• Reinforcement learning-driven information seeking: a quantum probabilistic approach

      Jaiswal, Amit Kumar; Liu, Haiming; Frommholz, Ingo; University of Bedfordshire (CEUR-WS, 2020-07-30)
      Understanding an information forager’s actions during interaction is very important for the study of interactive information retrieval. Although information spread in an uncertain information space is substantially complex due to the high entanglement of users interacting with information objects (text, image, etc.). However, an information forager, in general, accompanies a piece of information (information diet) while searching (or foraging) alternative contents, typically subject to decisive uncertainty. Such types of uncertainty are analogous to measurements in quantum mechanics which follow the uncertainty principle. In this paper, we discuss information seeking as a reinforcement learning task. We then present a reinforcement learning-based framework to model the foragers exploration that treats the information forager as an agent to guide their behaviour. Also, our framework incorporates the inherent uncertainty of the foragers’ action using the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics.
    • Semantic Hilbert space for interactive image retrieval

      Jaiswal, Amit Kumar; Liu, Haiming; Frommholz, Ingo; University of Bedfordshire (Association for Computing Machinery, Inc, 2021-07-11)
      The paper introduces a model for interactive image retrieval utilising the geometrical framework of information retrieval (IR). We tackle the problem of image retrieval based on an expressive user information need in form of a textual-visual query, where a user is attempting to find an image similar to the picture in their mind during querying. The user information need is expressed using guided visual feedback based on Information Foraging which lets the user perception embed within the model via semantic Hilbert space (SHS). This framework is based on the mathematical formalism of quantum probabilities and aims to understand the relationship between user textual and image input, where the image in the input is considered a form of visual feedback. We propose SHS, a quantum-inspired approach where the textual-visual query is regarded analogously to a physical system that allows for modelling different system states and their dynamic changes thereof based on observations (such as queries, relevance judgements). We will be able to learn the input multimodal representation and relationships between textual-image queries for retrieving images. Our experiments are conducted on the MIT States and Fashion200k datasets that demonstrate the effectiveness of finding particular images autocratically when the user inputs are semantically expressive.
    • A conceptual framework of knowledge sharing for enhanced performance in the HEIs

      Khilji, Nasrallah; Duan, Yanqing; Tehrani, Jasmine; University of Bedfordshire (2020-12-31)
      Knowledge sharing is an essential management practice that provides a sustainable competitive advantage in a vibrant and dynamic economy (Kaur, 2019). To achieve an enhanced performance in the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), it is essential to make sure that the teaching and learning system is determined by knowledge sharing approach (Nair and Munusami, 2019). The Higher Education Institutions are required to consider how they could better share knowledge from experts who have it to learners who need to get the best of such expertise (DarlingHammond et al., 2019). This study examines the knowledge sharing behaviour among academics and leaners in the HEIs by providing a better understanding for their enhanced performance. This is aimed to comprehend the individual acts of knowledge creation and the collective efforts of knowledge sharing adapted in the HEIs towards continuous improvement. A literature review is carried out to propose a conceptual framework of knowledge sharing for enhanced performance in the HEIs.
    • Identification of diverse lipid-binding modes in the groove of zinc α2 glycoprotein reveals its functional versatility

