Now showing items 21-40 of 6460

    • Liqui-pellet: the emerging next-generation oral dosage form which stems from liquisolid concept in combination with pelletization technology

      Lam, Matthew; Ghafourian, Taravat; Nokhodchi, Ali (Springer New York LLC, 2019-06-24)
      In spite of the major advantages that the liquisolid technology offers, particularly in tackling poor bioavailability of poorly water-soluble drugs (i.e., BCS Class II drugs), there are a few critical drawbacks. The inability of a high liquid load factor, poor flowability, poor compactibility, and an inability to produce a high dose dosage form of a reasonable size for swallowing are major hurdles, hampering this technology from being commercially feasible. An attempt was therefore made to overcome these drawbacks whilst maintaining the liquisolid inherent advantages. This resulted in the emerging next generation of oral dosage forms called the liqui-pellet. All formulations were incorporated into capsules as the final product. Solubility studies of naproxen were conducted in different liquid vehicles, namely polyethylene glycol 200, propylene glycol, Tween 80, Labrafil, Labrasol, and Kolliphor EL. The scanning electron microscopy studies indicated that the liquid vehicle tends to reduce the surface roughness of the pellet. X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) indicated no significant differences in the crystalline structure or amorphous content between the physical mixture and the liqui-pellet formulation. This was due to the presence of a high concentration of amorphous Avicel in the formulation which overshadowed the crystalline structure of naproxen in the physical mixtures. Flowability and dissolution tests confirmed that this next-generation oral dosage form has excellent flowability, whilst maintaining the typical liquisolid enhanced drug release performance in comparison to its physical mixture counterpart. The liqui-pellet also had a high liquid load factor of 1, where ~ 29% of the total mass was the liquid vehicle. This shows that a high liquid load factor can be achieved in a liqui-pellet without compromising flowability. Overall, the results showed that the poor flowability of a liquisolid formulation could be overcomed with the liqui-pellet, which is believed to be a major advancement into the commercial feasibility of the liquisolid concept.
    • Optimising the release rate of naproxen liqui-pellet: a new technology for emerging novel oral dosage form

      Lam, Matthew; Ghafourian, Taravat; Nokhodchi, Ali; (Springer, 2019-07-08)
      Liqui-pellet is a new dosage form stemming from pelletisation technology and concept from liquisolid technology. In spite of liqui-pellet overcoming a major hurdle in liquisolid technology through achieving excellent flow property with high liquid load factor, the formulation requires to be optimised in order to improve drug release rate. Liqui-pellets of naproxen containing Tween 80, Primojel, Avicel and Aerosil were extruded and spheronised. Flowability test confirmed that all liqui-pellet formulations have excellent-good flow property (Carr’s index between 3.9–11.17%), including liqui-pellets with a high liquid load factor of 1.52, where 38% of the total mass is co-solvent. This shows a relatively high liquid load factor can be achieved in liqui-pellet without compromising the flowability, which is one of the key novelty of this work. It was found that the improved drug release rate was due to the remarkably improved disintegration of the supposedly non-disintegrating microcrystalline-based pellet; the optimised liqui-pellet seems to explode into fragments in the dissolution medium. At pH 1.2, the optimised formulation had ~ 10% more drug release than non-optimised formulation after 2 h, and at pH 7.4, the drug release of the optimised pellet was nearing 100% at ~ 15 min, whereas the none-optimised pellet only achieved ~ 79% drug release after 2 h. DSC and XRPD indicated an increase in the dissolution rate could be due to molecularly dispersion of naproxen in the pellets. Overall results showed that liqui-pellet exhibited an enhanced drug release and the capacity for high liquid load factor whilst maintaining excellent flowability, rendering it a potentially commercially feasible drug delivery system.
    • Critical role of the maternal immune system in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder

      Ravaccia, Davide; Ghafourian, Taravat; University of Sussex (MDPI AG, 2020-12-01)
      Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterised by impairments in communication, social interaction, and the presence of restrictive and repetitive behaviours. Over the past decade, most of the research in ASD has focused on the contribution of genetics, with the identification of a variety of different genes and mutations. However, the vast heterogeneity in clinical presentations associated with this disorder suggests that environmental factors may be involved, acting as a “second hit” in already genetically susceptible individuals. To this regard, emerging evidence points towards a role for maternal immune system dysfunctions. This literature review considered evidence from epidemiological studies and aimed to discuss the pathological relevance of the maternal immune system in ASD by looking at the proposed mechanisms by which it alters the prenatal environment. In particular, this review focuses on the effects of maternal immune activation (MIA) by looking at foetal brain-reactive antibodies, cytokines and the microbiome. Despite the arguments presented here that strongly implicate MIA in the pathophysiology of ASD, further research is needed to fully understand the precise mechanisms by which they alter brain structure and behaviour. Overall, this review has not only shown the importance of the maternal immune system as a risk factor for ASD, but more importantly, has highlighted new promising pathways to target for the discovery of novel therapeutic interventions for the treatment of such a life-changing disorder.
    • QSAR and molecular docking for the search of AOX inhibitors: a rational drug discovery approach

