Recent Submissions

  • Factors influencing the prescribing behaviour of independent prescriber optometrists: a qualitative study using the Theoretical Domains Framework

    Spillane, Daniel; Courtenay, Molly; Chater, Angel M.; Family, Hannah; Whitaker, Angela; Acton, Jennifer H. (Wiley, 2021-02-20)
    Purpose: Whilst the number of independent prescriber optometrists in the United Kingdom is increasing, there is limited evidence describing the experiences of these individuals. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) provides an evidence-based approach to understand determinants of behaviour. This conceptual framework can enable mapping to the COM-B behaviour change model and the wider Behaviour Change Wheel to develop interventions to optimise behaviourchange and healthcare processes more systematically. The study aimed to use the TDF to identify the factors that influence independent prescribing behaviour, and to map these findings to the COM-B system to elucidate the relevant intervention functions, in order to identify the support required by optometrist prescribers. Methods: Using a qualitative design, semi-structured interviews based on the TDF were undertaken with independent prescriber optometrists. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes inductively, which were then deductively mapped to the TDF and then linked to the COM-B. Results: Sixteen participants (9 male; median age 45 years, range 28–65 years), based in community (n = 10) and hospital (n = 6) settings, were interviewed. Eleven of the TDF domains were found to influence prescribing behaviour. Findings highlighted the need for good communication with patients (TDF domain: Skills, COM-B: Capability); confidence (TDF domain: Beliefs about capabilities, COM-B: Motivation); good networks and relationships with other healthcare professionals, e.g., general practitioners (TDF domain: Social influences, COM-B: Opportunity; TDF domain: Social/professional role and identity, COM-B: Motivation); the need for appropriate structure for remuneration (TDF domain: Reinforcement, COM-B: Motivation; TDF domain: Social/professional role and identity, COM-B: Motivation); and the provision of professional guidelines (TDF domain: Knowledge, COM-B: Capability; TDF domain: Environmental context and resources, COM-B Opportunity). Conclusions: Having identified theory-derived influencers on prescribing decisions by optometrists, the findings can be used to develop a structured intervention, such as a support package to help optimise prescribing by optometrists, with the ultimate goal of eye care quality improvement.
  • Antimicrobial stewardship: a competency framework to support the role of nurses

    Courtenay, Molly; Chater, Angel M.; Cardiff University; University of Bedfordshire (RCN Publishing, 2021-02-14)
    Antimicrobial resistance is a global threat that has prompted a global response. One strategy used to tackle antimicrobial resistance is known as antimicrobial stewardship, its main goal being to optimise antibiotic use and avoid unnecessary antibiotic prescribing. There is an increase in the number of nurse prescribers as well as in the percentage of antibiotics dispensed in primary care precribed by non-medical prescribers such as nurses. Nurses, both prescribers and non-prescribers, play an important role in antimicrobial stewardship, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. To be able to fulfil that role, nurses need the right knowledge, skills, resources and behaviours. This article explores the role of nurses in antimicrobial stewardship and describes a competency framework designed to underpin it.
  • Reflecting on the Stage 2 Health Psychology independent training route: a survey of trainee and graduate experiences of employability

