The Faculty of Life Sciences is predominantly based on the Chester Campus, with sports-related and computer-related courses also delivered at Warrington. A number of specialist courses are also delivered at our partner associate college at Reaseheath in Cheshire, as well as some delivery outside the UK. The Faculty also supports several research centres.

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  • Preliminary investigation of the effects of a concert on the behavior of zoo animals

    Stanley, Christina; Harley, Jessica; Rowden, Lewis; Clifforde, Lisa; Power, Aisling; University of Chester; Knowsley Safari Park, ZSL; Tayto Park
    To increase visitor footfall and engagement, zoos may host public events which may extend outside of typical opening hours. With plans to hold a 2-day concert at Tayto Park, Ireland, this study aimed to identify the behavioral response to the music event of a selected group of species in the zoo. Twenty-two species were observed across three Phases of the event (pre-, during and post-event). Specific behaviors of interest were categorized as active, resting, asleep, abnormal, and out of sight, with repeated observations being made at each enclosure during each Phase. Alongside these behavioral data, Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs) were concurrently recorded at the observation locations in terms of both dB(A) and dB(C). The median dB(C) levels during the event were found to be significantly higher (mdn = 64.5dB) when compared with both pre- (mdn = 60.7dB) and post-event Phases (mdn = 59.4dB), whilst dB(A) levels were only significantly higher during the event (51.7dB) when compared with the pre-event Phase (mdn = 49.8dB). We found some species-specific behavioral changes (mainly associated with active and resting behaviors) correlated with increased SPLs and/or event itself. However, the behavioral responses varied between species and there were numerous species which did not respond with any change in behavior to the increased SPLs or the event itself. This variation in response across species reinforces the need for monitoring of behavioral changes as well as consideration of their natural behavioral ecology when implementing appropriate mitigation strategies. Further research should be encouraged to provide evidence-based assessment of how music events may affect animal welfare and behavior and to test the efficacy of mitigation strategies that are implemented to safeguard animal welfare.
  • Human-controlled reproductive experience may contribute to incestuous behavior observed in reintroduced semi-feral stallions (Equus caballus)

    Stanley, Christina; Górecka-Bruzda, Alexandra; Jaworska, Joanna; Siemieniuch, Marta; Jaworski, Zbigniew; Wocławek-Potocka, Izabela; Lansade, Lea; University of Chester; Polish Academy of Sciences; University of Warmia and Mazury; Centre INRAE Val-de-Loire (Elsevier, 2021-12-17)
    Equine reproductive behavior is affected by many factors, some remaining poorly understood. This study tested the hypothesis that a period of captivity during the juvenile period and human-controlled reproduction may potentially be involved in the disruption of the development of incestuous mating avoidance behavior in sanctuary-reintroduced male Konik polski horses. Between 1986 and 2000, cases of incestuous behavior in harem stallions born and reared until weaning in the sanctuary were studied. Eight males lived in the sanctuary’s feral herd for the rest of their lives (the non-captive group; nC). They gained their own harem of mares without human intervention (no human-controlled reproductive activity, nHC). Another five stallions were removed as weanlings, reared in captivity and then reintroduced as adults (captive, C). Three of these C stallions were used as in-hand breeding stallions, one as a “teaser” (human-controlled reproductive activity, HC) and one was not used for reproduction in captivity (nHC). Reproductive records for 46 mares, daughters of all 13 harem stallions, were scrutinized and cases of incestuous breeding were recorded by interrogation of foal parentage records. C stallions failed to expel more daughters than nC stallions (33% vs. 18%, P = 0.045), and mated with significantly more of them (28% vs. 11%, P = 0.025). Interestingly, HC stallions expelled fewer (60%) and successfully mated with more (33%) daughters that nHC stallions (84% expelled, P = 0.013, and 10% successful mating with daughters, P = 0.010). All HC stallions bred incestuously at least once. We propose that human intervention during a critical period of development of social and reproductive behavior in young stallions, by enforced separation from their natal herd and in-hand breeding, may contribute to their later aberrant behavior and disruption of inbreeding avoidance mechanisms in these stallions. The previous occurrence of human-controlled breeding may be one of the factors promoting incestuous behavior of stallions in natural conditions. The uninterrupted presence of stallions in their harems and herd member recognition may also play important roles in inbreeding avoidance in horses.
  • Bi-exponential modelling of W' reconstitution kinetics in trained cyclists