      Rosell-Hidalgo, Alicia; Young, Luke; Moore, Anthony L.; Ghafourian, Taravat; University of Sussex; University of Bedfordshire (Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH, 2020-12-08)
      The alternative oxidase (AOX) is a monotopic diiron carboxylate protein that catalyses the oxidation of ubiquinol and the reduction of oxygen to water. Although a number of AOX inhibitors have been discovered, little is still known about the ligand–protein interaction and essential chemical characteristics of compounds required for a potent inhibition. Furthermore, owing to the rapidly growing resistance to existing inhibitors, new compounds with improved potency and pharmacokinetic properties are urgently required. In this study we used two computational approaches, ligand–protein docking and Quantitative Structure–Activity Relationships (QSAR) to investigate binding of AOX inhibitors to the enzyme and the molecular characteristics required for inhibition. Docking studies followed by protein–ligand interaction fingerprint (PLIF) analysis using the AOX enzyme and the mutated analogues revealed the importance of the residues Leu 122, Arg 118 and Thr 219 within the hydrophobic cavity. QSAR analysis, using stepwise regression analysis with experimentally obtained IC50 values as the response variable, resulted in a multiple regression model with a good prediction accuracy. The model highlighted the importance of the presence of hydrogen bonding acceptor groups on specific positions of the aromatic ring of ascofuranone derivatives, acidity of the compounds, and a large linker group on the compounds on the inhibitory effect of AOX.
    • Genome sequence of the biocontrol agent coniothyrium minitans conio (IMI 134523)

      Patel, Denise; Shittu, Taiwo Adewale; Baroncelli, Riccardo; Muthumeenakshi, Sreenivasaprasad; Osborne, Thomas H.; Janganan, Thamarai K.; Sreenivasaprasad, Surapareddy; University of Bedfordshire (American Phytopathological Society, 2021-02-16)
      Coniothyrium minitans (synonym, Paraphaeosphaeria minitans) is a highly specific mycoparasite of the wide host range crop pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. The capability of C. minitans to destroy the sclerotia of S. sclerotiorum has been well recognized and it is available as a widely used biocontrol product Contans WG. We present the draft genome sequence of C. minitans Conio (IMI 134523), which has previously been used in extensive studies that formed part of a registration package of the commercial product. This work provides a distinctive resource for further research into the molecular basis of mycoparasitism to harness the biocontrol potential of C. minitans.
    • Migration of BEAS-2B cells enhanced by H1299 cell derived-exosomes

      Wang, Shuwei; Ju, Tuoyu; Wang, Jiajia; Yang, Fan; Qu, Kaige; Liu, Wei; Wang, Zuobin; Jilin University; Changchun University of Science and Technology; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier Ltd, 2021-01-12)
      Previous studies reported that exosomes (Exos) secreted by tumor cells could affect the tumor cells themselves and normal cells. However, the effects of exosomes derived from tumor cells on normal cells’ migration and mechanical characteristics are rarely reported. This work explores the effects of H1299 cell-derived exosomes (H1299-Exos) on the migration of BEAS-2B cells, and analyzes possible mechanical mechanisms. In the experiments, exosomes were isolated from the culture supernatants of H1299 cells by ultracentrifugation. The H1299-Exos were confirmed by scanning electron microscope (SEM) and western blotting (WB). The BEAS-2B cell migration was assessed using scratch assays. Cytoskeletal structure changes were detected by immunofluorescence. Surface morphology and mechanical properties were measured by atomic force microscopy (AFM). After incubation with H1299-Exos for 48 h, BEAS-2B cells enhanced migration ability, with increased filopodia and cytoskeletal rearrangements. The changes in the morphology and mechanical properties of the cells caused by H1299-Exos were detected using AFM, including the increase in cell length and the decrease in cell height, Young's modulus and adhesion. In short, H1299-Exos promoted the BEAS-2B cell migrations. It indicates that the morphological and mechanical properties can be used as a means to assess normal cell alterations induced by tumor cell derived-exosomes. This provides a method for studying the effects of exosomes secreted by tumor cells on normal cells and the changes in their physical properties.
    • Combination of Sanger and target-enrichment markers supports revised generic delimitation in the problematic ‘Urera clade’ of the nettle family (Urticaceae)