      Zahid, Henna; Lau, Andy M.; Kelly, Sharon M.; Karu, Kersti; Gor, Jayesh; Perkins, Stephen J.; McDermott, Lindsay C. (Wiley, 2021-11-24)
      ZAG is a multifunctional glycoprotein with a class I MHC-like protein fold and an α1-α2 lipid-binding groove. The intrinsic ZAG ligand is unknown. Our previous studies showed that ZAG binds the dansylated C11 fatty acid, DAUDA, differently to the boron dipyrromethane C16 fatty acid, C16-BODIPY. Here, the molecular basis for this difference was elucidated. Multi-wavelength analytical ultracentrifugation confirmed that DAUDA and C16-BODIPY individually bind to ZAG and compete for the same binding site. Molecular docking of lipid-binding in the structurally related CD1-proteins predicted nine conserved ligand contact residues in ZAG. Twelve mutants were accordingly created by alanine scanning site directed mutagenesis for characterisation. Mutation of Y12 caused ZAG to misfold. Mutation of K147, R157 and A158 abrogated C16-BODIPY but not DAUDA binding. L69 and T169 increased the fluorescence emission intensity of C16-BODIPY but not of DAUDA compared to wild-type ZAG and showed that C16-BODIPY binds close to T169 and L69. Distance measurements of the crystal structure revealed K147 forms a salt bridge with D83. A range of bioactive bulky lipids including phospholipids and sphingolipids displaced DAUDA from the ZAG binding site but unexpectedly did not displace C16-BODIPY. We conclude that the ZAG α1-α2 groove contains separate but overlapping sites for DAUDA and C16-BODIPY and is involved in binding to a bulkier and wider repertoire of lipids than previously reported. This work suggested that the in vivo activity of ZAG may be dictated by its lipid ligand.
    • Enabling women to access preferred methods of contraception: a rapid review and behavioural analysis

      Ayorinde, Abimbola A.; Boardman, Felicity; McGranahan, Majel; Porter, Lucy; Eze, Nwamaka A.; Sallis, Anna; Buck, Rosanna; Hadley, Alison; Ludeke, Melissa; Mann, Sue; et al. (Biomed Central, 2021-11-27)
      Many pregnancies in the UK are either unplanned or ambivalent. This review aimed to (i) explore barriers and facilitators to women choosing and accessing a preferred method of contraception in the United Kingdom, and (ii) identify opportunities for behavioural interventions based on examination of interventions that are currently available nationally. Three databases were searched, and experts contacted to identify grey literature for studies presenting barriers and facilitators to women choosing and accessing a preferred method of contraception, conducted in the UK and published between 2009 and October 2019. Information on barriers and facilitators were coded into overarching themes, which were then coded into Mechanisms of Actions (MoAs) as listed in the Theory and Techniques Tool. National interventions were identified by consulting stakeholders and coded into the Behaviour Change Wheel. The match between barriers/facilitators and intervention content was assessed using the Behaviour Change Wheel. We included 32 studies and identified 46 barrier and facilitator themes. The most cited MoA was Environmental Context and Resources, which primarily related to the services women had access to and care they received. Social Influences, Beliefs about Consequences (e.g., side effects) and Knowledge were also key. The behavioural analysis highlighted four priority intervention functions (Modelling, Enablement, Education and Environmental Restructuring) that can be targeted to support women to choose and access their preferred method of contraception. Relevant policy categories and behaviour change techniques are also highlighted. This review highlights factors that influence women's choices and access to contraception and recommends opportunities that may be targeted for future interventions in order to support women to access preferred contraception. Protocol was registered with PROSPERO (an international database of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health and social care) in December 2019, CRD42019161156 .
    • Breakfast consumption suppresses appetite but does not increase daily energy intake or physical activity energy expenditure when compared with breakfast omission in adolescent girls who habitually skip breakfast: a 7-day randomised crossover trial

      Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia K.; Seall, Claire; Tolfrey, Keith; ; University of Bedfordshire; Loughborough University (MDPI, 2021-11-26)
      With concerns that adolescent girls often skip breakfast, this study compared the effects of breakfast consumption versus breakfast omission on free-living physical activity (PA) energy expenditure (PAEE) and dietary intakes among adolescent girls classified as habitual breakfast skippers. The participants went through two 7-day conditions in a trial with a crossover design: daily standardised breakfast consumption (energy content: 25% of resting metabolic rate) before 09:00 (BC) and daily breakfast omission (no energy-providing nutrients consumed) until 10:30 (BO). Free-living PAEE, dietary intakes, and perceived appetite, tiredness, and energy levels were assessed. Analyses were linear mixed models. Breakfast manipulation did not affect PAEE or PA duration. Daily fibre intake was higher (p = 0.005; d = 1.31), daily protein intake tended to be higher (p = 0.092; d = 0.54), post-10:30 carbohydrate intake tended to be lower (p = 0.096; d = 0.41), and pre-10:30 hunger and fullness were lower and higher, respectively (p ≤ 0.065; d = 0.33–1.01), in BC versus BO. No other between-condition differences were found. Breakfast-skipping adolescent girls do not compensate for an imbalance in energy intake caused by breakfast consumption versus omission through subsequent changes in PAEE but may increase their carbohydrate intakes later in the day to partially compensate for breakfast omission. Furthermore, breakfast can make substantial contributions to daily fibre intake among adolescent girls.
    • The effects of extended planning time on candidates’ performance, processes and strategy use in the lecture listening-into-speaking tasks of the TOEFL iBT Test

      Inoue, Chihiro; Lam, Daniel M. K.; Educational Testing Service (Wiley, 2021-06-21)
      This study investigated the effects of two different planning time conditions (i.e., operational [20 s] and extended length [90 s]) for the lecture listening-into-speaking tasks of the TOEFL iBT® test for candidates at different proficiency levels. Seventy international students based in universities and language schools in the United Kingdom (35 at a lower level; 35 at a higher level) participated in the study. The effects of different lengths of planning time were examined in terms of (a) the scores given by ETS-certified raters; (b) the quality of the speaking performances characterized by accurately reproduced idea units and the measures of complexity, accuracy, and fluency; and (c) self-reported use of cognitive and metacognitive processes and strategies during listening, planning, and speaking. The results found neither a statistically significant main effect of the length of planning time nor an interaction between planning time and proficiency on the scores or on the quality of the speaking performance. There were several cognitive and metacognitive processes and strategies where significantly more engagement was reported under the extended planning time, which suggests enhanced cognitive validity of the task. However, the increased engagement in planning did not lead to any measurable improvement in the score. Therefore, in the interest of practicality, the results of this study provide justifications for the operational length of planning time for the lecture listening-into-speaking tasks in the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT test.
    • Prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus among pregnant women in Nigeria

      Ozim, C.; Mahendran, Rahini; Amalan, Mahendran; Puthussery, Shuby (Oxford University Press, 2020-09-30)
      Background Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection among pregnant women has been associated with a number of adverse maternal and infant outcomes. Nigeria accounts for about 10% of the HIV/AIDS burden worldwide and has the second highest incidence of new HIV infections among women globally. This study estimated the overall prevalence of HIV among pregnant women in Nigeria and examined variations across the geo-political zones of the country. Methods We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. A comprehensive search was conducted using eight electronic databases and grey sources for studies published from 1·1·2008 to 31·8·2019. Primary studies reporting prevalence estimates of HIV among pregnant women diagnosed using a diagnostic/ screening test were identified, screened and appraised using a two-stage process. A meta-analysis was conducted with the primary outcome measure as proportion (%) of pregnant women identified as having HIV infection. Results Twenty three eligible studies involving 72,728 pregnant women were included in the meta-analysis. The overall pooled prevalence of HIV among pregnant women was 7·22% (95% CI: 5·64, 9·21). A high degree of heterogeneity (I2=97·2%) and publication bias (p = 0.728) was reported. Prevalence rate for South-East geo-political zone (17·04%, 95% CI: 9·01, 29·86) was higher compared to the overall prevalence. Conclusions Findings imply that 7 out of every 100 pregnant women in Nigeria are likely to have HIV infection. The magnitude of the issue highlight the need for targeted efforts at local, national and international levels towards prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
    • Negotiating difference and belonging in families from mixed racial, ethnic and faith backgrounds in Britain: Implications for mental health