    Chorley, Alan; orcid: 0000-0003-0000-3394; Bott, Richard P; orcid: 0000-0002-7842-2436; Marwood, Simon; orcid: 0000-0003-4668-1131; Lamb, Kevin L.; orcid: 0000-0003-4481-4711; University of Chester; Liverpool Hope University (Springer, 2021-12-18)
    Purpose The aim of this study was to investigate the individual W′ reconstitution kinetics of trained cyclists following repeated bouts of incremental ramp exercise, and to determine an optimal mathematical model to describe W′ reconstitution. Methods Ten trained cyclists (age 41 ± 10 years; mass 73.4 ± 9.9 kg; V˙O2max 58.6 ± 7.1 mL kg min−1) completed three incremental ramps (20 W min−1) to the limit of tolerance with varying recovery durations (15–360 s) on 5–9 occasions. W′ reconstitution was measured following the first and second recovery periods against which mono-exponential and bi-exponential models were compared with adjusted R2 and bias-corrected Akaike information criterion (AICc). Results A bi-exponential model outperformed the mono-exponential model of W′ reconstitution (AICc 30.2 versus 72.2), fitting group mean data well (adjR2 = 0.999) for the first recovery when optimised with parameters of fast component (FC) amplitude = 50.67%; slow component (SC) amplitude = 49.33%; time constant (τ)FC = 21.5 s; τSC = 388 s. Following the second recovery, W′ reconstitution reduced by 9.1 ± 7.3%, at 180 s and 8.2 ± 9.8% at 240 s resulting in an increase in the modelled τSC to 716 s with τFC unchanged. Individual bi-exponential models also fit well (adjR2 = 0.978 ± 0.017) with large individual parameter variations (FC amplitude 47.7 ± 17.8%; first recovery: (τ)FC = 22.0 ± 11.8 s; (τ)SC = 377 ± 100 s; second recovery: (τ)FC = 16.3.0 ± 6.6 s; (τ)SC = 549 ± 226 s). Conclusions W′ reconstitution kinetics were best described by a bi-exponential model consisting of distinct fast and slow phases. The amplitudes of the FC and SC remained unchanged with repeated bouts, with a slowing of W′ reconstitution confined to an increase in the time constant of the slow component.
  • ‘I didn’t realise the variety of people that are climbers’: A sociological exploration of young women’s propensities to engage in indoor rock climbing

    Hewitt, Jack R.; McEvilly, Nollaig; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2021-12-02)
    This paper focuses on the increasingly popular leisure pursuit of indoor rock climbing amongst young women in the UK. Adopting a Bourdieusian perspective, we draw on the concepts of field, habitus and capital to explore the factors associated with young women’s propensities to start, and continue, engaging in this activity. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews with 12 women (aged 18-25), who had been regularly engaging in indoor climbing for at least six months. Thematic analysis of the transcripts led to the construction of three themes: preconceptions of a masculine field; habitual feelings of intimidation and inferiority; and deploying and accruing ‘climbing capital’. The findings indicate that climbing’s deep-rooted classification as a ‘man’s sport’ initially facilitated feelings of intimidation and inferiority amongst the women, inhibiting their propensity to participate. However, having been introduced to climbing (often by men, such as their boyfriends or brothers), the women found that the social aspects of the activity, along with the sense of achievement they felt when participating, meant they re-evaluated their preconceptions of the field. Their access to various forms of capital facilitated their continued engagement in the field.
  • Assessment of serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D assays for Vitamin D External Quality Assessment Scheme (DEQAS) materials distributed at ambient and frozen conditions

    Sempos, Christopher T.; Williams, Emma L.; Carter, Graham D.; Jones, Julia; Camara, Johanna E.; Burdette, Carolyn Q.; Hahm, Grace; Nalin, Federica; Duewer, David L.; Kuszak, Adam J.; et al. (Springer, 2021-11-09)
    The Vitamin D External Quality Assessment Scheme (DEQAS) distributes human serum samples four times per year to over 1000 participants worldwide for the determination of total serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D)]. These samples are stored at −40 °C prior to distribution and the participants are instructed to store the samples frozen at −20 °C or lower after receipt; however, the samples are shipped to participants at ambient conditions (i.e., no temperature control). To address the question of whether shipment at ambient conditions is sufficient for reliable performance of various 25(OH)D assays, the equivalence of DEQAS human serum samples shipped under frozen and ambient conditions was assessed. As part of a Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) commutability study, two sets of the same nine DEQAS samples were shipped to participants at ambient temperature and frozen on dry ice. Twenty-eight laboratories participated in this study and provided 34 sets of results for the measurement of 25(OH)D using 20 ligand binding assays and 14 liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) methods. Equivalence of the assay response for the frozen versus ambient DEQAS samples for each assay was evaluated using multi-level modeling, paired t-tests including a false discovery rate (FDR) approach, and ordinary least squares linear regression analysis of frozen versus ambient results. Using the paired t-test and confirmed by FDR testing, differences in the results for the ambient and frozen samples were found to be statistically significant at p < 0.05 for four assays (DiaSorin, DIAsource, Siemens, and SNIBE prototype). For all 14 LC–MS/MS assays, the differences in the results for the ambient- and frozen-shipped samples were not found to be significant at p < 0.05 indicating that these analytes were stable during shipment at ambient conditions. Even though assay results have been shown to vary considerably among different 25(OH)D assays in other studies, the results of this study also indicate that sample handling/transport conditions may influence 25(OH)D assay response for several assays.
  • ABO Blood Groups Do Not Predict Schistosoma mansoni Infection Profiles in Highly Endemic Villages of Uganda