      Wells, Tom; Maurin, Olivier; Dodsworth, Steven; Friis, Ib; Cowan, Robyn S.; Epitawalage, Niroshini; Brewer, Grace E.; Forest, Felix; Baker, William; Monro, Alexandre; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-11-05)
      Urera Gaudich, s.l. is a pantropical genus comprising c. 35 species of trees, shrubs, and vines. It has a long history of taxonomic uncertainty, and is repeatedly recovered as polyphyletic within a poorly resolved complex of genera in the Urticeae tribe of the nettle family (Urticaceae). To provide generic delimitations concordant with evolutionary history, we use increased taxonomic and genomic sampling to investigate phylogenetic relationships among Urera and associated genera. A cost-effective two-tier genome-sampling approach provides good phylogenetic resolution by using (i) a taxon-dense sample of Sanger sequence data from two barcoding regions to recover clades of putative generic rank, and (ii) a genome-dense sample of target-enrichment data for a subset of representative species from each well-supported clade to resolve relationships among them. The results confirm the polyphyly of Urera s.l. with respect to the morphologically distinct genera Obetia, Poikilospermum and Touchardia. Afrotropic members of Urera s.l. are recovered in a clade sister to the xerophytic African shrubs Obetia; and Hawaiian ones with Touchardia, also from Hawaii. Combined with distinctive morphological differences between Neotropical and African members of Urera s.l., these results lead us to resurrect the previously synonymised name Scepocarpus Wedd. for the latter. The new species epiphet Touchardia oahuensis T.Wells & A.K. Monro is offered as a replacement name for Touchardia glabra non H.St.John, and subgenera are created within Urera s.s. to account for the two morphologically distinct Neotropical clades. This new classification minimises taxonomic and nomenclatural disruption, while more accurately reflecting evolutionary relationships within the group.
    • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of BEV's environmental benefits for meeting the challenge of ICExit (Internal Combustion Engine Exit)

      Zheng, Ge; Peng, Zhijun; University of Essex; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier Ltd, 2021-02-19)
      Based on necessary literature review, LC (Life Cycle) emissions, in particular LCCO2 (Life Cycle CO2) emissions, of BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) have been assessed and compared with the most efficient ICEVs (Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles), such as non-plug-in HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) and diesel cars. By considering CO2 emissions from vehicle production, vehicle recycle and the entire process of energy flow (from the mining of the energy source to a vehicle being driven), LCCO2 emission models of BEVs and ICEVs were built. For comparing between BEVs and ICEVs in terms of their LC emissions, a new measure named SRPR (Square Root of Power and Range) has been proposed for correctly reflecting the powertrain's main performance. Results show that, although BEVs have much lower ECR (Energy Consumption Rate) than non-plug-in HEV and diesel cars, their LCCO2 are very variable, and are very dependent on LCCO2 of power generation mix of specific country. In some countries where thermal power generation, in particular coal power generation, is still dominant, BEVs’ LCCO2 are apparently higher than ICEVs. If a country would like to have their BEVs operating lower LCCO2 than ICEVs, the overall average LCCO2 from their power generation mix should be at least at the level about 320 g/kWh. As a case study, by analysing the power generation development trend and the BEV development trend in China, it suggests that their aim for developing BEVs to have lower LCCO2 than ICEVs in next two or three decades would be very difficult to meet. If they like to put priority on the reduction of LCCO2 of ground vehicles, BEVs could not be widely promoted in China until they made their power generation clean enough, probably at least in next 20 even 30 years. Finally, BEVs’ other LC pollutant emissions, such as NOx (Nitrogen Oxides), PM (Particulate Matters), SOx (Sulphur Oxides) would not be a very serious problem if those thermal power generations are equipped with adequate exhaust aftertreatment for removing those pollutant emissions.
    • 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.
    • Co-production of two whole-school sexual health interventions for English secondary schools: positive choices and project respect

