West Midlands, United Kingdom
West Midlands, United Kingdom

University College Birmingham, is a university in Birmingham, England. It was awarded full University status in 2012 along with Newman University. The university is located in central Birmingham and offers both vocational and academic education at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The university specialises in the areas of hospitality and the culinary arts, hairdressing and beauty, tourism, business enterprise, marketing, business management, accounting, finance, events management, sports management, sports medicine, sports therapy and Early Years education. Wikipedia.

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News Article | November 22, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

UK universities are helping lead the world on environmental research – but when it comes to their own back yard they appear to be falling behind. Only a quarter are on track to meet their carbon reduction targets by 2020. Teams leading environmental initiatives are being cut and sustainability strategies have not been renewed, according to the results of the 2016 People & Planet University League, published on Tuesday (see below). Lack of government support for public sector sustainability is blamed for the stalling of energy-saving schemes. It is the fourth year that the league – ranking institutions by environmental and ethical performance – has recorded fewer universities on course to meet their legally binding target of reducing emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by 2020. But not all have abandoned their green goals, with “first class” status being awarded to 30 of the 150 universities. This year Nottingham Trent University, which tops the table, opened the Pavilion, its first carbon negative building. Brighton University, in second place, has made sustainability one of its four core values. The University of Warwick – the biggest mover, up from 129 last year to 34th – is launching a unique BASc cross-disciplinary degree in global sustainable development. Nottingham Trent’s high score reflects its commitment to engage staff and students, and its aim to include sustainability in all its courses, while the University of Brighton has managed to reduce its carbon footprint despite expanding in size and opening its buildings for longer hours. “Sustainability is a core value in our university,” says Prof Debra Humphris, Brighton’s vice-chancellor. “With students and staff we aim to embed sustainable practices; we all need to play our part.” A spokesman for the University of Warwick said its improved showing could be partly due to the different way statistics for the league have been collected this year. “They may have picked up more of the things we are doing this year, such as the bike hire scheme, the £5,000 fund to support student projects, and our staff and student green champions initiative,” he said. The 2016 league table, based on information in the public domain, scores institutions on such factors as the commitment of senior management, the employment of dedicated sustainability staff, divesting from investment in the fossil fuel industry and meeting public sector carbon reduction commitments. It also considers employment factors, such as paying staff the living wage, joining Electronics Watch to improve workers’ rights in that industry and investing in projects that do not exploit or pollute communities. Before 2010 and the election of the coalition and the Conservative governments, there was a flurry of carbon reduction initiatives linked to higher education funding, says People & Planet, a student campaigning network. “Sustainability drivers such as the capital investment framework (which made tranches of funding contingent on plans to reduce carbon emissions), the higher education green academy and the student green fund have all been removed. Today, it says, “the landscape looks bereft of any significant support or incentive for sustainable development in universities in England.” “We can now see the concerning impact of the current government’s short-termism with regard to energy and climate policy,” says Hannah Smith, co-director for campaigns and research. “Environmental sustainability has been removed from the government’s annual grant letter setting out higher education funding, leaving the Higher Education Funding Council [Hefce] without the resources it had in the past to support sustainable practice.” Wealth and academic prestige appear to be uncorrelated to progress on sustainability and ethical employment and procurement. The University of Oxford comes 46th and Cambridge 57th. Grant Anderson, Nottingham Trent’s environmental manager, says that in the past, external pressures were useful in engaging senior management in the sustainability drive. “These now don’t exist. However, it hasn’t impeded us. We continue to expand from an initial focus on carbon, waste, transport etc to a more holistic approach, understanding the sustainability opportunities of our core business of education and research. “We made it a formal requirement six months ago that all of our courses incorporate at least one of the 17 UN sustainable development goals. We don’t specify what they include, that is up to the academics, but we think it will give our students an edge in their careers to have considered some of the environmental challenges they will face in their lifetimes. For example, chemistry students are exploring their role in finding solutions to feeding the world in a sustainable way and primary education students learn practical gardening skills at the university’s food share allotments that they will be able to share with their future pupils.” Government policy is likely to continue to have an impact, however – but a less positive one. Abigail Dombey, Brighton’s environmental manager, says the university has recently installed 893 solar panels, which will save £40,000 a year in energy bills and reduce its carbon footprint by more than 100 tonnes a year. “But the feed-in tariffs – the financial incentives for generating electricity from renewable sources – have been slashed by the government so there is much less incentive to invest in renewable energy.” She fears some universities could also face higher taxes under the business rates revaluation from next April through the government’s proposal to increase the rateable value of solar panels. As charities, most universities are exempt from at least 80% of business rates but some pay 20% and all pay rates on buildings used commercially. The bottom 10 in the green league are mostly small, specialist institutions that are less likely to have the resources to employ staff to oversee environmental issues. However, the small specialist Royal Agricultural University, at 16th in the league, shows that a lot can be achieved on a smaller scale. St Mary’s University in Twickenham, London, with 4,400 students, came in the bottom 10 after researchers found it had no environmental policy or strategy, no publicly available carbon management plan, ethical investment policy or evidence of dedicated sustainability staff. In response, a spokesman said the findings were “not reflective of St Mary’s approach to sustainability” and that “the university has extensive environmental policies including strategies for carbon management, biodiversity and sustainable catering”. Hefce says its capital investment framework remains in force and requires universities and colleges to “demonstrate that their capital investment plans are aligned with the goal of managing environmental impact and that they have an acceptable carbon management plan in place”. It adds: “The HE sector has developed its expertise significantly over the last decade or so and they are the real experts in what the sector needs to do to drive sustainability plans forward.” Top 20 1 Nottingham Trent University 2 University of Brighton 3 Manchester Metropolitan University 4 Cardiff Metropolitan University 5 University of Worcester 6 Aston University 7 City, University of London 8 = Newcastle University 8 = University of Gloucestershire 10 Swansea University 11 University of Bedfordshire 12 Plymouth University 13 De Montfort University 14 London School of Economics 15 Keele University 16= University of Exeter 16= Royal Agricultural University 18 University of Greenwich 19 University of Bradford 20 Bournemouth University Bottom 10 141 Heythrop College, University of London 142 Writtle University College 143 University of St Mark & St John 144 St Mary’s University, Twickenham 145 Royal Northern College of Music 146 University College Birmingham 147 Stranmillis University College 148 University of Bolton 149 Royal Veterinary College 150 Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance • For the full league table go to peopleand planet.org/university-league/table • This article was amended on 22 November 2016 to correct the rankings for four universities in the top 20, and to put Bournemouth University at No 20 rather than Coventry University. The article was also amended to correct a reference to the Royal Agricultural College; it has been the Royal Agricultural University since 2013.