    Bull, Eleanor; Newman, Kristina; Cassidy, Tony; Anderson, Niall; Chater, Angel M. (British Psychological Society, 2021-02-02)
    ‘This is a pre-publication version of the following article: [Bull E, Newman K, Cassidy T, Anderson N, Chater A (2020) 'Reflecting on the Stage 2 Health Psychology independent training route: a survey of trainee and graduate experiences of employability', Health Psychology Update, (in press).]’ A couple of the most common questions we may encounter from psychology students thinking about their career choices are: “What roles are there in health psychology?” and “How do I become a health psychologist?” Our discipline has made many advances into diverse spheres of employment, which then often leads to a response: “How long have you got?!” Health psychologists offer their knowledge and skills in psychological intervention, research, training and consultancy to improve health and wellbeing in a wealth of different settings, working at all levels from one-to-one with patients/clients/healthcare professionals, to groups, whole communities and populations. An increasingly wide range of stakeholders are recognising that they may benefit from collaborating with and employing a Health Psychologist, with Health Psychologists working in health and social care, education, culture, justice, and military, as well as working within global health partnerships through volunteering collaboratives (e.g. Byrne-Davis et al. 2017). The development of the Health Psychology and Public Health Network (HPPHN: Chater, 2014; McManus, 2014; Chater & McManus, 2016; renamed the Behavioural Science and Public Health Network, BSPHN in 2018) is also importantly strengthening our links with public health colleagues and creating new opportunities. Recent initiatives have also had success in raising the profile of Health Psychologists working in diverse areas, nationally and internationally. Some of these include Health Psychology Update’s new ‘Teaching, training and consultancy’ section (Cross, 2020), accounts of trainees’ experiences (e.g. Smith, 2018), the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Health Psychology’s (DHP) social media hashtag #DayInLifeOfHealthPsychology, the Oral History of UK Health Psychology project (Quinn, Morrison & Chater, 2020) and the BPS DHP Scotland’s case studies of Health Psychologists. Reflecting this diversity, in the UK there are currently several different options for training in health psychology.
  • Let’s talk about death openly: when the world is grieving, please don’t walk on eggshells.

    Chater, Angel M.; University of Bedfordshire (British Psychological Society, 2020-05-13)
    A blog on bereavement and physical activity Health Psychologist Angel Chater has spoken openly about bereavement over the last two decades. Here, she urges society to recognise and be open about loss.
  • A rapid systematic review of public responses to health messages encouraging vaccination against infectious diseases in a pandemic or epidemic

    Lawes-Wickwar, Sadie; Ghio, Daniela; Tang, Mei Yee; Keyworth, Chris; Stanescu, Sabina; Westbrook, Juliette; Jenkinson, Elizabeth; Kassianos, Angelos P.; Scanlan, Daniel; Garnett, Natalie; et al. (MDPI, 2021-01-20)
    Public health teams need to understand how the public responds to vaccination messages in a pandemic or epidemic to inform successful campaigns encouraging the uptake of new vaccines as they become available. A rapid systematic review was performed by searching PsycINFO, MEDLINE, healthevidence.org, OSF Preprints and PsyArXiv Preprints in May 2020 for studies including at least one health message promoting vaccine uptake of airborne-, droplet- and fomite-spread viruses. Included studies were assessed for quality using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) or the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR), and for patient and public involvement (PPI) in the research. Thirty-five articles were included. Most reported messages for seasonal influenza (n = 11; 31%) or H1N1 (n = 11; 31%). Evidence from moderate to high quality studies for improving vaccine uptake included providing information about virus risks and vaccination safety, as well as addressing vaccine misunderstandings, offering vaccination reminders, including vaccination clinic details, and delivering mixed media campaigns across hospitals or communities. Behavioural influences (beliefs and intentions) were improved when: shorter, risk-reducing or relative risk framing messages were used; the benefits of vaccination to society were emphasised; and beliefs about capability and concerns among target populations (e.g., vaccine safety) were addressed. Clear, credible, messages in a language target groups can understand were associated with higher acceptability. Two studies (6%) described PPI in the research process. Future campaigns should consider the beliefs and information needs of target populations in their design, including ensuring that vaccine eligibility and availability is clear, and messages are accessible. More high quality research is needed to demonstrate the effects of messaging interventions on actual vaccine uptake.
  • Replacing sugary snacks with fruit, nuts and seeds at nurses’ stations within a UK oncology unit: a pilot intervention study

