# University of Chester

• Cheshire, United Kingdom
Recent publications
Many disciplines are facing a “reproducibility crisis”, which has precipitated much discussion about how to improve research integrity, reproducibility, and transparency. A unified effort across all sectors, levels, and stages of the research ecosystem is needed to coordinate goals and reforms that focus on open and transparent research practices. Promoting a more positive incentive culture for all ecosystem members is also paramount. In this commentary, we—the Local Network Leads of the UK Reproducibility Network—outline our response to the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry on research integrity and reproducibility. We argue that coordinated change is needed to create (1) a positive research culture, (2) a unified stance on improving research quality, (3) common foundations for open and transparent research practice, and (4) the routinisation of this practice. For each of these areas, we outline the roles that individuals, institutions, funders, publishers, and Government can play in shaping the research ecosystem. Working together, these constituent members must also partner with sectoral and coordinating organisations to produce effective and long-lasting reforms that are fit-for-purpose and future-proof. These efforts will strengthen research quality and create research capable of generating far-reaching applications with a sustained impact on society.
Background The lifelong nature of haemophilia makes patient-centred and societal assessments of its impact important to clinical and policy decisions. Quantifying the humanistic and economic burden by severity is key to assessing the impact on healthcare systems. We analysed the annual direct medical (excluding factor replacement therapy costs) and non-medical costs as well as societal costs and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of mild, moderate and severe disease among adults with haemophilia A or B without inhibitors in Europe. Participants in the CHESS II study reported their HRQoL, non-medical costs, and work impairment; physicians provided costs and consultation history from the medical chart. Descriptive statistics summarized patient characteristics, costs, and HRQoL scores. Regression models estimated differences in outcomes for moderate and severe versus mild disease, adjusting for age, body mass index, country, comorbidities, weight-adjusted factor consumption and education. Results The analytic sample included 707 patients with a mean age of 38 years; the majority of patients had haemophilia A (81%), and 47% had severe disease, followed by moderate (37%) and mild disease (16%). Patients with severe or moderate disease had on average higher direct costs, €3105 and €2469 respectively, versus mild disease. Societal costs were higher for patients with severe and moderate disease by €11,115 and €2825, respectively (all P < 0.01). HRQoL scores were also significantly worse for severe and moderate patients versus those with mild disease. Conclusion Severity of haemophilia is predictive of increasing economic and humanistic burden. The burden of moderate disease, as measured by direct costs and HRQoL, did not appear to be substantially different than that observed among patients with severe haemophilia.
Background Haemophilia bears substantial humanistic and economic burden on children and their caregivers. Characterising the differential impact of severe versus moderate paediatric haemophilia is important for clinical and health policy decisions. We analysed health-related quality of life (HRQoL), annual direct medical (excluding factor treatment costs), non-medical and societal costs among children and adolescents with moderate and severe haemophilia A or B without inhibitors from the European CHESS-PAEDs study. Information was reported by physicians and caregivers; patients aged ≥ 8 years self-reported their HRQoL. Descriptive statistics summarised demographic and clinical characteristics, costs, and HRQoL scores (EQ-5D-Y). Regression models estimated differences in HRQoL and costs for moderate versus severe haemophilia adjusting for age, body mass index z-score, country, number of comorbidities, and weight-adjusted annual clotting factor consumption. Results The analytic sample comprised 794 patients with a mean age of 10.5 years; most had haemophilia A (79%) and 58% had severe haemophilia. Mean predicted direct medical costs in moderate patients were two-thirds of the predicted costs for severe disease (€3065 vs. €2047; p < 0.001; N = 794), while societal costs were more than half of the predicted costs for children with severe haemophilia (€6950 vs. €3666; p < 0.001; N = 220). Mean predicted HRQoL scores were 0.74 and 0.69 for moderate and severe disease, respectively ( p < 0.05; N = 185). Conclusion Children with haemophilia and their caregivers displayed a significant economic and humanistic burden. While severe patients showed the highest direct medical and societal costs, and worse HRQoL, the burden of moderate haemophilia on its own was substantial and far from negligible.
