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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  • Differences in the vertical and horizontal force-velocity profile between academy and senior professional rugby league players, and the implications for strength and speed training.

    Dobbin, N; Cushman, S; Clarke, J; Batsford, J; Twist, C; Manchester Metropolitan University; Reasheath College; England RFU; Salford Red Devils Rugby League Football Club; University of Chester
    BACKGROUND: This study compared the vertical and horizontal force-velocity (FV) profile of academy and senior rugby league players. METHODS: Nineteen senior and twenty academy players from one professional club participated in this study. The vertical FV profile was determined using a series of loaded squat jumps (0.4 to 80 kg) with jump height recorded. The horizontal FV profile involved a 30-m over-ground sprint with split times recorded at 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 m. Theoretical maximal force (F0), velocity (V0) and power (Pmax), optimal F0 and V0, and activity specific variables (e.g. vertical FV imbalance) were determined. RESULTS: Absolute F0 and Pmax from the vertical and horizontal profile were moderately different between groups (standardised mean difference (SMD) = 0.64-1.20, P <0.001-0.026), whilst for V0, differences were small (SMD = 0.33-0.41, P = 0.149-0.283). Differences in relative F0, Pmax and optimal F0 during both assessments were trivial to moderate (SMD = 0.03-0.82, P = 0.021-0.907). CONCLUSION: These results highlight senior and academy players present with different FV profiles and highlight some potential developmental opportunities for senior and academy rugby league players that sport scientists, strength and conditioning and rugby coaches can implement when designing programmes and considering long-term athlete development.
  • What is PE and who should teach it? Undergraduate PE students’ views and experiences of the outsourcing of PE in the UK

    McEvilly, Nollaig; University of Chester
    This paper investigates beginning BSc Physical Education (PE) students’ views and experiences of the outsourcing of PE in the UK. Outsourcing involves the provision of PE by external providers such as sports coaches. PE in the UK (and other neoliberal Western contexts) is a site in which outsourcing has become increasingly normalised. I anticipated that, as first year undergraduates, the participants would have relatively recent experience of outsourcing as pupils/students (i.e. experience of receiving outsourced PE provision). Data were generated through written narratives (n = 16), completed on the participants’ first day at university, and follow-up semi-structured interviews (n = 10). Drawing on a Foucaultian theoretical framework, I employed a poststructural type of discourse analysis concerned with analysing patterns in language. Referring to PE, the participants drew heavily on a sport discourse, often conflating PE and sport and emphasising the necessity of teachers having knowledge and experience of sports content and skills, as well as a pedagogical discourse (and, to a lesser extent, a ‘healthy lifestyles’ discourse). The participants had a range of experiences of outsourcing in PE, particularly at primary level. They were in favour of primary PE being taught by either specialist PE teachers, or sports coaches (rather than generalist teachers alone). They spoke positively about their experiences of external provision at both primary and secondary school. While few critical comments were provided, participants raised concerns about external providers’ pedagogical knowledge, and some questioned if teachers might feel devalued by external providers being brought in to teach aspects of their curriculum. In general, while the participants recognised teachers’ pedagogical expertise, they also valued external providers’ perceived content knowledge and sporting experience. As such, by conflating PE and sport, they considered that PE should be taught by sport ‘experts’ and that external providers could enhance schools’ internal capabilities.
  • Social Network Analysis of small social groups: application of a hurdle GLMM approach in the Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota)

    Stanley, Christina; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Panaccio, Matteo; Ferrari, Caterina; Bassano, Bruno; University of Chester; University of Turin; Alpine Wildlife Research Centre, Gran Paradiso National Park
    Social Network Analysis (SNA) has recently emerged as a fundamental tool to study animal behavior. While many studies have analyzed the relationship between environmental factors and behavior across large, complex animal populations, few have focused on species living in small groups due to limitations of the statistical methods currently employed. Some of the difficulties are often in comparing social structure across different sized groups and accounting for zero-inflation generated by analyzing small social units. Here we use a case study to highlight how Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs) and hurdle models can overcome the issues inherent to study of social network metrics of groups that are small and variable in size. We applied this approach to study aggressive behavior in the Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) using an eight-year long dataset of behavioral interactions across 17 small family groups (7.4 ± 3.3 individuals). We analyzed the effect of individual and group-level factors on aggression, including predictors frequently inferred in species with larger groups, as the closely related yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris). Our approach included the use of hurdle GLMMs to analyze the zero-inflated metrics that are typical of aggressive networks of small social groups. Additionally, our results confirmed previously reported effects of dominance and social status on aggression levels, thus supporting the efficacy of our approach. We found differences between males and females in terms of levels of aggression and on the roles occupied by each in agonistic networks that were not predicted in a socially monogamous species. Finally, we provide some perspectives on social network analysis as applied to small social groups to inform subsequent studies.
  • Comment on PP2A inhibition sensitizes cancer stem cells to ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors in BCR-ABL human leukemia