    Thomas, Robert; Williams, Madeleine; Smit, Graham; Chater, Angel M.; Bedford Hospital NHS Trust; University of Bedfordshire (2021-02-02)
    Aim - This real-world service intervention study evaluated NHS staff weight and subjective happiness over a three-month period, by replacing processed, sugary foodstuffs with fruit, nuts and seeds. Method - Forty four staff at the Primrose Oncology Unit, Bedford Hospital, volunteered to abstain from cakes, biscuits, sweets, sugary drinks and chocolates whilst at work between June 2019 and September 2019. Participants’ weight and subjective happiness scores were recorded at baseline, three months (completion) and five months (post-completion). Fresh and dried fruit, and bags of raw nuts and seeds were made available to all staff (including those not participating). Participants resumed their usual diet outside of working hours. One hundred consecutive patients attending the department during the intervention were asked whether removing sugary food from public view was a positive move and whether it would have a likely influence on their future eating habits. Results - At five months, twenty (46%) participants lost weight >1kg (average 3.01 kg), seven participants gained >1kg (average 2.23 kg), and 17 remained the same weight (T-test p< 0.03). Average happiness score increased from 21.65 to 23.44 (+6.6%), T-test p< 0.04). Amongst those who lost >1kg weight, average happiness score increased from 21.54 to 23.75 (+9.3%), p<0.03. In those who gained >1 kg weight, average happiness score decreased from 22.28 to 21.43 (-3.8%), p< 0.08. There was a 13.1% difference in the happiness score in those loosing >1kg compared to those gaining >1kg in weight p< 0.001). 94 (94%) patients indicated that this initiative gave a good impression and ninety seven (97%) indicated that the initiative would encourage them to reduce sugar in their own diet. Conclusion - The results demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in weight loss and increase in mood in just under half of the participants. Whilst this level of weight loss was similar to the best designed weight loss programmes, a larger study is required to validate these results.
  • Parents’ expectations and experiences of the 6-week baby check: a qualitative study in primary care

    Gilworth, Gill; Milton, Sarah; Chater, Angel M.; Nazareth, Irwin; Roposch, Andreas; Green, Judith; King's College London; University of Bedfordshire; University College London (Royal College of General Practitioners, 2020-11-18)
    Background The Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) programme requires all babies to have a comprehensive health check at 6–8 weeks of age. These are typically completed by GPs. Although person-centred care has achieved prominence in maternity care policy in recent years, there is limited empirical evidence on what parents and/or carers expect from the check, and how far experiences meet their needs. Aim  To explore the expectations and experiences of parents attending their GP for a baby check. Design & setting A qualitative study was undertaken in primary care in London. Method Content analysis was undertaken of transcripts of semi-structured interviews. Interviews were conducted with a total of 16 participants (14 mothers and two fathers) who had recently attended for a 6-week check for their baby. Results Despite the availability of plentiful sources of general advice on infants’ health and development, a thorough check by a trusted GP was an important milestone for most parents. They had few specific expectations of the check in terms of what examinations were undertaken, but even experienced parents anticipated reassurance about their baby’s normal development. Many also hoped for reassurance about their own parenting. Parents appreciated GPs who explained what they were doing during the examination; space to raise any concerns; and combined mother and baby checks. Referrals to secondary care were generally experienced as reassuring rather than a source of anxiety. Conclusion The baby check meets needs beyond those of the NIPE screening programme. Protecting the time for a thorough consultation is important for parents at what can be a vulnerable time.
  • Health psychology, behavioural science, and Covid-19 disease prevention

    Chater, Angel M.; Whittaker, Ellie; Lewis, Lesley; Arden, Madelynne A.; Byrne-Davis, Lucie; Chadwick, Paul; Drury, John; Epton, Tracy; Hart, Jo; Kamal, Atiya; et al. (British Psychological Society, 2021-02-02)
    ‘This is a pre-publication version of the following article: [Chater A, Whittaker E, Lewis L, Arden MA, Byrne-Davis L, Chadwick P, Drury J, Epton T, Hart J, Kamal A, McBride E, O'Connor D, Shorter G, Swanson V, Armitage C (2021) 'Health psychology, behavioural science, and Covid-19 disease prevention', Health Psychology Update, (in press).]’ In March 2020 the president of the British Psychological Society (BPS) reached out to member networks to join forces on a BPS COVID-19 co-ordinating group. Members of this group were tasked to lead different work-streams highlighting psychology’s role during the pandemic. One work-stream focused on ‘Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention’. It was clear that understanding behaviour and anticipating public responses to changes in policies, public messaging and guidelines would be key to improving health outcomes. This work-stream focused on developing clear guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and identifying psychological evidence to promote best practice in the design of sustainable behavioural interventions. This includes both immediate infection control behaviours aimed at reducing virus transmission, such as hand washing, physical-distancing and self-isolation, and behaviours that may have been influenced during the pandemic, such as physical activity, eating behaviour, substance use and healthcare use, which will have far reaching impacts on future health. This article provides an overview of the core guidance and practical examples of its application in a public health setting.
  • Health-Based Physical Education – a framework for promoting active lifestyles in children and young people. Part 1: Introducing a new pedagogical model for Health-Based Physical Education

