• An assessment of the conservation status of Restrepia (Orchidaceae) reveals the threatened status of the genus

      Millner, Helen; Bachman, Steven; Baldwin, Timothy (Taylor & Francis, 2020-04-28)
      Background: The genus Restrepia occurs throughout Central and South America in areas of montane forest heavily affected by deforestation. Aims: The current study was designed to test the feasibility of using available online resources to establish the threats facing these orchids and their conservation status for later inclusion in the IUCN online database. Methods: Online resources were searched for primary data on the distribution of species of Restrepia. The Geospatial Conservation Assessment Tool (GeoCAT) was used to produce semiautomated IUCN Red List assessments. Locations of populations were examined in Google Earth to establish habitat loss. A comparison of the data produced a Red List assessment for each species. Results: The observed losses of Restrepia habitat were: Venezuela 45% of recorded locations for 15 species, Colombia 28% for 30 species, Ecuador 36% for 18 species, Peru 41% for eight species, Costa Rica 81% and Panama 32% for three species. This habitat loss coincided with the route of the Pan-American Highway in these countries. Conclusions: It was possible to establish the Red List Status of Restrepia species even with minimal data. The degree of threat facing these and other epiphytic orchid genera in these habitats was shown to be considerable.
    • Assessment of the Pro12Ala polymorphism in the PPAR-γ2 gene among type 2 diabetes patients in a Nigerian population

      Engwa, Godwill Azeh; Nwalo, Friday Nweke; Chiezey, Venatus Osita; Unachukwu, Marian N; Ojo, Opeolu Oyejide; Ubi, Benjamin Ewa (MDPI, 2018-04-05)
      The association between the Pro12Ala polymorphism of the PPARγ2 gene, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and obesity in certain ethnic populations has been reported. However, this relationship has not yet been described among diabetes patients in Nigeria. This study investigated the relationship between the Pro12Ala polymorphism in the PPARγ2 gene, obesity, and lipid abnormalities characterizing T2D among patients in Nigeria. This case-control study recruited 73 T2D and 75 non-diabetic (ND) patients. Demographic and clinical data were collected and blood glucose levels together with serum lipid profile for patients were measured. Pro12Ala polymorphism in the PPARγ2 gene was genotyped by restriction fragment length-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RFLP-PCR). The PPAR-γ2 gene (amplicon size = 270 base pair) was successfully amplified for all samples. Following restriction enzyme digestion and analysis by agarose gel electrophoresis, amplicons from samples showed a band of size 270 bp and were of the wild homozygous Pro/Pro genotype. Ala12 variant was totally absent from the study population. Obesity, estimated using Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC), was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in T2D patients compared to the non-diabetic patients. More so, the prevalence of lipid abnormalities; hypercholesterolaemia (TC > 200 mg/dL), hypertriglyceridaemia (TG > 150 mg/dL), high HDL (>100 mg/dL), and low HDL (<50 mg/dL) was significantly greater (p < 0.001) in T2D patients compared to non-diabetic patients. Results obtained further indicated lack of significant association between PPAR-γ2 gene polymorphism, T2D, and obesity. However, obesity and dyslipidaemia were strongly associated in T2D patients.
    • Assessment of web crippling design provisions for application to proprietary soldier beams

      Bock, Marina; Theofanous, Marios; Dirar, Samir; Raybone, Paul (Elsevier, 2019-04-01)
      Structures used for temporary works are lightweight so that they are easy to transport, erect and dismantle. Particular care should be taken in their design as local instabilities could arise due to their thin-walled nature. This article presents 12 tests on proprietary soldier beams subjected to two concentrate opposing loads applied simultaneously. The geometry of the proprietary beams feature cold-formed C-shaped sections with web holes connected back to back with internal spacers. In the absence of design rules for application to such members, the experimental results are used in the present investigation to assess the suitability of the provisions for the web crippling design of coldformed steel members as well as existing design methods from the literature, which account for the effect of perforations in the web. Experimental and predicted resistances are compared and design recommendations are provided.
    • Assessment, endoscopy, and treatment in patients with acute severe ulcerative colitis during the COVID-19 pandemic (PROTECT-ASUC): a multicentre, observational, case-control study

