• Obesity in chronic inflammation using rheumatoid arthritis as a model: definition, significance, and effects of physical activity & lifestyle

      Koutedakis, Yiannis; Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou, Antonios (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      Background: Inflammation is the natural reaction of the body to an antigen. In some conditions, this reaction continues even after the elimination of the antigen, entering a chronic stage; it targets normal cells of the body and causes extensive damage. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is such a condition. It associates with significant metabolic alterations that lead to changes in body composition and especially body fat (BF) increases. In the general population, increased body fat (i.e. obesity) associates with a number of health disorders such as systemic low grade inflammation and a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Both effects of obesity could have detrimental effects in RA. Increased inflammation could worsen disease activity while obesity could further increase the already high CVD risk in RA. However, obesity in RA has attracted minimal scientific attention. Aims: The present project aimed to: 1) assess whether the existing measures of adiposity are able to identify the changes in body composition of RA patients, 2) if necessary develop RA-specific measures of adiposity, 3) investigate the association of obesity with disease characteristics and CVD profile of the patients, 4) and identify factors that might affect body weight and composition in these patients. Methods: A total of 1167 volunteers were assessed. Of them 43 suffered from osteoarthritis and 82 were healthy controls. These, together with 516 RA patients were used in the first study. Their body mass index (BMI), BF, and disease characteristics were assessed. In the second, third, fourth and fifth studies a separate set of 400 RA patients was assessed. In addition to the above assessments, their cardiovascular profile and more detailed disease characteristics were obtained. For the final study, 126 RA patients were assessed for all the above and also data on their physical activity levels and their diet were collected. Results: Assessments of adiposity for the general population are not valid for RA patients. Thus, we proposed RA-specific measures of adiposity. These are able to better identify RA patients with increased BF. We were also able to find associations between obesity and disease activity. Both underweight and obese RA patients had more active disease compared to normal-weight patients. Obese patients had significantly worse CVD profile compared to normal-weight. The newly devised measures of adiposity were able to identify those at increased risk. However, not all obese individuals were unhealthy and not all normal-weight healthy. Among our patients we were able to identify subtypes of obesity with distinct phenotypic characteristics that warrant special attention. Finally, we were able to identify factors that influence body weight and composition. Cigarette smoking protected against obesity while its cessation associated with increased adiposity. Physical activity was also found to be protective against obesity while diet or inflammation of the disease failed to produce any significant results. Conclusions: Obesity is a significant threat to the health of RA patients. The measures of adiposity developed herein should be used to identify obese RA patients. Physical activity seems like the sole mode for effective weight management in this population. Health and exercise professionals should actively encourage their patients to exercise as much as they can. This study has created more questions than it answered; further research in the association of obesity and inflammation, as well as in ways to treat it, is essential.
    • Oil and gas contracts: a law in context analysis using Nigeria as a case study

      Haynes, Andrew; Adebayo, Jamiu Olohundare (University of Wolverhampton, 2018-12-31)
      The legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas industry and the contracting obligations arising thereof have evolved over time in many forms across oil producing states. Given the peculiarities of each of these oil producing states, the framework is constantly changing. The changing face of politics, climate and rapidly developing technology are changing the landscape of the industry, demanding a fundamental need for petroleum resource-endowed states to take a strategic view and choose what legal framework and contracting approaches are likely to deliver their ultimate objective: optimum production with topmost financial gains. The idea behind the exploration and exploitation of natural resources is to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing states with the anticipation that such investment will put them on the centre stage of global economics and lead to an improvement in research and technology transfer that would sustain economic growth and development. However, the objective of transnational corporations is to maximise their profits. Ultimately, it is the exploration licensing contracts that states use to implement oil exploration and exploitation policies. The present research therefore seeks to look at the dynamics of the legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas industry focussing on its everchanging contract types and nature. The research attempts to look at the causes of the imbalance in international oil and gas contracts with an eye on the observation that one of the causes of the imbalance are the investment treaties because they focus on a state’s obligations with little or no focus on obligations from transnational corporations towards the states. Some critical clauses that need to be taken into account by parties to the contract are also explored because it is argued that contractual clauses are also among the causes of imbalance in international oil and gas contracts. This research therefore addresses the causes of imbalance by looking at the problems associated with investment treaties and the long-term contractual relationship between the host states and the transnational corporations, particularly the associated risks with oil and gas contracts such as; political, economic, natural and technical risks. Essentially, the study will narrow down on the processes, technicalities, case studies and the features of four main types of oil and gas contracts namely, Production Sharing Agreement, Joint Ventures, Service Contracts and the two Concessions, (Old and New). The research also attempted to answer the following questions: what is the current structure of oil contracts and to what extent can parties’ commitments be altered to ensure the sustenance of economic stability? Which type of contract is the best for development and financial purposes? What are the causes of imbalance in the oil contract and to what extent have the principles of international environmental law been utilised at a state level and whether developing countries have been able to overcome the pressures from transnational corporations on the issue of environmental law? The research will address these questions through its five chapters.
    • “Old habits persist” Change and continuity in Black Country communities: Pensnett, Sedgley and Tipton, 1945-c.1970