    Francoeur, Rachel; Atuhaire, Alon; orcid: ; email: aaronatuhaire@gmail.com; Arinaitwe, Moses; orcid: ; email: moses0772359814@gmail.com; Adriko, Moses; orcid: 0000-0001-9748-1207; email: adrikomoses@gmail.com; Ajambo, Diana; orcid: ; email:; Nankasi, Andrina; orcid: ; email: n1andrina@gmail.com; Babayan, Simon; orcid: ; email: simon.babayan@glasgow.ac.uk; Lamberton, Poppy; orcid: 0000-0003-1048-6318; email: poppy.lamberton@glasgow.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-11-27)
    Schistosoma mansoni is a parasite which causes significant public-health issues, with over 240 million people infected globally. In Uganda alone, approximately 11.6 million people are affected. Despite over a decade of mass drug administration in this country, hyper-endemic hotspots persist, and individuals who are repeatedly heavily and rapidly reinfected are observed. Human blood-type antigens are known to play a role in the risk of infection for a variety of diseases, due to cross-reactivity between host antibodies and pathogenic antigens. There have been conflicting results on the effect of blood type on schistosomiasis infection and pathology. Moreover, the effect of blood type as a potential intrinsic host factor on S. mansoni prevalence, intensity, clearance, and reinfection dynamics and on co-infection risk remains unknown. Therefore, the epidemiological link between host blood type and S. mansoni infection dynamics was assessed in three hyper-endemic communities in Uganda. Longitudinal data incorporating repeated pretreatment S. mansoni infection intensities and clearance rates were used to analyse associations between blood groups in school-aged children. Soil-transmitted helminth coinfection status and biometric parameters were incorporated in a generalised linear mixed regression model including age, gender, and body mass index (BMI), which have previously been established as significant factors influencing the prevalence and intensity of schistosomiasis. The analysis revealed no associations between blood type and S. mansoni prevalence, infection intensity, clearance, reinfection, or coinfection. Variations in infection profiles were significantly different between the villages, and egg burden significantly decreased with age. While blood type has proven to be a predictor of several diseases, the data collected in this study indicate that it does not play a significant role in S. mansoni infection burdens in these high-endemicity communities.
  • Behavioural Indicators of Intra- and Inter-Specific Competition: Sheep Co-Grazing with Guanaco in the Patagonian Steppe

    Fernandez, Tomas; Lancaster, Alex; Moraga, Claudio A.; Radic-Schilling, Sergio; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Corti, Paulo; Universidad Austral de Chile; University of Chester; Fundacion CEQUA; Universidad de Magallanes (MDPI, 2021-11-22)
    In extensive livestock production, high densities may inhibit regulation processes, main- taining high levels of intraspecific competition over time. During competition, individuals typically modify their behaviours, particularly feeding and bite rates, which can therefore be used as indicators of competition. Over eight consecutive seasons, we investigated if variation in herd density, food availability, and the presence of a potential competitor, the guanaco (Lama guanicoe), was related with behavioural changes in domestic sheep in Chilean Patagonia. Focal sampling, instantaneous scan sampling, measures of bite and movement rates were used to quantify behavioural changes in domestic sheep. We found that food availability increased time spent feeding, while herd density was associated with an increase in vigilant behaviour and a decrease in bite rate, but only when food availability was low. Guanaco presence appeared to have no impact on sheep behaviour. Our results suggest that the observed behavioural changes in domestic sheep are more likely due to intraspecific competition rather than interspecific competition. Consideration of intraspecific competition where guanaco and sheep co-graze on pastures could allow management strategies to focus on herd density, according to rangeland carrying capacity.
  • Marginal habitats provide unexpected survival benefits to the Alpine marmot

    Ferrari, Caterina; Zanet, Stefania; Rolando, Antonio; Bertolino, Sandro; Bassano, Bruno; von Hardenberg, Achaz; University of Turin; Gran Paradiso National Park; University of Chester
    Age-specific survival trajectories can vary significantly among wild populations. Identifying the environmental conditions associated with such variability is of primary importance to understand the dynamics of free-ranging populations. In this study, we investigated survival variations among alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) families living in areas with opposite environmental characteristics: the typical habitat of the species (alpine meadow) and a marginal area bordering the forest. We used data collected during an 11-year study in the Gran Paradiso National Park (Italy) and performed a Bayesian survival trajectory analysis on marked individuals. Furthermore, we investigated, at a territorial level, the relationships among demographic parameters and habitat variables by using a path analysis approach. Contrary to our expectations, for most of the marmot’s lifespan, survival rate was higher in the marginal site closer to the forest and with lower visibility than in the alpine meadow site. Path analysis indicated that the number of families living close to each other negatively affected the stability of the dominant couple, which in turn affected both juvenile survival and reproduction. Given the lower number of neighbouring families which inhabited the marginal site and the potentially different predation pressure by the most effective predator in the area (Aquila chrysaetos), our results suggest that species adapted to live in open habitats may benefit from living in a marginal habitat. This study highlights the importance of habitats bordering the forest in the conservation of alpine marmots.
  • The content and load of preseason field-based training in a championship winning professional rugby league team: A case study

