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The influence of highly cited papers on field normalised indicators(Springer, 2019-01-05)Field normalised average citation indicators are widely used to compare countries, universities and research groups. The most common variant, the Mean Normalised Citation Score (MNCS), is known to be sensitive to individual highly cited articles but the extent to which this is true for a log-based alternative, the Mean Normalised Log Citation Score (MNLCS), is unknown. This article investigates country-level highly cited outliers for MNLCS and MNCS for all Scopus articles from 2013 and 2012. The results show that MNLCS is influenced by outliers, as measured by kurtosis, but at a much lower level than MNCS. The largest outliers were affected by the journal classifications, with the Science-Metrix scheme producing much weaker outliers than the internal Scopus scheme. The high Scopus outliers were mainly due to uncitable articles reducing the average in some humanities categories. Although outliers have a numerically small influence on the outcome for individual countries, changing indicator or classification scheme influences the results enough to affect policy conclusions drawn from them. Future field normalised calculations should therefore explicitly address the influence of outliers in their methods and reporting.
Functional responses of uremic single skeletal muscle fibers to redox imbalances(PMC, 2017-01-22)BACKGROUND: The exact causes of skeletal muscle weakness in chronic kidney disease (CKD) remain unknown with uremic toxicity and redox imbalances being implicated. To understand whether uremic muscle has acquired any sensitivity to acute redox changes we examined the effects of redox disturbances on force generation capacity. METHODS: Permeabilized single psoas fibers (N =37) from surgically induced CKD (UREM) and sham-operated (CON) rabbits were exposed to an oxidizing (10 mM Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2) and/or a reducing [10 mM Dithiothreitol (DTT)] agent, in a blind design, in two sets of experiments examining: A) the acute effect of the addition of H2O2 on maximal (pCa 4.4) isometric force of actively contracting fibers and the effect of incubation in DTT on subsequent re-activation and force recovery (N =9 CON; N =9 UREM fibers); B) the effect of incubation in H2O2 on both submaximal (pCa 6.2) and maximal (pCa 4.4) calcium activated isometric force generation (N =9 CON; N =10 UREM fibers). RESULTS: Based on cross-sectional area (CSA) calculations, a 14 % atrophy in UREM fibers was revealed; thus forces were evaluated in absolute values and corrected for CSA (specific force) values. A) Addition of H2O2 during activation did not significantly affect force generation in any group or the pool of fibers. Incubation in DTT did not affect the CON fibers but caused a 12 % maximal isometric force decrease in UREM fibers (both in absolute force p =0.024, and specific force, p =0.027). B) Incubation in H2O2 during relaxation lowered subsequent maximal (but not submaximal) isometric forces in the Pool of fibers by 3.5 % (for absolute force p =0.033, for specific force p =0.019) but not in the fiber groups separately. CONCLUSIONS: Force generation capacity of CON and UREM fibers is affected by oxidation similarly. However, DTT significantly lowered force in UREM muscle fibers. This may indicate that at baseline UREM muscle could have already been at a more reduced redox state than physiological. This observation warrants further investigation as it could be linked to disease-induced effects.
Chronic eccentric exercise and antioxidant supplementation: effects on lipid profile and insulin sensitivity(Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2017-08-08)Eccentric exercise has been shown to exert beneficial effects in both lipid profile and insulin sensitivity. Antioxidant supplementation during chronic exercise is controversial as it may prevent the physiological training-induced adaptations. The aim of this study was to investigate: 1) the minimum duration of the eccentric exercise training required before changes on metabolic parameters are observed and 2) whether antioxidant supplementation during training would interfere with these adaptations. Sixteen young healthy men were randomized into the Vit group (1 g of vitamin C and 400 IU vitamin E daily) and the placebo (PL) group. Subjects received the supplementation for 9 weeks. During weeks 5-9 all participants went through an eccentric exercise training protocol consisting of two exercise sessions (5 sets of 15 eccentric maximal voluntary contractions) per week. Plasma triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), apolipoproteins (Apo A1, Apo B and Lpa) and insulin sensitivity (HOMA) were assessed before the supplementation (week 0), at weeks 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. TG, TC and LDL were significantly lower compared to pre supplementation at both weeks 8 and 9 (P<0.05) in both groups. HDL was significantly elevated after 4 weeks of training (p < 0.005) in both groups. There was no effect of the antioxidant supplementation in any of the variables. There was no effect of either the training or the supplementation protocol in apolipoproteins levels and insulin sensitivity. A minimum duration of 3 weeks of eccentric exercise training is required before beneficial effects in lipid profile can be observed in healthy young men. Concomitant antioxidant supplementation does not interfere with the training-induced adaptations.
Disparate habitual physical activity and dietary intake profiles of elderly men with low and elevated systemic inflammation(2018-05-04)The development of chronic, low-grade systemic inflammation in the elderly (inflammaging) has been associated with increased incidence of chronic diseases, geriatric syndromes, and functional impairments. The aim of this study was to examine differences in habitual physical activity (PA), dietary intake patterns, and musculoskeletal performance among community-dwelling elderly men with low and elevated systemic inflammation. Nonsarcopenic older men free of chronic diseases were grouped as ‘low’ (LSI: n = 17; 68.2 ± 2.6 years; hs-CRP: <1 mg/L) or ‘elevated’ (ESI: n = 17; 68.7 ± 3.0 years; hs-CRP: >1 mg/L) systemic inflammation according to their serum levels of high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP). All participants were assessed for body composition via Dual Emission X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA), physical performance using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) and handgrip strength, daily PA using accelerometry, and daily macro- and micronutrient intake. ESI was characterized by a 2-fold greater hs-CRP value than LSI (p < 0.01). The two groups were comparable in terms of body composition, but LSI displayed higher physical performance (p < 0.05), daily PA (step count/day and time at moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) were greater by 30% and 42%, respectively, p < 0.05), and daily intake of the antioxidant vitamins A (6590.7 vs. 4701.8 IU/day, p < 0.05), C (120.0 vs. 77.3 mg/day, p < 0.05), and E (10.0 vs. 7.5 mg/day, p < 0.05) compared to ESI. Moreover, daily intake of vitamin A was inversely correlated with levels of hs-CRP (r = −0.39, p = 0.035). These results provide evidence that elderly men characterized by low levels of systemic inflammation are more physically active, spend more time in MVPA, and receive higher amounts of antioxidant vitamins compared to those with increased systemic inflammation.