      Sebastian, Shaji; Walker, Gareth J; Kennedy, Nicholas A; Conley, Thomas E; Patel, Kamal V; Subramanian, Sreedhar; Kent, Alexandra J; Segal, Jonathan P; Brookes, Matthew J; Bhala, Neeraj; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-02-02)
      Background There is a paucity of evidence to support safe and effective management of patients with acute severe ulcerative colitis during the COVID-19 pandemic. We sought to identify alterations to established conventional evidence-based management of acute severe ulcerative colitis during the early COVID-19 pandemic, the effect on outcomes, and any associations with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and severe COVID-19 outcomes. Methods The PROTECT-ASUC study was a multicentre, observational, case-control study in 60 acute secondary care hospitals throughout the UK. We included adults (≥18 years) with either ulcerative colitis or inflammatory bowel disease unclassified, who presented with acute severe ulcerative colitis and fulfilled the Truelove and Witts criteria. Cases and controls were identified as either admitted or managed in emergency ambulatory care settings between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020 (COVID-19 pandemic period cohort), or between Jan 1, 2019, and June 30, 2019 (historical control cohort), respectively. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with acute severe ulcerative colitis receiving rescue therapy (including primary induction) or colectomy. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04411784. Findings We included 782 patients (398 in the pandemic period cohort and 384 in the historical control cohort) who met the Truelove and Witts criteria for acute severe ulcerative colitis. The proportion of patients receiving rescue therapy (including primary induction) or surgery was higher during the pandemic period than in the historical period (217 [55%] of 393 patients vs 159 [42%] of 380 patients; p=0·00024) and the time to rescue therapy was shorter in the pandemic cohort than in the historical cohort (p=0·0026). This difference was driven by a greater use of rescue and primary induction therapies with biologicals, ciclosporin, or tofacitinib in the COVID-19 pandemic period cohort than in the historical control period cohort (177 [46%] of 387 patients in the COVID-19 cohort vs 134 [36%] of 373 patients in the historical cohort; p=0·0064). During the pandemic, more patients received ambulatory (outpatient) intravenous steroids (51 [13%] of 385 patients vs 19 [5%] of 360 patients; p=0·00023). Fewer patients received thiopurines (29 [7%] of 398 patients vs 46 [12%] of 384; p=0·029) and 5-aminosalicylic acids (67 [17%] of 398 patients vs 98 [26%] of 384; p=0·0037) during the pandemic than in the historical control period. Colectomy rates were similar between the pandemic and historical control groups (64 [16%] of 389 vs 50 [13%] of 375; p=0·26); however, laparoscopic surgery was less frequently performed during the pandemic period (34 [53%] of 64] vs 38 [76%] of 50; p=0·018). Five (2%) of 253 patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during hospital treatment. Two (2%) of 103 patients re-tested for SARS-CoV-2 during the 3-month follow-up were positive 5 days and 12 days, respectively, after discharge from index admission. Both recovered without serious outcomes. Interpretation The COVID-19 pandemic altered practice patterns of gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons in the management of acute severe ulcerative colitis but was associated with similar outcomes to a historical cohort. Despite continued use of high-dose corticosteroids and biologicals, the incidence of COVID-19 within 3 months was low and not associated with adverse COVID-19 outcomes.
    • The association between lifestyle and social factors with onset of depression, anxiety and stress

      Morrissey, Hana; Ball, Patrick; Pandal, Gurveer (International Journal of Current Research, 2020-04-30)
      Background: Optimum treatment and prevention of mental illness appears a neglected area within healthcare, with continuous rise in diagnosed cases. Aim: The aim was to investigate whether social and lifestyle factors can be associated with the onset of depression, anxiety and stress symptoms amongst people 18 years and over. Methods: A self-completed questionnaire collected data on demographic characteristics, lifestyle habits, social factors and participants perceptions of experiencing depression, anxiety and stress symptoms. The demographics, lifestyle and social factors were then used to explore their association with reported depression, anxiety and stress symptoms. Results: Depression symptoms had a greater association with the level of alcohol consumption (100%, 88% and 55% in high, medium-and low-level drinkers). Smoking was more prevalent in participants reporting depressive symptoms (80%) when compared to non-smokers (68%). Low income was found to be associated with a high prevalence of depressive and stress symptoms (73% and 91%) and high income was found to associated with stress symptoms only (75%). Lack of companionship was reported by 89% of participants who experienced symptoms of depression. Conclusion: A positive correlation was found between alcohol consumption and depression and anxiety. In this study sample, smoking was associated with depression alone and not with anxiety or stress. Low income and depressive or stress symptoms association was significant, no strong association was found with anxiety. Stress was reported by high-income participants. Lack of companionship was reported by those who reported depressive symptoms more so than those reported anxiety and stress.
    • Association between maternal haemoglobin and stillbirth: a cohort study among a multi-ethnic population in England