Daley A.,University College Birmingham
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2011

Evidence suggests that many perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women will experience menopause symptoms, hot flushes being the most common. Symptoms caused by fluctuating levels of oestrogen may be alleviated by HRT but there has been a marked global decline in its use due to concerns about the risks and benefits of HRT; consequently many women are now seeking alternatives. As large numbers of women are choosing not to take HRT, it is increasingly important to identify evidence based lifestyle modification interventions that have potential to reduce vasomotor menopausal symptoms. To examine the effectiveness of any type of exercise intervention in the management of vasomotor menopausal symptoms (hot flushes and night sweats) in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Searches of the following electronic bibliographic databases were performed to identify randomised controlled trials (RCTs): Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group Specialised trials register; Cochrane Library (CENTRAL) (Wiley Internet interface), MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), PsycINFO (Ovid), Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index (Web of Science), CINAHL (Ovid) and SPORT Discus. Searches included dates up until 16-24 March 2010. RCTs in which any type of exercise intervention were compared no treatment/control or other treatments in the management of menopausal vasomotor symptoms in symptomatic perimenopausal/postmenopausal women. Six studies were deemed eligible for inclusion. Three authors independently extracted data from eligible studies. Three meta-analyses according to comparator the group were performed. In the comparison of exercise versus no treatment/control (three studies), the non-significant effect size Standardised Mean Difference (SMD) for vasomotor symptoms was -0.14 (95% CI: -0.54 to 0.26); SMD was -0.04, -0.25, -0.38. For the analysis of exercise versus HRT (three studies), the non-significant SMD was 0.49 (95% CI: -0.27 to 1.26); SMD across studies was 0.13, 0.19 and 1.52, with all studies favouring HRT. In the comparison of exercise versus yoga (two studies), the non-significant SMD was -0.09 (95%CI:-0.64 to 0.45); SMD was -0.37 and 0.19. All comparisons were based on small samples. One small study reported data that could not be included in the meta-analysis; in this study hot flush scores were significantly lower in the exercise plus soy milk group (83%) than soy milk only group (72%). The existing studies provided insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of exercise as a treatment for vasomotor menopausal symptoms, or whether exercise is more effective than HRT or yoga.