      Puthussery, Shuby; Caballero, Chamion; Edwards, Rosalind (Oxford University Press, 2008-09-30)
      Poster presentations: abstracts Key points * Mixed-parent couples in Britain were often in sustained relationships, and a high proportion were middle class. * The couples interviewed used three typical approaches to instil a sense of belonging in their children; particular approaches were not associated with particular racial or faith combinations: o Individual: children's sense of belonging was not seen as rooted in their mixed background. o Mix: children's mixed background was understood as a factual part of their identity; all aspects were emphasised. o Single: one aspect of children's mixed background was stressed. * Couples whose approach differed in giving their children a sense of belonging were not necessarily in conflict. For some, divergent approaches were complementary. Others saw difficulties between them as humanistic, political or personality choices. * Parents identified supportive or constraining resources and relationships in creating a sense of belonging, including neighbourhoods, schools, travel, languages, grandparents and children themselves. What some regarded as supportive, others saw as drawbacks. * Mixed-parent couples can be more concerned with other issues, such as children's safety and health, unity over discipline and financial security. * The researchers conclude that it is important that family support, health, education and social services do not make assumptions about mixed families. Families who seem to share a form of mixing can differ from each other. 'Mixedness' may be insignificant for some, compared to other issues. Mixed families would benefit from policies and practice that further tackle prejudice based on race and faith.
    • Born in the UK: Maternity and postnatal care needs of UK-born ethnic minority women

      Puthussery, Shuby; Twamley, Katherine; Mirsky, Judith; Macfarlane, Alison; Harding, Seeromanie; Baron, Maurina (Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, 2009-09-30)
    • Acceptability and effectiveness of multi-media delivery of an exercise programme among postpartum women with lumbo pelvic pain in Taiwan

      Tseng, Pei-Ching; Puthussery, Shuby; Pappas, Yannis; University of Bedfordshire (2016-03-02)
      Registration of study Background and study aims Lumbo Pelvic Pain (LPP) is a common problem among pregnant women and those that have given birth within the last year (postnatal). LPP may lead to sleep problems, depression, fatigue and anxiety, and a general inability to carry out activities that involve carrying or lifting. Various treatments have been used to reduce LPP in general including physical exercise although the effect of exercise programmes in treating back pain is yet to be fully understood among postnatal women. In any case, new mothers in many Asian countries, such as Taiwan, tend to reduce physical activity after birth in accordance with traditional practices. Mothers in Taiwan receive verbal advice on exercise to be followed in the postnatal period by health care professionals before their discharge from hospital. Most of the hospitals also provide the women with a leaflet containing details of an exercise programme to manage postpartum LPP commonly referred to as back pain. However, very little is known about the uptake of this exercise programme or its benefits for postnatal women. Technology has been increasingly used in health care to deliver various treatments and technology based delivery can improve the uptake of exercise among certain groups. How acceptable different methods of teaching the exercises, using digital or print media are and how they might affect how many postnatal women take up the exercise, adhere to it and complete an exercise programme has yet to be understood. Taiwan has a world-leading position in technology with 80% of all households owning personal computers and around 84% households with high speed internet connection. This study assesses the effectiveness of an exercise programme (the intervention) designed to strengthen abdominal and global muscles delivered using Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), Internet or leaflet, on LPP among postnatal women in Taiwan, and to compare exercise uptake, adherence and completion rates.
    • Effectiveness of nutrition interventions in low-and middle-income countries: a meta-review

