Recent Submissions

  • The influence of a blend of probiotic lactobacillus and prebiotic inulin on the duration and severity of symptoms among individuals with COVID-19

    Thomas, Robert; Aldous, Jeffrey William Frederick; Forsyth, Rachel; Chater, Angel M.; Williams, Madeleine; ; Bedford & Addenbrooke’s Cambridge University NHS Trusts; University of Bedfordshire; Cambridge University; Bedford Hospital (Gavin Publishers, 2021-11-16)
    Background: Gut microfloral dysbiosis is known to affect the majority individuals suffering with a Covid-19 infection. This study evaluated whether a specific lactobacillus and inulin blend, which aimed to improve gut health, could reduce the severity of early and chronic Covid-19 symptoms. Methods: From May 2020 to May 2021, we evaluated 126 participants with Covid-19, with an average duration of symptoms of 108 days, who were given 30 days of this pre and probiotic capsule within the ongoing UK national Phyto-v study. Symptoms were recorded using the validated Cough Symptom Score, the Subjective Well-Being questionnaire and the Chandler fatigue questionnaire. The group was analysed as a whole and then subdivided into 40 (32%) in an early phase of infection (average symptoms 10 days before baseline) and the 86 (68%) in a chronic phase (average symptoms 120 days before trial baseline). Results: Cough, fatigue and subjective well-being scores significantly improved over the 30 days in both the early and chronic phase cohorts. Participants who were more likely to have gut dysbiosis at trial entry, such as sedentary, hospitalised, older males with GI symptoms, had a statistically significantly better response to the probiotics. Gut symptoms improved in 25 of 31 (82%) who reported them at baseline. Two (1.5%) patients reported mild increased bloating and diarrhoea. Discussion: Following this nutritional intervention, participants had a significant improvement in GI and non-GI symptoms resulting in a meaningful improvement in overall well-being. Although some participants with early disease would have improved spontaneously, such a rapid improvement in the majority who had been experiencing symptoms for over 6 months, was clinically relevant and welcomed, especially among those more likely to have pre-existing gut dysbiosis. Going forward, our research group are now evaluating whether intake of this blend now known as yourgutplus+, could also enhance antibody titres levels post Covid vaccination.
  • Relational learning and teaching with BME students in social work education

    Dillon, Jean; Pritchard, Diana J.; University of Bedfordshire (Cambridge University Press, 2021-10-07)
    Given the imperative to redress the education inequalities between Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and White students, this contribution explores advances and challenges from within Social Work education (SWE) in relation to the experiences of Black social work students. Drawing on critical race theories and the concept of racial battle fatigue, it explores the impacts of race and racism on students' academic experience and wellbeing. It proposes the significance of relational wellbeing which has been a constant strand within Social Work education and comprises a valuable approach to the decolonisation process within higher education (HE). Linking this to critical pedagogy, it highlights the role of staff to build safety, confidence and trust to support students to overcome prior education experiences of under-attainment, disadvantage and social marginalisation. Despite the pervasiveness of managerialism within HE, which compromises the teacher-student relationship and emphasises measured changes in student 'outcomes', Social Work educators are invited to nurture safe and transformational learning environments.
  • Optimized degradation and inhibition of α-glucosidase activity by gracilaria lemaneiformis polysaccharide and its production in vitro

