• Late quaternary fluvial system response to climatic change over the past 200ka on Mallorca, Illes Balears.

      Thompson, Warren; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2017-11-02)
      Outcrops of late Quaternary deposits along the north–east coast of Mallorca were examined, and a high resolution chronological framework established using optically stimulated luminescence of quartz and feldspar grains. Coastal sections at Es Barrancar and Cala Mata record a complex succession of alluvial fan deposition with a minor aeolian component, mainly deposited during the last two glacial cycles. For the last ~200ka different orbital configurations appear to have produced a series of subtly different climatic scenarios that resulted in great variations in the regional availability of moisture. In turn, each of these climatic scenarios set in motion a distinct set of sedimentary processes, which imprinted themselves upon the character of fluvial system response recorded in the alluvial archives on Mallorca. Within the resulting complex of sediments were units of fluvially reworked aeolianite which, although truncated in places, were traceable laterally along wide sections of the sea front outcrops of both fan systems. These archives yielded 47 new OSL and pIRIR290 ages which suggest a number of previously unrecognised periods of enhanced fluvial activity. Luminescence ages identify significant ephemeral fluvial activity taking place during MIS 6, MIS 5 sub-stages d/c, b/a, and across the MIS 5/4 boundary. Another major phase of reworking corresponds with the middle part of MIS 3, and continued sporadically into the Last Glacial Maximum. These fluvial reworking events have been interpreted as having taken place during cold arid climatic intervals, when vegetation was at a minimum, precipitation was low and displayed a much higher degree of seasonality, enhancing the effects of runoff.
    • Limitations and trainability of the respiratory system during exercise with thoracic loads

      Faghy, Mark; University of Derby (2016-02-01)
      Thoracic loads (i.e., a heavy backpack) commonly used in occupational and recreational settings significantly challenge human physiological systems and increase the work of breathing, which may promote respiratory muscle fatigue and negatively impacts whole body performance during physical tasks. Accordingly this thesis: (Chapter number: II) designed a laboratory based protocol that closely reflects occupational demands and (III) assessed the effect that load carriage (LC) has upon physiological and respiratory muscle function. Consequently the thesis addressed (IV) acute, (V) chronic and (VI) functional inspiratory muscle loading strategies to assess the limitations and trainability of the respiratory muscles to load carriage performance. The novel laboratory protocol, performed wearing a 25 kg backpack load, combined submaximal load carriage (LC; 60 min treadmill march at 6.5 km·h-1) and self-paced time trial exercise (LCTT; 2.4 km) to better reflect the physiological demands of occupational performance (between trials mean difference -0.34 ± 0.89 min, coefficient of variation 10.5%). Following LC, maximal inspiratory muscle pressure (PImax) and maximal expiratory muscle pressure (P¬Emax) were reduced by 11% and 13% respectively (P<0.05), and further by 5% and 6%, respectively (P< 0.05), after LCTT. Acute inspiratory loading (2 × 30 forced inspiratory efforts 40% PImax) following an active warm-up (10 min lactate turnpoint) failed to improve LCTT despite a transient increase in PImax of ~7% (P<0.05). Chronic inspiratory loading (6 wk, 50% PImax, 30 breaths twice daily) increased PImax (31%, p<0.05) reduced HR and perceptual responses post-LC, and improved LCTT (8%, P< 0.05) with no change in a placebo control. Combining IMT with functional core muscle exercises improved PImax and LCTT by 7% and 4% respectively (P< 0.05), which was greater than traditional IMT alone. Acute, chronic and functional inspiratory muscle loading strategies did not protect against respiratory muscle or locomotor muscle fatigue during LC and LCTT.
    • Oral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Prevalence and Abundance in the UK Young Adult Population