      Rana, Ritu; Menon, Kavitha; Puthussery, Shuby; Ravalia, Anal; Panchal, Pooja; Vaze, Gauri; Tseng, Pei-Ching; Mavalankar, Dileep; ; Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar; et al. (World Public Health Nutrition Association, 2020-03-24)
      Background: Undernutrition remains an unfinished agenda for a majority of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Numerous nutrition interventions have been implemented in LMICs and various indicators have been used to measure the impact of these interventions. The aim of this meta-review was to summarise the findings on the effectiveness of various nutrition interventions that have been implemented in LMICs on the WHO global nutrition targets-related outcomes. The six outcomes are- reducing stunting, wasting, anemia among women of reproductive age, low birthweight, childhood overweight, and improving exclusive breastfeeding. This study presents the results for one of the outcomes (stunting). Methods: We conducted a comprehensive search on 21 electronic databases, including six regional and four systematic reviews (SRs) specific databases. Two researchers independently screened identified records against the inclusion criteria. Quality of included SRs were assessed using the AMSTAR tool. Extracted data were narratively synthesised examining the direction of impact. The review protocol was registered with the EPPI-Centre. Results: Of 6,597 SRs initially identified, 28 SRs that assessed outcomes of WHO global nutrition targets-related outcomes were eligible for inclusion. We found 12 SRs that assessed stunting outcomes, these SRs synthesised 68 quantitative primary studies, from 29 LMICs. All included SRs were of high quality. Eight nutrition interventions were reported in the included SRs- five nutrition-specific (n=9) and three nutrition-sensitive (n=3). Among all interventions, two nutrition-specific (complementary feeding: n=1; dietary supplementation: n=2) interventions showed a positive effect. Conclusion: This meta-review identified, two interventions, complementary feeding and dietary supplementation, with most frequently reported evidence of positive impact on stunting. In LMICs, public health policymakers should consider these two interventions for scaling-up.
    • Emergent themes of social and environmental ‎reporting in the UK retail banks ‎

      Saeudy, Mohamed; Hussainey, Khaled; University of Bedfordshire; University of Portsmouth (Inderscience Publishers, 2021-11-24)
      We examine current practices in the development and communication of social and environmental reporting (SER) in the UK retail banks. Empirical data was triangulated between semi-structured interviews with bank executives, bank sustainability reports, and third-party sustainability entrepreneur initiatives (termed ‘SEIs’) to identify current practices and growth areas. We use social contract theory to examine how these social and environmental retail banks developed their SER practices. Our findings reveal that SER practices are crucial for pursuing more positive social and environmental values. We clarify the role of SER as a form of integrated reporting (IR) to assess and improve the usefulness of the IR reporting practices. The SER practices also appear to have benefited from the presence of a number of SEIs in the sampled banks who specialise in commercialising social and environmental projects. In addition, methodical analyses of SER components assist managers and regulators in determining which components are meaningful to stakeholders.
    • Exploring the potential for assessing interactional and pragmatic competence in semi-direct speaking tests

      Nakatsuhara, Fumiyo; May, Lyn; Inoue, Chihiro; Willcox-Ficzere, Edit; Westbrook, Carolyn; Spiby, Richard; University of Bedfordshire; Queensland University of Technology; Oxford Brookes University; British Council (British Council, 2021-11-11)
      To explore the potential of a semi-direct speaking test to assess a wider range of communicative language ability, the researchers developed four semi-direct speaking tasks – two designed to elicit features of interactional competence (IC) and two designed to elicit features of pragmatic competence (PC). The four tasks, as well as one benchmarking task, were piloted with 48 test-takers in China and Austria whose proficiency ranged from CEFR B1 to C. A post-test feedback survey was administered to all test-takers, after which selected test-takers were interviewed. A total of 184 task performances were analysed to identify interactional moves utilised by test-takers across three proficiency groups (i.e., B1, B2 and C). Data indicated that test-takers at higher levels employed a wider variety of interactional moves. They made use of concurring concessions and counter views when seeking to persuade a (hypothetical) conversational partner to change opinions in the IC tasks, and they projected upcoming requests and made face-related statements in the PC tasks, seemingly to pre-empt a conversational partner’s negative response to the request. The test-takers perceived the tasks to be highly authentic and found the video input useful in understanding the target audience of simulated interactions.
    • Transitions to motherhood: young women’s desire for respectability, responsibility and moral worth