    Long, Xiaoshan; Hu, Xiao; Zhou, Shaobo; Xiang, Huan; Chen, Shengjun; Li, Laihao; Liu, Shucheng; Yang, Xianqing; Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences; Jiangsu Ocean University; et al. (MDPI, 2021-12-22)
    Gracilaria lemaneiformis polysaccharide (GLP) exhibits good physiological activities, and it is more beneficial as it is degraded. After its degradation by hydrogen peroxide combined with vitamin C (H2 O2-Vc) and optimized by Box–Behnken Design (BBD), a new product of GLP-HV will be generated. While using GLP as control, two products of GLP-H (H2 O2-treated) and GLP-V (Vc-treated) were also produced. These products chemical characteristics (total sugar content, molecular weight, monosaccharide composition, UV spectrum, morphological structure, and hypolipidemic activity in vitro) were assessed. The results showed that the optimal conditions for H2 O2-Vc degradation were as follows: H2 O2-Vc concentration was 18.7 mM, reaction time was 0.5 h, and reaction temperature was 56◦ C. The total sugar content of GLP and its degradation products (GLP-HV, GLP-H and GLP-V) were more than 97%, and their monosaccharides are mainly glucose and galactose. The SEM analysis demonstrated that H2 O2-Vc made the structure loose and broken. Moreover, GLP, GLP-HV, GLP-H, and GLP-V had significantly inhibition effect on α-glucosidase, and their IC50 value were 3.957, 0.265, 1.651, and 1.923 mg/mL, respectively. GLP-HV had the best inhibition effect on α-glucosidase in a dose-dependent manner, which was the mixed type of competitive and non-competitive. It had a certain quenching effect on fluorescence of α-glucosidase, which may be dynamic quenching.
  • Content-based technical solution for cyberstalking detection

    Asante, Audrey; Feng, Xiaohua; Catholic University College of Ghana; University of Bedfordshire (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2021-07-27)
    The continued usage of technology has led to the rise of cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is seen as traditional method of stalking that has been altered by technology. This crime has now been modernized using technological tools and techniques. The continued increase in cyberstalking in the world today has drawn attention to the need to address this problem. Though studies on this crime have been conducted in the fields of criminology, legal, public health, sociology, and psychology, it still remains a challenge to detect, prevent, and investigate this crime. Traditional stalking methods have been used to combat it, despite the fact that this crime is committed online. Unfortunately, these methods have provided few solutions for detecting and preventing it. The prevalence of this crime, combined with technological advancement, has necessitated the development of technical strategies to mitigate it, protect victims, and assist law enforcement agencies. In this study, a content-based detection framework for cyberstalking is proposed. The framework consists of message identification, filtering, detection (content detection and profiling offender) and evidence modules. It is designed as a forensic readiness framework that can automatically detect cyberstalking, gather evidence and profile potential offenders. The framework employs machine learning, data mining techniques, digital forensics, and profiling to analyze text, image, and media contents, collect evidence, and profile offenders. This framework would not only detect cyberstalking automatically, but it would also be useful as an investigative tool for law enforcement.
  • AU-rich element RNA binding proteins: at the crossroads of post-transcriptional regulation and genome integrity

    Sidali, Ahmed; Teotia, Varsha; Solaiman, Nadeen Shaikh; Bashir, Nahida; Kanagaraj, Radhakrishnan; Murphy, John J.; Surendranath, Kalpana; University of Westminster; University of Bedfordshire (MDPI, 2021-12-22)
    Genome integrity must be tightly preserved to ensure cellular survival and to deter the genesis of disease. Endogenous and exogenous stressors that impose threats to genomic stability through DNA damage are counteracted by a tightly regulated DNA damage response (DDR). RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are emerging as regulators and mediators of diverse biological processes. Specifically, RBPs that bind to adenine uridine (AU)-rich elements (AREs) in the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of mRNAs (AU-RBPs) have emerged as key players in regulating the DDR and preserving genome integrity. Here we review eight established AU-RBPs (AUF1, HuR, KHSRP, TIA-1, TIAR, ZFP36, ZFP36L1, ZFP36L2) and their ability to maintain genome integrity through various interactions. We have reviewed canonical roles of AU-RBPs in regulating the fate of mRNA transcripts encoding DDR genes at multiple post-transcriptional levels. We have also attempted to shed light on non-canonical roles of AU-RBPs exploring their post-translational modifications (PTMs) and sub-cellular localization in response to genotoxic stresses by various factors involved in DDR and genome maintenance. Dysfunctional AU-RBPs have been increasingly found to be associated with many human cancers. Further understanding of the roles of AU-RBPS in maintaining genomic integrity may uncover novel therapeutic strategies for cancer. View Full-Text
  • Single enrichment systems possibly underestimate both exposures and biological effects of organic pollutants from drinking water