    Bowler, Mark; Sammon, Paul; (Assocation for Physical Education, 2020-11-19)
    HBPE is one framework that can support physical educators to promote young people’s positive physical activity attitudes and behaviours. In part 1, we present a rationale for new ‘PE-for-health pedagogies’ (Armour & Harris, 2013) – new ways of teaching about physical activity. We subsequently justify the foundations of HBPE, including the model’s major theme and goals, and the underlying theories and important assumptions for practitioners. In part 2, we provide a range of practical examples and identify key considerations to illustrate how HBPE can be effectively applied to help promote positive physical activity behaviour.
  • Health-Based Physical Education – a framework for promoting active lifestyles in children and young people. Part 2: Health-Based Physical Education in practice

    Sammon, Paul; Bowler, Mark (Association for Physical Education, 2020-11-19)
    Building on part 1, where we introduced a new pedagogical model for Health-Based Physical Education (HBPE), the primary aim of this article is to illustrate how the model may be implemented in the PE curriculum to help support all children and young people to develop positive physical activity behaviours. Specifically, we consider the model’s critical features for teaching and learning, followed by some key planning considerations, including learning intentions, assessment strategies and how the model can potentially be modified to reflect specific contexts during implementation.
  • No evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake: a counterbalanced cross-over study in a free-living population

    Killer, Sophie C.; Blannin, Andrew K.; Jeukendrup, Asker E.; ; University of Birmingham (Public Library of Science, 2014-01-09)
    It is often suggested that coffee causes dehydration and its consumption should be avoided or significantly reduced to maintain fluid balance. The aim of this study was to directly compare the effects of coffee consumption against water ingestion across a range of validated hydration assessment techniques. In a counterbalanced cross-over design, 50 male coffee drinkers (habitually consuming 3-6 cups per day) participated in two trials, each lasting three consecutive days. In addition to controlled physical activity, food and fluid intake, participants consumed either 4X200 mL of coffee containing 4 mg/kg caffeine (C) or water (W). Total body water (TBW) was calculated pre- and post-trial via ingestion of Deuterium Oxide. Urinary and haematological hydration markers were recorded daily in addition to nude body mass measurement (BM). Plasma was analysed for caffeine to confirm compliance. There were no significant changes in TBW from beginning to end of either trial and no differences between trials (51.5±1.4 vs. 51.4±1.3 kg, for C and W, respectively). No differences were observed between trials across any haematological markers or in 24 h urine volume (2409±660 vs. 2428±669 mL, for C and W, respectively), USG, osmolality or creatinine. Mean urinary Na+ excretion was higher in C than W (p = 0.02). No significant differences in BM were found between conditions, although a small progressive daily fall was observed within both trials (0.4±0.5 kg; p<0.05). Our data show that there were no significant differences across a wide range of haematological and urinary markers of hydration status between trials. These data suggest that coffee, when consumed in moderation by caffeine habituated males provides similar hydrating qualities to water. © 2014 Killer et al.
  • Impact of intensified training and carbohydrate supplementation on immunity and markers of overreaching in highly trained cyclists