      Calver, Kay; (Taylor & Francis, 2019-08-17)
      In the UK, teenage motherhood is depicted in the media and government policy as highly negative and problematic. Pregnant and mothering young women are constructed as socially excluded members of society who belong to an assumed underclass who lack responsibility and respectability. This article draws on the views and perspectives of pregnant and mothering young women in the east of England to examine how positive and successful subjects are defined and understood. It is illustrated how this group of working class young women negotiated and resisted their positioning as 'unfit' mothers and 'bad' citizens. Central to their narratives was a desire to reassert themselves as respectable and responsible individuals through engaging in education and employment in order to achieve financial independence. It is argued that this notion of respectability provides a limited and limiting understanding of inclusion and moral worth for working class young women.
    • Students on screen: shifting representations of the student on British screens since 2010

      Calver, Kay; Michael-Fox, Bethan (2021-11-17)
      As the number of university students in Britain has expanded so has public interest in them, expressed across a range of media. This talk will explore how the idea of ‘the student’ is conceptualised, constructed, and negotiated in recent British television documentary, drama and comedy genres. Conceiving of television as a space in which people experience and engage with complex social understandings, we examine how the representation of the student on the British television screen has shifted in recent years from positioning students predominantly as fun-loving, promiscuous and irresponsible to emphasising the ways in which they are vulnerable and increasingly politically charged subjects, whilst universities themselves have come to be represented as predatory and profit driven enterprises. Please be aware that this talk includes reference to both fictional and factual televisual coverage of the topics of student suicide and sexual assault.
    • Perceived influences on reducing prolonged sitting in police staff: a qualitative investigation using the Theoretical Domains Framework and COM-B model

      Brierley, Marsha L.; Smith, Lindsey Rachel; Bailey, Daniel Paul; Every, Sofie A.; Staines, Taylor A.; Chater, Angel M.; ; University of Bedfordshire; University College London; Brunel University (Biomed Central, 2021-11-19)
      Background: Workplace interventions have shown promise for reducing sitting in office workers. Police office staff remain an understudied population group that work within a disciplined organisation with distinctive work tasks around public safety, potentially affecting their capability, opportunity, and motivation to change sitting behaviour. This study aimed to assess the perceived influences on reducing workplace sitting in non-operational, desk-based police staff in order to derive theoretical determinants for behaviour change. Methods: Ten police staff from a single police force in Bedfordshire, England [eight female; 39.5±11.5 years] took part in face-to-face semi-structured interviews lasting 46±11 minutes on average. Thematic analysis identified key themes which were then mapped onto the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and linked to the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model. Results: Seven themes were identified: ‘Work tasks are seated’, ‘Social norm is to sit’, ‘Belief in ability to regulate behaviour’, ‘Knowledge of health risks’, ‘Organisational support’, ‘Impact on productivity’, and ‘Perceived autonomy for sitting reduction’. Conclusions: Awareness of behaviour and health impacts (Capability), social and physical support to sit less (Opportunity), and habit formation techniques (Motivation) are recommended considerations in sitting reduction workplace interventions for police staff.
    • How young, disadvantaged fathers are affected by socioeconomic and relational barriers: a UK-based qualitative study

      Donald, Louisa; Davidson, Rosemary; Murphy, Suzanne; Hadley, Alison; Puthussery, Shuby; Randhawa, Gurch; ; University of Bedfordshire (2021-11-05)
      This article is based on the interviews of nine young, socially disadvantaged fathers from the UK. Young fathers are more likely to experience socioeconomic deprivation and disrupted pathways towards parenthood, which affect their participation in socially accepted trajectories of ‘father involvement’. Whilst this has received some attention in research, studies have largely neglected to examine the lived experiences of such fathers directly. The current article aims to address this gap, building upon the limited body of research that exists exploring the impact of socioeconomic and relational barriers on father involvement. In this study, three interrelated themes demonstrate the cyclical nature of generational disadvantage, reduced socioeconomic circumstances and disrupted relationships, providing a different perspective on the decreased levels of involvement exhibited by young fathers in prior research. The findings also enlighten our understanding of how these fathers can be better supported in policy and practice, thereby contributing to current academic debate.