We report on an ongoing collaboration between epidemiological modellers and visualization researchers by documenting and reflecting upon knowledge constructs—a series of ideas, approaches and methods taken from existing visualization research and practice—deployed and developed to support modelling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Structured independent commentary on these efforts is synthesized through iterative reflection to develop: evidence of the effectiveness and value of visualization in this context; open problems upon which the research communities may focus; guidance for future activity of this type and recommendations to safeguard the achievements and promote, advance, secure and prepare for future collaborations of this kind. In describing and comparing a series of related projects that were undertaken in unprecedented conditions, our hope is that this unique report, and its rich interactive supplementary materials, will guide the scientific community in embracing visualization in its observation, analysis and modelling of data as well as in disseminating findings. Equally we hope to encourage the visualization community to engage with impactful science in addressing its emerging data challenges. If we are successful, this showcase of activity may stimulate mutually beneficial engagement between communities with complementary expertise to address problems of significance in epidemiology and beyond. See https://ramp-vis.github.io/RAMPVIS-PhilTransA-Supplement/ . This article is part of the theme issue ‘Technical challenges of modelling real-life epidemics and examples of overcoming these’.
The study used a mixed-methods approach to examine how the presence of coaches influenced male academy rugby league players’ performance during physical performance testing. Fifteen male rugby players completed two trials of 20 m sprint, countermovement jump and prone Yo-Yo test; one with only the sport scientist present and a second where the sport scientist conducted the battery with both the club's lead strength and conditioning coach, academy manager, and the first team assistant and head coach present. Players and coaches then completed one-to-one semi-structured interviews to explore their beliefs, attitudes and opinions towards physical performance testing. In all tests, the players’ performance was better when the coaches were present compared to when tests were conducted by the sport scientist alone. Interviews revealed performance testing was used by coaches to exercise their power over players to socialise them into the desired culture. Players’ own power was evident through additional effort during testing when coaches were present. Practitioners should ensure consistency in the presence of significant observers during performance testing of male rugby players to minimise their influence on test outcome.
A zemiology of politics is required in the face of disastrous historic, contemporary and future social harms. Focusing on state-led politics, the article charts some politically generated or mediated social harms: military; ecological and economic. These can generate justificatory narratives of zemiogenic deceit and ignorance. In a contemporary political moment of authoritarian populism, nativism and racism, each feature as part of wider processes towards the corruption and destruction of politics. The article then suggests some of the potentials of healthy politics and fundamental principles for a zemiology of politics including: subordination of crime-centric criminology to a historically grounded international zemiology, the incorporation of agnotological perspectives, and an orientation that is public, inclusive, reflexive and non-fundamentalist.
In this work, we present a matrix construction for reversible codes derived from skew dihedral group rings. By employing this matrix construction, the ring \begin{document}$\mathcal{F}_{j, k}$\end{document} and its associated Gray maps, we show how one can construct reversible codes of length \begin{document}$n2^{j+k}$\end{document} over the finite field \begin{document}$\mathbb{F}_4.$\end{document} As an application, we construct a number of DNA codes that satisfy the Hamming distance, the reverse, the reverse-complement, and the GC-content constraints with better parameters than some good DNA codes in the literature.
The subdiffusion equations with a Caputo fractional derivative of order $$\alpha \in (0,1)$$ arise in a wide variety of practical problems, which describe the transport processes, in the force-free limit, slower than Brownian diffusion. In this work, we derive the correction schemes of the Lagrange interpolation with degree k ($$k\le 6$$) convolution quadrature, called $$L_k$$ approximation, for the subdiffusion. The key step of designing correction algorithm is to calculate the explicit form of the coefficients of $$L_k$$ approximation by the polylogarithm function or Bose-Einstein integral. To construct a $$\tau _8$$ approximation of Bose-Einstein integral, the desired $$(k+1-\alpha )$$th-order convergence rate can be proved for the correction $$L_k$$ scheme with nonsmooth data, which is higher than kth-order BDFk method in [Jin, Li, and Zhou, SIAM J. Sci. Comput., 39 (2017), A3129–A3152; Shi and Chen, J. Sci. Comput., (2020) 85:28]. The numerical experiments with spectral method are given to illustrate theoretical results.