      Gildart, Keith; Henderson, P.; Watkiss Singleton, Rosalind (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      This thesis examines continuity and change in the three Black Country localities of Pensnett, Tipton and Sedgley between 1945 and c1970. The dominant historiography of the period suggests that the prosperity of post-war British society, the safety-net of state welfare provision and unprecedented levels of consumer spending mostly eradicated the inter-war behaviour patterns of individuals, families and communities. Utilising the oral testimony of sixty residents from the three localities, and supplemented by a range of primary sources, the thesis demonstrates that growing affluence impacted only marginally upon the customary social mores of the lowermiddle and working-class inhabitants. Whilst aspirations to new housing and increased consumption affected perceptions of status and social standing, the economic strategies of the pre-war period prevailed. The thesis evaluates the effect of affluence upon earning, spending and saving. It questions assumptions that the support of kinship networks, matrilocality and community cohesion disappeared as slums were replaced with new housing estates. It demonstrates that the Welfare State impacted little upon attitudes to income and employment and that the wages derived from formal employment were augmented by informal work, penny-capitalist ventures and illicit activities. It shows that despite embracing the consumer society, families within these localities adhered to traditional methods of shopping and the financing of consumption. The thesis challenges the work of a range of historians who have emphasised change over continuity in characterisations of British society in the post-war period and endorses Hoggart’s claims that despite post-war innovations “old habits persist”
    • One transition: three journeys

      Chen-Wilson, J.; Brown, Z.; Watkins, Cheryl (2019-04)
      The focus of the research was to explore the transition period from primary to secondary education for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their parents’ and the professionals’ perspectives. This would facilitate future recommendations of the challenges faced and alterations to improve current procedures to make the process smoother. The analysis followed Charmaz’s (2006) constructivist grounded theory approach. Semi-structured interviews with five adolescents, seven mothers and eight professionals were conducted to ascertain their transitional experiences. The findings developed three theories of the transition period. The Mothers’ theory ‘the transitional emotional rollercoaster’ encapsulated the core category emotional response. For the mothers the sense of being prepared and involved with the transition and the choice of school were significant factors in feeling emotionally balanced. The central storyline for the adolescents’, ‘weighing up the transitional balance’, related to the emotional reaction during the transition. The adolescents wanted to be informed of their new school, with information on timeframes and support to prepare them, alongside meeting peers to increase friendships and interactions. The professionals storyline, the ‘nitty gritty’, referred to achieving a smooth transitional process by being a prominent figure in the bigger transitional process, ensuring and facilitating the needs of the adolescent, parents and professionals. The professionals desired to be equipped with an awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder, to understand the needs of the adolescent and to have resources to manage the adolescent efficiently in the education setting. All of the populations referred to being powerless in the transition process, so future focus would benefit on empowering all entities through inclusion. Counselling Psychologists would benefit from the findings to support the different populations. Future development of working together as a collective to form a robust support network, good planning, communication and distribution of information would enable a smoother and more successful transition for all.  
    • Online social marketing: website factors in behavioural change

      Thelwall, Mike; Cugelman, Brian (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      A few scholars have argued that the Internet is a valuable channel for social marketing, and that practitioners need to rethink how they engage with target audiences online. However, there is little evidence that online social marketing interventions can significantly influence behaviours, while there are few evidence-based guidelines to aid online intervention design. This thesis assesses the efficacy of online interventions suitable for social marketing applications, presents a model to integrate behavioural change research, and examines psychological principles that may aid the design of online behavioural change interventions.The primary research project used meta-analytical techniques to assess the impact of interventions targeting voluntary behaviours, and examined psychological design and adherence correlations. The study found that many online interventions demonstrated the capacity to help people achieve voluntary lifestyle changes. Compared to waitlist control conditions, the interventions demonstrated advantages, while compared to print materials they offered similar impacts, but with the advantages of lower costs and broader reach. A secondary research project surveyed users across an international public mobilization campaign and used structural equation modelling to assess the relationships between website credibility, active trust, and behavioural impacts. This study found that website credibility and active trust were factors in behavioural influence, while active trust mediated the effects of website credibility on behaviour. The two research projects demonstrated that online interventions can influence an individual’s offline behaviours. Effective interventions were primarily goal-orientated: they informed people about the consequences of their behaviour, encouraged them to set goals, offered skills-building support, and tracked their progress. People who received more exposure to interventions generally achieved greater behavioural outcomes. Many of these interventions could be incorporated into social marketing campaigns, and offer individually tailored support capable of scaling to massive public audiences. Communication theory was used to harmonize influence taxonomies and techniques; this proved to be an effective way to organize a diversity of persuasion, therapy, and behavioural change research. Additionally, website credibility and users’ active trust could offer a way to mitigate the negative impacts of online risks and competition.
    • Pedogenesis on the Sefton Coastal Dunes, NW England