      Nair, Manisha; Churchill, David; Robinson, Susan; Nelson-Piercy, Cathy; Stanworth, Simon J; Knight, Marian; National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU), Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. (Wiley, 2017-10-26)
      The study objectives were to examine the association of maternal haemoglobin with stillbirth and perinatal death in a multi-ethnic population in England. We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis using anonymised maternity data from 14 001 women with singleton pregnancies ≥24 weeks’ gestation giving birth between 2013 and 2015 in two hospitals - the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were undertaken to analyse the associations between maternal haemoglobin at first visit and at 28 weeks with stillbirth and perinatal death, adjusting for 11 other risk factors. Results showed that 46% of the study population had anaemia (haemoglobin <110 g/l) at some point during their pregnancy. The risk of stillbirth and perinatal death decreased linearly per unit increase in haemoglobin concentration at first visit (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] stillbirth = 0·70, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0·58–0·85, aOR perinatal death = 0·71, 95% CI 0·60–0·84) and at 28 weeks (aOR stillbirth = 0·83, 95% CI 0·66–1·04; aOR perinatal death = 0·86, 95%CI 0·67–1·12). Compared with women with haemoglobin ≥110 g/l, the risk of stillbirth and perinatal death was five- and three-fold higher in women with moderate-severe anaemia (haemoglobin <100 g/l) at first visit and 28 weeks, respectively. These findings have clinical and public health importance.
    • Association of ACTN3 R577X but not ACE I/D gene variants with elite rugby union player status and playing position