    Perrotti, D; Agarwal, A; Lucas, Claire; Narla, g; Nevanini, p; Odero, m; Ruvolo, p; Verrills, n; University of Maryland; Imperial College London; Oregon Health and Science University; University of Chester; University of Michigan; University of Southern California; University of Navarra; MD Anderson Cancer Center; University of Newcastle (AAAS, 2019-07-17)
    LB100 does not sensitize CML stem cells to tyrosine kinase inhibitor–induced apoptosis.
  • Discovery of a Novel CIP2A Variant (NOCIVA) with clinical relevance in predicting TKI resistance in myeloid leukemias

    Makela, Eleonora; Pavic, Karolina; Varila, Taru M; Salmenniemi, Urpu; Löyttyniemi, Eliisa; Nagelli, Srikar G; Ammunét, Tea; Kähäri, Veli-Matti; Clark, Richard E; Elo, Laura L; et al.
    Purpose: Cancerous inhibitor of PP2A (CIP2A) is an oncoprotein that inhibits the tumor suppressor PP2A-B56a. However, CIP2A mRNA variants remain uncharacterized. Here, we report the discovery of a CIP2Asplicing variant, NOCIVA (NOvel CIp2a VAriant). Experimental Design: Characterization of CIP2A variants was performed by both 3' and 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends from cancer cells. The function of NOCIVA was assessed by structural and molecular biology approaches. Its clinical relevance was studied in an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patient cohort and two independent chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cohorts. Results: NOCIVA contains CIP2A exons 1-13 fused to 349 nucleotides from CIP2A intron 13. Intriguingly, the first 39 nucleotides of the NOCIVA-specific sequence are in the coding frame with exon 13 of CIP2A and code for a 13 amino acid peptide tail nonhomologous to any known human protein sequence. Therefore, NOCIVA translates to a unique human protein. NOCIVA retains the capacity to bind to B56a, but whereas CIP2A is predominantly a cytoplasmic protein, NOCIVA translocates to the nucleus. Indicative of prevalent alternative splicing from CIP2A to NOCIVA in myeloid malignancies, AML and CML patient samples overexpress NOCIVA but not CIP2A mRNA. In AML, a high NOCIVA/CIP2A mRNA expression ratio is a marker for adverse overall survival. In CML, high NOCIVA expression is associated with inferior event-free survival among imatinib-treated patients, but not among patients treated with dasatinib or nilotinib. Conclusions: We discovered novel variant of the oncoprotein CIP2A and its clinical relevance in predicting tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy resistance in myeloid leukemias.
  • Low body fat does not influence recovery after muscle-damaging lower-limb plyometrics in young male team sport athletes

    Fernandes, John; Lamb, Kevin; Twist, Craig; University of Chester
    Aim: This study assessed the influence of fat mass to fat-free mass ratio (FM:FFM) on recovery from plyometric exercise. Method: After assessment of body composition, 20 male team sport players (age 20.7 1.1 years; body mass 77.1 11.5 kg) were divided into low- (n = 10; 0.11 0.03) and normal- (n = 10; 0.27 0.09) fat groups based on FM:FFM ratio. Thereafter, participants completed measurements of knee extensor torque at 60 and 240 s􀀀1, countermovement jump flight time, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and perceived muscle soreness (VAS) before and at 0, 24 and 48 h after 10 10 maximal plyometric vertical jumps. Results: Evidence of muscle damage was confirmed by alterations in VAS, peak torque at 60 and 240 s􀀀1 and flight time at 0, 24 and 48 h after plyometric exercise (P < 0.05). CK was increased at 0 and 24 h (P < 0.05) but returned to baseline values by 48 h. No time by group e ects were observed for any of the dependent variables (P > 0.05). Conclusion: The current findings indicate that while muscle damage was present after plyometric exercise, the magnitude was similar across the two body composition groups. Applied practitioners can allow for a similar recovery time after plyometric exercise in those with low and normal body fat.
  • High speed running and repeated sprinting in male academy football players

