6,685 results for University of Otago

  • Foregone profit in the wine industry

    Neuninger, Rosemarie; Mather, Damien William; Duncan, Tara (2015-06-02)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Background and Aims: Wine awards are frequently used as extrinsic cues for wine categories. The aim of this paper is to show the forgone profit arising from failures to make optimal use of awards when positioning wine brands to consumer segments. Methods and Results: Four award statuses were tested: a well-known award, multiple awards, a fictitious award used as a control (an award without consumer trust) and, no award. Participants tasted eight wine samples: the first four without extrinsic cues; the next four used extrinsic cues with varying award status. Each sample was rated for liking, likelihood to buy and price willing to pay. Low-involvement consumers’ perceived liking and price willing to pay were improved by multiple (real gold) awards compared to high-involvement consumers. Conclusions: Trust in awards increased the price consumers were willing to pay for wine with an award. For high-involvement consumers who distrusted awards, multiple wine awards and fictitious awards negatively influenced perceived liking, likelihood to buy and price willing to pay. Significance of the Study: This is the first study to report on the combined influence of wine awards and consumers’ sensory perceptions of wine on perceived liking, likelihood to buy and price willing to pay.

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  • The effects of soaking almonds on consumer acceptance and gastrointestinal tolerance

    Taylor, Heidi (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Nuts have a favourable nutrient composition and are an important part of a cardio-protective diet. Nuts are also high in phytate, which can reduce the bioavailability of nutrients and can be problematic for digestion. Recently, the recommendation to soak nuts to reduce phytate levels and improve gastrointestinal tolerance, has received much attention in the popular press. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to support or refute soaking as a method for phytate reduction in nuts. Soaking is time-consuming, and pre-soaked products are expensive, so these claims may act as a barrier to nut consumption, which is already low within the New Zealand population. There is also no data on the acceptability of soaked nuts. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of soaking almonds on consumer acceptance and gastrointestinal tolerance. Methods: Seventy-six healthy participants were recruited from the Dunedin area to participate in an 8-week randomised crossover trial consisting of four treatment arms: 1. sliced soaked almonds, 2. sliced unsoaked almonds, 3. whole soaked almonds and 4. whole unsoaked almonds. Participants ate 30 grams/day of each nut treatment for 12 days in balanced random order. Each day participants rated their “overall liking”, “desire to consume”, and “likelihood of future consumption” of the nuts on 100 mm visual analogue scales (VAS). They also indicated the daily occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms, and rated severity of any symptoms on a 100 mm VAS. Results: The sliced soaked almonds were rated significantly lower on all three acceptance scales compared to all of the other treatments (all P0.520). Overall, the ratings for all four treatments remained relatively stable across the 12-day period for each scale, and all mean ratings were above the midpoint. There were no significant differences in the incidence of any of the seven gastrointestinal symptoms between the four nut treatments (all P>0.174). The only significant difference for mean severity of symptoms was for flatulence, with whole soaked nuts rated significantly more severe than whole unsoaked nuts (0.59 cm vs 0.36 cm, P=0.005). Overall, the mean incidence and mean severity of all seven symptoms was very low. Conclusions: Our results suggest there is no evidence to support the recommendation to soak nuts prior to consumption as a means of improving gastrointestinal tolerance or consumer acceptance. The relative stability of the acceptance ratings, regardless of treatment, suggests nuts are resistant to monotony. It is encouraging that the majority of participants did not experience any gastrointestinal symptoms during the study, and mean overall severity was very low, indicating nuts are well tolerated by most people. Taken together, the acceptance and gastrointestinal data suggest that the recommendation to eat nuts regularly is realistic and achievable. Future research should focus on the effect soaking has on the phytate levels and nutritional composition of nuts.

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  • Admirality Islands

    Nevermann, Hans (2013)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Translated by John Dennison

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  • St Matthias Group

    Nevermann, Hans (2010)

    Book
    University of Otago

    Translated by John Dennison

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  • The impact of modernising netball umpiring at community and development levels