      Booth, Colin A.; Fullen, Michael A.; Trueman, Ian C.; Millington, Jennifer A. (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      This work examines the use of pedo-properties to identify dune soil system responses to environmental change on the Sefton coast, based on the development of conceptual pedogenic models. Previous environmental change and shoreline dynamics are determined through O.S. maps and aerial photographs, while present day processes are investigated through a dune-toe photographic survey and seasonal monitoring by fixed point photography. Topsoil (0-5 cm) physico-chemical characteristics are presented in a series of baseline GIS maps, displaying spatial pedo-property variation across the dune landscape. Combined with vegetation data, topsoil analysis identifies 10 distinct pedo-environments. Physico-chemical characteristics of associated National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI) soil profile classifications and an exposed stratigraphic section are presented graphically in a proposed sequence of development. Topsoil and soil profile samples are analysed for soil pH, soil organic matter (SOM) content, particle size, geochemical composition and mineral magnetism. Significant differences (p <0.05) are apparent for the suite of topsoil characteristics collated, indicating discrete dune environments are influenced by specific soil properties. Distinct down-profile variations in soil characteristics are also apparent between dune environments, highlighting pedological dynamism. Multivariate Factor analysis groups bare sand and mobile dune communities into ‘frontal dunes’ and fixed dune community, pasture, scrub, deciduous woodland and coniferous plantations into ‘hind dunes’, separating these topsoil environments from heath and slack communities. Factor analysis also identifies linkages between pedo-characteristics within soil profile horizons, suggesting pedogenesis on the Sefton dunes initiates as raw sand, progressing to sand-pararendzinas through leaching of nutrients. Desalinization and decalcification processes lead to brown earth development, followed by increased acidicification, subsequently, resulting in micro-podzol formation. Groundwater gley soils are associated with dune slacks, where drainage is inhibited and anaerobic conditions prevail. Analysis of buried soils suggests such pedo-environment formations are cyclic, responding to phases of shoreline regression/transgression, dune activity and stabilization. Conceptual models are designed to graphically demonstrate pedogenesis under both erosion and deposition regimes on the Sefton coast. Regression equations and correlation coefficients between pedo-properties and distance from mean high water are used as a proxy for soil age, which represent lateral soil maturity from the unstable frontal dunes to the stable hind dunes inland. The models simulate formation and process of the full array of soil properties, accounting for geomorphological impacts and anthropogenic influences. This has great implications for dune managers by raising awareness of pedogenesis as an integral part of nature and associated habitats, which could be incorporated in future shoreline management plans (SMPs).
    • Perceptions of mental illness in south-eastern Nigeria: causal beliefs, attitudes, help-seeking pathways and perceived barriers to help-seeking

      Ikwuka, Ugo (2016)
      To provide empirical basis for mental health interventions in the deprived sub-Saharan African region, this study explored the perspectives of the Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria on four dimensions of mental illness: causal beliefs, attitudes towards sufferers, preferred treatment pathways and perceived barriers to accessing formal psychiatric care. Mixed sampling methods were used to select participants who completed quantitative questionnaires. The number of participants varied between 200 and 706 in the exploratory studies but remained constant (n = 1127) in the confirmatory studies. The study found mixed endorsements of the supernatural, biological and psychosocial causal explanations with supernatural causations being significantly more endorsed. The study also found mixed treatment preferences with formal psychiatric care being significantly more preferred to the spiritual pathway which was in turn significantly more preferred to the traditional pathway. Significant negative attitudes and desire for social distance from persons with mental illness were observed across groups. Barriers to accessing mental healthcare were also significantly perceived with ideological barriers being significantly more perceived than instrumental barriers. Systematic associations were found between causal beliefs and treatment preferences: supernatural causal belief predicted preference for the spiritual and traditional treatment pathways while psychosocial causal belief predicted preference for both formal psychiatric care and the traditional treatment pathway. Mixed causal attributions and treatment preferences reflect holistic view of health and healing and calls for the evolution of complementary model of care that would incorporate people’s spiritual and cultural needs. The prospect is supported in psychosocial causal beliefs being associated with preference for the traditional treatment pathway. Significant negative attitude is a contradiction in the traditionally communitarian and predominantly Christian culture, and is deserving of intervention in the context where the solidarity of the social network should compensate for the inadequate mental healthcare. Significantly more ideological than instrumental barriers have crucial policy implication; improved conceptualizations of mental illness should precede improvement of facilities and services or else these could be underused. Demographic correlates of causal beliefs, negative attitudes, pathway preferences and barriers to accessing formal mental healthcare care were determined for targeted interventions.
    • Perceptions of the influence of Adults other than Teachers on PE and School Sport in West Midlands Primary Schools

      Benton, Victoria (2015-01)
      What is the perceived influence of Adults other than Teachers on PE and School Sport in West Midlands Primary Schools? – By Victoria Benton. Over the last decade a body of academic literature has emerged, suggesting that PE is in a state of neglect. As a result of this, numerous researchers state that the National Curriculum for Physical Education (NCPE) is therefore being delivered ineffectively in primary schools. This thesis makes a contribution to the knowledge produced by recent studies by examining the perceived influence of Adults Other Than Teachers (AOTTs) in West Midlands Primary Schools on PE and school sport. The data were collected within the West Midlands area between January and July 2011. Nine schools and nine coaching companies participated in the study and data were collected using questionnaires and follow up interviews for selected participants. In keeping with previous studies on PE and school sport, foundation chapters are concerned with the factors affecting teacher’s confidence and competence to teach PE and school sport and the consequent increase in the number of AOTTs to combat this. Closer scrutiny highlights a number of emergent themes which provide basis for more detailed discussion later in the study. Data indicates that the use of AOTTs is perceived to impact PE and school sport in the West Midlands area and in support of previous research, the use of coaches continues to be widespread. Similarly, like previous research, key factors such as poor childhood experiences, lack of motor ability, poor Initial Teacher Training (ITT), insufficient content knowledge and a negative attitude towards the subject remain issues surrounding the implementation of AOTTs. With an ever changing curriculum, schools are facing constant battles to achieve set curricular demands. This research therefore suggests how teachers and coaches, in this case study, could best be utilised to ensure a high quality of PE and school sport is delivered in their schools in the future.
    • Performing school nursing: Narratives of providing support to children and young people.