      Heffernan, SM; Kilduff, LP; Erskine, RM; Day, SH; McPhee, JS; McMahon, GE; Stebbings, GK; Neale, JPH; Lockey, SJ; Ribbans, WJ; et al. (American Physiological Society, 2016-01-12)
      We aimed to quantify the ACE I/D and ACTN3 R577X (rs1815739) genetic variants in elite rugby athletes (rugby union and league) and compare genotype frequencies to controls and between playing positions. The rugby athlete cohort consisted of 507 Caucasian men, including 431 rugby union athletes that for some analyses were divided into backs and forwards and into specific positional groups: front five, back row, half backs, centers, and back three. Controls were 710 Caucasian men and women. Real-time PCR of genomic DNA was used to determine genotypes using TaqMan probes and groups were compared using χ2 and odds ratio (OR) statistics. Correction of P values for multiple comparisons was according to Benjamini-Hochberg. There was no difference in ACE I/D genotype between groups. ACTN3 XX genotype tended to be underrepresented in rugby union backs (15.7%) compared with forwards (24.8%, P = 0.06). Interestingly, the 69 back three players (wings and full backs) in rugby union included only six XX genotype individuals (8.7%), with the R allele more common in the back three (68.8%) than controls (58.0%; χ2 = 6.672, P = 0.04; OR = 1.60) and forwards (47.5%; χ2 = 11.768, P = 0.01; OR = 2.00). Association of ACTN3 R577X with playing position in elite rugby union athletes suggests inherited fatigue resistance is more prevalent in forwards, while inherited sprint ability is more prevalent in backs, especially wings and full backs. These results also demonstrate the advantage of focusing genetic studies on a large cohort within a single sport, especially when intrasport positional differences exist, instead of combining several sports with varied demands and athlete characteristics. rugby is an intermittent team sport comprising two similar but differing codes, rugby league (RL) and rugby union (RU). Both codes consist of diverse playing positions, each with different physiological, anthropometric, and technical attributes (8, 10, 20, 27) including two distinct subgroups in each code: forwards and backs. Recently, global positioning system tracking and time-motion analysis have been used to estimate the physical demands of rugby athletes and compare forwards and backs during high-level match play (8, 20, 27). In RU, backs travelled 12% greater total distance (6,545 m vs. 5,850 m), achieved maximum speeds 16% faster (30.4 km/h vs. 26.3 km/h) and engaged in over four times (58% vs. 13%) high-intensity running activities (>5.0 m/s), as a proportion of total activity (8, 27) compared with forwards. These data suggest a more sprint-oriented metabolic demand in backs compared with forwards. Furthermore, due to the complexities of forward play, forwards performed sixfold more (9.9%) high-intensity static exertion activities (rucks, mauls, scrums, and line-outs) than backs (1.6%) and spent 19.8% more time running above 80% of their maximal speed (8, 27, respectively). This implies that forwards, although often of higher body mass (14), are more likely to benefit from fatigue-resistant physiological qualities than backs. Accordingly, Deutsch et al. (10) showed that forwards had a notably higher work-to-rest ratio than backs (1:7 and 1:22, respectively). Given that the roles of backs and forwards differ significantly in terms of physiological demands, these differences may be reflected in distinct genetic characteristics (18). Elite RL athletes cover similar total distances (∼7,000 m vs. ∼5,000 m; backs vs. forwards, respectively) and have similar anthropometric characteristics to RU athletes (20). Players regularly transfer between RL and RU codes so investigating both codes (combined and separately) for their genetic characteristics is justified. The two most studied gene variants in exercise genomics (ACE I/D and ACTN3 R577X polymorphisms) have recently been considered in meta-analyses. Ma et al. (23) reported that ACE II genotype was associated with physical performance [odds ratio (OR) 1.23], especially endurance performance (OR 1.35). Furthermore, ACTN3 RR genotype was associated with speed and power performance (OR 1.21; 23), supported elsewhere (2). More extensive information regarding ACE I/D and ACTN3 R577X polymorphisms is available (13, 26). Due to differences in physical characteristics between rugby athletes and the general population and the diverse physiological demands within rugby, these genetic markers could predispose athletes to success or specific roles at the elite level. One recent paper examined ACE I/D genotype frequency distribution in young, nonelite RU athletes. ACE I/D genotype frequencies did not differ between forwards and backs, with no control group included (5). The same group (4) also investigated ACTN3 R577X in 102 young male RU athletes and reported no association, despite some tendencies for the R allele to be more frequent in backs or subgroups of backs. Studying elite athletes would be better able to answer the question whether these genetic variants are associated with elite status and playing position in rugby. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to investigate whether elite rugby athletes in the RugbyGene project (18) and a control group differed in terms of ACE I/D and ACTN3 R577X genotype distribution and whether athletes in specialized playing positions similarly differed. It was hypothesized that the ACTN3 R allele and the ACE I allele would be more frequent in rugby athletes than controls. It was further hypothesized that ACTN3 XX and ACE II genotypes would be underrepresented in RU backs compared with forwards, due to differences in overall work-to-rest ratio and differing requirements for high maximum speed.
    • Asymmetric copolymers: synthesis, properties, and applications of gradient and other partially segregated copolymers

      Zhang, J; Farias-Mancilla, B; Destarac, M; Schubert, US; Keddie, DJ; Guerrero-Sanchez, C; Harrisson, S; MOE Key Laboratory, of Material Physics and Chemistry under Extraordinary Conditions, Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Macromolecular Science and Technology, Department of Applied Chemistry, School of Science, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, 710072, P. R. China. (Wiley, 2018-09-16)
      Asymmetric copolymers are a class of materials with intriguing properties. They can be defined by a distribution of monomers within the polymer chain that is neither strictly segregated, as in the case of block copolymers, nor evenly distributed throughout each chain, as in the case of statistical copolymers. This definition includes gradient copolymers as well as block copolymers that contain segments of statistical copolymer. In this review, different methods to synthesize asymmetric copolymers are first discussed. The properties of asymmetric copolymers are investigated in comparison to those of block and random counterparts of similar composition. Finally, some examples of applications of asymmetric copolymers, both academic and industrial, are demonstrated. The aim of this review is to provide a perspective on the design and synthesis of asymmetric copolymers with useful applications.
    • Athena SWAN in Higher Education Sector - a Built Environment Perspective

