with other domains of public health, such as epidemiology, and there is already a substantial body of literature and educational resources on these areas of practice. However, there is very little evidence and few resources available in the specific area of public health intelligence. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to: • Understand the concepts of public health and public health intelligence • Explore the nature and roles of public health intelligence in measuring health and health outcomes of a defined population • Examine some opportunities and challenging aspects of public health intelligence.
  • Epidemiology and public health intelligence

    Bray, Isabelle; Regmi, Krishna (Springer International Publishing, 2016-12-31)
    This chapter provides an introduction to epidemiology. It covers the key epidemiological concepts such as bias and confounding, as well as providing an overview of the nature, history and types of epidemiology. The main epidemiological study designs are described, including case series, ecological, cross-sectional, case-control, cohort, randomised controlled trial and systematic review. The advantages and disadvantages of each are summarised, and some of the ethical issues in doing research are considered. The 'hierarchy of evidence' framework is contrasted with an approach which recognises the most appropriate study design to answer different questions about population health. This chapter will examine the role of epidemiology in public health intelligence and develop students' or learners' knowledge and skills to carry out thorough, rigorous and meaningful research and investigation relevant to public health. After reading this chapter you should be able to: • Define epidemiology and differentiate between descriptive epidemiology and analytical epidemiology • Describe the basic study designs, principles and methods used in epidemiology • Explore key issues related to the design and conduct of studies • Recognise the role of epidemiology in public health intelligence.
  • The state of youth justice 2020: an overview of trends and developments

    Bateman, Tim; National Association for Youth Justice (National Association for Youth Justice, 2020-09-23)
    The report provides a comprehensive overview of trends in youth justice policy and developments in policy and provides a detailed analysis of what these mean for the treatment of children in trouble.
  • Australian social work research: an empirical study of engagement and impact

    Tilbury, Clare; Bigby, Christine; Fisher, Mike; Hughes, Mark; Griffith University; La Trobe University; University of Bedfordshire; Southern Cross University (Oxford University Press, 2020-09-23)
    Internationally, non-academic research impact is assessed by governments as part of evaluating the quality of publicly funded research. A case study method was used to investigate the non-academic impact of Australian social work research. Interviews were conducted with 15 leading researchers about outputs (research products, such as publications and reports), engagement (interaction between researchers and end-users outside academia to transfer knowledge, methods, or resources), and impact (social or economic contributions of research). Twelve case studies were prepared using a standardised template. Content analysis highlighted examples of impact, and theoretical and in-vivo coding uncovered processes of engagement and impact. Different types of engagements with research end-users influenced impact in three areas: legislation and policy; practices and service delivery; and quality of life of community members. Engagement and impact were intertwined as research altered policy discourses and illuminated hidden social issues, preparing ground for subsequent, more direct impact. Likewise, academic and non-academic impacts were intertwined as research rigour and academic credibility were perceived to leverage influence. There was no evidence of achieving impact simply through the trickle-down effect of scholarly publication. The findings broaden understandings of how research influences policy and practice and iterative and indirect relationships between engagement and impact.
  • Human resource development, creativity and innovation

    Loewenberger, Pauline Anne (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016-12-31)
    Human resource management (HRM) and development, learning, knowledge management and innovation represent complex and dynamic fields that draw upon multiple disciplines and emphasise the need for multilevel consideration. Such dynamic complexities present opportunities and challenges in an attempt to develop holistic theoretical approaches of how people management implications might contribute to sustainable innovation and performance. The various contributions to this book raise awareness and contribute to a shared understanding of innovation and HRM from multiple perspectives. They highlight the implications for people management through different lenses, including strategic and systems approaches at the level of the organisation, leadership, learning and the contribution of the broader national context to skill development.
  • Employee voice in the SME context

    Sameer, Muhammad; Özbilgin, Mustafa F. (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2014-04-25)
    In this chapter, we show that employee voice in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is largely absent in academic studies, representing a missing link in the theorization of employee voice. We present a general overview on important contemporary debates in the employee voice literature and locate it in industrial relations and human resource management literatures. Finally, we explore how employee voice in SMEs can be studied. We offer a number of suggestions for the academic and practitioner use of employee voice in the SME sector.
  • On touching and speaking in (post) (de) colonial discourse - from lessing to Marechera and Veit-Wild