      Sherwin, Sarah (2016-06-29)
      Background: Child and adolescent mental health is an important public health issue within the UK. Providing support to young people, to help them cope with everyday life, is a key aspect of the school nurse’s role. Yet there is a paucity of published research within the UK and internationally about how this support is provided. Methodology: Using a narrative inquiry approach, presented as a performative text, this study set out to address the following research question, ‘How do school nurses provide support to young people?’ Stories were gathered from eleven school nurses to explore their experiences of providing support to young people using purposive sampling. The stories were analysed using an adapted version of the interpretivist-interactionist model (Savin-Baden, 2004). Poetic re-presentations were used to tell the stories of individual school nurses; an approach seen to be a novel in school nursing research. Using Soja’s (1996) spatiality theory as a framework the stories were analysed collectively, to explore different spaces used when providing support to young people. Findings: This study extends school nursing current literature about what it means to provide support. The importance of regular support and building trusting relationships is identified. Yet challenges exist in terms of the amount of emotional investment required by the nurses, as well as a lack of workforce capacity and organisational demands. It provides an original contribution to the body of school nursing knowledge by using an approach new in school nursing research, and distinguishing different and new spaces in which they perform to provide support to young people. Recommendations: Further research is necessary to gather stories from young people themselves. Additional support and training is recommended to enhance school nurses’ knowledge and skills in providing support. Findings should be conveyed to commissioners to provide insight into the school nurses’ role.
    • Personality as a predictor of facebook engagement

      Fullwood, Chris; Morris, Neil; Galbraith, Niall; Orchard, Lisa J (University of Wolverhampton, 2013-03)
      Research suggests that personality may dictate specific Internet behaviours or preferences. However, literature to date has been piecemeal and has tended to focus on generic use. One area that remains relatively unexplored is the influence of personality on engagement with social networking sites (SNSs). The current thesis aims to fill this gap by exploring the influence of personality on motivations for using SNSs and behavioural patterns within them. Eysenck’s EPQ-R short form (extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism) and Beck’s SAS (sociotropy and autonomy) were used to explore personality, both globally and specifically. Phase one of the thesis employs a ‘uses and gratifications’ framework to investigate how personality may predict motivations for using SNSs. Principal component analysis identified ten distinct motivational components, which were then successfully predicted by personality variables through regression analyses. It is therefore suggested that differing personality types vary greatly in their reasoning behind SNS usage. Results support theoretical assumptions. Phase two of the research looked at Facebook behaviours and profile construction. A content analysis of participant profiles was conducted with the help of questionnaire methodology. Data analysis suggests that personality was not a particularly strong predictor of self-presentational differences in this context; although subtle differences were present. The final phase of the research explored the perceived Facebook experience of users. A thematic analysis of an online student discussion board was conducted in order to generate distinct themes surrounding Facebook outcomes. These were used within Q Methodology to generate a concourse, through which Q sort statements were derived. Results generated four shared viewpoints of the Facebook experience, which were subsequently associated with personality through the use of traditional R methods. Again, although not particularly strong, theoretically supported associations can be seen. The thesis explores personality within SNS use in a depth previously unexplored. The conclusion makes theoretically-sound assumptions surrounding personality and SNS use as a media choice.
    • Personality as a predictor of visual self-presentation and motivations for photo sharing via social media

      Khansari, Azar Eftekhar (2018)
      A growing body of research provides evidence that it is possible to accurately predict personality traits from online activities on social media, Facebook in particular. Despite the popularity and importance of photo sharing, there is little known about whether it is possible to study the expression of personality in Facebook using visual communication data (e.g. the content of uploaded photos). Therefore, this thesis aims to identify the quantity and quality of personality- relevant information from photo-related behaviours on Facebook. Furthermore, since personality traits and motivations are integrated constructs, this thesis also explores the role of personality in determining specific motivations for photo sharing on Facebook to better understand the visual manifestation of personality traits in the online environment. These main objectives of this project are pursued in three empirical studies. Study One (phase one) employed a content analysis approach and was designed to identify which elements of the Big Five personality traits could be a good predictor of certain photo related behaviour (e.g. number of self-generated photo albums). Multiple regression analyses showed that all of the tested features/behaviours were significantly predicted by at least one of the five traits or by the Facebook membership length. Study One (phase two) aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the role of the Big Five in users’ photo uploading behaviours by examining whether it is possible to find personality cues from themes and content of photos such as self-portraits, photos of others, and nature/animals. From the content analysis of photos and conducting multiple regression analyses, the results showed not only can the Big Five personality traits be predicted from certain photo themes (e.g. the more cartoons as tagged photos, the less Agreeable the users), but also traits can be predicted from the location of uploaded photos (e.g. cover section). Study Two investigated possible motivations behind photo sharing on Facebook via qualitative thematic analysis of focus groups. Results revealed that motives for the general use of Facebook can differ from motives for the use of particular features. As ‘self-expression and self presentation’, ‘keeping and sharing memories/ life documentation’, and ‘preference for visual communication’ appeared to be three unique factors encouraging users to share photos. While the other three motives, including ‘relationship maintenance’, ‘social/peer pressure’, and ‘enjoyment and entertainment’ were similar to previously identified motives for the general use of Facebook. The final study of this thesis aimed to use, validate and extend the findings from the last three studies. In particular, a photo-sharing motivations scale was devised based on the key themes extracted from Focus group discussions in Study Two. Principal component analysis identified seven distinct motivational components. The motivations were successfully predicted by Narcissism and the Big Five personality traits through a series regression analyses. Therefore, it is suggested that users with different personality traits pursue photo-sharing goals that are in line with their personality needs. This thesis extends research on online expressions of personality and visual self-presentation. The findings support several theoretical assumptions, such as self- presentation, online manifestation of personality, the uses and gratifications model, and the extended real-life hypothesis. Additionally, the results offer some practical implications.
    • Pharmacological and Molecular Characterisation of P2Y Receptors in Endothelial and Epithelial Cells