      Marsh, Elizabeth; Knight, Gillian; Whitton, Aimee (University of DerbySchool of Biomedical & Forensic Science, 2021)
      BACKGROUND: The incidence rates of HPV positive oropharyngeal cancers (OPSCCs) are on the rise, yet oral HPV prevalence rates in clinically healthy populations are poorly understood. To determine the risk of healthy adults developing OPSCCs, first we must establish oral HPV prevalence, viral load, persistence, and clearance rates in healthy populations to understand the link between oral HPV and OPSCCs. This is even more pertinent within the young adult population as the HPV vaccination programme has been shown to reduce cervical cancer incidence but not OPSCC incidence. Therefore, other factors that could affect oral HPV contraction and OPSCC development need investigation such as population demographics, lifestyle risk behaviours, HPV screening methods and vaccination status. OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were centred on establishing reproducible and sensitive HPV screening methods for the detection of oral HPV in clinically healthy young adults, for determining prevalence and abundance, and establishing if oral HPV was influenced by vaccination status, demographics, and lifestyle risk behaviours. METHODS: The study established a novel and sensitive real-time PCR HPV consensus screening method for the detection of multiple HPV subtypes in the oral cavity of 408 clinically healthy UK-based young adults (92.01%; 18-25 years old in 2016-17). HPV positive or undetermined samples were then screened using qPCR for HPV subtypes, HPV-6, HPV-11, HPV-16, HPV-18. All results were analysed alongside vaccination status, demographics and lifestyle risk behaviour data collected via questionnaire. RESULTS: An oral HPV prevalence rate of 22.79% was found, with HPV-16 being the most prevalent and abundant subtype at 19.12%; 1.08x105 copies/million cells, followed by HPV-18 at 1.72%; 1.89x104 copies/million cells, HPV-6 at 0.49%; 4.50x102 copies/million cells and HPV-11 at 0.25%; 1.06x102 copies/million cells. Unknown HPV subtypes were detected in 2.21% of the cohort. Oral HPV was found to be significantly associated with open-mouth kissing (p <.001), oral sex (p = .049), masturbation in males (p = .020), sexual intercourse (p = .026), sexual activity diversity (p = .043), frequent smoking (p = .024), wine drinking (p = .045) and drinking ≥2 types of alcohol per sitting (p = .015), especially in males (p = .023). HPV-16 was significantly associated with masturbation (p = .004), whilst there was a reduction in viral load in vaccinated individuals, but this was not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Oral HPV is prevalent in the young adult UK population, especially HR-HPV subtype HPV-16, questioning the efficacy of the HPV vaccination on reducing oral prevalence. However, HPV vaccination may instead influence oral HPV viral load, but further research is required, demonstrating the importance of measuring both presence and abundance. Oral HPV prevalence did appear to be influenced by sexual practice, including open-mouth kissing and oral sex, but less so by smoking and alcohol consumption, reaffirming the link between oral HPV and OPSCCs.
    • Pain responses in athletes:

      Thornton, Claire; University of Derby (2018-09-04)
    • Problematic painkiller use in the general population: a multi-national comparison exploring the role of accessibility of painkillers and psychological factors