    Piotrowska, Agnieszka (Taylor and Francis Inc., 2016-09-19)
    Jean-Luc Nancy in his seminal book on the body and its significance in history of philosophy Corpus makes a point that the body and the discussions about it ought to be open. He says that in reflecting on it he did not want to: produce the effect of a closed or finite thing, because when we talk about the body we talk about something entirely opposed to the closed and the finite. With the body, we speak about something open and infinite, about the opening of closure itself, the infinite of the finite itself. (2008: 122) This particular reflection came upon him whilst walking through the streets of Paris to give a lecture on the body. Suddenly, he heard about the atrocities in Bosnia and felt compelled to abandon his well-prepared talk and instead find an open space to talk about the links between the body, the soul and our place in the world. He says in his book, “Body is certitude shattered and blown to bits” (ibid.: 3), a phrase that in the age of terrorist attacks sounds particularly ominous.
  • Acute effects of a loaded warm-up protocol on change of direction speed in professional badminton players

    Maloney, Sean J.; Turner, Anthony; Miller, Stuart; ; University of Bedfordshire; Middlesex University (Human Kinetics Publishers Inc., 2014-10-31)
    It has previously been shown that a loaded warm-up may improve power performances. We examined the acute effects of loaded dynamic warm-up on change of direction speed (CODS), which had not been previously investigated. Eight elite badminton players participated in three sessions during which they performed vertical countermovement jump and CODS tests before and after undertaking the dynamic warm-up. The three warm-up conditions involved wearing a weighted vest (a) equivalent to 5% body mass, (b) equivalent to 10% body mass, and (c) a control where a weighted vest was not worn. Vertical jump and CODS performances were then tested at 15 seconds and 2, 4, and 6 minutes post warm-up. Vertical jump and CODS significantly improved following all warm-up conditions (P < .05). Post warm-up vertical jump performance was not different between conditions (P = .430). Post warm-up CODS was significantly faster following the 5% (P = .02) and 10% (P < .001) loaded conditions compared with the control condition. In addition, peak CODS test performances, independent of recovery time, were faster than the control condition following the 10% loaded condition (P = .012). In conclusion, the current study demonstrates that a loaded warm-up augmented CODS, but not vertical jump performance, in elite badminton players.
  • The solution structure of the complement deregulator FHR5 reveals a compact dimer and provides new insights into CFHR5 nephropathy

    Kadkhodayi-Kholghi, Nilufar; Gor, Jayesh; McDermott, Lindsay C.; Gale, Daniel P.; Perkins, Stephen J.; Bhatt, Jayesh S. (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (United States), 2020-09-14)
    The human complement Factor H-related 5 protein (FHR5) antagonizes the main circulating complement regulator Factor H, resulting in the deregulation of complement activation. FHR5 normally contains nine short complement regulator (SCR) domains, but a FHR5 mutant has been identified with a duplicated N-terminal SCR-1/2 domain pair that causes CFHR5 nephropathy. To understand how this duplication causes disease, we characterized the solution structure of native FHR5 by analytical ultracentrifugation and small-angle X-ray scattering. Sedimentation velocity and Xray scattering indicated that FHR5 was dimeric, with a radius of gyration RG of 5.5 ± 0.2 nm and a maximum protein length of 20 nm for its 18 domains. This result indicated that FHR5 was even more compact than the main regulator Factor H which showed an overall length of 26-29 nm for its 20 SCR domains. Atomistic modelling for FHR5 generated a library of 250,000 physically-realistic trial arrangements of SCR domains for scattering curve fits. Only compact domain structures in this library fit well to the scattering data, and these structures readily accommodated the extra SCR-1/2 domain pair present in CFHR5 nephropathy. This model indicated that mutant FHR5 can form oligomers that possess additional binding sites for C3b in FHR5. We conclude that the deregulation of complement regulation by the FHR5 mutant can be rationalized by the enhanced binding of FHR5 oligomers to C3b deposited on host cell surfaces. Our FHR5 structures thus explained key features of the mechanism and pathology of CFHR5 nephropathy.
  • Veils and sensors: an artistic intervention with archival moving image material

    Egbe, Amanda (2020-09-15)
    This demonstration showcases experiments, and interventions with moving image archival materials by the author. The outcomes reflect a wider research into duplication practices in digital moving image archival practices. Artistic interventions are utilised to explore the technological and cultural gestures of these practices. The demonstrations are in the form of moving images artworks employing standard projection and mixed reality.
  • Applying the socio-cognitive framework: gathering validity evidence during the development of a speaking test

    Nakatsuhara, Fumiyo; Dunlea, Jamie; University of Bedfordshire; British Council (UCLES/Cambridge University Press, 2020-06-18)
    This chapter describes how Weir’s (2005; further elaborated in Taylor (Ed) 2011) socio-cognitive framework for validating speaking tests guided two a priori validation studies of the speaking component of the Test of English for Academic Purposes (TEAP) in Japan. In this chapter, we particularly reflect upon the academic achievements of Professor Cyril J Weir, in terms of: • the effectiveness and value of the socio-cognitive framework underpinning the development of the TEAP Speaking Test while gathering empirical evidence of the construct underlying a speaking test for the target context • his contribution to developing early career researchers and extending language testing expertise in the TEAP development team.
  • The Sign 4 Little Talkers intervention to improve listening, understanding, speaking, and behavior in hearing preschool children: outcome evaluation