    Fairbank, Matthew; Highton, Jamie; Daniels, Matthew; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; St Helens RFC
    This study reports on the content and periodisation of the preseason field-based training for a professional rugby league team. Thirty elite male rugby league players (26 ± 5 y, 180.9 ± 6.5 cm, 94 ± 9 kg) completed an 8-week preseason. Global positioning system devices and heart rate were used to monitor physical and physiological responses of different field-based training components (speed, conditioning, rugby skill and game-based training). Rugby skill training contributed the most to total distance covered, conditioning was the greatest contributor to high-speed running (>15 km.h-1) and game-based training provided the greatest high metabolic distance (>20 W.kg-1) and overall external load. Game-based training provided the greatest time with heart rate 80% estimated maximum. Field-based training comprised a 4-week increase in total distance, followed by a “regeneration week” in week 5 before a peak in load during week 6. The weekly pre-season cycle had lower loads on Monday and Thursday whereas Tuesday and Friday produced the highest loads. The preseason described herein adopted a progressive overload comprising a weekly undulating cycle. This study emphasises how skill and games-based training contributes significantly to the overall load of a professional rugby league team’s preseason with more traditional conditioning promoting high speed running load and high metabolic load.
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Potential Links to Depression, Anxiety, and Chronic Stress

    Shea, Sue; Lionis, Christos; Kite, Chris; Atkinson, Lou; Chaggar, Surinderjeet; Randeva, Harpal S; Kyrou, Ioannis; University of Warwick; University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust; University of Crete; University of Chester; Coventry University; Aston University; Forum Health Centre; Agricultural University of Athens (MDPI, 2021-11-16)
    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) constitutes the most common liver disease worldwide, and is frequently linked to the metabolic syndrome. The latter represents a clustering of related cardio-metabolic components, which are often observed in patients with NAFLD and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, growing evidence suggests a positive association between metabolic syndrome and certain mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, and chronic stress). Given the strong overlap between metabolic syndrome and NAFLD, and the common underlying mechanisms that link the two conditions, it is probable that potentially bidirectional associations are also present between NAFLD and mental health comorbidity. The identification of such links is worthy of further investigation, as this can inform more targeted interventions for patients with NAFLD. Therefore, the present review discusses published evidence in relation to associations of depression, anxiety, stress, and impaired health-related quality of life with NAFLD and metabolic syndrome. Attention is also drawn to the complex nature of affective disorders and potential overlapping symptoms between such conditions and NAFLD, while a focus is also placed on the postulated mechanisms mediating associations between mental health and both NAFLD and metabolic syndrome. Relevant gaps/weaknesses of the available literature are also highlighted, together with future research directions that need to be further explored.
  • Heterospecific Fear and Avoidance Behaviour in Domestic Horses (Equus caballus)

    Stanley, Christina; Wiśniewska, Anna; Janczarek, Iwona; Wilk, Izabela; Tkaczyk, Ewelina; Mierzicka, Martyna; Górecka‐Bruzda, Aleksandra; University of Chester; University of Life Sciences in Lublin; Polish Academy of Sciences (MDPI, 2021-10-28)
    Ridden horses have been reported to be fearful of cows. We tested whether cows could provoke behavioural and cardiac fear responses in horses, and whether these responses differ in magnitude to those shown to other potential dangers. Twenty horses were exposed to cow, a mobile object or no object. The time spent at different distances from the stimulus was measured. In a separate test, heart rate (HR), root mean square of successive differences between heartbeats (RMSSD) and the horses’ perceived fear were assessed at various distances from the stimuli. The horses avoided the area nearest to all stimuli. During hand‐leading, the cow elicited the highest HR and lowest RMSSD. Led horses’ responses to the cow and box were rated as more fearful as the distance to the stimulus decreased. Mares had a higher HR than geldings across all tests. HR positively correlated with the fearfulness rating at the furthest distance from the cow and box, and RMSSD negatively correlated with this rating in cow and control conditions. Our results show that these horses’ avoidance response to cows was similar or higher to that shown towards a novel moving object, demonstrating that potentially, both neophobia and heterospecific communication play a role in this reaction.
  • Treatment-Free Remission in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Can We Identify Prognostic Factors?