To assess the effectiveness of strategies incorporating training and support of traditional birth attendants on the outcomes of perinatal, neonatal, and maternal death in developing countries. Systematic review with meta-analysis. Medline, Embase, the Allied and Complementary Medicine database, British Nursing Index, Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, BioMed Central, PsycINFO, Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature database, African Index Medicus, Web of Science, Reproductive Health Library, and Science Citation Index (from inception to April 2011), without language restrictions. Search terms were "birth attend*", "traditional midwife", "lay birth attendant", "dais", and "comadronas". Review methods We selected randomised and non-randomised controlled studies with outcomes of perinatal, neonatal, and maternal mortality. Two independent reviewers undertook data extraction. We pooled relative risks separately for the randomised and non-randomised controlled studies, using a random effects model. We identified six cluster randomised controlled trials (n=138 549) and seven non-randomised controlled studies (n=72 225) that investigated strategies incorporating training and support of traditional birth attendants. All six randomised controlled trials found a reduction in adverse perinatal outcomes; our meta-analysis showed significant reductions in perinatal death (relative risk 0.76, 95% confidence interval 0.64 to 0.88, P<0.001; number needed to treat 35, 24 to 70) and neonatal death (0.79, 0.69 to 0.88, P<0.001; 98, 66 to 170). Meta-analysis of the non-randomised studies also showed a significant reduction in perinatal mortality (0.70, 0.57 to 0.84, p<0.001; 48, 32 to 96) and neonatal mortality (0.61, 0.48 to 0.75, P<0.001; 96, 65 to 168). Six studies reported on maternal mortality and our meta-analysis showed a non-significant reduction (three randomised trials, relative risk 0.79, 0.53 to 1.05, P=0.12; three non-randomised studies, 0.80, 0.44 to 1.15, P=0.26). Perinatal and neonatal deaths are significantly reduced with strategies incorporating training and support of traditional birth attendants.

RAR-related orphan receptor-γt (ROR-γt) directs differentiation of proinflammatory T helper 17 (TH17) cells and is a potential therapeutic target in chronic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. However, ROR-γt–dependent group 3 innate lymphoid cells ILC3s provide essential immunity and tissue protection in the intestine, suggesting that targeting ROR-γt could also result in impaired host defense after infection or enhanced tissue damage. Here, we demonstrate that transient chemical inhibition of ROR-γt in mice selectively reduces cytokine production from TH17 but not ILCs in the context of intestinal infection with Citrobacter rodentium, resulting in preserved innate immunity. Temporal deletion of Rorc (encoding ROR-γt) in mature ILCs also did not impair cytokine response in the steady state or during infection. Finally, pharmacologic inhibition of ROR-γt provided therapeutic benefit in mouse models of intestinal inflammation and reduced the frequency of TH17 cells but not ILCs isolated from primary intestinal samples of individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Collectively, these results reveal differential requirements for ROR-γt in the maintenance of TH17 cell and ILC3 responses and suggest that transient inhibition of ROR-γt is a safe and effective therapeutic approach during intestinal inflammation. © 2016 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.