      D’Souza, Vijay Kenneth (University of Wolverhampton, 2007)
      In light of the significant modulation of receptor activity previously shown by a peptide (designated L247), designed to mimic the third extracellular loop of the human P2Y2 receptor, the aim of this study was to use this peptide as an immunogen to generate and fully characterise polyclonal rabbit antibodies to the P2Y2 receptor. Other aims of this study were to characterise epithelial and endothelial cells for a thorough expression profile of P2Y receptor mRNA transcripts in order to provide a rapid screen for the molecular determinants of these receptors in these cells. These studies also aimed to confirm previously published pharmacology, thus, to set the basis for western blot studies using P2Y receptor antibodies. Bovine aortic endothelial cells that co-express P2Y1 and P2Y2 receptors; EAhy926, a human endothelial fusion cell line, that express P2Y2 receptors; and ECV304 human bladder cancer cell line, known to express P2Y2-like and P2Y11-like receptors were used in this study. The dose dependent accumulation of inositol phosphates and cAMP response to potent P2Y11 agonists and RT-PCR studies confirmed the functional expression of both P2Y2 and P2Y11 receptors in ECV304 cells. Likewise, the dose dependent accumulation of inositol phosphates in response to potent P2Y2 and P2Y6 agonists and the presence of mRNA transcripts confirmed the expression of functional P2Y2/4- like and P2Y6- like receptors in EAhy926 cells. Polyclonal antiserum raised against L247 peptide was affinity purified and the purified fractions showed strong immunoreactivity with immobilised immunogenic antigen in ELISA. In western blot analysis L247 rabbit polyclonal anti-P2Y2 antibody detected strong bands in ECV304 and EAhy926 cells. On pre-absorption with the immunogenic peptide these responses were abolished suggesting that this antibody is antigen specific. Agonist induced P2Y2 receptor desentisation studies in ECV304 cells showed that prolonged agonist incubation caused the receptor sequestration. The loss of bands caused by P2Y2 receptor desensitisation and sequestration in membrane enriched fractions of agonist incubated ECV304 cells confirmed the specificity of L247 antibody. This antibody also showed no immunoreactivity in 1321N1 human brain astrocytoma cells devoid of any P2Y receptor subtypes cells. Deglycosylation studies revealed that the P2Y2 receptors are glycosylated in ECV304 cells. The polyclonal rabbit anti-P2Y2 receptor antibodies obtained from commercial sources produced completely different immunoreactive profiles with multiple bands even in 1321N1 cells. Furthermore, in comparison to L247 anti-P2Y2 antibody the commercial antibody showed no difference between normal and agonist incubated cells suggesting that this antibody may not be recognising the P2Y2 receptors in ECV304 cells. Likewise polyclonal rabbit antibodies to other P2Y receptors either showed no response or showed strong immunoreactive profile with multiple bands even in 1321N1 cells suggesting that these antibodies may not have been extensively characterized. Furthermore, immunofluorescence studies with commercial anti-P2Y2 antibodies showed that they may be only recognising non-denatured receptors. These studies suggest that the L247 anti-P2Y2 antibody raised against peptide designed to mimic specific region in the third extracellular loop of human P2Y2 receptor is highly specific and sensitive and provides an important tool to study endogenously expressed P2Y2 receptors in both non-denatured and denatured state. These studies indicate that this strategy of generating antibodies may be used to generate highly specific antibodies to other P2Y receptor subtypes.
    • Physical activity and breast cancer