    Twist, Craig; Gibson, Neil V (University of Chester, 2019-08)
    High speed running and repeated sprinting are component parts of training and match play among academy football players. Despite players having to self-pace running speed and the intervening recovery periods during match play, the way these qualities are trained and tested are often externally regulated with specific work-to-rest ratios and prescribed intensities. The aims of this thesis were to investigate high speed running separated by externally regulated and self-selected recovery periods under conditions that replicate training and testing practices analogous with football. Under controlled conditions replicating training practices common amongst academy players, Chapter 4 showed that high speed running and repeated sprinting separated by externally regulated recovery periods resulted in running speeds that differed by a smaller magnitude than those used in their prescription. These data question the fidelity of this approach and the ability of players to replicate prescribed running speeds in the field. Data from Chapter 4 also demonstrated that neuromuscular function was likely reduced 14 hours after high speed running (-5.6%; ES –0.44 ± 0.32; P = 0.01) and combination running (-6.8%; ES -0.53 ± 0.47; P = 0.07) . During 10 x 30 m repeated sprints there was a most likely higher percentage decrement (65%; 0.36 ± 0.21; P = 0.12) and most likely increased physiological load evidenced by between sprint heart rate recovery (-58.9%; ES -1.10 ± 0.72; P = 0.05) when sprints were interspersed by self-selected compared to externally regulated recovery periods (Chapter 5). Performance decrements were, however, attenuated in more mature players (Chapter 6). When considering biological maturity, prePHV players displayed a lower percentage decrement (2.1 ± 1.1%) than post-PHV (3.2 ± 2.1%) players across all sprints when recovery periods were externally regulated (37%; ES 0.41 ± 0.51; P = 0.03). When self-selected recovery periods were used, percentage decrement was lower in the post-PHV group. In Chapter 7, ratings of perceived exertion were used to guide 4 running speed and recovery distribution during a high speed running test performed to volitional exhaustion. Peak running speed in the self-paced (21.8 ± 1.4 km·h-1 ) was likely (4.1%: ES 0.63 ± 0.43; P = 0.03) higher than in the externally regulated YYIRT1 (20.9 ± 1.1 km·h-1); however, average running speed in the self-paced (13.5 ± 1.2 km·h-1) was likely (6.5%; ES 0.67 ± 0.51; P = 0.05) slower (12.7 ± 1.6 km·h-1). There was a moderate difference in total between shuttle recovery periods (13.3%; ES 0.58 ± 0.81; P = 0.16) in the self-paced (552 ± 132 s) compared to externally regulated versions (634 ± 125 s) of the YYIRT1. When exposed to running drills separated by self-selected and externally regulated recovery periods, academy footballers allocate insufficient recovery to preserve running performance and are unable to differentiate between sprinting and high speed running when prescribed according to specific speeds (Chapter 4) and subjective ratings of exertion (Chapter 7). Prescribing self-paced high intensity running interspersed with self-selected recovery periods results in higher physiological loads when compared to externally regulated recovery intermissions and therefore should be considered during training programmes that target adaptations in aerobic capacity. Despite this, where coaches are using high speed running programmes to improve speed and/or speed endurance, externally regulated recoveries are likely to result in the preservation of performance across the repetition range and, as such, are more beneficial to the intended adaptation.
  • Low Body Fat Does Not Influence Recovery after Muscle-Damaging Lower-Limb Plyometrics in Young Male Team Sport Athletes.

    Fernandes, John F T; Lamb, Kevin L; orcid: 0000-0003-4481-4711; Twist, Craig; orcid: 0000-0001-6168-0378 (2020-11-05)
    This study assessed the influence of fat mass to fat-free mass ratio (FM:FFM) on recovery from plyometric exercise. After assessment of body composition, 20 male team sport players (age 20.7 ± 1.1 years; body mass 77.1 ± 11.5 kg) were divided into low- ( = 10; 0.11 ± 0.03) and normal- ( = 10; 0.27 ± 0.09) fat groups based on FM:FFM ratio. Thereafter, participants completed measurements of knee extensor torque at 60 and 240°∙s , countermovement jump flight time, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and perceived muscle soreness (VAS) before and at 0, 24 and 48 h after 10 × 10 maximal plyometric vertical jumps. Evidence of muscle damage was confirmed by alterations in VAS, peak torque at 60 and 240°∙s and flight time at 0, 24 and 48 h after plyometric exercise ( < 0.05). CK was increased at 0 and 24 h ( < 0.05) but returned to baseline values by 48 h. No time by group effects were observed for any of the dependent variables ( > 0.05). The current findings indicate that while muscle damage was present after plyometric exercise, the magnitude was similar across the two body composition groups. Applied practitioners can allow for a similar recovery time after plyometric exercise in those with low and normal body fat.
  • Leading brand products and their supermarket economy line equivalents, is there a difference in nutritional content?