    Svendsen, Ida S.; Killer, Sophie C.; Carter, James M.; Randell, Rebecca K.; Jeukendrup, Asker E.; Gleeson, Michael; ; Loughborough University; PepsiCo Global Nutrition R&D (Springer Verlag, 2016-02-23)
    Purpose: To determine effects of intensified training (IT) and carbohydrate supplementation on overreaching and immunity. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, crossover design, 13 male cyclists (age 25 ± 6 years, (Formula presented.) 72 ± 5 ml/kg/min) completed two 8-day periods of IT. On one occasion, participants ingested 2 % carbohydrate (L-CHO) beverages before, during and after training sessions. On the second occasion, 6 % carbohydrate (H-CHO) solutions were ingested before, during and after training, with the addition of 20 g of protein in the post-exercise beverage. Blood samples were collected before and immediately after incremental exercise to fatigue on days 1 and 9. Results: In both trials, IT resulted in decreased peak power (375 ± 37 vs. 391 ± 37 W, P < 0.001), maximal heart rate (179 ± 8 vs. 190 ± 10 bpm, P < 0.001) and haematocrit (39 ± 2 vs. 42 ± 2 %, P < 0.001), and increased plasma volume (P < 0.001). Resting plasma cortisol increased while plasma ACTH decreased following IT (P < 0.05), with no between-trial differences. Following IT, antigen-stimulated whole blood culture production of IL-1α was higher in L-CHO than H-CHO (0.70 (95 % CI 0.52–0.95) pg/ml versus 0.33 (0.24–0.45) pg/ml, P < 0.01), as was production of IL-1β (9.3 (95 % CI 7–10.4) pg/ml versus 6.0 (5.0–7.8) pg/ml, P < 0.05). Circulating total leukocytes (P < 0.05) and neutrophils (P < 0.01) at rest increased following IT, as did neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio and percentage CD4+ lymphocytes (P < 0.05), with no between-trial differences. Conclusion: IT resulted in symptoms consistent with overreaching, although immunological changes were modest. Higher carbohydrate intake was not able to alleviate physiological/immunological disturbances.
  • Fueling for the field: nutrition for jumps, throws, and combined events

    Sygo, Jennifer; Killer, Sophie C.; Glass, Alicia Kendig; Stellingwerff, Trent; (Human Kinetics Publishers Inc., 2019-03-31)
    Athletes participating in the athletics (track and field) events of jumps, throws, and combined events (CEs; seven-event heptathlon and 10-event decathlon) engage in training and competition that emphasize speed and explosive movements, requiring optimal power-weight ratios. While these athletes represent a wide range of somatotypes, they share an emphasis on Type IIa and IIx muscle fiber typing. In general, athletes competing in jumps tend to have a lower body mass and may benefit from a higher protein (1.5-1.8 g PRO·kg−1·day−1) and lower carbohydrate (3-6 g CHO·kg−1·day−1) diet. Throwers tend to have a higher body mass, but with considerable differences between events. Their intense, whole-body training program suggests higher PRO requirements (1.5-2.2 g PRO·kg−1·day−1), while CHO needs (per kg) are similar to jumpers. The CE athletes must strike a balance between strength and muscle mass for throws and sprints, while maintaining a low enough body mass to maximize performance in jumps and middle-distance events. CE athletes may benefit from a higher PRO (1.5-2 g PRO·kg−1·day−1) and moderate CHO (5-8 g CHO·kg−1·day−1) diet with good energy availability to support multiple daily training sessions. Since they compete over 2 days, well-rehearsed competition-day fueling and recovery strategies are imperative for CE athletes. Depending on their events' bioenergetic demands, athletes in throws, jumps, and CE may benefit from the periodized use of ergogenic aids, including creatine, caffeine, and/or beta-alanine. The diverse training demands, physiques, and competitive environments of jumpers, throwers, and CE athletes necessitate nutrition interventions that are periodized throughout the season and tailored to the individual needs of the athlete.
  • Prolonged cycling exercise alters neural control strategy, irrespective of carbohydrate dose ingested