    Andrew, Joyce Christine (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Modernisation is a paradigm that values ideals of democratic renewal, continual improvement, alignment, and efficiency (Houlihan & Green, 2009). It has influenced how government and national sports organisations (NSO) manage sport (Grix, 2009; Sam, 2009). This thesis explores how Netball New Zealand’s (NNZ) modernisation has impacted umpiring and its stakeholders (at community and development levels). More specifically, it investigates whether modernisation’s ‘logics’ (e.g., continuous improvement) and its associated technologies (e.g., whole-of-sport planning) have affected how umpiring stakeholders think and act. This research is significant to shed light on: a) the impact of modernisation on the under-researched area of umpiring, and b) what consequences arise from the combination of modernising logics/technologies, such as whether ‘target setting’ reinforces or antagonises the goal of whole-of-sport, joined up delivery. The study employs a qualitative methodology using methods of documentary analysis, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Interviews were with four national panel members and focus groups were with two zone umpire development groups (ZUDG) which had four individuals in each. This study found modernisation’s ideals are manifest in NNZ’s umpiring structures. Democratic renewal is evident in the establishment of ZUDG’s and centre umpire development groups (CUDG). Alignment is observable in: a) the central objectives and programmes driving ZUDGs and CUDGs, and b) the adoption of similar strategies from player development into umpire development (i.e. targeting youth). Lastly, NNZ’s concern for efficiency and continual improvement has resulted in: a) specialist development personnel/groups, b) more comprehensive development programmes, and c) more squads, levels of accreditation, and fitness testing. These structures were found to: a) create greater expectations for umpiring and umpire coach/assessors, b) emphasise pathways, ambitions and status to recruit and develop umpires, and c) encourage a demographic shift in the umpire population. One major area of discussion was that modernising has increased stakeholder workloads, preventing them from fulfilling other roles such as running umpire development initiatives. High workloads also insulated some stakeholders, hindering communication and potentially preventing consistent standards, quality development programmes, and knowledge transfer between players, coaches and umpires. The high workloads may also have antagonised the sustainability of umpire development. The other main area of discussion was that modernising with ‘best practices’ of accreditation, targets, pathways and targeting youth yield many similar challenges generated by emerging professions. This study found ‘best practices’: a) privileged some over others, b) changed the umpire population’s ethos, demographics, and socio-cultural dynamics, c) created a focus on quantitative targets, and d) put unrealistic expectations on support personnel. Furthermore, this study found some modern ideals were not compatible. Continual improvement antagonised efficiency and alignment because it created large workloads. In addition, ‘best practices’ striving for efficiency, alignment, continuous improvement, democratic renewal and accountability seemed to inhibit efficiency. Overall, this study advances the importance of critically considering the consequences of modern logics and practices on the capabilities of sport organisations.

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  • The Effect of Cognitive and Perceptual Load on Attention in PowerPoint Presentations

    Furney, Piers (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Lecturers have fervently converted to the PowerPoint presentation format for educating students, yet in the rush towards ease of use and popularity, thoughtful construction of lesson materials has suffered. By bouncing between under-formed bullet-points and walls of text, educators have lost students’ attention. The present studies investigated the effect manipulation of cognitive and perceptual loading of PowerPoint slides would have on attention, measured indirectly through memory recall performance. Participants experienced a presentation made up of one of two levels each of cognitive load, perceptual load, and topic. Following the presentation participants were given a memory recall test based on the information they had just viewed. Participant’s daily distractibility, lecture attendance, cognitive effort expended, and learning preferences were measured to assess what impact these additional factors would have on academic performance. The findings illustrate that a low cognitive and a high perceptual loading of educational slideware will increase student preference and test score for questions that require complex transfer of information to novel scenarios. Age, and lecture attendance were found to have a negative impact on test score: the older and more cognitively depleted participants underperformed compared against younger participants that had attended minimal lectures the day of testing. By streamlining content and integrating smart, graphical explanations to course material, it is hoped that educators can increase their PowerPoint efficacy and thus provide interesting and improved learning environments.

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  • The Empress Augusta/Sepik River

    Reche, Otto (2015)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

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  • A History of Economics and the Development of Commerce Degrees at the University Of Otago 1871–2009

    McLean, Lyall (2011-03)

    Book
    University of Otago

    This book has been compiled by Emeritus Professor Lyall McLean, which is a history of the teaching of Commerce subjects including Economics from 1871-2009. Included in this book are the names of all 19000+ graduates, listed by departments, and 101 photographs including the Professors, Deans, heads of departments and the first PhD graduates of each department.

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  • A Comparison of Maternity Care Models and Their Relationship to Adverse Fetal and Neonatal Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study Based in New Zealand.