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Jackson, Emma; University of Chester
    Since the introduction of supermarket economy lines (SELs) in the early 1990s, their popularity has been established nationwide(1).However, these economical alternatives are commonly perceived to be of lower nutritional quality than their leading brand (LB)equivalents(2,3,4). The present study aimed to determine if there is a significant difference in nutritional content between the UKtop-selling LBs and their SEL equivalents. Additionally, the study aimed to investigate if on average, LBs or SELs provide better‘value for money’.The LBs of 38 most popular food categories were identified from UK market research, and equivalent SEL products were identifiedfrom each of the retailers with the top-five majority UK market share: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Aldi. In each foodcategory, differences between LBs and SELs in: energy, fat, saturated fatty acid, carbohydrate, sugar,fibre, protein and salt content,per 100 g of food product were determined using a one-sample T-test. The nutritional quality of each product was also determined bya nutrient profiling system. Cost was analysed in relation to shopping baskets containing 33 equivalent products. Six shopping basketswere analysed, one containing LB products and one from each SEL retailer. The cost of each shopping basket was calculated usingpack price and price per 100 g or 100mL of food product.Data was collected for 219 products; 38 LBs and 181 SELs. 86 significant differences were identified in specific nutrients across thefood categories, but the direction of the differences was inconsistent. Based on pack price, the total LB shopping basket cost was£61·91 whereas average SEL basket cost £28·62, a difference of £33·29 or 54 % (P = 0·001). However, there was no difference betweenthe nutrient profile of LBs and SELs.Although significant differences were identified between nutrients in some food categories, overall, there appeared to be no differ-ence in nutritional content between LBs and SEL equivalents. This association is consistent with previous studies and is contrary tothe common perception that SELs are of lower nutritional quality than LBs(2,3,4,5,6). Pertinent to public health, the present studyfound that SEL breakfast cereals contained a significantly higher amount of salt than the LB (P = 0·035)(4,6). Additionally, althoughthe majority of food categories did not show a significant difference in energy content per 100 g of food product (29 of 38) LB pastahad significantly higher energy content per 100 g of food product than SEL equivalents (P = 0·017)(6).In conclusion, there appears to be no difference in nutritional content between the LB and SEL equivalents in 38 popular foodcategories, however, there appears to be twofold difference in price The cost analysis demonstrates that consumers can purchasethe same quantity of foodstuff for significantly less when opting for SEL products. Low income households may therefore be encour-aged to purchase SEL products to reduce weekly household expenditure and enable a greater proportion of the budget to be availablefor the purchase fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables and meat
  • Estimates of fibre intake and percentage of the population with intake below the dietary reference values (DRVs) in England (1991–2015)

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Farzad, Amirabdollahian; Buczkowski, Bartek; Davies, Ian; University of Chester
    In 1991, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Foods (COMA) defined dietary fibre as non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) and set the DRV as the population average intake of 18 g/day 1 , determined using the Englyst method of analysis 2 . The latest publication of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) 3 broadened the definition of dietary fibre beyond NSP to broader definition of Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) fibre, recommending the DRV to be 30 g/day based on AOAC method. The COMA 1991, DRV of 18 g/day of NSP corresponds to around 24 g/day of AOAC fibre 3 and therefore the new DRV of fibre would represent a higher recommendation (around 22·5 g fibre as per the Englyst method) for the average population. The purpose of this study was to investigate variation in fibre intake of English population by age and gender, in comparison with the COMA and SACN DRVs. Data on the core sample of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme from 2008–2012 was reanalysed. Children aged below 16 years were excluded in consideration of their different DRVs. The data on dietary fibre was extracted from fully productive individuals (i.e. participants who completed three/four diary days), as an average daily intake based on the NSP/Englyst fibre. Inferential statistics included the analysis of variance to discover if there were any significant variations in fibre intake of males and females in relation to their age groups. The statistical significance was set at 0·05. For all age groups, the average fibre intake is below the DRVs. The average daily fibre intake slightly increased with age for both genders until 64 years. When differences in energy intake were taken into account, the average daily fibre density (g/1000 kcal) still increased with the age of participants. Overall, less than a third of populations had an intake above the COMA DRV 1 . More than 90 % of the population had intake below the SACN DRV 3 , demonstrating a challenge for future policies to meet the nutritional guidelines, particularly amongst females and younger adults. The findings should be treated with caution considering the definition of AOAC fibre used as the basis for the SACN DRV includes non-digestible oligosaccharides, resistant starch and polydextrose, going beyond NSP/Englyst variables analysed.
  • Full fat cheese intake and cardiovascular health: a randomised control trial