      Suresh, Subashini; Abdul-Aziz, Abdul-Rashid; Renukappa, Suresh (University of Wolverhampton, 2018-12-19)
      Higher education tends to recognise gender equality in terms of representation, progression and success for students and staff. Athena SWAN is a Charter which addresses gender equality. This paper is based on critical review of literature and secondary data analysis. A thorough literature review explores the best practices adopted by Universities in UK who were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze. In doing so, 39 Universities were identified from the CHOBE members (Council of Heads of the Built Environment Heads of Department of Construction, Property and Surveying) in the year 2017 who have built environment students and staff. The results revealed that none of the Universities had gold award of Athena SWAN whereas 26 Universities had bronze awards. From the secondary data analysis of three years data from Equality in higher education, statistical reports on student and staff shows areas of concern for built environment where the female percent of student and staff are in the lower end of the spectrum. Therefore, initiatives and lessons learnt from other successful awarded Universities will be discussed in this paper so that awareness and adoption of the best practices by the built environment sector is encouraged.
    • ATMIN is a transcriptional regulator of both lung morphogenesis and ciliogenesis

      Goggolidou, Paraskevi; Stevens, Jonathan L; Agueci, Francesco; Keynton, Jennifer; Wheway, Gabrielle; Grimes, Daniel T; Patel, Saloni H; Hilton, Helen; Morthorst, Stine K; DiPaolo, Antonella; et al. (Company of Biologists, 2014-10-07)
      Initially identified in DNA damage repair, ATM-interactor (ATMIN) further functions as a transcriptional regulator of lung morphogenesis. Here we analyse three mouse mutants, Atmin(gpg6/gpg6), Atmin(H210Q/H210Q) and Dynll1(GT/GT), revealing how ATMIN and its transcriptional target dynein light chain LC8-type 1 (DYNLL1) are required for normal lung morphogenesis and ciliogenesis. Expression screening of ciliogenic genes confirmed Dynll1 to be controlled by ATMIN and further revealed moderately altered expression of known intraflagellar transport (IFT) protein-encoding loci in Atmin mutant embryos. Significantly, Dynll1(GT/GT) embryonic cilia exhibited shortening and bulging, highly similar to the characterised retrograde IFT phenotype of Dync2h1. Depletion of ATMIN or DYNLL1 in cultured cells recapitulated the in vivo ciliogenesis phenotypes and expression of DYNLL1 or the related DYNLL2 rescued the effects of loss of ATMIN, demonstrating that ATMIN primarily promotes ciliogenesis by regulating Dynll1 expression. Furthermore, DYNLL1 as well as DYNLL2 localised to cilia in puncta, consistent with IFT particles, and physically interacted with WDR34, a mammalian homologue of the Chlamydomonas cytoplasmic dynein 2 intermediate chain that also localised to the cilium. This study extends the established Atmin-Dynll1 relationship into a developmental and a ciliary context, uncovering a novel series of interactions between DYNLL1, WDR34 and ATMIN. This identifies potential novel components of cytoplasmic dynein 2 and furthermore provides fresh insights into the molecular pathogenesis of human skeletal ciliopathies.
    • Atmin mediates kidney morphogenesis by modulating Wnt signaling