    Yang, Lan; Zhou, Ying; Chen, Li; Chen, Hanyi; Liu, Wenhao; Zheng, Weiwei; Andersen, Melvin E.; Zhang, Yubing; Hu, Yi; Crabbe, M. James C.; et al. (Elsevier, 2022-01-03)
    Comprehensive enrichment of contaminants in drinking water is an essential step for accurately determining exposure levels of contaminants and testing their biological effects. Traditional methods using a single absorbent for enriching contaminants in water might not be adequate for complicated matrices with different physical-chemical profiles . To examine this hypothesis, we used an integrated enrichment system that had three sequential stages-XAD-2 resin, poly (styrene–divinylbenzene) and activated charcoal to capture organic pollutants and disinfection by-products (DBPs) from drinking water in Shanghai. Un-adsorbed Organic Compounds in Eluates (UOCEs) named UOCEs-A, -B, and-C following each adsorption stage were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectromet ry to evaluate adsorption efficiency of the enrichment system . Meanwhile, biological effects such as cytotoxicity, effects on reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and glutathione (GSH) depletion were determined in human LO2 cells to identify potential adverse effects on exposure to low dose contaminants. We found that poly-styrene–divinylbenzene (PS-DVB) and activated charcoal (AC) could still partly collect UOCEs-A and-B that the upper adsorption column incompletely captured, and that potential carcinogens like 2- naphthamine were present in all eluates. UOCEs-A at (1-4000), UOCEs-B at (1000-4000), and UOCEs-C at (2400-4000) folds of the actual concentrations had significant cytotoxicity to LO2 cells. Additionally, ROS and GSH change in cells treated with UOCEs indicated the potential for long-term effects of exposure to some mixtures of contaminants such as DBPs at low doses . These results suggested that an enriching system with a single adsorbent would underestimate the exposure level of pollutants and the biological effects of organic pollutants from drinking water. Effective methods for pollutants’ enrichment and capture of drinking water should be given priority in future studies on accurate evaluation of biological effects exposed to mixed pollutants via drinking water.
  • Reviews: (Re)constructing the life and loves of Elizabeth Bowen: The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters and Elizabeth Bowen by Julia Parry (Duckworth, 2021) and The Last Day at Bowen’s Court: A Novel by Eibhear Walshe (Bantry: Somerville Press, 2020).

    Darwood, Nicola; University of Bedfordshire (Elizabeth Bowen Society, 2021-11-01)
    Review of two books: (Re)constructing the life and loves of Elizabeth Bowen: The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters and Elizabeth Bowen by Julia Parry (Duckworth, 2021) and The Last Day at Bowen’s Court: A Novel by Eibhear Walshe (Bantry: Somerville Press, 2020)
  • Introduction

    Darwood, Nicola; Turner, Nick; University of Bedfordshire; Open University (Elizabeth Bowen Society, 2021-11-01)
    Introduction to volume 4
  • To survive and thrive

    Crabbe, M. James C.; Yue, Xiao-Guang (2021-12-30)
  • ‘They are kids, let them eat’: a qualitative investigation into the parental beliefs and practices of providing a healthy diet for young children among a culturally diverse and deprived population in the UK