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Butler, Thomas; Davies, Ian; University of Chester
    Milk and milk products contribute approximately 22 % of the nation's saturated fat (SFA) intake. Recently, the role of dairy and its SFA composition and link to cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been analysed( 1 ), suggesting a beneficial action of this food group on reducing cardiovascular risk in high-risk groups( 2 , 3 ). The aim of this study was to examine the effects of 4 weeks full-fat cheese on circulating lipoprotein fractions, blood pressure and arterial stiffness in healthy adults. Participants were recruited in the city of Chester, UK. Those meeting entry criteria of: 18–65 years of age, not taking antihypercholesterolaemic or antihypertensive medication took part in the study. Participants were randomised to receive either 50 g of a full-fat Red Leicester (FFC) or placebo (virtually zero fat Cheddar cheese, ZFC) per day for 4 weeks. Anthropometry, blood pressure, brachial and aortic augmentation index (BAIX and AAIX, respectively), pulse-wave velocity (PWV) and a full lipid profile were determined at baseline and post-intervention. Participants were asked to keep a 3-day food diary prior to and for the last 3 days of the protocol. All procedures were approved by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee at the University of Chester. Eighty-six (86) individuals completed the study (43 per group). No significant changes were observed in any measured parameter (Table 1). Both ZFC and FFC groups showed a significant increase in calcium intake during the course of the study (1002·1 ± 639·1 mg to 1815·0 ± 1340·1 mg and 1219·6 ± 1169·1 mg 1845·8 ± 1463·2 mg, P < 0·001, respectively) showing good adherence to the protocol. In conclusion, these results suggest that inclusion of 50 g full fat cheese into the diet of a healthy population does not impact negatively on traditional CVD risk markers. Future strategies to reduce SFA intake should focus on – and acknowledge the importance of the source – of SFA in the diet.
  • Effect of a single serving of pecan nuts on blood lipids and weight: a single blind randomised control trial

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Butler, Thomas; Confue, Charlotte; Guild, Joanne; University of Chester
    Nuts are a common component of many traditional cardioprotective diets primarily due to their ability to lower blood lipids and reduce cardiovascular risk(1, 2). Studies consistently show nut intake is associated with favourable changes in energy balance(3). However there is a paucity of data examining the acute changes following nut consumption. We sought to examine the effect of a single serving of pecan nuts on plasma lipids and bodyweight. Participants were sampled from the University of Chester, UK. Individuals (n = 54) were screened for eligibility to participate. Those meeting entry criteria (n = 25) of being either male or female aged 30 years or more and with no previous history of CVD were randomised to either a control (CON) or pecan nut group (PECAN). Participants in the PECAN group received a single 50 g serving of pecan nuts. Capillary blood was taken for analysis of triacylglycerol, total-cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol (TAG, TC, LDL-C, HDL-C and non-HDL-C, respectively), and anthropometric measurements were performed. All measurements were repeated after 3 days. Participants were instructed to record all food and drink consumed, and not to change their habitual eating habits. Procedures were approved by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Clinical Sciences Research Ethics Committee, University of Chester. No significant effect on TC, HDL-C or TAG was observed during the study (Fig. 1A–C). LDL-C decreased by 0.09 ± 0.37 mmol/L and increased by 0.16 ± 0.40 mmol/L in CON and PECAN groups, respectively. Non-HDL-C showed a similar pattern with the CON group showing a decrease and PECAN group displaying an increase (−0.18 ± 0.36 mmol/L vs. 0.16 ± 0.40 mmol/L, respectively). Bodyweight significantly (P = 0.025) decreased in the PECAN group when compared to the CON group (−0.58 ± 0.56 kg vs. −0.05 ± 0.55 kg, respectively). In conclusion, a single serving of pecan nuts had no significant impact on lipid markers of cardiovascular risk. Bodyweight was significantly reduced consistent with recent literature showing a favourable relationship with nut intake and energy balance(3).
  • Acute and chronic effects of beetroot supplementation on blood pressure and arterial stiffness in humans