Dyslexia is likely one of the most misunderstood conditions impacting on educational outcomes at all levels, in and across all practice and intellectual domains. This paper discusses a project carried out by two qualified social workers, one an academic involved in teaching and assessing social work students, the other a doctoral student with a formal diagnosis of dyslexia and dyspraxia. The research involved nine social work students from three different universities who identified as having dyslexia. Semi-structured interviews were held in order to identify challenges experienced by participants as well as any strategies they used to ameliorate them. The data from the interviews were coded and analyzed, and the findings indicated a range and variety of experiences. Participants described feeling anxious and questioned their ability to study social work, both at university and on placement. Feelings of exhaustion were noted, which indicated the need to examine and potentially to rebalance educators’ expectations across academic and practical roles, and to provide support for students to meet workload requirements particularly when on placement. Findings from the interviews were shared with academic staff and practice educators. Additionally, a ”good practice” guide was produced to support educators in placement as well as in universities
High carbohydrate, lower fat (HCLF) diets are recommended to reduce cardiometabolic disease (CMD) but low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) diets can be just as effective. The effect of LCHF on novel insulin resistance biomarkers and the metabolome has not been fully explored. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of an ad libitum 8-week LCHF diet compared with a HCLF diet on CMD markers, the metabolome, and insulin resistance markers. n = 16 adults were randomly assigned to either LCHF (n = 8, <50 g CHO p/day) or HCLF diet (n = 8) for 8 weeks. At weeks 0, 4 and 8, participants provided fasted blood samples, measures of body composition, blood pressure and dietary intake. Samples were analysed for markers of cardiometabolic disease and underwent non-targeted metabolomic profiling. Both a LCHF and HCLF diet significantly (p < 0.01) improved fasting insulin, HOMA IR, rQUICKI and leptin/adiponectin ratio (p < 0.05) levels. Metabolomic profiling detected 3489 metabolites with 78 metabolites being differentially regulated, for example, an upregulation in lipid metabolites following the LCHF diet may indicate an increase in lipid transport and oxidation, improving insulin sensitivity. In conclusion, both diets may reduce type 2 diabetes risk albeit, a LCHF diet may enhance insulin sensitivity by increasing lipid oxidation.
Cell-free large-scale multi-user MIMO is a promising technology for the 5G-and-beyond mobile communication networks. Scalable signal processing is the key challenge in achieving the benefits of cell-free systems. This study examines a distributed approach for cell-free deployment with user-centric configuration and finite fronthaul capacity. Moreover, the impact of scaling the pilot length, the number of access points (APs), and the number of antennas per AP on the achievable average spectral efficiency are investigated. Using the dynamic cooperative clustering (DCC) technique and large-scale fading decoding process, we derive an approximation of the signal-tointerference-plus-noise ratio in the criteria of two local combining schemes: Local-Partial Regularized Zero Forcing (RZF) and Local Maximum Ratio (MR). The results indicate that distributed approaches in the cell-free system have the advantage of decreasing the fronthaul signaling and the computing complexity. The results also show that the Local-Partial RZF provides the highest average spectral efficiency among all the distributed combining schemes because the computational complexity of the Local-Partial RZF is independent of the UTs. Therefore, it does not grow as the number of user terminals (UTs) increases.
