Category / BU research

Photo of the Week: The TACIT Trial

The TACIT Trial: TAi ChI for people with demenTia

This week’s photo of the week is Dr Samuel Nyman‘s entry of a Tai Chi class in action. This weekly series features photo entries from our annual Research Photography Competition taken by BU academics, students and professional staff, which gives a glimpse into some of the fantastic research undertaken across the BU community.

The TACIT Trial is all about people. The study is undertaken by a team of researchers led by Dr Samuel Nyman at BU who are looking into the benefits of Tai Chi for people with dementia.  Qualified Tai Chi instructors, such as senior instructor Robert Joyce from Elemental Tai Chi (photographed), lead the classes.  The classes are attended by people with dementia and their informal carers.  The classes involve slow, gentle, fluid body movements and slow breathing that leave you feeling relaxed and yet you have exercised your core muscles.  In this randomised controlled trial, we are following up for six months people who have taken part in the classes and practiced at home and are comparing them to others who have not done Tai Chi.  This will provide initial evidence for the first time in the UK as to the benefits of Tai Chi for the health and well-being of people with dementia and their informal carers.  This photo is taken from a workshop for Solent NHS led the the chief investigator Dr Samuel Nyman and Robert Joyce.

You can find out more about the TACIT Trial here:

Webpage: www.bournemouth.ac.uk/tai-chi/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheTACITTrial/

Dr Samuel Nyman is a Principal Academic at Bournemouth University. For more information about this research, please contact Samuel here.

 

Funding news for culture and creative industries in England

Image from https://ec.europa.eu/culture/news/20170606-new-study-creative-value-chains_en

As part of the government’s commitment in the Industrial Strategy. towns and cities across the country will benefit from a new £20million fund for culture, heritage and creative industries, launched by Minister of Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis.

Areas will be able to bid for up to £7 million for a number of projects in a certain area to help regeneration, create jobs and maximise the impact of investment. This could be for new spaces for creative businesses, bringing historic buildings back into use or redeveloping museums and art galleries.

Call summary

Expression of interest : 3 July to 15 August

Full applications: 9 September to 19 September

Please see this link for more information.

Victorian pleasure piers are unique to Britain, but they are under threat

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Edmond Holland/Shutterstock.com

 

By Dr Anya Chapman, Bournemouth University.

A stroll along a pier remains the most popular activity for visitors to the British seaside, with 70% of them enjoying a walk over the waves.

For many, the seaside pier is perhaps the most iconic symbol of the British seaside holiday and the epitome of excursions to the coast. Piers have always provided holidaymakers with entertainment, from the grand pavilions and theatres of the Victorian era, to the amusement arcades of the 1980s. For two centuries, piers have been the place to see and be seen at the seaside.

Victorian pleasure piers are unique to the UK, but they are under threat: in the early 20th century nearly 100 piers graced the UK coastline, but almost half of of these have now gone.

By their very nature, seaside piers are risky structures. When piers were constructed, British seaside resorts were at the height of their popularity. The Victorians wanted to demonstrate engineering prowess and their ability to master the force of the sea. Some lasted longer than others, with Aldeburgh pier in Suffolk lasting just less than a decade before it was swept away by a drifting vessel. At the other end of the spectrum is the Isle of Wight’s Ryde pier, which at over 200 years is the oldest pleasure pier in the UK.

Yet the longevity of such piers presents them with new risks: fire, maintenance issues, rising costs, and climate change. Piers face an uncertain future. The National Piers Society estimates that 20% of today’s piers are at risk of being lost.

Piers at risk

Over the last 40 years, many notable piers have succumbed to time and tide. Perhaps the most iconic of these losses is Brighton West Pier, which has suffered multiple storms and fires since closure in 1975, leaving an isolated skeleton as a haunting reminder. Now there is growing recognition that seaside piers are vital to coastal communities in terms of resort identity, heritage, employment, community pride, and tourism. In fact, the UK government now offers funding to enable the revival of piers and other seaside heritage.

Brighton West Pier. National Piers Society

Despite the sea change in the perceived importance of seaside piers, many remain derelict and in a state of decay. One such pier is Weston-Super-Mare’s Birnbeck Pier, on the west coast, which has been closed for over three decades. Birnbeck Pier is unusual in that it is the only pier which links to an island, but as time has passed, parts of the structure have crumbled into the sea. Despite the endeavours of the local community and groups such as The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, the owner of the pier refuses to sell or regenerate the pier.