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Turner, Emma; University of Chester
    Dietary supplementation of beetroot juice, containing nitrate- a potent vasodilation agent, has been shown to be vasoprotective( 1 ), and dose dependent decreases in blood pressure (BP) have been previously demonstrated(2,3). To our knowledge there has been only one study investigating the effect of beetroot supplementation in humans on arterial stiffness, measured using pulsewave velocity (PWV) and, although there was no effect of supplementation on PWV, there was a significant reduction due to beetroot supplementation in acute diastolic BP (3hrs, P = 0·023)( 4 ). A double-blind, randomised, cross-over intervention trial was carried out in a cohort of 12 healthy male participants (mean age (SEM) = 43 (2·1) yrs, BMI = 27·8 (1·1) kg.m2) who underwent both beetroot juice and placebo supplementation for 14 days. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of 6·45 mmol of nitrate in a concentrated 70 ml beetroot drink (James White Ltd, Ipswich, UK) on systolic and diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure (MAP) and arterial stiffness (PWV, aortic augmentation index (Aix), brachial Aix) in humans. BP and arterial stiffness measurements weretaken using PWV (Arteriograph, TensioMed,Hungary). Measurements were taken intriplicate at baseline, 3 hours post-supplementation (either beetroot juice orplacebo) and post-intervention (day 15). This was followed by a 7-day washoutperiod before participants were transferred to the alternate supplement. Table 1 shows that there was no significant acute or short term effect of beetroot juice supplementation on the parameters measured when compared to placebo. However, there was a significant decrease in systolic BP (P = 0·009), diastolic BP (P = 0·035), MAP (P = 0·017), aortic and brachial AIX (P = 0·042 and 0·041 respectively), 3hours post beetroot supplementation. These results confirm previous findings( 4 ) that beetroot supplementation does not have an acute or short term effect on arterial stiffness measures. However, acute effects on arterial stiffness and BP within the beetroot juice supplementation group were observed. Further large scale studies on dietary nitrate supplementation and cardiovascular health are required to further assess efficacy.
  • Dietary supplementation with n-3 fatty acids (n-3 FA) for 4 weeks reduces post-exercise fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in trained male athletes

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Benson, Lindsay; University of Chester
    High intensity exercise in the form of eccentric contractions can lead to the formation of free radicals, stimulating an inflammatory response( 1 , 2 ). Consumption of n-3 FA may help modify inflammation and immune reactions beneficial to health by decreasing interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and C-reactive protein( 3 ). For trained athletes to improve athletic performance, recovery from training is important and DOMS is frequently experienced following eccentric exercise, impacting negatively on strength( 4 ). The Western diet is however, characterised by a high n-6 FA consumption relative to n-3 FA, formulating ratios often in excess of 16:1( 5 ). The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the form of n-3 FA has been investigated by a number of clinical trials in untrained athletes, but whether this can be translated into attenuating exercise induced inflammation in trained athletes is still under investigation. A double-blind, randomised controlled trial was conducted in 22 trained male athletes who supplemented their diet with either 3000 mg/d of fish oil (gel capsules) consisting of 990 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 660 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (n = 11), or 3000 mg/d olive oil placebo (n = 11), for 28d. Participants underwent 3 sets of eccentric bicep curls in their dominant arm until failure and arm circumference, number of repetitions completed and DOMS/fatigue scores via visual analogue scale (VAS) were recorded at 0, 24 and 48 h after exercise, pre and post supplementation. No group performed better during the eccentric bicep test, pre and post supplementation, and at baseline, no differences were observed between groups for DOMS and fatigue. However, post supplementation, DOMS was significantly lower at 24 h (P = 0·005) and 48 h (P = 0·002) and fatigue was significantly lower at 24 h (P = 0·043) and 48 h post exercise (P < 0·001) in the n-3 FA group compared to the placebo group (Fig. 1). These findings indicate that n-3 FA supplementation has the potential to promote recovery and subsequently increase athletic performance in trained male athletes and may be a useful ergogenic aid. Possible anti-inflammatory mechanisms of n-3 FA should be further investigated using specific biomarkers of inflammation.
  • Acute glycaemic management before, during and after exercise for cardiac rehabilitation participants with diabetes mellitus; a joint statement of the British and Canadian Associations of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, the International Council for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

    Buckley, J.P.; Riddell, Michael; Mellor, Duane; Bracken, Richard; Ross, Marie-Kristelle; LaGerche, Andre; Poirier, Paul; University of Chester; University College London; York University, Toronto; LMC Healthcare; Aston University; Swansea University College of Engineering; Laval University; Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute; St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne; Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec
    Type 1 (T1) and type 2 (T2) diabetes mellitus (DM) are significant precursors and comorbidities to cardiovascular disease and prevalence of both types is still rising globally. Currently,~25% of participants (and rising) attending cardiac rehabilitation in Europe, North America and Australia have been reported to have DM (>90% have T2DM). While there is some debate over whether improving glycaemic control in those with heart disease can independently improve future cardiovascular health-related outcomes, for the individual patient whose blood glucose is well controlled, it can aid the exercise programme in being more efficacious. Good glycaemic management not only helps to mitigate the risk of acute glycaemic events during exercising, it also aids in achieving the requisite physiological and psycho-social aims of the exercise component of cardiac rehabilitation (CR). These benefits are strongly associated with effective behaviour change, including increased enjoyment, adherence and self-efficacy. It is known that CR participants with DM have lower uptake and adherence rates compared with those without DM. This expert statement provides CR practitioners with nine recommendations aimed to aid in the participant’s improved blood glucose control before, during and after exercise so as to prevent the risk of glycaemic events that could mitigate their beneficial participation.
  • The role of brain size on mammalian population densities