    Newell, Michael; Macgregor, Lewis J.; Galloway, Stuart D.R.; Hunter, Angus M. (Wiley, 2020-08-26)
    The interactions between CHO dosage and neuromuscular regulation following fatiguing endurance exercise are not well understood. Fifteen well‐trained male cyclists completed 4 experimental trials of 120‐min submaximal cycling (95% lactate threshold) during which water (0 g CHO·h−1) or CHO beverages (20, 39, or 64 g CHO·h−1) were consumed every 15 minutes, at a rate of 1 L·h−1, followed by a work‐matched time trial ~30 minutes. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), M‐wave twitch potentiation and torque, motor unit recruitment and firing rate were recorded pre‐ and post‐cycling. Time trial performance improved following 39 and 64 versus 0 and 20 g CHO·h−1, with no effect of CHO dose on any pre‐ to post‐neuromuscular function measures. Pre‐ to post‐cycling exercise: (1) MVC, and M‐wave amplitude and duration declined by −21.5 Nm, and −4.9 mV and −7.1 ms, respectively; (2) peak evoked torque remained unchanged; (3) Firing rate of early‐ and mid‐recruited motor units increased by 0.93 pps and 0.74 pps, respectively, with no change in later‐recruited motor units. Thus, central drive to early‐ and mid‐recruited motor units increases as a result of endurance cycling, due to a likely fatigue compensatory mechanism. However, CHO availability does not appear to influence increased neuromuscular drive.
  • Metabolic responses to carbohydrate ingestion during exercise: associations between carbohydrate dose and endurance performance

    Newell, Michael; Wallis, Gareth A.; Hunter, Angus M.; Tipton, Kevin D.; Galloway, Stuart D.R.; ; University of Birmingham; University of Stirling; University of Westminster (MDPI, 2018-01-03)
    Carbohydrate (CHO) ingestion during exercise lasting less than three hours improves endurance exercise performance but there is still debate about the optimal dose. We utilised stable isotopes and blood metabolite profiles to further examine metabolic responses to CHO (glucose only) ingestion in the 20–64 g·h−1 range, and to determine the association with performance outcome. In a double-blind, randomized cross-over design, male cyclists (n = 20, mean ± SD, age 34 ± 10 years, mass 75.8 ± 9 kg, peak power output 394 ± 36 W, VO2max 62 ± 9 mL·kg−1·min−1) completed four main experimental trials. Each trial involved a two-hour constant load ride (185 ± 25 W) followed by a time trial, where one of three CHO beverages, or a control (water), were administered every 15 min, providing 0, 20, 39 or 64 g CHO·h−1. Dual glucose tracer techniques, indirect calorimetry and blood analyses were used to determine glucose kinetics, exogenous CHO oxidation (EXO), endogenous CHO and fat oxidation; and metabolite responses. Regression analysis revealed that total exogenous CHO oxidised in the second hour of exercise, and suppression of serum NEFA concentration provided the best prediction model of performance outcome. However, the model could only explain ~19% of the variance in performance outcome. The present data demonstrate that consuming ~40 g·h−1 of CHO appears to be the minimum ingestion rate required to induce metabolic effects that are sufficient to impact upon performance outcome. These data highlight a lack of performance benefit and few changes in metabolic outcomes beyond an ingestion rate of 39 g·h−1. Further work is required to explore dose-response effects of CHO feeding and associations between multiple metabolic parameters and subsequent performance outcome.
  • Bioavailability and metabolism of phenolic compounds from wholegrain wheat and aleurone-rich wheat bread