This is in stark contrast to nearby Clevedon Pier, which was deemed “the most beautiful pier in England” by the poet Sir John Betjeman. After partial collapse and subsequent closure of the pier in 1970 there were calls for its demolition. Clevedon Pier was saved and reopened in 1998, and is now the UK’s only Grade I listed seaside pier. Today it stands as a testament to The Clevedon Pier Heritage Trust who continue to develop the pier with a new visitor centre, wedding venue, and conferencing space. Recently, the pier gained a new group of fans as it featured as a backdrop to a One Direction music video.

Thriving piers

Despite their advancing years, since the turn of the 21st century many piers have found a new lease of life. The high-profile regeneration of Hastings Pier, led by a local community trust and backed by Heritage Lottery Funding, has spearheaded the revitalisation of many seaside piers (although the pier, controversially, was recently sold to a commercial investor). Nevertheless, a number of coastal communities have successfully regenerated their piers through the formation of pier trusts, including those at Swanage and Herne Bay. Other seaside towns are being even more ambitious and hoping to rebuild their piers or to build brand new piers.

Swanage Pier. National Piers Society

Local authorities within seaside resorts are also promoting their piers as flagship tourist attractions and investing in their refurbishment and new facilities. Southport Pier, which narrowly escaped demolition during the 1990s, is now at the heart of the resort’s development strategy and is currently undergoing a £2.9m refurbishment which includes the addition of new catering and retail facilities.

The piers that are thriving in the 21st century are those that provide a unique selling point. Bournemouth Pier now features the only pier-to-beach zip line, and its former theatre now houses adrenaline-packed activities such as climbing walls, an aerial assault course, and a vertical drop slide. In Folkestone, the Harbour Arm, which was redeveloped as a pleasure pier in 2016, provides a range of pop-up bars and restaurants and its very own champagne bar. Weston’s Grand Pier offers family fun with a modern twist and even boasts an indoor suspended go-kart track. Southwold Pier boasts a novelty automaton arcade.

Weston-Super Mare Grand Pier. National Piers Society

By staying tuned to modern desires as well as a sense of nostalgia, piers will continue to adapt to changing tastes and provide entertainment and pleasure for seaside visitors.

But perhaps the biggest threat they face today is climate change, and the attendant rising sea levels and increasingly frequent storm surges. Cromer, Saltburn, and Blackpool North Pier have all recently been significantly damaged by storms. The World Monuments Fund has recognised the threat of extreme weather events to seaside piers by adding Blackpool’s three piers to their 2018 Watch List. With seaside piers regaining their popularity, their next big challenge will literally be finding a way to weather the storm.


Anya Chapman, Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The secret information hidden in your hair

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Shutterstock

 

By Dr Richard Paul, Bournemouth University.

Your hair can say a lot about you. It doesn’t just give people clues about your personality or your taste in music. It can also record evidence of how much you drink, whether you smoke or take drugs, and perhaps even how stressed you are. My colleagues and I research how hair can be used to provide more accurate testing for these attributes. And a recent court case shows how far the technology has come.

In 2008, a mother who had been struggling with alcohol abuse was asked by a UK court judging a child custody case to abstain from drinking for one year. To assess whether she managed to do this, scientists used a hair analysis that can detect long-term drug or alcohol abuse (or abstinence) over a period of many months, from just one test.

This case turned out to be a landmark moment for toxicological hair analysis. The labs analysing the mother’s hair suggested that she may have been drinking during the time she was supposed to be abstinent. The case ended up in the High Court, where the scientific principles underlying hair testing and, crucially, the way the results are reported were thoroughly debated. The judge was critical of the interpretation of the hair analysis data and disagreed with the scientists, ruling that there was no evidence to support drinking during the defined time-period.

Fast forward to 2017 and hair analysis featured in the High Court again. Yet this time the reliability of hair testing was confirmed. A lot changed in the intervening years between these cases. Technology advanced but, importantly, so did our understanding of what hair analysis data actually means.