Background: Epidemiological and clinical evidence suggests that high-dose intake of omega 3 fatty acids (n-3 FA) have a favorable role in altering serum triglycerides (TG) and non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) when combined with statins in hyperlipidemic patients. Their efficacy in altering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) particle size is yet to be established. Aim: This study evaluated the effects of supplementing 4 g/day Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on serum blood lipids, including small, dense LDL-C particle concentration, in hyperlipidemic patients receiving stable statin therapy. Methods: In this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind parallel group study, 44 patients on statin therapy for > 8 weeks with non-HDL-C concentrations above 130 mg/dL were randomized into two groups. For 8 weeks, together with their prescribed statin, the intervention group received 4 g/day EPA + DHA (3000 mg EPA + 1000 mg DHA in ethyl ester form) and the placebo group received 4 g/day olive oil (OO). Measurements of serum non-HDL-C, TG, total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), LDL-C (including large - LDL I; intermediate - LDL II; and small - LDL III subclasses), very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) concentration, were taken at baseline and post-intervention. Dietary intake was assessed with a weighed intake, 3-day food diary at week 4. Primary outcome measures were percent change in LDL III, non-HDL-C and LDL particle number. Results: At the end of treatment, the median percent change in serum LDL III concentration was significantly greater in the n-3 FA group plus atorvastatin compared to placebo (- 67.5% vs - 0%, respectively; P < 0.001). Supplementation with n-3 FA plus atorvastatin led to significant reductions in serum non-HDL-C (- 9.5% vs 4.7%, P < 0.01), TG (- 21.5% vs 6.2%, P < 0.001) and VLDL-C (- 36.9% vs 4.0%, P < 0.001) and TC (- 6.6% vs 2.1%, P < 0.001). Between the groups, no significant difference in percent change in the serum concentration of LDL-C, HDL-C, as well as in the LDL I and LDL II subclasses was observed. Conclusion: In this group of hyperlipidemic patients on a stable statin prescription, OM3 plus atorvastatin improved small dense LDL concentrations, non-HDL-C, VLDL-C and TG to a greater extent than atorvastatin alone. Further studies are warranted in this area. Trial registration: This trial was retrospectively registered on 23 May 2019 on ClinicalTrials.gov with ID: NCT03961763.
Two well characterised alginate samples with high and low M/G ratio were subjected to radiation decontamination dose at 15 kGy. Subsequently, a number of techniques were used to determine the effect of radiation on the gelling properties. These techniques include: (GPC-MALLS) gel permeation chromatography linked to a multi-angle laser light scattering and refractive index detector for the determination of molecular weight and distribution. To observe the mechanics, the deformation with flow of α-β alginates rheological measurements in the dynamic oscillation modes, and distinguish the functional group of the samples along with identifying the M/G ratio for quantitative determination of mannuronic and guluronic acid, the FTIR techniques were performed respectively. The results showed clear reduction in the molecular weight following irradiation which was also accompanied by a loss of the gelling properties as well as clear reduction intensity of FTIR peak at 1080 -1400 cm⁻¹ for carboxylic group, OH-bonding obtained at 1030 cm⁻¹ (1026 & 1028 cm⁻¹) while the weak signal and skeletal region is attributed at >2800 & <700 cm⁻¹ respectively. A sample (n = 1; H120L) is homopolyguluronic enriched (820 cm⁻¹ in fingerprint region) with small amount of mannuronic acid fraction. Sample (n = 2; LFR-5/60) is heteropolyguluronic acid enriched in presence of tiny amount guluronic acid (814 cm⁻¹ peak) i.e. comparatively high G to M in this fraction but % G is lower than n = 1. The rheological parameter storage modulus (G) and loss modulus (G`) were noticed higher with the constant frequency mode, a solid-like nature gels was obtained with increasing the frequency in a certain time of relaxation. The gelling properties of the samples calculated is M/G < 1 which able to make hard and rigid gel. Thus, radiation effects for rheology and FTIR in case of functional group distribution was significant.
Campaigning bodies and local actions and activism have significant impacts on the development of local infrastructural plans for cycling. These voices are frequently homogenized as presenting a unified voice. For strategic reasons, this may be an appropriate tactic. Yet in doing so, important dimensions of discussion can be missed, especially those that rethink the urban environment beyond the immediate focus of change. This paper examines a particular set of disputes between proponents of vehicular cycling and those concerned with a broader vision of mobility justice. Using ethnographic and autoethnographic methods, it shows how there are important issues of gender politics hidden in these discussions. A secondary concern of the study, arising from the research methodology, is to acknowledge and show the location of academic research within campaign communities. These analyses have implications for how planning and consultation processes are developed and implemented.
Emulsions play important roles in template synthesis of functional microparticles for myriad fields. The size, shape, composition and structure of emulsion droplets generally determine those features of the resultant microparticles and their functions. Precise control over these features of emulsions is vital to template synthesis of controllable application-oriented microparticles with advanced functions. This review summarizes recent progress on microfluidic emulsification techniques for controllable emulsion production and functional microparticle synthesis. First, versatile microfluidic emulsification techniques for controllable generation of emulsions from simple single emulsions to complex multiple emulsions are introduced. The flexible structural changes of emulsions induced by regulating the mesoscale structures of packed surfactant molecules at the interfaces are discussed. Then, rational synthesis of microparticles with controllable sizes, shapes, compositions, structures and functions from emulsion templates are introduced. The rational design of emulsion templates and interplay between the shape, structure and composition of microparticles to achieve desired functions for applications such as controlled release, water remediation, and catalysis are highlighted. Particularly, interplay between the mesoscale structures of functional components in the emulsion templates and the fine structures and advanced functions of certain microparticles, is discussed. Finally, future development of microfluidics in controllable emulsion production and microparticle synthesis is discussed.