    Moon, Elwyn Jane (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background New Zealand has an internationally unique midwife-led maternity system where four out of five pregnant women have a midwife as their lead care provider. The system was established in 1990 with the passing of legislation that allowed midwives to care for a pregnant mother without medical involvement. Before this the main care provider was typically a doctor and autonomous midwifery was illegal. The midwife-led maternity system that was enabled through this legislation has been the subject of frequent debate with supporters saying it is a model to be copied internationally and opponents questioning its safety. The debate has been ongoing since the inception of autonomous midwifery in 1990, and it has often been fuelled by media reporting on individual cases of adverse events where the blame has been put on midwifery or maternity system failures. Despite the continuous debate there has been little in the way of systematic evaluation that specifically investigates safety related outcomes in relation to New Zealand’s maternity system framework. Thesis aims • To provide a historical overview of the development of New Zealand’s maternity system • To review New Zealand based and international literature that evaluates the safety of midwife-led models of care • To investigate whether there are differences in adverse fetal and neonatal outcomes dependent on the model of maternity care provided (midwife-led or medical-led), within New Zealand. Methods The study was a retrospective cohort design using nationally held data. All pregnancies where the delivery occurred between the 1st of January 2008 and the 31st December 2011, and where the pregnancy met the following inclusion criteria were included: lead maternity carer recorded as midwife, obstetrician or general practitioner, a gestation of equal to or greater than 37 weeks, a singleton pregnancy, and where no major fetal or neonatal congenital, chromosomal, or metabolic abnormalities were identified. Patients were categorised into the exposure groups midwife-led care or medical-led care based on who their lead maternity carer was at first registration. Outcomes included perinatal related mortality, stillbirth, neonatal mortality, a low Apgar score at five minutes post-delivery, intrauterine hypoxia, birth related asphyxia, neonatal encephalopathy, neonatal hospital admission within the first week of life, and low birthweight. Potentially confounding patient characteristics that included age, ethnicity, socioeconomic position (NZDep), body mass index, smoking status, parity, timing of registration with carer, and the presence of pre-existing hypertension and/or diabetes were also measured. Results There were 371 case of perinatal related mortalities in our study giving a rate of 1.93 per 1000 total births. After adjusting for age, ethnicity, socioeconomic position, body mass index, smoking status, parity, trimester of registration with carer, and presence of pre-existing diabetes and/or hypertension the odds of this outcome were similar when comparing medical-led care with midwife-led care (midwife-led care as the reference group) OR=0.88 (95% CI 0.59-1.32). Examining stillbirth and neonatal mortality individually showed no difference in odds of stillbirth, adjusted OR=0.97 (95% CI 0.62-1.51) and lower odds of neonatal mortality for the medical-led births which were not statistically significant, adjusted OR=0.59 (95% CI 0.21-1.62). The medical-led group had significantly lower odds of low Apgar, intrauterine hypoxia, birth related asphyxia, and neonatal encephalopathy, respective adjusted OR=0.54 (95% CI 0.43-0.68), OR=0.74 (95% CI 0.56-0.99), OR=0.45 (95% CI 0.31-0.63), and OR=0.55 (95% CI 0.32-0.95) compared with the midwife-led group. The medical-led group had elevated odds of neonatal admission compared with the midwife-led group, adjusted OR=1.32 (95% CI 1.24-1.40), which was confined to level 1 (lowest level) neonatal units, adjusted OR=2.91 (95% CI 2.65-3.19); the medical-led group having lower odds of level 3 (highest level) admissions, adjusted OR=0.41 (95% CI 0.35-0.49). There was no difference in adjusted odds of low birthweight between groups, adjusted OR=1.04 (95% CI 0.91-1.20), which was included as a negative control. The two groups had statistically significant different demographic characteristics with the medical-led group consisting of older, less deprived, more often European mothers. Māori, Indian, and Pacific Island ethnicities, deprivation, high BMI, smoking, nulliparity, grand multiparity, late booking of care provider, and mothers having pre-existing diabetes and/or hypertension were all associated with increased odds of perinatal related mortality and neonatal morbidity. Discussion It is reassuring that there was no detected difference in odds of perinatal related mortality when comparing midwife-led and medical-led care. However the study was limited by sample size, a larger study population would be necessary to categorically state that there is no difference in odds of neonatal mortality. Other findings show a consistent increase in odds of adverse fetal and neonatal outcomes for midwife-led deliveries. The several findings demonstrating worse fetal and neonatal outcomes for midwife-led deliveries mean that more research is urgently required to identify the reasons for the differences observed. This study was not comparing midwifery care with medical care but rather the models of care, the intention was not to isolate the individual practitioners but rather compare actual constructs within the New Zealand maternity system. A major limitation of the study was the use of National Minimum Dataset data (of which covariates and some morbidity outcomes were based on). These data rely on the accuracy of clinical coding and there are questions relating to some fields completeness and accuracy. This study only focused on fetal and neonatal outcomes, not other indicators that measure a maternity systems safety, such as maternal mortality and morbidity and maternal satisfaction.