      Goggolidou, P.; Hadjirin, N.F.; Bak, A.; Papakrivopoulou, E.; Hilton, H.; Norris, D.P.; Dean, C.H. (Oxford University Press, 2014-05-22)
      The DNA damage protein and transcription factor Atmin (Asciz) is required for both lung tubulogenesis and ciliogenesis. Like the lungs, kidneys contain a tubular network that is critical for their function and in addition, renal ciliary dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cystic kidney disease. Using the Atmin mouse mutant Gasping6 (Gpg6), we investigated kidney development and found it severely disrupted with reduced branching morphogenesis, resulting in fewer epithelial structures being formed. Unexpectedly, transcriptional levels of key cilia associated genes were not altered in Atmin(Gpg6/Gpg6) kidneys. Instead, Gpg6 homozygous kidneys exhibited altered cytoskeletal organization and modulation of Wnt signaling pathway molecules, including β-catenin and non-canonical Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway factors, such as Daam2 and Vangl2. Wnt signaling is important for kidney development and perturbation of Wnt signaling pathways can result in cystic, and other, renal abnormalities. In common with other PCP pathway mutants, Atmin(Gpg6/Gpg6) mice displayed a shortened rostral-caudal axis and mis-oriented cell division. Moreover, intercrosses between Atmin(Gpg6/+) and Vangl2(Lp/+) mice revealed a genetic interaction between Atmin and Vangl2. Thus we show for the first time that Atmin is critical for normal kidney development and we present evidence that mechanistically, Atmin modifies Wnt signaling pathways, specifically placing it as a novel effector molecule in the non-canonical Wnt/PCP pathway. The identification of a novel modulator of Wnt signaling has important implications for understanding the pathobiology of renal disease.
    • Atmin modulates Pkhd1 expression and may mediate autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) through altered non-canonical Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) signalling

      Richards, Taylor; Modarage, Kavindiya; Dean, Charlotte; McCarthy-Boxer, Aidan; Hilton, Helen; Esapa, Chris; Wilson, Patricia; Goggolidou, Paraskevi; Norman, Jill (Elsevier, 2018-11-07)
      Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD) is a genetic disorder with an incidence of ~1:20,000 that manifests in a wide range of renal and liver disease severity in human patients and can lead to perinatal mortality. ARPKD is caused by mutations in PKHD1, which encodes the large membrane protein, Fibrocystin, required for normal branching morphogenesis of the ureteric bud during embryonic renal development. The variation in ARPKD phenotype suggests that in addition to PKHD1 mutations, other genes may play a role, acting as modifiers of disease severity. One such pathway involves non-canonical Wnt/Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signalling that has been associated with other cystic kidney diseases, but has not been investigated in ARPKD. Analysis of the AtminGpg6 mouse showed kidney, liver and lung abnormalities, suggesting it as a novel mouse tool for the study of ARPKD. Further, modulation of Atmin affected Pkhd1 mRNA levels, altered non-canonical Wnt/PCP signalling and impacted cellular proliferation and adhesion, although Atmin does not bind directly to the C-terminus of Fibrocystin. Differences in ATMIN and VANGL2 expression were observed between normal human paediatric kidneys and age-matched ARPKD kidneys. Significant increases in ATMIN, WNT5A, VANGL2 and SCRIBBLE were seen in human ARPKD versus normal kidneys; no substantial differences were seen in DAAM2 or NPHP2. A striking increase in E-cadherin was also detected in ARPKD kidneys. This work indicates a novel role for non-canonical Wnt/PCP signalling in ARPKD and suggests ATMIN as a modulator of PKHD1.
    • Atmin modulates PKHD1 expression and through altered non-canonical wnt/planar cell polarity (pcp) signalling mediates ARPKD severity

      Goggolidou, Paraskevi; Richards, Taylor; Modarage, Kavindiya; Dean, Charlotte; Norman, Jill; Wilson, Patricia (Oxford Academic, 2018-05-18)
      INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: ARPKD is a genetic disorder with an incidence of ~1:20,000 that can lead to perinatal mortality. In the ~60% of ARPKD patients who survive the neonatal period, there is a range of disease severity, however, little is known about the genetic mechanisms that regulate ARPKD. ARPKD is caused by mutations in PKHD1 which encodes the large membrane protein, fibrocystin, required for normal branching morphogenesis of the ureteric bud during embryonic renal development. The range of disease severity observed in ARPKD suggests that besides PKHD1 that when mutated causes ARPKD, other genes might also play a role in ARPKD, acting as modifiers of disease severity.
    • Attention modulates adaptive motor learning in the ‘broken escalator’ paradigm