      Metsios, George.; Lahart, I. M. (University of Wolverhampton, 2014-05)
      Background: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and a leading cause of cancer death among females, both worldwide and in the UK. Although, UK incidence of breast cancer is rising, breast cancer mortality rates are falling, due largely to early detection and improved treatment. As a result there are more women living with a diagnosis of breast cancer than ever before. Due mainly to side-effects of adjuvant therapy, breast cancer patients may require diagnostic, therapeutic, supportive or palliative services many years post-diagnosis, which poses a major challenge to already stretched healthcare services. Accordingly, effective and inexpensive interventions that can alleviate treatment side-effects, improve health, quality of life and potentially reduce risk of early mortality are required for breast cancer patients. Awareness of the positive influence that physical activity can have on breast cancer development and outcome is an important determinant of physical activity levels. A higher level of physical activity before and after breast cancer diagnosis is related to a lower risk of all-cause and breast cancer-related mortality. Randomised controlled trials have reported beneficial effects of physical activity interventions on outcomes relating to health, quality of life and mortality risk among breast cancer survivors. Aims: The present project aimed to: 1) assess awareness of the role of physical activity on breast cancer risk and the sufficiency of physical activity undertaken in women attending the NHS breast screening programme (NHSBSP), 2) compare physical activity levels of women at different stages of breast cancer pathway, 3) investigate the effects of a low-cost six-month home-based physical activity intervention on physical activity, body mass, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), insulin resistance and blood lipid profiles of breast cancer survivors and 4) assess the effects of our home-based intervention on cardiorespiratory fitness in a subset of breast cancer survivors. Methods: A total of 309 volunteers (188 NHSBSP attendees, 41 breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and 80 post-treatment breast cancer survivors) participated in the current project. Physical activity was assessed via the International Physical activity Questionnaires (IPAQ). In studies one and two, Body mass and body mass index (BMI) were assessed directly in chemotherapy patients and breast cancer survivors, and indirectly from self-reported values in NHSBSP attendees. While in study three, body fat percentage was measured via bioelectrical impedance analysis, HRQoL was assessed using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B) questionnaire and fasting blood samples were taken to measure lipid, glucose and insulin concentrations at baseline and post-six month home-based physical activity intervention. In study four, a random subsample of 32 breast cancer survivors undertook an exercise tolerance test to establish peak oxygen uptake values. Results: A high proportion (70%) of NHSBSP attendees engaged in low-moderate levels of physical activity and performed low amounts of recreational physical activity. Attendees demonstrated high awareness (75%) of the role of physical activity in reducing breast cancer risk but those categorised as “low activity” were significantly unaware of insufficiency of activity (p<0.05). Chemotherapy patients and breast cancer survivors had significantly lower levels of total physical activity than NHSBSP attendees (p<0.001 and p<0.05, respectively). The randomised controlled trial revealed significant improvements in total physical activity, body mass (p<0.05), BMI (p<0.05) HRQoL (breast cancer subscale, p<0.01; trial outcome index, p<0.05) and total (p<0.01) and low-density lipoprotein (p<0.05) cholesterol concentrations in the intervention group compared to usual care, and significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness (p<0.05) in a subsample of breast cancer survivors allocated to intervention. Conclusions: Physical activity interventions that incorporate strategies aimed at increasing awareness of recommended physical activity guidelines may be required in populations at risk of breast cancer. A relatively large proportion of women at risk of breast cancer may not be sufficiently exposed to the potential benefits of physical activity on breast cancer outcomes. Post-treatment breast cancer patients may be more receptive to physical activity interventions as the negative effects of chemotherapy begin to resolve, and therefore, may benefit from physical activity interventions. Results suggest that a low-cost home-based physical activity intervention with counselling and telephone support can improve the health and HRQoL of breast cancer survivors, which may in turn potentially reduce risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease-related mortality. Given the encouraging results and its highly portable and feasible nature, our intervention represents a promising tool for use in health and community settings to benefit large numbers of breast cancer survivors. The current project supports the inclusion of physical activity promotion as an integral component for the management and care of breast cancer survivors
    • Physical and geochemical characterisation of canal sediments in the Black Country, West Midlands.

      Roberts, Clive; Williams, Craig D.; Appasamy, Danen (University of Wolverhampton, 2011)
      Potentially harmful elements (PHEs) have been researched in a wide variety of disciplines, including pedology, chemistry, pollution science and medicine. Within the scientific community, emphasis has usually been placed on the toxic elements, such as cadmium, chromium, lead and arsenic, but rarely has there been consideration of interactions between PHEs, the sediment matrix and processes occurring in the sediments. Dredging of canals is needed for navigability purposes and consequently testing of dredged sediments (to assess whether sediments are hazardous) and landfilling can be costly for British Waterways facing constantly changing regulations and reduction in government grants. PHE mobility and availability in canal sediments can be affected by oxygen availability, pH and Redox. Remediation is thus becoming a priority for British Waterways to limit their operational costs. Zeolites, a type of remediation tool, have been widely studied in the past 30 years due to their attractive properties, such as molecular-sieving, high cation exchange capacities and their affinity for PHEs. The pilot study to investigate the efficiency of the clinoptilolite showed that there was a concentration difference between PHEs adsorbed by the clinoptilolite and the PHE concentration lost from the sediments from three sites in the West Midlands. Thorough characterisation of the sediments was needed to understand the speciation of the PHEs and the secondary processes occurring in the sediments. The different components of the sediments were analysed using various analytical methods, such as X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), particle size and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) for the solid-inorganic phase, Ion Chromatography (IC) and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emissions Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) for the liquid phase (pore water), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and organic loss on ignition for the organic phase, pH and Redox for the electrochemistry of the sediments and Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive X-Ray analysis (SEM-EDX) for microscopy and imaging. The British Geological Survey (BGS) sequential extraction method was used to investigate the different phases in the sediments. pH remained near neutral for all three sites and Redox remained anoxic. Organic contents for all three sites were around 30% and contained most of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons considered hazardous. Pore water showed only high concentrations of sulphates but low concentrations of PHEs, suggesting PHEs were not mobile. Sequential extraction confirmed the other results showing that PHEs were mainly associated with stable phases, such as iron and manganese oxides or sulphides. The results have been taken into consideration to design a new remediation strategy to maximise efficiency of the zeolite.
    • Physical attractiveness, altruism and fairness in a game-theoretic framework