      Ponsford, Ruth; Meiksin, Rebecca; Bragg, Sara; Crichton, Joanna; Emmerson, Lucy; Tancred, Tara; Tilouche, Nerissa; Morgan, Gemma; Gee, Pete; Young, Honor; et al. (BioMed Central Ltd, 2021-02-17)
      Background: Whole-school interventions represent promising approaches to promoting adolescent sexual health, but they have not been rigorously trialled in the UK and it is unclear if such interventions are feasible for delivery in English secondary schools. The importance of involving intended beneficiaries, implementers and other key stakeholders in the co-production of such complex interventions prior to costly implementation and evaluation studies is widely recognised. However, practical accounts of such processes remain scarce. We report on co-production with specialist providers, students, school staff, and other practice and policy professionals of two new whole-school sexual heath interventions for implementation in English secondary schools. Methods: Formative qualitative inquiry involving 75 students aged 13–15 and 23 school staff. A group of young people trained to advise on public health research were consulted on three occasions. Twenty-three practitioners and policy-makers shared their views at a stakeholder event. Detailed written summaries of workshops and events were prepared and key themes identified to inform the design of each intervention. Results: Data confirmed acceptability of addressing unintended teenage pregnancy, sexual health and dating and relationships violence via multi-component whole-school interventions and of curriculum delivery by teachers (providing appropriate teacher selection). The need to enable flexibility for the timetabling of lessons and mode of parent communication; ensure content reflected the reality of young people’s lives; and develop prescriptive teaching materials and robust school engagement strategies to reflect shrinking capacity for schools to implement public-health interventions were also highlighted and informed intervention refinements. Our research further points to some of the challenges and tensions involved in co-production where stakeholder capacity may be limited or their input may conflict with the logic of interventions or what is practicable within the constraints of a trial. Conclusions: Multi-component, whole-school approaches to addressing sexual health that involve teacher delivered curriculum may be feasible for implementation in English secondary schools. They must be adaptable to individual school settings; involve careful teacher selection; limit additional burden on staff; and accurately reflect the realities of young people’s lives. Co-production can reduce research waste and may be particularly useful for developing complex interventions, like whole-school sexual health interventions, that must be adaptable to varying institutional contexts and address needs that change rapidly. When co-producing, potential limitations in relation to the representativeness of participants, the ‘depth’ of engagement necessary as well as the burden on participants and how they will be recompensed must be carefully considered. Having well-defined, transparent procedures for incorporating stakeholder input from the outset are also essential. Formal feasibility testing of both co-produced interventions in English secondary schools via cluster RCT is warranted. Trial registration: Project Respect: ISRCTN12524938. Positive Choices: ISRCTN65324176
    • Soft skills acquisition for the knowledge economy: a research strategy for policy development in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in intermediate and emergent economies

      Khilji, Nasrallah; Roberts, Stephen A.; University of Bedfordshire; University of West London (EBESWEB, 2021-01-06)
      This paper reports on a programme of study around ‘Soft skills acquisition for the knowledge economy’ and addresses a research strategy for policy development in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in intermediate and emergent economies’. Evidence from Pakistan as an emergent, intermediate economy is reviewed, with respect to preparing the younger generation (and especially graduates) for long term engagement with a knowledge-based economy. Technical and occupational skills continue to provide the base for economic capacity, but the knowledge economy requires new levels of personal and social abilities drawing on all aspects of human communication and interaction, in addition to having the facility to use digital technologies to explore, exploit and use sources of data, information, intelligence and knowledge. These elements are core constituents of ‘soft skills’. The review identifies the need for a research strategy for policy development in TVET in Pakistan. We have identified key parameters and components which need to be incorporated and monitored to assist policy development. In parallel, we are considering the nature of curricula for soft skills development and how these can be developed in practice in a variety of settings. As businesses have entered the knowledge economy they have accepted the need for cultural changes in business and organizations. In the same vein, the pathway to soft skills acquisition for the knowledge economy requires a similar level of cultural change. The results of work on Pakistan produces outcomes which are informative for and transferable to other countries.
    • Knowledge sharing for enhanced performance in the HEIs using a conceptual framework

      Khilji, Nasrallah; Duan, Yanqing; Tehrani, Jasmine; ; University of Bedfordshire (North American Business Press, 2021-04-30)
      Knowledge sharing is an essential management practice that provides a sustainable competitive advantage in a vibrant and dynamic economy (Kaur, 2019). To achieve an enhanced performance in the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), it is essential to make sure that the teaching and learning system is determined by knowledge sharing approach (Nair and Munusami, 2019). The Higher Education Institutions are required to consider how they could better share knowledge from experts who have it to learners who need to get the best of such expertise (Darling-Hammond et al., 2019). This study examines the knowledge sharing behaviour among academics and leaners in the HEIs by providing a better understanding for their enhanced performance. This is aimed to comprehend the individual acts of knowledge creation and the collective efforts of knowledge sharing adapted in the HEIs towards continuous improvement. A literature review is carried out to propose a conceptual framework of knowledge sharing for enhanced performance in the HEIs.
    • Towards new avenues for the IELTS Speaking Test: insights from examiners’ voices