      Patel, Mitesh; Kaski, Diego; Bronstein, Adolfo M. (Springer, 2014-04-09)
      The physical stumble caused by stepping onto a stationary (broken) escalator represents a locomotor aftereffect (LAE) that attests to a process of adaptive motor learning. Whether such learning is primarily explicit (requiring attention resources) or implicit (independent of attention) is unknown. To address this question, we diverted attention in the adaptation (MOVING) and aftereffect (AFTER) phases of the LAE by loading these phases with a secondary cognitive task (sequential naming of a vegetable, fruit and a colour). Thirty-six healthy adults were randomly assigned to 3 equally sized groups. They performed 5 trials stepping onto a stationary sled (BEFORE), 5 with the sled moving (MOVING) and 5 with the sled stationary again (AFTER). A 'Dual-Task-MOVING (DTM)' group performed the dual-task in the MOVING phase and the 'Dual-Task-AFTEREFFECT (DTAE)' group in the AFTER phase. The 'control' group performed no dual task. We recorded trunk displacement, gait velocity and gastrocnemius muscle EMG of the left (leading) leg. The DTM, but not the DTAE group, had larger trunk displacement during the MOVING phase, and a smaller trunk displacement aftereffect compared with controls. Gait velocity was unaffected by the secondary cognitive task in either group. Thus, adaptive locomotor learning involves explicit learning, whereas the expression of the aftereffect is automatic (implicit). During rehabilitation, patients should be actively encouraged to maintain maximal attention when learning new or challenging locomotor tasks.
    • Author gender differences in psychology citation impact 1996-2018

      Thelwall, Michael (Wiley, 2019-11-28)
      Academic psychology in the USA is a gender success story in terms of overturning its early male dominance but there are still relatively few senior female psychology researchers. To assess whether there are gender differences in citation impact that might help to explain either of these trends, this study investigates psychology articles since 1996. Seven out of eight Scopus psychology categories had a majority of female first-authored journal articles by 2018. From regression analyses of first and last author gender and team size, female first authors associate with a slightly higher average citation impact, but extra authors have a ten times stronger association with higher average citation impact. Last author gender has little association with citation impact. Female first authors are more likely to be in larger teams and if team size is attributed to the first author’s work, then their apparent influence of female first authors on citation impact doubles. Whilst gender differences in average citation impact are too small to account for gender-related trends in academic psychology, they warn that male dominated citation-based ranking lists of psychologists do not reflect the state of psychology research today.
    • Authorship and citation gender trends in immunology and microbiology

      Thelwall, Michael (Oxford University Press, 2020-02-06)
      Immunology and microbiology research are essential for human and animal health. Unlike many other health fields, they do not usually centre around the curing or helping individual patients but focus on the microscopic scale instead. These fields are interesting from a gender perspective because two theories seeking to explain gender differences in career choices in the USA (people/things and communal/agentic goals) might produce conflicting expectations about their gender balances. This article assesses the gender shares of journal articles and gendered citation rates of five subfields of the Scopus Immunology and Microbiology broad category 1996-2014/18, for research with solely US author affiliations. Only Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (38% female) had not reached gender parity in publishing by 2018. There was a female first author citation advantage in Parasitology but a disadvantage in Immunology. Immunology, Parasitology and Virology, had female last author citation disadvantages, but all gender effects were much smaller (<5%) than that of an extra author (10%-56%). Citation differences cannot therefore account for the current underrepresentation of women in senior roles.
    • Autoimmunity and COPD: clinical implications.

      Caramori, Gaetano; Ruggeri, Paolo; Di Stefano, Antonino; Mumby, Sharon; Girbino, Giuseppe; Adcock, Ian M; Kirkham, Paul (Elsevier, 2017-11-08)
      Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Long term cigarette smoking is the cause of more than 90% of COPD in Westernized countries. However, only a fraction of chronic heavy smokers develop symptomatic COPD by the age of 80 years. COPD is characterized by an abnormal immune response in the lower airways and its progression is associated with infiltration of the lung by innate and adaptive inflammatory immune cells that form lymphoid follicles. There is growing evidence that both cellular- and antibody-mediated autoimmunity has a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of stable COPD. In particular, carbonyl-modified proteins may help to drive autoimmunity in COPD and to cause the characteristic small airways abnormalities and even contribute to the pathogenesis of pulmonary emphysema. Although direct, indirect, and circumstantial evidence of a role for autoimmunity in stable COPD patients has been identified, no cause-and-effect relationship between autoimmunity and the mechanisms of COPD has been firmly established in man. As such the potential contribution of an autoimmune response to the pathogenesis of COPD exacerbation is still being investigated and represents an area of active research. Many drugs targeting autoimmune responses are already available and the results of controlled clinical trials are awaited with great interest. The potential for measuring specific serum autoantibodies as biomarkers to predict clinical phenotypes or progression of stable COPD is promising.
    • Automated generation of hybrid automata for multi-rigid-body mechanical systems and its application to the falsification of safety properties