    Cook, Erica Jane; Powell, Faye; Ali, Nasreen; Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder; Ochieng, Bertha; Constantinou, Georgina; Randhawa, Gurch; ; University of Bedfordshire; University of Cambridge; et al. (MDPI, 2021-12-11)
    In the UK, ethnic minority children are at greater risk of obesity and weight-related ill health compared to the wider national population. The factors that influence the provision of a healthy diet among these populations remain less understood. An interpretive qualitative study with a phenomenological perspective comprised of 24 single sex semi-structured focus groups was conducted with 110 parents (63 mothers and 47 fathers) of young children (aged 0–5 years). The participants were recruited from deprived and ethnically diverse wards in Luton, UK and self-identified as being white British, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, black African–Caribbean or Polish. The findings highlighted a wide range of inter-relating psychological and sociocultural factors that underpin parental beliefs and practices in providing children with a healthy diet. Parents, whilst aware of the importance of providing children with a healthy diet, faced challenges such as lack of time and balancing competing responsibilities, which were clear barriers to providing children with a healthy diet. Access to and affordability of healthy food and the overexposure of cheap, convenient, and unhealthy processed foods made it increasingly difficult for parents to provide a healthy diet for their growing families. Household food practices were also found to be situated within the wider context of sociocultural and religious norms around cooking and eating, along with cultural identity and upbringing.
  • Solubility study of acetylsalicylic acid in ethanol + water mixtures: measurement, mathematical modeling, and stability discussion

    Nokhodchi, Ali; Ghafourian, Taravat; Nashed, Nour; Asare-Addo, Kofi; Behboudi, Elmira; Sefid-Sefidehkhan, Yasaman; Zarghampour, Aynaz; Rahimpour, Elaheh; Jouyban, Abolghasem; (Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH, 2021-12-28)
    Solubility determination of poorly water-soluble drugs is pivotal for formulation scientists when they want to develop a liquid formulation. Performing such a test with different ratios of cosolvents with water is time-consuming and costly. The scarcity of solubility data for poorly water-soluble drugs increases the importance of developing correlation and prediction equations for these mixtures. Therefore, the aim of the current research is to determine the solubility of acetylsalicylic acid in binary mixtures of ethanol+water at 25 and 37°C. Acetylsalicylic acid is non-stable in aqueous solutions and readily hydrolyze to salicylic acid. So, the solubility of acetylsalicylic acid is measured in ethanolic mixtures by HPLC to follow the concentration of produced salicylic acid as well. Moreover, the solubility of acetylsalicylic acid is modeled using different cosolvency equations. The measured solubility data were also predicted using PC-SAFT EOS model. DSC results ruled out any changes in the polymorphic form of acetylsalicylic acid after the solubility test, whereas XRPD results showed some changes in crystallinity of the precipitated acetylsalicylic acid after the solubility test. Fitting the solubility data to the different cosolvency models showed that the mean relative deviation percentage for the Jouyban-Acree model was less than 10.0% showing that this equation is able to obtain accurate solubility data for acetylsalicylic acid in mixtures of ethanol and water. Also, the predicted data with an average mean relative deviation percentage (MRD%) of less than 29.65% show the capability of the PC-SAFT model for predicting solubility data. A brief comparison of the solubilities of structurally related solutes to acetylsalicylic acid was also provided.
  • Youth crime and youth justice

    Bateman, Tim (Sage, 2021-12-20)
  • The genotoxic potential of mixed nitrosamines in drinking water involves oxidative stress and Nrf2 activation

    Dong, Lei; Jiang, Zhiqiang; Yang, Lili; Hu, Fen; Zheng, Weiwei; Xue, Peng; Jiang, Songhui; Andersen, Melvin E.; Crabbe, M. James C.; Qu, Weidong; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-12-07)
    Nitrosamine by-products in drinking water are designated as probable human carcinogens by the IARC, but the health effects of simultaneous exposure to multiple nitrosamines in drinking water remain unknown. Genotoxicity assays were used to assess the effects of both individual and mixed nitrosamines in finished drinking water produced by a large water treatment plant in Shanghai, China. Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity were measured at 1, 10-, 100- and 1000-fold actual concentrations by the Ames test, Comet assay, γ-H2AX assay, and the cytokinesisblock micronuclei assay; oxidative stress and the Nrf2 pathway were also assessed. Nitrosamines detected in drinking water included NDMA (36.45 ng/L), NDPA (44.68 ng/L), and NEMA (37.27 ng/L). Treatment with a mixture of the three nitrosamines at 1000-fold actual drinking-water concentration induced a doubling of revertants in Salmonella typhimurium strain TA100, DNA and chromosome damage in HepG2 cells, while 1–1000-fold concentrations of compounds applied singly lacked these effects. Treatment with 100- and 1000-fold concentrations increased ROS, GSH, and MDA and decreased SOD activity. Thus, nitrosamine mixtures showed greater genotoxic potential than that of the individual compounds. N-Acetylcysteine protected against the nitrosamine-induced chromosome damage, and Nrf2 pathway activation suggested that oxidative stress played pivotal roles in the genotoxic property of the nitrosamine mixtures.
  • Does the use of a web-based collaborative platform reduce cognitive load and influence project-based student engagement?