The traditional samples for drug and alcohol testing are blood and urine. These provide evidence for cases where we require an indication of exposure to drugs and alcohol in a very recent time frame. These samples have what is referred to as a “window of detection”. This is a timeframe over which that sample can demonstrate exposure to drugs or alcohol. The window of detection for blood is often measured in hours, and urine can show evidence over a few days, possibly a few weeks.

By contrast, hair can show a retrospective history of your drug or alcohol consumption (or abstinence) over many months. This level of information makes hair testing invaluable in a wide variety of legal scenarios. If you need to screen potential employees for a safety-critical role, you can use a hair test to check they are not regular drug users. What if you’re concerned your drink was spiked at a party, but too much time has passed for any drug to still be found in your blood or urine? The drugs can remain trapped in your hair, which gives you a longer window of detection and allows scientists to find traces of the drug long after the actual crime event.

Ready for my close up. Shutterstock

My research group is investigating factors that affect the hair concentration of certain chemicals produced when the body ​processes alcohol (metabolites). This sort of work is important to give confidence to the results of hair testing when presented in court. We need the utmost confidence in the data, when a court judgment may have life-changing consequences.

We recently showed that hair sprays and waxes can greatly increase the level of alcohol metabolites found in hair, giving a false positive result in an alcohol test. In one of our experiments, a volunteer who was strictly teetotal tested negative for fatty acid ethyl esters (metabolites of alcohol) in head hair untreated with hair spray, but tested positive after application of hair spray. Not just a little positive either. The volunteer tested significantly over the threshold for chronic excessive alcohol consumption after using hair spray.

This may sound alarming for a test that is used in court, but now that scientists are aware of these limitations, procedures can be put in place to mitigate against them and guidance can be updated. Ethyl glucuronide (a different alcohol metabolite) is not affected by hair sprays and waxes and so is a better target to test when someone uses cosmetic products.

Other ways of testing

Hair is not the only alternative to blood and urine testing. I’m currently investigating whether fingernails might be a better sample to test in cases where we need to prove abstinence from alcohol. It has been shown that fingernails may incorporate significantly more ethyl glucuronide (an alcohol metabolite) than hair samples. This means fingernails may be more sensitive than hair and could be better at distinguishing low levels of drinking and complete abstinence.

Toxicological hair analysis is not about catching criminals. It’s not about penalty or punishment. It’s about helping people. Results from hair testing can help support people struggling with addiction. In the future I hope we will also be using hair analysis as a diagnostic tool in healthcare.

The research I’m conducting at the moment is evaluating the potential for hair to be used as a diagnostic marker of chronic stress. Stress can lead to very serious healthcare issues. We are examining the stress hormone cortisol to see if we can identify people at risk from future healthcare issues from the concentration of this hormone in hair.

If successful, this work will take hair analysis into a new realm. I’d like to see a future where hair testing is used for a national screening programme for older adults who are most at risk from chronic stress. This could allow scientists to target interventions to lower stress at people who need them the most, which could significantly improve the health and well-being of older people in particular.


Richard Paul, Principal Academic in Biological Chemistry, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The next six months within education, science, tech, digital and the environment

Dods (political monitoring consultants) have produced a series of short policy lookahead guides contemplating what is coming up politically in the following spheres over the next few months:
Science Tech and Digital
The Education Sector
Environment and Rural Affairs
The viewing permissions on these guides have been set to BU staff and students, please don’t download and share more widely.

Humanising Care, Health and Wellbeing conference

One week to go  to find out more about education, practice and research at the Humanising Care, Health and Wellbeing conference 21-22 June 2018

Please find the conference programme http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/files/2018/06/18-06-13-Humanising-practice-programme-FIN.docx

If you would like to attend this conference at BU please register at https://humanisingcare2018.eventbrite.co.uk

This philosophically-driven approach to caring, health and wellbeing is based on humanising practice. Focusing on what make us feel human and what life feels like from the inside out (existential understandings from lifeworld approaches) provides novel approaches to consider issues relating to care, health and wellbeing.

Humanising practice is supported by work  settings which encourage connection to personal experience and research which privileges subjective experience and knowing; such as phenomenology, narrative, auto-ethnography, embodied knowing and arts–based approaches.