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  • The Polar Palette - The role of flower colour in polar regions

    Little, Lorna (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Flower colour throughout the world is generally linked to various functional purposes, pollinator attraction in particular. Current knowledge regarding the functional significance of flower colour is, however, mainly based on studies from boreal, temperate, and tropical regions. This knowledge is not readily applicable to polar regions. Similar to lower latitudes, flower colour is often observed in polar regions, as well as flower colour polymorphisms. Pollinator attraction are considered to be the main purpose of flower colour, and the lack of pollinators in polar regions, where many plant species produce coloured flowers, causes the significance of colour to be unclear. Further, flower colour pigments are often quite energy expensive to produce, and in polar regions, nutrients, light and resources are limited. Hence, the question; what is the role of flower colour in reproductive success in polar regions? This thesis addresses this question of ‘What is the role of flower colour in polar regions?’ through several studies related to various aspects of floral reproduction in polar regions. This is a broad topic, and little background knowledge exists. To deal with this, a broad approach was also used, covering different geographical scales, from bipolar (Chapter Three), arctic (Chapter Two) and regional (Svalbard; Chapter Six) scales, to the population scale (Chapter Four and Five). Information from literature on hundreds of species (Chapter Two) was compiled, field experiments and thermal imaging were completed on specific plant populations (Chapter Three - Five), and, at the genetic level, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLPs) were conducted within a species (Papaver dahlianum; Chapter Six). Except for one study (Chapter Four), which included results from Campbell Island (Subantarctic), most information is gathered from the Arctic, in particular from the high-arctic archipelago, Svalbard. The thesis is thus somewhat biased towards the Arctic. There were several initial hypotheses around why we observe flower colour polymorphism in polar regions. One possibility was that the few pollinators present may be more specific or more efficient than formerly believed, and sufficient to drive and sustain flower colour polymorphisms in polar regions (addressed in Chapters Two, Three, Five and Six). Alternatively, these colour morphs could be remnants from ancestor populations living under a different pollinator regime, and without any current function (historical patterns are partly addressed in Chapter Two and Six). However, as the polar climate is thermodynamically unfavourable and energy budgets are tight, flower colour pigments are often too costly to produce without being linked to a functional purpose. Hence, another possibility was that flower colour is linked to functions aside from signalling to attract pollinators (addressed in Chapter Four and Five). The diversity and distribution of blue-purple flowers in the Arctic were correlated with the diversity and distribution of specialist pollinators (bumblebees) with this colour preference. The highest number of both blue-purple flowers and bumblebee diversity were registered in non-glaciated arctic regions, where populations may have persisted since the arctic biome originated (Chapter Two). These results indicate that although arctic bumblebees are few and rarely active, their presence and activity is sufficient to impact colonization efficiency in the Arctic, and in certain areas may drive further selection and diversification of flower colours. The most common flower colours throughout the Arctic were shown to be white, blue-purple and yellow (Chapter Two). White and yellow are reported to attract more general, less efficient pollinators such as Diptera. In Svalbard, no known specialist pollinators exist. To investigate possible colour preference among the putative pollinators in Svalbard, insect traps with different colours were distributed at four different sites. Eight different families of Diptera were caught. Mycetophilidae were the most common, and showed a preference for the colour red, whereas the Muscidae and Syrphidae were more common in yellow and white coloured traps. Diptera species are already known to act as pollinators of white and yellow flowers, and as such are likely performing some pollination in Svalbard. However Mycetophilidae are rarely noted for pollination, and the extent to which these Diptera are involved in outcrossing pollination of flowering species on Svalbard remains unknown. The effects of flower colour and floral heating were tested in Adventdalen, Svalbard, using Papaver dahlianum which has white and yellow flower colour morphs (Chapter Four). Floral heating effects were also briefly investigated for Pleurophyllum spp, Stilbocarpa polaris, Bulbinella rossii and Anisotome latifolia on subantarctic Campbell Island. Flower temperature was measured and compared with environmental conditions, including ambient air temperature. In P. dahlianum, yellow flowers were warmer in some situations, whereas white flowers were warmer in others. Floral shape was also of some significance. Dark purple flowers on Campbell Island were found to be significantly warmer than ambient temperatures under high levels of solar radiation. Seed production was proposed to vary between colour morphs of P. dahlianum in Svalbard due to differences in insect visitation and heating based on colour (Chapter Five). Yellow flowers were expected to produce more seeds due to being more attractive and warmer than white flowers. Seed production was measured using different pollination treatments (forced selfing, hand pollination, forced outcrossing) at four different sites within the two P. dahlianum colour morphs. P. dahlianum was capable of setting seed autogamously. The largest seeds were collected from Adventdalen, but there were no significant differences of seed size between flower colours. There were no significant differences between white and yellow flowered plants in terms of relative reproductive effort. Thus, colour is assumed to have little effect on reproductive output when few seasons are considered. Assortative mating, where mating could be structured around flower colour was investigated in Chapter Six. Genetic samples were collected from nineteen populations of P. dahlianum around Svalbard. Genetic fingerprinting via AFLPS was used to assess whether colour was associated with structuring of the population (Chapter Six). There was no genetic pattern based around colour, at regional, local or the population scale. There did appear to be several widespread genetic lineages present in Svalbard, which may represent genetic groups with reduced reproductive compatibility or cryptic species. The existence of flower colour in polar regions was concluded to be partly due to the recent colonisation processes of the areas, whereas the role held by flower colour in polar regions was variable, and strongly dependent on the season of investigation. Due to seasonal conditions differing greatly between years, flower colour polymorphisms in Svalbard are likely maintained by different conditions favouring different morphs in different seasons.