    Oluwajana, Dokun; Adeshola, Ibrahim; Clement, Seyefar (Springer, 2021-08-06)
    The web-based supported collaborative learning is increasingly used to support student social activities in higher institutions. However, little is known about the factors of collaborative learning in a web-based supported learning environment. Therefore, this study examines the use of a web-based supported collaborative platform to enhance project-based student engagement. This research aims to determine the factors that determine collaborative learning and subsequent student satisfaction. Moreover, this research determines students’ cognitive load understanding, social influence, and learner’s motivation towards collaborative learning and the resultant impact of the web-based supported collaborative platform on student satisfaction. The data was collected from university post-graduate students who used the TRELLO platform. A total of 115 post-graduate students participated in this study, and the resulting data were analyzed based on partial least squares structural equation modelling statistical approach. The study results suggest that students’ social influence and motivation positively influence collaborative learning; directly and indirectly, students are satisfied using a web-based supported collaborative learning platform to support project-based student engagement.
  • A systematic review of parenting interventions used by social workers to support vulnerable children

    Vseteckova, Jitka; Boyle, Sally; Higgins, Martyn; Open University; University of Bedfordshire; London South Bank University (SAGE, 2021-11-09)
    This paper reports on the findings from a systematic review of parenting interventions used by social workers to support vulnerable children in the United Kingdom. The study focused on children from birth to 11 years and 11 months based on Munro's rationale for early intervention. From the 423 papers initially identified, twelve met the inclusion criteria for this review. Four common themes were identified: developing relationships, the effectiveness of parenting interventions, societal impact on families and health and psychological concerns. The importance of effective relationships between parents and social workers was identified as key to effective parental interventions but there was limited evidence of improved outcomes for children despite this. A common factor in the studies was the level of parental deprivation which in many cases was associated with a range of mental health issues frequently seen in association with drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. The review identified a number of successful outcomes across a range of parenting interventions. However, what was surprising was the limited input from the children themselves within this review. Applying our findings to practice, the authors recommend a number of ways to contribute to the development of parenting interventions.
  • An inter-disciplinary perspective on evaluation of innovation to support care leavers' transition

    Lynch, Amy; Alderson, Hayley; Kerridge, Gary; Johnson, Rebecca; McGovern, Ruth; Newlands, Fiona; Smart, Deborah; Harrop, Carrie; Currie, Graeme; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Emerald, 2021-09-14)
    Purpose Young people who are looked after by the state face challenges as they make the transition from care to adulthood, with variation in support available. In the past decade, funding has been directed towards organisations to pilot innovations to support transition, with accompanying evaluations often conducted with a single disciplinary focus, in a context of short timescales and small budgets. Recognising the value and weight of the challenge involved in evaluation of innovations that aim to support the transitions of young people leaving care, this paper aims to provide a review of evaluation approaches and suggestions regarding how these might be developed. Design/methodology/approach As part of a wider research programme to improve understanding of the innovation process for young people leaving care, the authors conducted a scoping review of grey literature (publications which are not peer reviewed) focusing on evaluation of innovations in the UK over the past 10 years. The authors critiqued the evaluation approaches in each of the 22 reports they identified with an inter-disciplinary perspective, representing social care, public health and organisation science. Findings The authors identified challenges and opportunities for the development of evaluation approaches in three areas. Firstly, informed by social care, the authors suggest increased priority should be granted to participatory approaches to evaluation, within which involvement of young people leaving care should be central. Secondly, drawing on public health, there is potential for developing a common outcomes’ framework, including methods of data collection, analysis and reporting, which aid comparative analysis. Thirdly, application of theoretical frameworks from organisation science regarding the process of innovation can drive transferable lessons from local innovations to aid its spread. Originality/value By adopting the unique perspective of their multiple positions, the authors’ goal is to contribute to the development of evaluation approaches. Further, the authors hope to help identify innovations that work, enhance their spread, leverage resources and influence policy to support care leavers in their transitions to adulthood.
  • Review of: Teaching PSHE and R(S)HE in primary schools: enhancing the whole curriculum