    González-Suárez, Manuela; Gonzalez-Voyer, Alejandro; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Santini, Luca; University of Reading; Universidad Autonoma de Mexico; University of Chester; Italian National Research Council (Wiley, 2020-12-22)
    1. The local abundance or population density of different organisms often varies widely. Understanding what determines this variation is an important, but not yet fully resolved question in ecology. Differences in population density are partly driven by variation in body size and diet among organisms. Here we propose that the size of an organism’ brain could be an additional, overlooked, driver of mammalian population densities. 2. We explore two possible contrasting mechanisms by which brain size, measured by its mass, could affect population density. First, because of the energetic demands of larger brains and their influence on life history, we predict mammals with larger relative brain masses would occur at lower population densities. Alternatively, larger brains are generally associated with a greater ability to exploit new resources, which would provide a competitive advantage leading to higher population densities among large‐brained mammals. 3. We tested these predictions using phylogenetic path analysis, modelling hypothesized direct and indirect relationships between diet, body mass, brain mass and population density for 656 non‐volant terrestrial mammalian species. We analysed all data together and separately for marsupials and the four taxonomic orders with most species in the dataset (Carnivora, Cetartiodactyla, Primates, Rodentia). 4. For all species combined, a single model was supported showing lower population density associated with larger brains, larger bodies and more specialized diets. The negative effect of brain mass was also supported for separate analyses in Primates and Carnivora. In other groups (Rodentia, Cetartiodactyla and marsupials) the relationship was less clear: supported models included a direct link from brain mass to population density but 95% confidence intervals of the path coefficients overlapped zero. 5. Results support our hypothesis that brain mass can explain variation in species’ average population density, with large‐brained species having greater area requirements, although the relationship may vary across taxonomic groups. Future research is needed to clarify whether the role of brain mass on population density varies as a function of environmental (e.g. environmental stability) and biotic conditions (e.g. level of competition).
  • Development of a reliable and valid kata performance analysis template

    Augustovicova, Dusana; Argajova, Jaroslava; Rupcik, Lubos; Thomson, Edward; University of Chester
    Abstract With the new kata evaluation procedure, examination of the underpinning features of successful kata performance appears warranted.The purpose of the study was to create a valid and reliable analysis template for the assessment of the movement characteristics of competitive kata. Following the creation, and scrutiny, of action variables and operational definitions, three observers were provided with the operational definitions of the performance indicators, example kata clips and instructions detailing the method of ‘tagging’ using a computerized analysis software. Intra- and inter-rater reliability assessment and median sign tests, and Cohen’s Kappa coefficient were conducted. There were no significant differences (p ˃ 0.05) between the observer’s and analyst’s test-retest observations for all the performance indicators. The intra-rater reliability was found to be “almost perfect” in all raters (LA K = 0.99 [95% CI: 0.98-0.99]; PA K = 0.94 [95% CI: 0.93-0.95]; KR K = 0.94 [95% CI: 0.93-0.95]) and the inter-rater Kappa coefficients were moderate (K = 0.55 ± 0.05). This study has demonstrated that a novel performance analysis template yields reliable observations of the key movements during kata and the procedures could therefore be used to objectively appraise features of successful performance.
  • Combined bezafibrate, medroxyprogesterone acetate and valproic acid treatment inhibits osteosarcoma cell growth without adversely affecting normal mesenchymal stem cells.

    Sheard, Jonathan J.; Southam, Andrew D.; MacKay, Hannah L.; Ellington, Max A; Snow, Martyn D.; Farhat, Khanim L.; Bunce, Christopher M.; Johnson, William E. B.; Aston University, Birmingham; University of Birmingham; University Centre Shrewsbury; Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham; University of Chester
    Drug repurposing is a cost effective means of targeting new therapies for cancer. We have examined the effects of the repurposed drugs, bezafibrate, medroxyprogesterone acetate and valproic acid on human osteosarcoma cells, i.e., SAOS2 and MG63 compared with their normal cell counterparts, i.e. mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs). Cell growth, viability and migration were measured by biochemical assay and live cell imaging, whilst levels of lipid-synthesising enzymes were measured by immunoblotting cell extracts. These drug treatments inhibited the growth and survival of SAOS2 and MG63 cells most effectively when used in combination (termed V-BAP). In contrast, V-BAP treated MSCs remained viable with only moderately reduced cell proliferation. V-BAP treatment also inhibited migratory cell phenotypes. MG63 and SAOS2 cells expressed much greater levels of fatty acid synthase and stearoyl CoA desaturase 1 than MSCs, but these elevated enzyme levels significantly decreased in the V-BAP treated osteosarcoma cells prior to cell death. Hence, we have identified a repurposed drug combination that selectively inhibits the growth and survival of human osteosarcoma cells in association with altered lipid metabolism without adversely affecting their non-transformed cell counterparts.
  • Estimation of fruit and vegetable consumption in a cohort of Ghanaian women and evaluation of knowledge, attitudes and practice