      Bhogal, Manpal Singh (2017)
      Altruism and cooperation have been troubling concepts for theorists. Where altruism towards kin is well-researched, altruism towards non-kin is an evolutionary puzzle. There have been advances in evolutionary psychology where theorists have explored the evolution of altruism through the lens of sexual selection theory, hypothesising that altruism leads to increased chances of being chosen as a mate, particularly as females value altruistic tendencies in a romantic partner. As a result, it was hypothesised males would be more cooperative and altruistic towards those they were attracted to. In study 1, it was found that females placed more importance on altruism and cooperativeness in a mate, far more than males. In addition, males placed more importance on physical attractiveness in a mate, far more than females. In study 2, it was found that people were altruistic and cooperative towards attractive members of the opposite sex when viewing images in response to moral scenarios. When I aimed to replicate this finding, using a game-theoretic framework in studies 3, 4 and 5, I found that people were fair, and altruistic when allocating stakes, and attractiveness did not predict altruism. This consistent fair behaviour led me to further investigate the role of fairness in mate attraction. In studies 6 and 7, it was found that third-parties found fairness to be more attractive than altruism, particularly female participants. In study 8, I further delved into the role of fairness in mate choice, where I found that fairness could be attractive because it increases relationship maintenance in the short-term, but it is altruism that increases relationship longevity in long-term relationships. Furthermore, it was found that people perceive short-term, fair couples to have less intention to cheat than long-term altruistic couples. This thesis opens a new and exciting door in the field of evolutionary psychology, providing evidence that fairness could play a role in mate choice.
    • Physical, cultural and cognitive interactions in the conception and production of the built environment

      Mushatat, Sabah; Boudiaf, Bouzid (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      Architecture has been pushed towards the realms of theorization, conceptualization and design methodologies. It is apparent that design is becoming interrupted and more associated with the manufacturing of ideas. It has lost its essence as a phenomenon whose roots are embedded in history and man’s relationship with his specific habitat. Hence, the aim of the thesis is to redirect architectural attention to Ecology and its various implications on design. The study puts forward the notion that human achievements are an outcome of the interaction between ecology, Culture and Cognitive Structure. These relationships are thought to set the principles behind environmental qualities of stability, compatibility and fitness. Once designers arrive at an understanding of these principles, they will be able to manipulate their design ideas to accommodate ever changing circumstances of their physical and cultural environments. The title “Physical, cultural and cognitive interactions in the conception and the production of the built environment” implies a significant theme which could indicate major traits that characterize modern practices and theorisation within the area of Architectural and Environmental Design Studies. In this work, it will be seen why and how: First, a lack of consideration for the physical environment, its requirements and its role in producing diversified architectural forms. The most significant outcome of a such position lies in divorcing nature, its laws and the ecosystems on which man has spent the preceding history elaborating building patterns on the basis of utilising them for his interest free of charge and without consequences to his survival. The fact is that different cultures, ways of life and differentiated built environments, which can only be attributed to man’s adaptation to different ecological conditions, have been widely swept away under the mythical notion of “International style”. Second, because the architects and theorists of the contemporary architecture admire mental constructions and abstract philosophies of their own, they have advocated an alien and distorted meaning of the concept of culture. The most likely interpretation of this vital concept is that it is viewed as related to a kind of abstract intellectual capacity in the human brain that does not lend itself to variation in the physical setting. Tragically, the adoption of such view has resulted in sweeping away subcultures which have been developed in remote areas in accordance with their geographical setting. The most acceptable meaning of culture has been to imply the role of physical environment in shaping social relations, the modes of thought, norms, beliefs, ways of life, the ideologies and the total range of customary behaviour, all of which have been influenced by people’s adaptation to their environment. Therefore, building forms, patterns of growth, town morphology, in short, architectural phenomenon, has, like culture, evolved characteristics from its natural habitat. We now often observe that such an argument is totally diminishing in the present architecture and in the environmental activities of those in charge. Third, the interruption of continuity and flow of human cognitive knowledge by introducing techniques and thoughts whose practical values, aesthetical capacities and meanings do not correspond with people’s knowledge of the environment, building behaviour or activities associated with the history of people’s relation to their own habitat. This work is structured in two main parts; the first one will deal with the contribution of the different disciplines such as Ecology, Culture, Economy, Psychology, Architecture and Urban Design from the theoretical point of view in the development of the different concepts. In the second part, we will discuss the impact of these disciplines on the production of our built environment and we will end up by suggesting a model highlighting the interactions of these disciplines in the evaluation and the production of our built environment through a chosen case study which is Algiers. The main methods used in this study are: Descriptive for the first part which is dealing with the review of the current literature on Ecology, Culture and Cognition; Analytic for the proposed model and the case study; the third method is predictive and concerns the last part of this work.
    • Physiochemical and drug release properties of liquisolid formulations in comparison to their physical mixture counterparts