This is our fourth conference; people from previous conferences have said:

A fabulous conference. I leave this day feeling nutured…., inspired …. refreshed… glad to be human

I feel I have found my academic home, it’s a new home and I don’t know where everything is or where to put my ‘stuff’ , but it feels like home

It all fits ! So much lovely work is happening. The threads come together and support this work/idea/way of being. Loved hearing others’ stories and work in action

Thank-you for inviting me to participate –these are very powerful events

 

Doctoral College June NVivo Workshops – open to all

The Doctoral College is hosting two NVivo workshops. If you would like to attend either of these workshops please follow the instructions below.

 

Please note that to book onto the Advanced NVivo workshop you need to attend the Introduction to NVivo first.

 

 

‘GDPR for Charities’ workshop: a report

On Monday, June 11th we ran our long planned ‘GDPR for Charities’ workshop at the Enterprise Business Centre.  This workshop was one of the outputs from our Charity Impact Acceleration Scheme funded project to help a local charity with their GDPR readiness activities.  The aim of this workshop was to share the techniques and lessons learned from this project with the wider non-profit community in the Dorset region and beyond.  This was a one-day event attended by around 40 participants working for or with charities of various sizes.

Shamal Faily opened the workshop (slides) by setting out some of the challenges faced by charities making sense of GDPR, before giving an overview of what would be planned for the day.

Jane Henriksen-Bulmer then gave an overview of GDPR and Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) before presenting the ‘DPIA Data Wheel’ – a step-by-step process for carrying out a DPIA (slides).

The participants were then divided into four groups and, with the assistance of our BU facilitators, used the Data Wheel to conduct a DPIA for a hypothetical but realistic scenario. The groups then came together to present the privacy risks they found to the rest of the participants.

After lunch, Tessa Corner delivered a talk on StreetScene‘s experiences applying the DPIA Data Wheel (slides), before Shamal gave a talk on how to find security & privacy risks, and demonstrated the use of CAIRIS to support the discovery and management of risks (slides).

After these talks, Raian Ali hosted a lively panel on GDPR and its implications for charities before Jane closed the day by summarising some of the results of applying the DPIA Data Wheel with StreetScene (slides) and discussing some next steps to build on the momentum from this workshop (slides).

If you’re interested in finding out more about the workshop, or would like to get involved in any follow-on activities then please contact Jane Henriksen-Bulmer or Shamal Faily.

Testing connected and autonomous vehicles: funding available

Image from fleetcarma.com

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) – with Meridian Mobility and Innovate UK – has up to £30 million for projects that help make the UK the most effective connected and autonomous vehicle development ecosystem in the world.

Businesses and research organisations can apply into 2 competitions that support the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles and progress their development.

Connected vehicles data exchange

In the first competition, there is up to £5 million for one project that supports the sharing and trading of data generated by infrastructure, connected or autonomous vehicles or other third parties.

Autonomous highway, rural roads and parking

There is up to £25 million in the second competition. This is for up to 6 projects for facilities to support the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles for highways, rural roads and parking.

Key summary:

Deadline: 29 August 2018

Lead : UK-based business or research organisation

Available funding : Connected vehicles data exchange – up to £10m; Autonomous highway, rural roads and parking – between £1m and £20m

Project dates : before March 2019

Please see this link for full details of the call.

Funding opportunity – Smart tracking of waste across the UK

The Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is investing up to £400,000 in projects that use digital technology to record and track the movement of waste through the economy. Funding for the competition is under SBRI (the Small Business Research Initiative), which aims to bring together government and businesses to find innovative solutions to public sector challenges.

This competition is in 2 phases. Phase 1 is for contracts of up to £80,000 to examine the feasibility of ideas. The best ideas could win a share of up to £1 million to develop and field test a prototype in a second phase.

Summary:

Deadline: 18 July 2018

Available funding: Phase 1 – up to £80,000; Phase 2 – up to £1m

Please see this link for full details of this call.

Funding opportunity – ISCF Next Generation Services Research Programme

Image from www.avaya.com

The ESRC has announced the Next Generation Services Research call under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Proposals of up to £1.25 million (100% full economic cost) are invited for interdisciplinary research grants, focused on working with businesses to identify the potential opportunities offered by the application of new technologies in the high value services sector.

This is a ‘Pioneer’ initiative that will focus in the first instance on the accountancy, legal services and insurance industries.

Please see below key summaries of this call:

Deadline : 4pm; 18 July 2018

Project start & end dates : between December 2018 and March 2021

Please see this link for full details of this call.