    Mistry, Malini Tina (Routledge, 2021-11-18)
    Review of: Teaching PSHE and R(S)HE in primary schools: Enhancing the whole curriculum edited by Victoria Pugh and Daniel Hughes, London, Bloomsbury, 2021, 200 pp., £19.25 (paperback), ISBN: 9781350129887
  • Conceptualising and measuring levels of risk by immigration status for children in the UK

    Feinstein, Leon; Aleghfeli, Yousef Khalifa; Buckley, Charlotte; Gilhooly, Rebecca; Kohli, Ravi K.S.; University of Oxford; Just for Kids Law; Children’s Commissioner for England; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2021-12-09)
    Extensive evidence exists on how characteristics and circumstances of children shape their lifepaths and outcomes, and on the scale of resulting need. However, little research exists assessing the numbers of children who may be at risk of harm or disadvantage due to their immigration status. In this paper, we sought to establish the degree to which it is possible to monitor the aggregate vulnerability to risk of children in the UK by virtue of immigration status. First, we developed an observable set of immigration risk and vulnerability factors through workshop consultations that were analysed to produce a core set of variables that might be measured to assess aggregate need by virtue of immigration status. Second, we assessed through an administrative data review what is known statistically about the numbers of children at risk by virtue of immigration status in the UK. This research indicates a considerable gap in statistical knowledge of the level of vulnerability of children in the UK by virtue of immigration status. The approach we have developed provides a framework for future statistical work that might address this gap.
  • Review of: Friedrich Froebel: a critical introduction to key themes and debates

    Mistry, Malini Tina; (Routledge, 2021-10-15)
    Review of: Friedrich Froebel: a critical introduction to key themes and debates by Tina Bruce, London Bloomsbury, 2021, 167 pp., £19.99 (paperback), ISBN 9781474250429
  • A “magic teleportation machine”: ethnically diverse green space users derive similar cultural ecosystem benefits from urban nature

    Edwards, Rachael C.; Larson, Brendon M.H.; Church, Andrew; University of Waterloo; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2021-11-29)
    Green spaces are vital to the wellbeing of urban communities, largely due to the many Cultural Ecosystem Benefits (CEB) that nature contributes to outdoor recreation experiences (e.g., relaxation, inspiration, spiritual enrichment). To ensure equity in the distribution of CEB, however, we require a better understanding of how they relate to ethnicity. Through 100 in-situ semi-structured interviews with green space users in the Lee Valley Regional Park, London, UK, this research explored variation in outdoor recreational CEB based on i) ethnicity and ii) green space activity and attribute preferences. We compared green space preferences and CEB of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and white users of two distinct types of urban green space: parks and more biodiverse Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Both white and BAME visitors to parks prioritized games/sports and built features whereas visitors to SSSIs more often undertook wildlife viewing and prioritized natural features. However, we found that white and BAME users of both types of urban green space derived similar CEB. Peace and relaxation were primary among these benefits, a result of both nature interaction and its contrast to the urban environment. These results demonstrate that nature does not have to be the focal point of outdoor recreation to contribute to wellbeing; rather, even as a backdrop to sports and cultural activities, nature provides similar benefits to green space users. To promote use of green space and foster intercultural understanding, we recommend integrating these shared benefits obtained from nature within marketing and engagement strategies. Future research is needed to explore CEB variation within and among distinct ethnic communities to fully capture the diversity of lived experiences.

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