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Moss, Jennifer; University of Chester
    Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), previously confined to industrialised nations, are spreading through the developing world at unprecedented rates( 1 ). With communicable diseases still prevalent, this imposes a double-burden of disease in countries with limited resources and ill-equipped health systems( 2 ). An unhealthy diet, including insufficient consumption of fruit and vegetables is one of four main behavioural risk factors in the development of NCDs. However, consumption across the world, including Ghana, is below recommended levels( 3 ). Despite a wealth of research in developed countries, few studies have investigated barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption in Ghana. The aim of the present study was to assess fruit and vegetable consumption and evaluate knowledge, attitudes and practice in a cohort of Ghanaian women. A mixed-methods approach, incorporating a survey delivered in a guided interview format was utilised to investigate patterns and determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption in a cohort of Ghanaian women. Data were collected from female environmental health and nursing students aged 18–33 years (n=74, response rate 98.7%), residing in the Korle-Bu district of Accra, Ghana. A 24-hour recall questionnaire, local handy measures and a specially designed portion size assessment sheet allowed estimation of fruit and vegetable consumption, whilst a questionnaire comprising both qualitative and quantitative questions enabled investigation of barriers to consumption in Ghanaian society. A significantly greater level of low fruit and vegetable consumption was found in the present study (69%), than detailed in the World Health Survey 2002–03 (p⩽0.001). There was a significant positive association between meal frequency and consumption levels (p=0.025), however, no association was found between consumption and knowledge levels, income, home-production or perceived adequate consumption. Themes emerging from the research related to barriers affecting consumption included cost, availability, quality, and health and safety issues. Unhealthy snacking was found to be common, as were unhealthy substitutions during periods of scarcity. Numerous barriers causing the observed decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption were identified in the present study. The interrelating nature of the barriers identified suggests a multidirectional approach to address these issues would offer the greatest benefits for consumption levels. Increasing agricultural infrastructure is key, whilst educational initiatives should also play a major role in future strategies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Future investment and policy in Ghana should focus on prevention rather than cure, if the growing NCD burden is to be halted.
  • Dietary vitamin D supplementation improves haematological status following consumption of an iron-fortified cereal: an 8-week randomised controlled trial

    Mushtaq, Sohail; Ahmad Fuzi, Salma F.; University of Chester
    Vitamin D, a secosteroid, has recently been implicated in the stimulation of erythroid precursors and ultimately the rate of erythropoiesis. However, there are a paucity of randomised controlled trials (RCT), investigating the effect of vitamin D supplementation iron status, especially in populations at risk of iron deficiency. An eight-week, double-blind RCT was carried out in 50 female (mean age (± SD): 27 ± 9 years), iron-deficient (plasma ferritin concentration < 20 μg/L) participants, randomised to consume an iron-fortified cereal containing 9 mg of iron, with either a vitamin D supplement (1,500 international units (IU)/day, 38 μg/day) or placebo. The effect of dietary vitamin D supplementation on haematological indicators was investigated. Blood samples were collected at baseline, 4-weeks and 8-week timepoints for measurement of iron and vitamin D status biomarkers. The effect of intervention was analysed with a mixed-model repeated measures ANOVA using IBM SPSS statistical software (Version 21, IBM Corporation, New York, USA). Significant increases were observed in two haematological parameters: haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit level from baseline to post-intervention in the vitamin D group, but not in the placebo group. The increase from baseline to post-intervention in haemoglobin concentration in the vitamin D group (135 ± 11 to 138 ± 10 g/L) was significantly higher than in the placebo group (131 ± 15 to 128 ± 13 g/L) (P ≤ 0.05). The increase in haematocrit level from baseline to post-intervention was also significantly higher in the vitamin D group (42.0 ± 3.0 to 43.8 49 ± 3.4%) compared to the placebo group (41.2 ± 4.3 to 40.7 ± 3.6%) (P ≤ 0.05). Despite non-significant changes in plasma ferritin concentration, this study demonstrates that dietary supplementation with 1,500IU vitamin D, consumed daily with an iron-fortified cereal led to improvement in haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit levels in women with low iron stores. Further long-term studies are required, however, these findings suggest a potential role for improvement of vitamin D status as an adjunct therapy for recovery of iron status in iron-deficient populations.

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