    Bresciani, Letizia; Scazzina, Francesca; Leonardi, Roberto; Dall'Aglio, Elisabetta; Newell, Michael; Dall'Asta, Margherita; Melegari, Camilla; Ray, Sumantra; Brighenti, Furio; Del Rio, Daniele; et al. (Wiley, 2016-07-12)
    Scope: This work aimed at investigating absorption, metabolism, and bioavailability of phenolic compounds after consumption of wholegrain bread or bread enriched with an aleurone fraction. Methods and results: Two commercially available breads were consumed by 15 participants on three occasions and matched for either the amount of ferulic acid in the bread or the amount of bread consumed. Urine was collected for 48 h from all the volunteers for phenolic metabolite quantification. Blood samples were collected for 24 h following bread consumption in five participants. A total of 12 and 4 phenolic metabolites were quantified in urine and plasma samples, respectively. Metabolites were sulfate and glucuronic acid conjugates of phenolic acids, and high concentrations of ferulic acid-4’-O-sulfate, dihydroferulic acid-4’-O-sulfate, and dihydroferulic acid-O-glucuronide were observed. The bioavailability of ferulic acid was significantly higher from the aleurone-enriched bread when all ferulic acid metabolites were accounted for. Conclusions: The study shows that low amounts of aleurone-enriched bread resulted in equivalent plasma levels of ferulic acid as wholegrain bread. This could suggest that, if the absorbed phenolic metabolites after wholegrain product intake exert health benefits, equal levels could be reached through the consumption of lower doses of refined products enriched in aleurone fraction.
  • An 8-year analysis of magnesium status in elite international track & field athletes

    Pollock, N.; Chakraverty, R.; Taylor, I.; Killer, Sophie C.; ; British Athletics; British Athletics Medical Team; The Football Association; Loughborough University (Routledge, 2019-12-12)
    Magnesium plays a critical role in athlete health and performance. It is involved in numerous physiological mechanisms that support energy production, immune function, pain modulation, muscle function and bone health. Athletes may be susceptible to magnesium deficiency due to an increased utilization during exercise.Objective: This study reports on the magnesium status of 192 Olympic and Paralympic athletes over the course of eight years.Methods: Athletes on the British Athletics world class performance plan undertook blood testing for Red Cell Magnesium status. Their history of tendon pain, muscle and bone injury, ethnicity, sporting event and gender were also recorded. 510 samples from 192 athletes were included in the study.Results: On at least one blood test during the study time, 22% of athletes were identified as clinically deficient (<1.19 mmol/L). The average red cell magnesium concentration was 1.34 nmol/L. Magnesium was significantly lower in female athletes and those with Black or Mixed-Race ethnicity and was higher in Throws athletes and Paralympians with Cerebral Palsy. Athletes with a history of achilles or patella tendon pain had significantly lower magnesium levels than average.Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of investigating magnesium within this population to identify deficiency and support athlete health. Several areas for future work are identified to explore the relationship between magnesium and gender, ethnicity and tendon pain and muscle injury in athletes. Furthermore, new guidelines for magnesium status within athletics populations are proposed.
  • Tweet me, message me, like me: using social media to facilitate pedagogical change within an emerging community of practice

    Goodyear, Victoria A.; Casey, Ashley; Kirk, David; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2014-04-22)
    While e-support has been positioned as a means, to overcome some of the time and financial constraints to professional learning, it has largely failed to act as a medium for professional learning in physical education. Consequently, this paper positions teachers prior interest with social media acts as a type of ‘leverage’ for using sites such as Facebook and Twitter for professional learning purposes. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore how social media operates as a communicative space, external to the physical site of an emerging community of practice (CoP) that supported teachers' professional learning and their subsequent longer term changing practice. This study is nested within a wider longitudinal project that explores how teachers learnt and refined their use of a pedagogical innovation (Cooperative Learning) through the overarching methodology, participatory action research. Social media emerged as a form of communication that was not in the study's original design. The paper explores 2125 interactions, through Facebook and Twitter, between five physical education teachers and a facilitator over a two-year period. Through social media, the facilitator re-enforced teachers changing practice, aided the development of the practices of an emerging CoP, and by the CoP situating their use of the innovation in the virtual world, teachers were supported in changing their practice over time, and the use of the pedagogical innovation was sustained. Interactions promoted teacher inquiry, challenged teachers to develop their existing use of the innovation further and encouraged them to work together and develop shared practices. Therefore, social media is presented here as a ‘new’ method for professional learning that supports pedagogical change and overcomes some of the financial and time implications of facilitators and teachers working together.
  • Heat acclimation attenuates physiological strain and the HSP72, but not HSP90α, mRNA response to acute normobaric hypoxia