      Navarro-López, EM; O’Toole, MD (Taylor & Francis, 2017-08-29)
      What if we designed a tool to automatically generate a dynamical transition system for the formal specification of mechanical systems subject to multiple impacts, contacts and discontinuous friction? Such a tool would represent an advance in the description and simulation of these complex systems. This is precisely what this paper offers: Dyverse Rigid Body Toolbox (DyverseRBT). This tool requires a sufficiently expressive computational model that can accurately describe the behaviour of the system as it evolves over time. For this purpose, we propose an alternative abstraction of multi-rigid-body (MRB) mechanical systems with multiple contacts as an extended version of the classical hybrid automaton, which we call MRB hybrid automaton. One of the chief characteristics of the MRB hybrid automaton is the inclusion of computation nodes to encode algorithms to calculate the contact forces. The computation nodes consist of a set of non-dynamical discrete locations, discrete transitions and guards between these locations, and resets on transitions. They can account for the energy transfer not explicitly considered within the rigid-body formalism. The proposed modelling framework is well suited for the automated verification of dynamical properties of realistic mechanical systems. We show this by the falsification of safety properties over the transition system generated by DyverseRBT.
    • Automated prediction of examinee proficiency from short-answer questions

      Ha, Le; Yaneva, Victoria; Harik, Polina; Pandian, Ravi; Morales, Amy; Clauser, Brian (International Committee on Computational Linguistics, 2020-12-10)
      This paper brings together approaches from the fields of NLP and psychometric measurement to address the problem of predicting examinee proficiency from responses to short-answer questions (SAQs). While previous approaches train on manually labeled data to predict the human ratings assigned to SAQ responses, the approach presented here models examinee proficiency directly and does not require manually labeled data to train on. We use data from a large medical exam where experimental SAQ items are embedded alongside 106 scored multiple-choice questions (MCQs). First, the latent trait of examinee proficiency is measured using the scored MCQs and then a model is trained on the experimental SAQ responses as input, aiming to predict proficiency as its target variable. The predicted value is then used as a “score” for the SAQ response and evaluated in terms of its contribution to the precision of proficiency estimation.
    • An automatic method to identify citations to journals in news stories: A case study of UK newspapers citing Web of Science journals

      Kousha, Kayvan; Thelwall, Mike (The Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2019-08-30)
      Purpose: Communicating scientific results to the public is essential to inspire future researchers and ensure that discoveries are exploited. News stories about research are a key communication pathway for this and have been manually monitored to assess the extent of press coverage of scholarship. Design / methodology /Approach: To make larger scale studies practical, this paper introduces an automatic method to extract citations from newspaper stories to large sets of academic journals. Curated ProQuest queries were used to search for citations to 9,639 Science and 3,412 Social Science Web of Science (WoS) journals from eight UK daily newspapers during 2006-2015. False matches were automatically filtered out by a new program, with 94% of the remaining stories meaningfully citing research. Findings: Most Science (95%) and Social Science (94%) journals were never cited by these newspapers. Half of the cited Science journals covered medical or health-related topics, whereas 43% of the Social Sciences journals were related to psychiatry or psychology. From the citing news stories, 60% described research extensively and 53% used multiple sources, but few commented on research quality. Research Limitations: The method has only been tested in English and from the ProQuest Newspapers database. Practical implications: Others can use the new method to systematically harvest press coverage of research. Originality /value: An automatic method was introduced and tested to extract citations from newspaper stories to large sets of academic journals.