      Said, Omimah; University of Derby (2018)
      Problematic painkiller use is a large and increasing problem worldwide, leading to serious physical, psychological and social consequences. Existing research indicates that accessibility of painkillers and psychological factors could have a role in problematic painkiller use. To clarify, accessibility refers to ease of obtaining painkillers, whilst psychological factors refer to individual-level processes and meanings that influence mental states (Upton, 2013). However, there have been few studies conducted, and these studies have focused mainly on either clinical samples or women with childbirth pain. Hence, the role among the general population is less clear. The aim of the present thesis was therefore to focus on the role of accessibility and psychological factors in problematic painkiller use among the general population. Three studies were conducted: one study compared the general population of the UK (N = 295) and Egypt (N = 420) regarding the role of accessibility of painkillers and psychological factors, including attitudes and beliefs towards pain, painkillers, self-medication and alternative methods of pain relief; another study was a multi-national comparison of these variables among the general population of more countries including Germany (N = 217), USA (N = 146), Australia (N = 93) and China (N = 76); another study focused on the role of psychological factors over time among the UK general population (N = 529), specifically attitudes and beliefs towards painkillers, as well as pain catastrophising, pain acceptance, pain self-efficacy and alexithymia. In these studies, the role of accessibility and psychological factors was investigated using online surveys, with participants aged 18 years or over, who experienced pain in the last month, used over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription painkillers in the last month, and were residents of the countries concerned. An additional study was conducted to develop 14-item versions of the Survey of Pain Attitudes-Brief (SOPA-B-14) and the Pain Medication Attitudes Questionnaire (PMAQ-14), which also tested the validity of these scales. Results Accessibility of painkillers and psychological factors predicted problematic painkiller use. However, there were several differences between the countries regarding the particular role of these factors. In the longitudinal study of the UK general population, changes in psychological factors were found over time, but attitudes and beliefs about withdrawal from painkillers was the only psychological factor that predicted problematic painkiller use over time. In addition, testing the validity of the SOPA-B-14 and PMAQ-14 showed that these scales were valid. The present research provided understanding regarding the role of accessibility and psychological factors in problematic painkiller use among the general population, and the role of psychological factors over time. Based on this understanding, interventions focusing on accessibility and psychological factors should be developed to reduce problematic painkiller use, but tailored to the particular factors that were predictors for each country. The present research also developed a valid SOPA-B-14 and PMAQ-14, therefore these scales can be used rather than the full versions to make assessment easier.
    • Psychophysiological and emotional antecedents of climbing performance

      Giles, David; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2017-09-12)
      Recreational sport climbing is characterised by self-selected route choices, which place participants under both physiological and psychological stress. This thesis is comprised of four studies, each conducted with experienced climbers, exploring subjective psychological, objective psychophysiological and behavioural responses to anxiety-inducing stressors. Studies One and Two explored the means of protecting a climber in the event of a fall and the relative difficulty of a route. Significant and meaningful differences in self-reported anxiety and climbing performance were found in both studies. However, notably, psychophysiological measures of anticipatory heart rate and cortisol did not result in meaningful differences. Results suggested that situations, atypical of participants’ normal recreation sessions, with an increased likelihood of a climber falling or being unable to complete the route, were likely to be evaluated as threatening, elicit a negative emotional response and disrupt performance. However, the quantitative methods employed in Studies One and Two did not provide an explanation of the processes underlying participant’s anxious response and disrupted performance. Consequently, Study Three qualitatively explored individual experiences of climbers, with a focus on psychological factors that influence performance. The defining characteristics of lead climbing were discussed, as were the potential for taking falls, and/or the anticipation of falling. Further, interviewees described the choices they make, in order to increase or decrease the physical, psychological and technical challenges present. Critically, the choices made by a climber appear to potentiate or limit opportunities to perform optimally. Climber’s decisions were mediated by a number of antecedents, including a climber’s background in the sport, climbing partners and training status. Data suggests that while decisions made by the climbers allow them to engage with the sport on their own terms and exert a level of control over the challenges of their climbing sessions, it is often at the expense of performance. Interestingly, while interviewees were aware of techniques to reduce anxiety and improve performance, few regularly used these in training. Study Four examined the effectiveness of clip drops and repeat practice to reduce anxiety. Results indicated that neither technique resulted in reduced anxiety or improved performance when compared to the control group. While there were small differences in the success rate of participants in the intervention groups, they were less anxious and interpreted their level of self-confidence as more positive, compared to control, it was not possible to differentiate between the two interventions. However, when the combined means were considered there were significant and meaningful differences observed in the post-intervention red-point ascent compared to the initial on-sight. This thesis highlights the difficulty that arises in attempting to quantitatively examine anxiety. While there might not be (a) anxiety in climbers or (b) quantifiable differences between climbers of different abilities, it may be that what is possibly ‘noise’ in data arises due to weaknesses in the markers themselves. The findings of Study Three provide evidence of the true nature of anxiety for climbers, which was not evident from the quantitative markers; as well as the lengths climbers will go to, to avoid anxiety. Climbers’ responses to anxiety were individualised, consequently, generalised interventions may have a limited effect on reducing anxiety to a level which supports performance improvements. It may be that an individualised approach to anxiety reduction and avoidance behaviours has a more significant impact on performance improvement than any of the latest training programmes, equipment or nutritional strategies.
    • Risk-taking and expenditure in digital roulette: Examining the impact of tailored dynamic information and warnings on gambling attitudes and behaviours.