Background To identify psychological interventions that improve outcomes for those who overdose, especially amongst Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning populations. Objective To recognize and assess the results from all studies including randomized control trials (RCTs) that have studied the efficiency of psychiatric and psychological assessment of people who have depression that undergo non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) by self-poisoning, presenting to UK Accident and Emergency Departments. Method A scoping review of all studies including RCTs of psychiatric and psychological therapy treatments. Studies were selected according to types of engagement and intervention received. All studies including RCTs available in databases since 1998 in the Wiley version of the Cochrane controlled trials register in 1998 till 2021, Psych INFO, Medline, Google Scholar and from manually searching of journals were included. Studies that included information on repetition of the NSSI behaviour were also included. Altogether this amounts to 3900 randomized study participants with outcome data. Results Seven trials reported repetition of NSSI as an outcome measure which were classified into four categories. Problem-solving therapy is indicated as a promising therapy and has shown to significantly reduce repetition in participants who NSSI by overdosing than patients in the control treatment groups consisting of standard after care. Conclusion The data show that manualized cognitive therapy psychological intervention was more effective than TAU after care. However, these differences are not statistically significant with p = .15; CI 0.61, 1.0 which crosses the line of no effect. And psychodynamic interpersonal therapy is more effective than the standard treatment. Despite being only one study in this subgroup the analysis shows a statistical significance with p = .009, CI 0.08; 0.7.
Changing service provision requires a revision of education and training.Training must align to population health needs.Interprofessional learning will flatten the hierarchy within dental teams. Changing service provision requires a revision of education and training. Training must align to population health needs. Interprofessional learning will flatten the hierarchy within dental teams.
The societies of honeybees (Apis spp.) are microcosms of divided labour where the fitness interests of individuals are so closely aligned that, in some contexts, the colony behaves as an entity in itself. Self-organization at this extraordinary level requires sophisticated communication networks, so it is not surprising that the celebrated waggle dance, by which bees share information about locations outside the hive, evolved here. Yet bees within the colony respond to several other lesser-known signalling systems, including the tremble dance, the stop signal and the shaking signal, whose roles in coordinating worker behaviour are not yet fully understood. Here, we firstly bring together the large but disparate historical body of work that has investigated the “meaning” of such signals for individual bees, before going on to discuss how network-based approaches can show how such signals function as a complex system to control the collective foraging effort of these remarkable social insect societies.
Aim Sexual violence is global public health, human rights and gender equality issue. Sexual violence bystander programmes for nightlife workers are emerging across a few countries and further examination of such programmes is required. This exploratory study evaluates the potential effectiveness of the Good Night Out Campaign, a sexual violence bystander programme for nightlife workers. Subject and methods Two hundred and seven trainees attending the 1.5 hour training programme across two cities in England were recruited opportunistically, immediately prior to training delivery. Sexual violence myth acceptance and readiness and confidence to intervene in sexual violence were measured at baseline and post-intervention. Analyses used paired-sample tests to examine differences in the three measurements pre to post-training and effect sizes were quantified using Cohen’s d. Results Compared to pre-training, post-training participants were significantly (p < 0.001) less likely to agree with sexual violence myths, and more likely to be confident and ready to intervene in sexual violence or incidents of vulnerability. Effect sizes were small–medium. Conclusions The study adds to emergent evidence suggesting that sexual violence bystander programmes may be promising in decreasing sexual violence myths and barriers to bystander intervention, and increasing willingness to intervene amongst nightlife workers. Findings can support the emergence of sexual violence prevention activities implemented in nightlife spaces. Further programme implementation and evaluation using experimental designs is needed to explore outcomes in greater depth, considering the complexity of the nightlife environment.
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• Department of Biological Sciences
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