    Davidson, Rosemary; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire (JMIR Publications, 2020-06-30)
    Gaining age-appropriate proficiency in speech and language in the early years is crucial to later life chances; however, a significant proportion of children fail to meet the expected standards in these early years outcomes when they start school. Factors influencing the development of language and communication include low income, gender, and having English as an additional language (EAL). This study aimed to determine whether the Sign 4 Little Talkers (S4LT) program improves key developmental outcomes in hearing preschool children. S4LT was developed to address gaps in the attainment of vocabulary and communication skills in preschool children, identified through routine monitoring of outcomes in early years. Signs were adapted and incorporated into storybooks to improve vocabulary, communication, and behavior in hearing children. An evaluation of S4LT was conducted to measure key outcomes pre- and postintervention in 8 early years settings in Luton, United Kingdom. A total of 118 preschool children were tested in 4 early years outcomes domains-listening, speaking, understanding, and managing feelings and behavior-as well as Leuven well-being scales and the number of key words understood and spoken. Statistically significant results were found for all measures tested: words spoken (P<.001) and understood (P<.001), speaking (P<.001), managing feelings and behavior (P<.001), understanding (P<.001), listening and attention (P<.001), and well-being (P<.001). Approximately two-thirds of the children made expected or good progress, often progressing multiple steps in educational attainment after being assessed as developmentally behind at baseline. The findings reported here suggest that S4LT may help children to catch up with their peers at a crucial stage in development and become school ready by improving their command of language and communication as well as learning social skills. Our analysis also highlights specific groups of children who are not responding as well as expected, namely boys with EAL, and who require additional, tailored support.
  • The prediction of miRNAs in SARS-CoV-2 genomes: hsa-miR databases identify 7 key miRs linked to host responses and virus pathogenicity-related KEGG pathways significant for comorbidities

    Arisan, Elif Damla; Dart, Alwyn; Grant, Guy H.; Arisan, Serdar; Cuhadaroglu, Songul; Lange, Sigrun; Uysal-Onganer, Pinar; ; Gebze Technical University; St George’s University of London; et al. (MDPI, 2020-06-04)
    Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a member of the betacoronavirus family, which causes COVID-19 disease. SARS-CoV-2 pathogenicity in humans leads to increased mortality rates due to alterations of significant pathways, including some resulting in exacerbated inflammatory responses linked to the "cytokine storm" and extensive lung pathology, as well as being linked to a number of comorbidities. Our current study compared five SARS-CoV-2 sequences from different geographical regions to those from SARS, MERS and two cold viruses, OC43 and 229E, to identify the presence of miR-like sequences. We identified seven key miRs, which highlight considerable differences between the SARS-CoV-2 sequences, compared with the other viruses. The level of conservation between the five SARS-CoV-2 sequences was identical but poor compared with the other sequences, with SARS showing the highest degree of conservation. This decrease in similarity could result in reduced levels of transcriptional control, as well as a change in the physiological effect of the virus and associated host-pathogen responses. MERS and the milder symptom viruses showed greater differences and even significant sequence gaps. This divergence away from the SARS-CoV-2 sequences broadly mirrors the phylogenetic relationships obtained from the whole-genome alignments. Therefore, patterns of mutation, occurring during sequence divergence from the longer established human viruses to the more recent ones, may have led to the emergence of sequence motifs that can be related directly to the pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2. Importantly, we identified 7 key-microRNAs (miRs 8066, 5197, 3611, 3934-3p, 1307-3p, 3691-3p, 1468-5p) with significant links to KEGG pathways linked to viral pathogenicity and host responses. According to Bioproject data (PRJNA615032), SARS-CoV-2 mediated transcriptomic alterations were similar to the target pathways of the selected 7 miRs identified in our study. This mechanism could have considerable significance in determining the symptom spectrum of future potential pandemics. KEGG pathway analysis revealed a number of critical pathways linked to the seven identified miRs that may provide insight into the interplay between the virus and comorbidities. Based on our reported findings, miRNAs may constitute potential and effective therapeutic approaches in COVID-19 and its pathological consequences.
  • Inhibition on JNK mimics silencing of Wnt-11 mediated cellular response in androgen-independent prostate cancer cells