    Lucas, Claire; Saifullah, Hilbeen H.; University of Chester; University of Liverpool (MDPI, 2021-08-19)
    Following the development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI), the survival of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) drastically improved. With the introduction of these agents, CML is now considered a chronic disease for some patients. Taking into consideration the side effects, toxicity, and high cost, discontinuing TKI became a goal for patients with chronic phase CML. Patients who achieved deep molecular response (DMR) and discontinued TKI, remained in treatment-free remission (TFR). Currently, the data from the published literature demonstrate that 40–60% of patients achieve TFR, with relapses occurring within the first six months. In addition, almost all patients who relapsed regained a molecular response upon retreatment, indicating TKI discontinuation is safe. However, there is still a gap in understanding the mechanisms behind TFR, and whether there are prognostic factors that can predict the best candidates who qualify for TKI discontinuation with a view to keeping them in TFR. Furthermore, the information about a second TFR attempt and the role of gradual de-escalation of TKI before complete cessation is limited. This review highlights the factors predicting success or failure of TFR. In addition, it examines the feasibility of a second TFR attempt after the failure of the first one, and the current guidelines concerning TFR in clinical practice.
  • Sex and age-specific survival and life expectancy in a free ranging population of Indri indri (Gmelin, 1788).

    Rolle, Francesca; Torti, Valeria; Valente, Daria; De Gregorio, Chiara; Giacoma, Cristina; von Hardenberg, Achaz; University of Turin; University of Chester
    The critically endangered indri (Indri indri) is the largest extant lemur species and its population size is projected to decline over the next three generations due to habitat loss, hunting and climate change. Accurate information on the demographic parameters driving the population dynamics of indri is urgently needed to help decision-making regarding the conservation of this iconic species. We monitored and followed the life histories of 68 individually recognizable indris in 10 family groups in the Maromizaha New Protected Area (Madagascar) for 12 years. We estimated age and sex-specific survival trajectories using a Bayesian hierarchical survival model and found that the survival curves for male and female indris show a similar pattern, consistent with what found typically in primates; i.e., a high infant mortality rate which declines with age in the juvenile phase and increases again for adults. Also, life expectancies at 2 years of age (e2), were found to be similar between the sexes (e2 females = 7.8 years; e2 males = 7.5 years). We suggest that the lack of strong differences in the survival patterns for male and female indris are related to the strictly monogamous mating system and the lack of sexual dimorphism in this species. Our study provides, for the first time, robust estimates for demographic parameters of indris and one of the very few datasets on survival trajectories available for primates.
  • Interlaboratory Comparison of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Assays: Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) Intercomparison Study 2 – Part 2 Ligand Binding Assays – Impact of 25 Hydroxyvitamin D2 and 24R,25- Dihydroxyvitamin D3 on Assay Performance

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Wise, Stephen A.; Camara, Johanna E.; Burdette, Carolyn Q.; Hahm, Grace; Nalin, Federica; Kuszak, Adam J.; Merkel, Joyce; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramón A.; Williams, Emma L.; et al. (Springer, 2021-08-25)
    An interlaboratory comparison study was conducted by the Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) to assess the performance of ligand binding assays (Part 2) for the determination of serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]. Fifty single-donor samples were assigned target values for concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 [25(OH)D2], 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH)D3], 3-epi-25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [3-epi-25(OH)D3], and 24R,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [24R,25(OH)2D3] using isotope dilution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ID LC-MS/MS). VDSP Intercomparison Study 2 Part 2 includes results from 17 laboratories using 32 ligand binding assays. Assay performance was evaluated using mean % bias compared to the assigned target values and using linear regression analysis of the test assay mean results and the target values. Only 50% of the ligand binding assays achieved the VDSP criterion of mean % bias ≤ |± 5%|. For the 13 unique ligand binding assays evaluated in this study, only 4 assays were consistently within ± 5% mean bias and 4 assays were consistently outside ± 5% mean bias regardless of the laboratory performing the assay. Based on multivariable regression analysis using the concentrations of individual vitamin D metabolites in the 50 single-donor samples, most assays underestimate 25(OH)D2 and several assays (Abbott, bioMérieux, DiaSorin, IDS-EIA, and IDS-iSYS) may have cross-reactivity from 24R,25(OH)2D3. The results of this interlaboratory study represent the most comprehensive comparison of 25(OH)D ligand binding assays published to date and is the only study to assess the impact of 24R,25(OH)2D3 content using results from a reference measurement procedure.
  • The internal and external demands of multi-directional running and the subsequent effect on side cut biomechanics in male and female team sport athletes