      Bello, Hussaini (2018)
      Various techniques have been used for modifying the release properties of drugs over the past years. Techniques such as liquisolid technology have raised a lot of interest in many researchers which can be employed to enhance or sustain dissolution. Various liquisolid (LS) tablets of diltiazem containing Polysorbate 80 as a non-volatile solvent for sustained release were prepared. PolyoxTM is an attractive pharmaceutical polymer used in controlled release dosage forms mainly because of its insensitivity to the pH of the biological medium and ease of production. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of several formulation factors i.e., the PolyoxTM grade at different molecular weight (MW), PolyoxTM particle size and ratio, the AEROSIL® grade, the use of diluent, polymer type and the drug type as well as their interactions on drug release from LS formulation in comparison to their physical mixture (PM). The result showed that PolyoxTM MW was a key determining step in achieving sustained release, with the higher MW of PolyoxTM resulting in a more delayed release profile. The delayed DTZ release could be related to the rate and extend of hydrogel formation on the tablet surface. The P–CMRs and net–CMRs of both LS and PM formulation powders also showed increasing trends with increasing the MW of PolyoxTM. The release of DTZ from both LS and conventional tablets showed mostly decreasing trends with increasing PolyoxTM concentration and decreasing PolyoxTM particle size distribution. This could be attributed to the formation of stronger and thicker gel layers on the tablet surfaces in the case of higher concentrations of PolyoxTM. The results also showed LS tablets to produce slower release of drug than their PM counterparts, regardless of PolyoxTM particle size. The release profile of the DTZ from both LS tablets and their counterpart PM tablets showed decreasing trends with increasing the surface area of hydrophilic AEROSIL® (from 65 m2/g to 225 m2/g). This could be due to the higher tensile strength (TS) of the tablets containing AEROSIL® particles with higher surface area compared to those prepared using AEROSIL® particles having lower surface areas. Also, the result showed that comparing the different diluents showed that hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) provided the slowest release pattern of DTZ across diluents used in both the LS compacts and PM tablets. This could be attributed to hydrophobicity imparted by HVO to matrix system when in contact with aqueous medium it takes a longer time to penetrate into the tablet. Drug release from LS tablets was affected by the polymer type. The release was in the order: Eudragit® RL < Eudragit® RS < Hypromellose < PolyoxTM < Psyllium. Hydrophilic Psyllium provided a slowest DTZ release across the different polymers used in the preparation of both the LS and PM compacts. The incorporation of Psyllium into PolyoxTM further elicited a decrease in drug release rate from individual polymer matrices. This was ascribed to the reduced entrance of aqueous media into the matrix due to the presence of the stronger viscose gel within the two hydrophilic matrices compared to individual Psyllium and PolyoxTM. The ratio between PolyoxTM and Psyllium has critically influenced diltiazem release profile. The results showed that matrices containing (Psyllium:PolyoxTM) at 1:1 ratio can slow down the drug release more than the matrices compacts containing 1:3 and 3:1 (Psyllium:PolyoxTM) ratio. The results also suggest that the ii combination of PolyoxTM and Psyllium at 1:1 ratio showed robust dissolution against pH and rotational speed and therefore indicates an appropriate sustained-release profile. The dissolution rate of PolyoxTM:Psyllium from different pure drugs showed a decreasing trend with an increase in their solubility. The solid state analysis studied in this work confirms the presence of a fraction of the drug mass in a solubilised state within polysorbate 80 in LS powders. Regardless of all variables used in this study, LS formulations showed slower drug release than their PM counterparts. In conclusion, the mechanical properties of LS formulation are poor in comparison to their counterpart PM. Therefore, further work is required to improve the hardness of LS tablet comprehensively.
    • Physiological demands of performance in Classical Ballet and their relationships with injury and aesthetic components

      Wyon, Matthew A.; Twitchett, Emily (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      At performance level, classical ballet is a form of high-intensity, intermittent exercise, requiring a strong aerobic foundation. Existing training methods have remained largely unchanged over the past century, resulting in poorly conditioned dancers who are prone to injury. The purpose of the thesis was to examine, through several inter-related studies, the demands of training and performance at professional level, and whether fitness levels of classical ballet dancers affect both aesthetic components of performance, and injury. All participants were either in the final year of elite vocational training or were professional dancers. Initial, observational, investigations indicated that both rehearsal and performance posed a variety of demands on different ranks of dancer within a company’s structure, and depicted daily workloads which supported previous complaints of fatigue. Before examination of fitness or performance could begin, novel tools to assess both aerobic fitness, and performance proficiency in ballet dancers were designed and tested for reliability and validity. Both tests met with test-retest reliability standards, with 95% limits of agreement of ±6.2 ml.kg.-1min-1 for the aerobic test, and ±1.5 points (out of 10) for the performance rating scale. High overall performance scores were then best predicted by high jumps of both legs and good active flexibility of the left leg (F=4.142, df=3, P=0.042). Following this, an intervention study investigated the effects of a period of supplemental fitness training, designed to enhance aerobic fitness, jump height and local muscular endurance, on the performance scores of a randomly assigned group of dancers. A control group continued with regular training. Performance scores at the outset of the study were compared to those following the intervention period. Overall scores for the intervention group increased by significantly more than those of the control group, (p=0.03), with greatest gains seen for control and skill, indicating that supplemental fitness training, specifically targeting aerobic and local muscular endurance, can help improve performance, particularly elements such as control and skill. Finally, two separate studies confirmed that low aerobic fitness and low body fat percentage were related to injury in ballet dancers. Further research needs to focus on fully ascertaining the physical demands of ballet, and whether better training dancers to meet these demands results in enhanced performance and reduction in injury.