      McGivern, Paul R.; University of Derby (2018-07-20)
      Digital gambling is the fastest growing form of gambling in the world (Reilly & Smith, 2013a). Technological advancements continually increase access to gambling, which has led to increased social acceptance and uptake (Dragicevic & Tsogas, 2014) with Roulette being among the most popular games played both online and on Electronic Gaming Machines. In response, gambling stakeholders have drawn on the structural characteristics of gambling platforms to develop and improve Responsible Gambling (RG) devices for casual gamblers. Many RG data-tracking systems employ intuitive ‘traffic-light’ metaphors that enable gamblers to monitor their gambling (e.g. Wood & Griffiths, 2008), though uptake of voluntary RG devices is low (Schellinck & Schrans, 2011), leading to calls for mandatory RG systems. Another area that has received considerable RG research focus involves the use of pop-up messages (Auer & Griffiths, 2014). Studies have examined various message content, such as correcting erroneous beliefs, encouraging self-appraisal, gambling cessation, and the provision of personalised feedback. To date, findings have been inconsistent but promising. A shift towards the use of personalised information has become the preferred RG strategy, though message content and timing/frequency requires improvement (Griffiths, 2014). Moreover, warning messages are unable to provide continuous feedback to gamblers. In response to this, and calls for a ‘risk meter’ to improve monitoring of gambling behaviours (Wiebe & Philander, 2013), this thesis tested the impact of a risk meter alongside improved pop-up warning messages as RG devices for within-session roulette gambling. The thesis aimed to establish the optimal application of these devices for facilitating safer gambling behaviours. In support of the aims of RG research to evaluate the impact of devices on gambling attitudes and behaviours, the Elaboration Likelihood Model was identified as a suitable framework to test the proposed RG devices (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Both the interactive risk meter and pop-up messages were developed based on existing methods and recommendations in the RG literature, and examined via a series of laboratory-based roulette simulation experiments. Overall, results found the risk meter to be most effective when used as an interactive probability meter. Self-appraisal/Informative pop-up warnings were examined alongside expenditure-specific and hyrbid warnings. Findings showed that hybrid messages containing both types of information to be most effective, with optimal display points at 75%, 50%, 25% and 10% of remaining gambling credit. The final study tested both optimised devices (probability meter and hybrid messages). Results showed that using both RG devices in combination was most effective in facilitating reduced gambling risk and early within-session gambling cessation. Findings support the use of personalised, interactive RG devices using accurate context-specific information for the facilitation of safer gambling. The ELM was shown to be an effective model for testing RG devices, though findings suggested only temporary shifts in attitude change and a lack of impact on future gambling intentions. Overall, support for the implementation of RG devices that facilitate positive, temporary behaviour change that do not negatively impact on broader gambling attitudes or gambling enjoyment. Implications for theory, implementation, and RG frameworks are discussed, alongside recommendations for future research.
    • Stability of protein-based drugs: Herceptin a case study