    Smith, Grace; Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; Oxendale, Chelsea L. (University of Chester, 2021-11)
    The aim of this thesis was to examine the physiological and biomechanical responses to multi-directional running in male and female team sport athletes. Chapter 4 compared measures of energy expenditure derived from indirect calorimetry and microtechnology, as well as high power and high-speed activity, during linear and multi-directional running. Measured energy expenditure was higher during the multidirectional trial (9.0 ± 2.0 cf. 5.9 ± 1.4 kcal.min-1), whereas estimated energy expenditure was higher during the linear trial (8.7 ± 2.1 cf. 6.5 ± 1.5 kcal.min-1). Whilst measures of energy expenditure were strongly related (r > 0.89, p < 0.001), metabolic power underestimated energy expenditure by 52% (95% LoA: 20-93%) and 34% (95% LoA: 12-59%) during the multi-directional and linear trial, respectively. Time at high power was 41% (95% LoA: 4-92%) greater than time at high speed during the multidirectional trial, whereas time at high power was 5% (95% LoA: -17-9%) lower than time at high speed during the linear trial. Chapter 5 explored the internal and external responses to linear and multi-directional running, specifically examining if measures of high speed and high power reflect changes in internal load. High speed distance (p < 0.001) was higher during the linear trial, whereas time at high power (p = 0.046) and accelerations performed (p < 0.001) were higher during the multi-directional trial. Summated HR (-0.8; ±0.5, p = 0.003), B[La] (-0.9; ±0.6, p = 0.002) and RPE (-0.7; ±0.6, p = 0.024) were higher during the multi-directional trial. There was a large difference in the ratio of high speed:summated HR (1.5; ±0.5, p = 0.001) and high speed:total V̇O2 (2.6; ±1.2, p < 0.001) between linear and multi-directional running, whilst high power:summated HR (0.3; ±0.5, p = 0.246) and high power:total V̇O2 (0.1;±0.8, p = 0.727) were similar. A small decrement in knee flexor torque was observed after the multi-directional (0.4; ±0.4, p = 0.017) and linear (0.2; ±0.3, p = 0.077) trials, respectively. Collectively, Chapters 4 and 5 reveal that more directional changes induce a greater internal response, despite reducing the high-speed distance someone is likely to cover. High power better reflects internal responses to multidirectional running than high speed, but microtechnology cannot be used to determine the absolute energy cost of multi-directional running. Chapters 6 and 7 explored alterations in side cut biomechanics in males and females immediately (Chapter 6) and 48 h (Chapter 7) after multi-directional running. In Chapter 6, 20 m sprint time was higher (ES: 0.65 – 1.17, p < 0.001) after multidirectional running, indicating the presence of fatigue. Males and females displayed trivial to moderate changes in trunk flexion (0.16 – 0.28, p = 0.082), peak hip internal rotation (0.46 – 0.54, p = 0.090), and knee flexion (0.17 – 0.41, p = 0.055) and higher knee abduction (0.40 – 0.51, p = 0.045) and internal rotation (0.59 – 0.81, p = 0.038) angular velocities, during the weight acceptance phase of side cuts after multidirectional running. Peak hip extensor (0.19 – 0.29, p = 0.055) and knee internal rotation moment (0.22 – 0.34, p = 0.052) displayed trivial to small increases after multidirectional running, whereas peak hip external rotation (0.44 – 0.57, p = 0.011), knee extensor (0.33 – 0.45, p = 0.003) moment and knee to hip extensor ratio (0.15 – 0.45, p = 0.005) were lower. In addition, IGRF displayed trivial to moderate changes (0.04 – 0.79, p = 0.066) and lateral GRF was lower (0.29 – 0.85, p = 0.002) after multidirectional running. In Chapter 7, CK concentration (2.4 – 4.94, p = 0.009), perceived muscle soreness (4.2 – 4.8, p < 0.001) and 20 m sprint time (0.6 – 0.9, p < 0.001) were higher 48 h after multi-directional running, indicating the presence of EIMD. Males and females displayed trivial to moderate changes in peak torso flexion (0.13 – 0.35, p = 0.055), hip internal rotation angular velocity (0.43 – 0.64, p = 0.073) and more knee internal rotation (0.31 – 0.5, p = 0.009) 48 h after multi-directional running. A tendency for an interaction between sex and time was noted for peak knee flexion (p = 0.068) and internal rotation angular velocity (p =0.057), with males only displaying a moderate increase. Males and females also displayed a lower peak knee extensor moment (0.43 – 0.56, p = 0.001) and a small increase in extensor moment (0.21 –0.46, p = 0.066) and knee external rotation moment (0.34 – 0.78, p = 0.062). An interaction between sex and time was noted for IGRF (p = 0.037); there was a large increase in IGRF at 48 h in females (1.4) but not males (0.08). For the first time, these data highlight multi-directional running which elicits fatigue and EIMD causes alterations in side cut biomechanics which can persist for at least 48 h. Specifically, both males and females performed side cuts in a more extended position, with higher peak angular velocities, and peak knee external rotation moments and less knee extensor moments both immediately and 48 h after multi-directional running.
  • Principal Component Analysis as a Novel Method for the Assessment of the Enclosure Use Patterns of Captive Livingstone’s Fruit Bats (Pteropus livingstonii)