      Inoue, Chihiro; Khabbazbashi, Nahal; Lam, Daniel M. K.; Nakatsuhara, Fumiyo (IELTS Partners, 2021-02-19)
      This study investigated the examiners’ views on all aspects of the IELTS Speaking Test, namely, the test tasks, topics, format, interlocutor frame, examiner guidelines, test administration, rating, training and standardisation, and test use. The overall trends of the examiners’ views of these aspects of the test were captured by a large-scale online questionnaire, to which a total of 1203 examiners responded. Based on the questionnaire responses, 36 examiners were carefully selected for subsequent interviews to explore the reasons behind their views in depth. The 36 examiners were representative of a number of differing geographical regions and a range of views and experiences in examining and giving examiner training. While the questionnaire responses exhibited generally positive views from examiners on the current IELTS Speaking Test, the interview responses uncovered various issues that the examiners experienced and suggested potentially beneficial modifications. Many of the issues (e.g. potentially unsuitable topics, rigidity of interlocutor frames) were attributable to the huge candidature of the IELTS Speaking Test, which has vastly expanded since the test’s last revision in 2001, perhaps beyond the initial expectations of the IELTS Partners. This study synthesized the voices from examiners and insights from relevant literature, and incorporated guidelines checks we submitted to the IELTS Partners. This report concludes with a number of suggestions for potential changes in the current IELTS Speaking Test, so as to enhance its validity and accessibility in today’s ever globalising world.
    • Psychology as a thing of the past

      Chater, Angel M. (British Psychological Society, 2020-08-31)
      Prof-bots or a psychologically informed future? You decide, says Angel Chater.
    • Can physical activity support grief outcomes in individuals who have been bereaved? a systematic review

      Williams, Jane; Shorter, Gillian; Howlett, Neil; Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia K.; Chater, Angel M.; University of Bedfordshire; Queen’s University Belfast; University of Hertfordshire (Springer, 2021-03-06)
      Background: In 2018, there were 616,014 registered deaths in the United Kingdom (UK). Grief is a natural consequence. Many mental health concerns, which can be identified as grief outcomes (e.g. anxiety and depression) in those who have experienced a bereavement, can be improved through physical activity. The objective of this review was to identify from the existing literature if physical activity can benefit grief outcomes in individuals who have been bereaved. Methods: A systematic review of nine databases was performed. Included studies (qualitative and quantitative) explored physical activity to help individuals (of any age) who had experienced a human bereavement (excluding national loss). Results: From 1299 studies screened, 25 met the inclusion criteria, detailing eight types of bereavement (parental (n=5), spousal (n=6), patient (n=4), pre-natal (n=3), later life (n=1), caregiver (n=1), multiple (n=4) and non-defined (n=1). Activities including yoga, running, walking, and martial arts were noted as beneficial. Physical activity allowed a sense of freedom, to express emotions, provided a distraction, and an escape from grief, while enhancing social support. Conclusion: There is some evidence that physical activity may provide benefit for the physical health and psychological wellbeing of those who have been bereaved, including when the loss has happened at a young age. This review is timely, given the wide-scale national loss of life due to COVID-19 and extends knowledge in this area. More research is needed to explore the benefits of physical activity for those who have been bereaved. In particular there is a need for well-designed interventions which are tailored to specific activities, populations and grief outcomes.
    • Identifying the configurational conditions for marketing analytics use in UK SME

      Cao, Guangming; Duan, Yanqing; Tian, Na (Emerald, 2021-04-09)
      While marketing analytics can be used to improve organizational decision-making and performance significantly, little research exists to examine how the configurations of multiple conditions affect marketing analytics use. This study draws on configuration theory to investigate marketing analytics use in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This research employs fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis using data collected from a survey of 187 managers in UK SMEs. The key findings show that (1) configurations of multiple conditions provide alternative pathways to marketing analytics use; and (2) the configurations for small firms are different from those for medium-sized firms. The research results are based on several key configurational factors and a single key-informant method to collect subjective data from UK SME managers. The study helps SMEs to understand that marketing analytics use is influenced by the interaction of multiple conditions, that there are alternative pathways to marketing analytics use, and that SMEs should choose the configuration that fits best with their organizational contexts.
    • Working in complex, short-term relationships

      Kohli, Ravi K.S.; Dutton, J. (Jessica Kingsley, 2018-02-21)
    • Reflections on upholding the rights of youth leaving out of home care

      Munro, Emily (Oxford University Press, 2019-04-11)