White K.,Addisons Disease Self Help Group | Arlt W.,University College Birmingham
European Journal of Endocrinology | Year: 2010

Context: Adrenal crisis is a life-threatening event that occurs regularly in Addison's patients receiving standard replacement therapy. Patient reports suggest that it is an underestimated and undermanaged event. Objective: To assess the frequency of adrenal crisis in diagnosed patients and to understand the factors contributing to the risks of adrenal crisis. Design: We conducted a postal survey of Addison's patients in four countries, UK (=Z485), Canada (=Z148), Australia (=Z123) and New Zealand (=Z85) in 2003, asking about patients' experiences of adrenal crisis and their demographic characteristics. In 2006, a shorter follow-up survey was conducted in the UK (=Z261). Method: The frequency and causes of adrenal crisis were compared across both surveys. Demographic data from the 2003 survey were analysed to establish the main variables associated with an elevated risk of crisis. Results: Around 8% of diagnosed cases can be expected to need hospital treatment for adrenal crisis annually. Exposure to gastric infection is the single most important factor predicting the likelihood of adrenal crisis. Concomitant diabetes and/or asthma increase the frequency of adrenal crises reported by patients. Conclusion: The endocrinologist has a responsibility to ensure that Addison's patients have adequate access to life-saving emergency injection materials and repeated, practical training sessions in how to use them,while the general practitioner plays a vital role as in arranging prompt emergency admissions. © 2010 European Society of Endocrinology.

Farndale R.,University College Birmingham
Primary health care research & development | Year: 2011

To explore how irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) impacts on patients' lives in order to explain the reported reduction in quality of life (QOL). IBS affects 10-20% of the population and over half of the people with the condition consult in primary care, with many consultations ending unsatisfactorily. IBS is known to have a detrimental effect on the QOL, though the mechanisms through which this is affected are poorly understood. A greater understanding of the patient experience of IBS would facilitate better healthcare provision. Eighteen semi-structured, in-depth interviews were undertaken in the West Midlands, United Kingdom from August 2006 to March 2008. Interviews were carried out until data saturation was achieved. All interviewees had previously taken part in one of the two recent primary care-based IBS studies and were long-term sufferers of IBS. Participants were purposively sampled to capture a range of experiences and included both genders, a range of ages, symptom severity scores and IBS sub-types. In contrast to the previously reported 'worried well' label, participants reported integration of the disease into their lives to the extent that it became a part of their identity. Even so, IBS did at times prevent their participation in everyday activities. Strategies used by participants to manage symptoms were an integral part of daily living and events which threatened routine coping strategies caused stress and exacerbated symptoms. Both adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies were identified. These were in part patient created, but for many incorporated advice or medication provided by their doctor. The findings not only confirm the extensive impact of IBS on daily living but also expose the additional impacts of IBS on emotional well-being and self-identity. The reduced QOL reported in previous studies may be an underestimate of the impact of IBS on patients' lives as patients integrate coping mechanisms completely into daily living.

Lissauer D.,University College Birmingham
Clinical science (London, England : 1979) | Year: 2014

The traditional paradigm suggests that during normal pregnancy maternal immunological tolerance of the allogenic fetus is association with a maternal T-lymphocyte shift from a Th1 to a Th2 phenotype, with the opposite effect reported in patients with recurrent miscarriage. However, studies on maternal peripheral blood are conflicting. In the present study, we characterized the maternal CD4 T-cell effector subsets, including the recently described Th17 subset, during normal pregnancy (cross-sectional cohort, n=71; longitudinal cohort, n=17) and contrasted this with women with recurrent miscarriage (n=24). Longitudinal analysis of peripheral blood from normal pregnancy demonstrated a fall in the percentage of Th17 cells between the first and second trimester (P≤0.05), but no significant changes were observed across gestation or the post-natal period in Th1 or Th2 subsets. In contrast, in women with a history of recurrent miscarriage, an elevated proportion of Th17 (0.314% compared with 0.097%; P=0.0009) and Th1 (12.4% compared with 5.3%; P=0.0002) cells was detected. The suggestion that Th17 cells may have a role in the normal events of implantation and early pregnancy requires further evaluation and mechanistic studies. The results of the present study, by conducting a careful longitudinal analysis, demonstrate that a peripheral Th1/Th2 shift is not a requirement for normal pregnancy. By contrast, the profound increase in Th1 and Th17 cells in women with recurrent miscarriage indicates that peripheral immunological dysfunction may be important in this group specifically, and these assays may be important in guiding therapeutic interventions in this group and warrant further investigation to determine whether they are predictive of outcome or responses to immunomodulatory therapy.