    Smith, Tessa E; Stanley, Christina R; Hosie, Charlotte A; Edwards, Morgan J; Wormell, Dominic; Price, Eluned; University of Chester; Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
    The Spread of Participation Index (SPI) is a standard tool for assessing the suitability of enclosure design by measuring how captive animals access space. This metric, however, lacks the precision to quantify individual-level space utilization or to determine how the distribution of resources and physical features within an enclosure might influence space use. Here we demonstrate how Principal Component Analysis (PCA) can be employed to address these aims and to therefore facilitate both individual-level welfare assessment and the fine-scale evaluation of enclosure design across a range of captive settings. We illustrate the application of this methodology by investigating enclosure use patterns of the Livingstone’s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii) population housed at Jersey Zoo. Focal sampling was used to estimate the time each of 44 individuals in the first data collection period and 50 individuals in the second period spent in each of 42 theoretical enclosure sections. PCA was then applied to reduce the 42 sections to five and seven ecologically relevant “enclosure dimensions” for the first and second data collection periods respectively. Individuals were then assigned to the dimension that most accurately represented their enclosure use patterns based on their highest dimensional eigenvalue. This assigned dimension is hereafter referred to as the individual’s Enclosure Use Style (EUS). Sex was found to be significantly correlated with an individual’s EUS in the second period, whilst age was found to significantly influence individual fidelity to assigned EUS. When assessing the effect of resource location on group-level preference for certain sections, the presence of feeders and proximity to public viewing areas in period one, and feeders and heaters in period two, were positively correlated with space use. Finally, individual EUS remained consistent between both data collection periods. We interpret these results for this species in the context of its observed behavioural ecology in the wild and evaluate the degree to which the current captive enclosure for this population allows for optimal individual welfare through the facilitation of spatial choice. We then explore how these methods could be applied to safeguard captive animal welfare across a range of other scenarios.
  • Uncertainty, Anxiety and Isolation: Experiencing the COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown as a Woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

    Atkinson, Lou; Kite, Chris; McGregor, G; James, Tamsin; Clark, Cain C T; Randeva, Harpal S; Kyrou, Ioannis; Aston University; University of Chester; Coventry University; University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire; University of Warwick
    Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and the related lockdown measures presented a significant risk to physical and mental wellbeing in affected populations. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are predisposed to several cardio-metabolic risk factors which increase the susceptibility to severe COVID-19 and also exhibit increased likelihood of impaired mental health wellbeing. Therefore, these women who usually receive care from multiple primary and specialist healthcare services may be disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and the related restrictions. This study aimed to explore the lived experience of the first UK national lockdown as a woman with PCOS. Methods: As part of a larger cross-sectional study, 12 women with PCOS living in the UK during the first national COVID-19 lockdown were recruited to a qualitative study. Telephone interviews were conducted in June/July of 2020, and data collected were subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Five themes were identified. “My PCOS Journey” describes participants’ experiences of diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of their PCOS. “Living Through Lockdown” describes the overall experience and impact of the lockdown on all aspects of participants’ lives. “Self-care and Managing Symptoms” describe multiple challenges to living well with PCOS during the lockdown, including lack of access to supplies and services, and disruption to weight management. “Healthcare on Hold” describes the uncertainty and anxiety associated with delays in accessing specialised healthcare for a range of PCOS aspects, including fertility treatment. “Exacerbating Existing Issues” captures the worsening of pre-existing mental health issues, and an increase in health anxiety and feelings of isolation. Conclusion: For the women with PCOS in this study, the COVID-19 pandemic and the first national lockdown was mostly experienced as adding to the pre-existing challenges of living with their condition. The mental health impact experienced by the study participants was increased due to lack of access to their normal support strategies, limitations on healthcare services and uncertainty about their risk of COVID-19.
  • Sleep disruption and depression, stress and anxiety levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) during the lockdown measures for COVID-19 in the UK