    Arisan, Elif Damla; Rencuzogullari, Ozge; Keskin, Buse; Grant, Guy H.; Uysal-Onganer, Pinar; Gebze Technical University; Istanbul Kultur University; University of Bedfordshire; University of Westminster (MDPI, 2020-06-27)
    Prostate cancer (PCa) is one of the most common cancers among men, and one of the leading causes of cancer death for men. The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway is required for several cellular functions, such as survival, proliferation, differentiation, and migration. Wnt-11, a member of the Wnt family, has been identified for its upregulation in PCa; however, downstream signalling of Wnt-11 remains to be fully characterized. In this study, we investigated the role of the JNK pathway as a potential downstream factor for Wnt-11 signalling. For this purpose, LNCaP, DU145, and PC-3 PCa cells and normal epithelial PNT1A cells were treated with a specific JNK kinase inhibitor: JNKVIII. Our results showed that JNK inhibition decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and promoted cell death in a cell type-dependent manner. We found that JNK inhibition led to an increase in autophagy and prevented epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in independently growing androgen cells. JNK inhibition and the silencing of Wnt-11 showed similar responses in DU145 and PC-3 cells and decreased metastasis-related biomarkers, cell migration, and invasion. Overall, our results suggest that JNK signalling plays a significant role in the pathophysiology of PCa by mediating Wnt-11 induced signals. Our data highlights that both the JNK pathway and Wnt-11 could be a useful therapeutic target for the combinatory application of current PCa.
  • Oral ingestion of bacterially expressed dsrna can silence genes and cause mortality in a highly invasive, tree-killing pest, the emerald ash borer

    Leelesh, Ramya Shanivarsanthe; Rieske, Lynne K.; University of Kentucky; University of Bedfordshire (MDPI, 2020-07-14)
    RNA interference (RNAi) is a naturally occurring process inhibiting gene expression, and recent advances in our understanding of the mechanism have allowed its development as a tool against insect pests. A major challenge for deployment in the field is the development of convenient and efficient methods for production of double stranded RNA (dsRNA). We assessed the potential for deploying bacterially produced dsRNA as a bio-pesticide against an invasive forest pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB). EAB feeds on the cambial tissue of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.), causing rapid death. EAB has killed millions of trees in North America since its discovery in 2002, prompting the need for innovative management strategies. In our study, bacterial expression and synthesis of dsRNA were performed with E. coli strain HT115 using the L4440 expression vector. EAB-specific dsRNAs (shi and hsp) over-expressed in E. coli were toxic to neonate EAB after oral administration, successfully triggering gene silencing and subsequent mortality; however, a non-specific dsRNA control was not included. Our results suggest that ingestion of transformed E. coli expressing dsRNAs can induce an RNAi response in EAB. To our knowledge, this is the first example of an effective RNAi response induced by feeding dsRNA-expressing bacteria in a forest pest.
  • A qualitative study exploring the experiences of bereavement after stillbirth in Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers living in Luton, UK

    Garcia, Rebecca; Ali, Nasreen; Griffiths, Malcolm; Randhawa, Gurch; Open University; University of Bedfodshire; Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Elsevier, 2020-08-29)
    This study aims to explore the experiences of bereavement after stillbirth of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers in a town with multi-ethnic populations in England. A purposive sample of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers aged over 16 (at time of infant birth), who suffered a stillbirth in the preceding 6-24 months and residing in a specified postcode area were invited to take part in the study, by an identified gatekeeper (audit midwife) from the local National Health Service Trust, in addition to local bereavement charities. Qualitative methods using face-to-face semi-structured interviews were undertaken, recorded and transcribed verbatim. Using framework analysis, several themes were identified. There were three main themes identified from the data; 1. knowledge and information of pregnancy and perinatal mortality; 2. attitudes and perceptions to pregnancy and perinatal mortality and 3. experiences with maternity care. The findings revealed mostly similarities in the bereavement experiences of the Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers. A few cultural and religious differences were identified. This study found important similarities in bereavement experiences of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers and highlights considerations for policy makers and maternity services in how the timing of bereavement after care is provided, including advice surrounding the infant post-mortem.
  • Phenomenology of visual hallucinations and their relationship to cognitive profile in Parkinson’s Disease patients: preliminary observations

    Boubert, Laura; Barnes, Jim (SAGE Publications Inc., 2015-04-01)
    Although the phenomenology of visual hallucinations (VHs) has been investigated, no study to date has related cognitive performance to the content of hallucinations, specifically whether participants who have familiar internally driven hallucinations differ in the executive function from patients with externally driven hallucinations. Here, we examine the relationship between executive function and the content of VHs in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. We evaluated three groups: 17 PD patients with internally driven memory-based VHs, 18 PD patients with externally driven non-memory-based VHs, and 20 PD patients without hallucinations on a series of tests previously reported to evaluate executive functions, specifically tests of inhibitory ability, short-term memory, and working memory. Differences were found on test of inhibitory ability with PD patients experiencing externally driven VHs having substantially greater impairment than patients with internally driven VHs. These findings indicate that the cognitive profile of patients may influence the content of the hallucinatory experience and could consequently have implications for treatment of the phenomenon.

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