Although the inhibitory effects of therapeutic glucocorticoids (GCs) on dendritic cells (DCs) are well established, the roles of endogenous GCs in DC homeostasis are less clear. A critical element regulating endogenous GC concentrations involves local conversion of inactive substrates to active 11-hydroxyglucocorticoids, a reduction reaction catalyzed within the endoplasmic reticulum by an enzyme complex containing 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11βHSD1) and hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH). In this study, we found that this GC amplification pathway operates both constitutively and maximally in steady state murine DC populations and is unaffected by additional inflammatory stimuli. Under physiologic conditions, 11βHSD1-H6PDH increases the sensitivity of plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) to GC-induced apoptosis and restricts the survival of this population through a cell-intrinsic mechanism. Upon CpG activation, the effects of enzyme activity are overridden, with pDCs becoming resistant to GCs and fully competent to release type I interferon. CD8α(+) DCs are also highly proficient in amplifying GC levels, leading to impaired maturation following toll-like receptor-mediated signaling. Indeed, pharmacologic inhibition of 11βHSD1 synergized with CpG to enhance specific T-cell responses following vaccination targeted to CD8α(+) DCs. In conclusion, amplification of endogenous GCs is a critical cell-autonomous mechanism for regulating the survival and functions of DCs in vivo.

Adverse conditions prenatally increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension. Chronic hypoxia in utero (CHU) causes endothelial dysfunction, but whether sympathetic vasoconstrictor nerve functioning is altered is unknown. We, therefore, compared in male CHU and control (N) rats muscle sympathetic nerve activity, vascular sympathetic innervation density, and mechanisms of sympathetic vasoconstriction. In young (Y)-CHU and Y-N rats (≈3 months), baseline arterial blood pressure was similar. However, tonic muscle sympathetic nerve activity recorded focally from arterial vessels of spinotrapezius muscle had higher mean frequency in Y-CHU than in Y-N rats (0.56±0.075 versus 0.33±0.036 Hz), and the proportions of single units with high instantaneous frequencies (1–5 and 6–10 Hz) being greater in Y-CHU rats. Sympathetic innervation density of tibial arteries was ≈50% greater in Y-CHU than in Y-N rats. Increases in femoral vascular resistance evoked by sympathetic stimulation at low frequency (2 Hz for 2 minutes) and bursts at 20 Hz were substantially smaller in Y-CHU than in Y-N rats. In Y-N only, the neuropeptide Y Y1-receptor antagonist BIBP3226 attenuated these responses. By contrast, baseline arterial blood pressure was higher in middle-aged (M)-CHU than in M-N rats (≈9 months; 139±3 versus 126±3 mm Hg, respectively). BIBP3226 had no effect on femoral vascular resistance increases evoked by 2 Hz or 20 Hz bursts in M-N or M-CHU rats. These results indicate that fetal programming induced by prenatal hypoxia causes an increase in centrally generated muscle sympathetic nerve activity in youth and hypertension by middle age. This is associated with blunting of sympathetically evoked vasoconstriction and its neuropeptide Y component that may reflect premature vascular aging and contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc

Multiple myeloma (MM), an incurable plasma cell malignancy, requires localisation within the bone marrow. This microenvironment facilitates crucial interactions between the cancer cells and stromal cell types that permit the tumour to survive and proliferate. There is increasing evidence that the bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (BMMSC) is stably altered in patients with MM—a phenotype also postulated to exist in patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) a benign condition that precedes MM. In this study, we describe a mechanism by which increased expression of peptidyl arginine deiminase 2 (PADI2) by BMMSCs in patients with MGUS and MM directly alters malignant plasma cell phenotype. We identify PADI2 as one of the most highly upregulated transcripts in BMMSCs from both MGUS and MM patients, and that through its enzymatic deimination of histone H3 arginine 26, PADI2 activity directly induces the upregulation of interleukin-6 expression. This leads to the acquisition of resistance to the chemotherapeutic agent, bortezomib, by malignant plasma cells. We therefore describe a novel mechanism by which BMMSC dysfunction in patients with MGUS and MM directly leads to pro-malignancy signalling through the citrullination of histone H3R26.Leukemia advance online publication, 12 August 2016; doi:10.1038/leu.2016.187. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.

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