    Gibson, Oliver R.; Turner, Gareth; Tuttle, James A.; Taylor, Lee; Watt, Peter W.; Maxwell, Neil S.; University of Bedfordshire; University of Brighton (American Physiological Society, 2015-10-15)
    Heat acclimation (HA) attenuates physiological strain in hot conditions via phenotypic and cellular adaptation. The aim of this study was to determine whether HA reduced physiological strain, and heat shock protein (HSP) 72 and HSP90α mRNA responses in acute normobaric hypoxia. Sixteen male participants completed ten 90-min sessions of isothermic HA (40°C/40% relative humidity) or exercise training [control (CON); 20°C/40% relative humidity]. HA or CON were preceded (HYP1) and proceeded (HYP2) by a 30-min normobaric hypoxic exposure [inspired O2 fraction = 0.12; 10-min rest, 10-min cycling at 40% peak O2 uptake (V̇o2 peak), 10-min cycling at 65% V̇o2 peak]. HA induced greater rectal temperatures, sweat rate, and heart rates (HR) than CON during the training sessions. HA, but not CON, reduced resting rectal temperatures and resting HR and increased sweat rate and plasma volume. Hemoglobin mass did not change following HA nor CON. HSP72 and HSP90α mRNA increased in response to each HA session, but did not change with CON. HR during HYP2 was lower and O2 saturation higher at 65% V̇o2 peak following HA, but not CON. O2 uptake/HR was greater at rest and 65% V̇o2 peak in HYP2 following HA, but was unchanged after CON. At rest, the respiratory exchange ratio was reduced during HYP2 following HA, but not CON. The increase in HSP72 mRNA during HYP1 did not occur in HYP2 following HA. In CON, HSP72 mRNA expression was unchanged during HYP1 and HYP2. In HA and CON, increases in HSP90α mRNA during HYP1 were maintained in HYP2. HA reduces physiological strain, and the transcription of HSP72, but not HSP90α mRNA in acute normobaric hypoxia.
  • Downhill running and exercise in hot environments increase leukocyte Hsp72 (HSPA1A) and Hsp90 (HSPC1) gene transcripts

    Tuttle, James A.; Castle, Paul C.; Metcalfe, Alan J.; Midgley, Adrian W.; Taylor, Lee; Lewis, Mark P.; University of Bedfordshire; Edgehill University; Loughborough University (American Physiological Society, 2015-04-15)
    Stressors within humans and other species activate Hsp72 and Hsp90 mRNA transcription, although it is unclear which environmental temperature or treadmill gradient induces the largest increase. To determine the optimal stressor for priming the Hsp system, physically active but not heat-acclimated participants (19.8 1.9 and 20.9 3.6 yr) exercised at lactate threshold in either temperate (20°C, 50% relative humidity; RH) or hot (30°C, 50% RH) environmental conditions. Within each condition, participants completed a flat running (temperate flat or hot flat) and a downhill running (temperate downhill or hot downhill) experimental trial in a randomized counterbalanced order separated by at least 7 days. Venous blood samples were taken immediately before (basal), immediately after exercise, and 3 and 24 h postexercise. RNA was extracted from leukocytes and RT-quantitative PCR conducted to determine Hsp72 and Hsp90 mRNA relative expression. Leukocyte Hsp72 mRNA was increased immediately after exercise following downhill running (1.9 0.9-fold) compared with flat running (1.3 0.4-fold; P 0.001) and in hot (1.9 0.6-fold) compared with temperate conditions (1.1 0.5-fold; P 0.003). Leukocyte Hsp90 mRNA increased immediately after exercise following downhill running (1.4 0.8-fold) compared with flat running (0.9 0.6-fold; P 0.002) and in hot (1.6 1.0-fold) compared with temperate conditions (0.9 0.6-fold; P 0.003). Downhill running and exercise in hot conditions induced the largest stimuli for leukocyte Hsp72 and Hsp90 mRNA increases.

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