    Kite, Chris; Atkinson, Lou; McGregor, Gordon; Clark, Cain C T; Brown, James E; Kyrou, Ioannis; Randeva, Harpal S; University of Chester; Aston University; University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire National Health Service (NHS) Trust; Coventry University; University of Warwick (Frontiers Media, 2021-06-04)
    Background: Lockdown measures have been enforced globally in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the comorbidity burden in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), these lockdown measures may have a particularly negative impact on sleep health, quality of life (QoL), and depression/stress levels in this population. The aim of this study was to explore whether such potential problems were present in women with PCOS during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. Methods: UK women with PCOS were recruited through social media into a cross-sectional study during the COVID-19 lockdown. The study survey was delivered online, and included demographic and COVID-19 relevant questions, as well as validated questionnaires/scales, namely the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21), and PCOSQOL questionnaire. Results: Three hundred and thirty-three women with PCOS [median age: 30.0 (9.0) years] were recruited. Participants were dichotomized based on responses regarding the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on their sleep [negative (N = 242) vs. no/positive (N = 91) impact]. No differences were noted between groups regarding age, time since PCOS diagnosis, body mass index, or number of comorbidities. Based on the ISI, 44.2% of participants reporting a negative impact on sleep exhibited at least moderately severe clinical insomnia. Compared to those who reported no/positive effect on sleep, the participants reporting a negative impact on sleep also reported poorer QoL, based on the total PCOSQOL score, with a greater impact of PCOS and poorer mood in the corresponding PCOSQOL domains. Based on the DASS-21, the latter also had statistically higher depression and stress levels compared to the former. Finally, for this cohort significant inverse correlations were noted between the ISI and PCOSQOL scores (total and domain scores), whilst the DASS-21 and ISI scores were positively correlated (all p-values <0.001). Conclusion: The majority of recruited UK women with PCOS reported that the COVID-19 lockdown had a negative impact on their sleep, which was also associated with impaired QoL and higher depression/stress levels. Whilst further research is required, women with PCOS should be considered a vulnerable population that may experience an adverse impact on sleep, QoL and mental health well-being due to lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour due to enforced covid-19-related lockdown and movement restrictions: A protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Kite, Chris; Lagojda, Lukasz; Clark, Cain C T; Uthman, Olalekan; Denton, Francesca; McGregor, Gordon; Harwood, Amy E; Atkinson, Lou; Broom, David R; Kyrou, Ioannis; et al. (MDPI, 2021-05-14)
    Prolonged lockdown/restriction measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have reportedly impacted opportunities to be physically active for a large proportion of the population in affected countries globally. The exact changes to physical activity and sedentary behaviours due to these measures have not been fully studied. Accordingly, the objective of this PROSPERO-registered systematic review is to evaluate the available evidence on physical activity and sedentary behaviours in the general population during COVID-19-related lockdown/restriction measures, compared to prior to restrictions being in place. Defined searches to identify eligible studies published in English, from November 2019 up to the date of submission, will be conducted using the following databases: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, PSYCinfo, Coronavirus Research Database, Public Health Database, Publicly Available Content Database, SCOPUS, and Google Scholar. The applied inclusion criteria were selected to identify observational studies with no restrictions placed on participants, with outcomes regarding physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour during lockdown/restriction measures, and with comparisons for these outcomes to a time when no such measures were in place. Where appropriate, results from included studies will be pooled and effect estimates will be presented in random effects meta-analyses. To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first systematic review to evaluate one complete year of published data on the impact of COVID-19-related lockdown/restriction measures on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Thus, this systematic review and meta-analysis will constitute the most up-to-date synthesis of published evidence on any such documented changes, and so will comprehensively inform clinical practitioners, public health agencies, researchers, policymakers and the general public regarding the effects of lockdown/restriction measures on both physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
  • A single dose of ChAdOx1 Chik vaccine induces neutralising antibodies against four chikungunya virus lineages in a phase 1 clinical trial

    Folegatti, Pedro M.; Harrison, Kate; Preciado-Llanes, Lorena; Ramos Lopez, Fernando; Bittaye, Mustapha; Kim, Young Chan; Flaxman, Amy; Bellamy, Duncan; Makinson, Rebecca; Sheridan, Jonathan; et al. (Nature Research, 2021-07-30)
    Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a reemerging mosquito-borne virus that causes swift outbreaks. Major concerns are the persistent and disabling polyarthralgia in infected individuals. Here we present the results from a first-in-human trial of the candidate simian adenovirus vectored vaccine ChAdOx1 Chik, expressing the CHIKV full-length structural polyprotein (Capsid, E3, E2, 6k and E1). 24 adult healthy volunteers aged 18–50 years, were recruited in a dose escalation, open-label, nonrandomized and uncontrolled phase 1 trial (registry NCT03590392). Participants received a single intramuscular injection of ChAdOx1 Chik at one of the three preestablished dosages and were followed-up for 6 months. The primary objective was to assess safety and tolerability of ChAdOx1 Chik. The secondary objective was to assess the humoral and cellular immunogenicity. ChAdOx1 Chik was safe at all doses tested with no serious adverse reactions reported. The vast majority of solicited adverse events were mild or moderate, and self-limiting in nature. A single dose induced IgG and Tcell responses against the CHIKV structural antigens. Broadly neutralizing antibodies against the four CHIKV lineages were found in all participants and as early as 2 weeks after vaccination. In summary, ChAdOx1 Chik showed excellent safety, tolerability and 100% PRNT50 seroconversion after a single dose.

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