      Shropshire, Ian Michael; University of Derby (2016)
      There is a lack of stability data for in-use parenteral drugs. Manufacturers state a shelf-life of 24 hours for infusions based on microbiological contamination. The lack of data is of particular significance with protein-based drugs where action is determined by their complex structure. A range of techniques are required to assess stability, including biological assessment to support other data. There has been an increase in published data but often the few studies that address in-use stability are incomplete as they do not employ biological assessment to assess potency. Trastuzumab is an antibody-based drug used to treat cancers where the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) is over expressed or over abundant on the cell surface. Trastuzumab infusions have been assigned by the manufacturer to be stable for 24 hours at temperatures not exceeding 30 oC. If stability is shown beyond this point it would enable extended storage and administration. To this end, methods were selected and developed with biological assessment central to the approach to assess clinically relevant infusion concentrations (0.5 mg/mL and 6.0 mg/mL) and a sub-clinical infusion concentration (0.1 mg/mL). This may enhance instability and provide opportunity to study degradation. A Cell Counting Kit CCK8 (Sigma Aldrich) was ultimately adopted as a basis for a colorimetric assay to assess cell viability. Attenuated Total Reflectance Infra-Red Spectroscopy and Size Exclusion Chromatography methods were developed to evaluate secondary structure and aggregation respectively. These methods were applied to a shelf-life study (43 days) as a collaboration with Quality Control North West (NHS) and Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Foundation Trust, Clatterbridge Hospital. There was no evidence of degradation and no loss efficacy for clinically relevant infusions (0.5 mg/mL and 6.0 mg/mL) over 43 days, whilst the sub-clinical infusions (0.1 mg/mL) developed particles after 7 days of storage between 2 oC and 8 oC. Furthermore, evidence of stability at day 119 gave increased confidence for the data from earlier time points. This work assisted in the shelf-life being recommended to be extended to 28 days for Trastuzumab stored in polyolefin IV bags at concentrations between 0.5 mg/mL and 6.0 mg/mL with 0.9% saline between 2 oC and 8 oC. However, infusions with concentrations below 0.5 mg/mL were not recommended for storage.
    • Transforming a Research Concept into Commercial Practice: Addressing the ‘Hurdles’ of Single-Species eDNA-based Detection

      Sweet, Michael; Robinson, Louise; Burian, Alfred; Troth, Christopher (University of Derby, 2020-01-15)
      The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) for measuring and monitoring biodiversity has been identified as a novel molecular based method to complement more commonly utilised traditional ecological sampling techniques. It is a time and cost-efficient technique, which is rapidly advancing due to the capabilities of low eDNA detection levels. As the efficiency of the technique has increased, commercial organisations and end-users have gained a greater interest in its application. Despite this, the technique is currently only commercially available from a select few service providers. In the UK, the main target species for commercial scale eDNA-based detection is the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). Interest has now been sparked for the development of eDNA assays to detect various other species, both for use as a regulated informative tool and a conservation aid. However, many recent studies have highlighted various limitations associated with the use of eDNA-based detection and this appears to be hampering commercialisation of this tool. eDNA-based detection methods remain relatively underdeveloped and un-validated for use as reliable and accurate widespread monitoring programs and other such applications. Here, the so called ‘hurdles’ associated with the development and validation of eDNA-based methods and its use as a fully available commercial service are reviewed and addressed, in order to develop and validate a commercially applicable eDNA assay for the endangered white-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes, as a target organism. When designing novel species-specific assays, detailed validation steps need to be undertaken, ensuring they perform under various conditions, habitats, and which sampling methods should be utilised. Currently, more traditional methods used to asses populations of white-clawed crayfish (such as trapping and hand searching) are becoming increasingly more difficult to undertake as the species become rarer and populations more fragmented. Such techniques are therefore expensive (with regard to time spent surveying) and often result in low probability of detection. A new species-specific qPCR assay to detect white-clawed crayfish was developed and tested under various conditions both ex-situ (laboratory and mesocosms) and in-situ (ponds and rivers) to explore the optimum sampling strategy giving the most reliable results. Experiments were also conducted on a wider scale to determine the impact of DNA degradation and seasonal influence on eDNA persistence. Interestingly, this thesis illustrates that sample collection choice is not simple, and the ‘best’ methodology was shown to vary between habitat type. This indicates that great care should be taken when designing any such assays and implementing them in the field. Furthermore, this study highlights that a ‘standard operating procedure’ for eDNA-based detection in the commercial sector may not be possible and this will have to be explored on an assay by assay basis. Alongside case studies from real-world application of the technique, recommendations are made on how this novel eDNA assay can be used for the commercial practice of white-clawed crayfish assessment.