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  • The prevalence and level of education of Hepatitis C Virus among an asymptomatic population

    Vermunt, Jane (2014)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Background The burden of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is projected to increase substantially over the next 2 decades as a result of complications arising from chronically infected individuals who remain undiagnosed and untreated. Accurate epidemiological data on the prevalence and demographics of Hepatitis C is therefore needed to allow efficient planning of services and resource allocation for prevention and treatment management in the region. In order to minimise transmission and to recognise risk factors and symptoms of HCV infection, population-wide education is also essential. Aim This study aimed to identify the prevalence of Hepatitis C among the 40 to 59 year old population living in urban Dunedin. It also set about to identify gaps in knowledge about HCV in the target – assessment of HCV knowledge among this cohort was thought to be important to gaining better understanding any barriers to identification, diagnosis and treatment while concurrently raising awareness of the issue. Method A total of 1400 individuals aged between 40 and 59 living in urban Dunedin were randomly identified from the electorate role. A questionnaire was developed and posted to participants that explored risk profile, infection transmission, complications, symptoms and treatment. Participants were also asked to provide a blood sample for anti-HCV and HbsAg testing. Hepatitis B antigen testing (HbsAg) was also tested to allow comparison on prevalence and decrease perceived stigma of testing. Results Of the 1400 questionnaires sent, a total of 432 were returned completed and some 306 blood samples were analysed. The prevalence of HCV and Hepatitis B virus (HBV) was estimated to be less than 0.98%, based on a zero numerator. Significant knowledge gaps were identified. The average correct score from the questionnaire was 59.4%. Both adjusted and unadjusted logistic regression modelling showed that three demographics were statistically significant predictors of an individuals’ score. On average females scored 5.4% higher. Every increase in qualification level showed a 5.0% increase and a 4.8% increase was found between each occupation sector. No statistically significant relationships were found between socioeconomic status (SES) or age. The population sample recognised all the potential modes of HCV transmission. Only 23% correctly estimating the assumed prevalence of HCV. 93% of the sample population did not recognize that an acute or chronic infection may be asymptomatic and 97% were unaware that there could be no long term sequale to a chronic infection. 23.6% knew that it takes years rather than months weeks or days for symptoms of complications of a chronic infection to become apparent. Twenty-two per cent were aware that there is no available vaccine, 34.0% do not know that HCV can be treated and of those who do know, only 39.7% are aware that this is funded by the government. Conclusions The prevalence rate, although inferred, is lower than expected. Our group has thus committed to undertaken further work in this area to obtain a more representative sample of bloods from which to draw better prevalaence data – though completed, data was not ready for publication in this thesis. The lack of general knowledge about HCV is of concern as this population is at high risk of transmission and of developing complications related to unassumed chronic infection. It is clear that the majority of this population is unaware of the asymptomatic nature and when the nonspecific symptoms of an HBC or HCV infection are likely to manifest. Further, one-third of the population are unaware that HBV and HCV can be treated and two-thirds are unaware that treatment is fully funded. Well educated women working in the health or white collar sector have the best knowledge about risk of transmission, possible symptoms and treatment. Educational efforts to increase awareness empower people to be aware of symptoms, get diagnosed and undergo treatment needs to target all other population groups.

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  • The Effects of Direct Infusion of L-Baclofen or CGP7930 into the Dorsal Cochlear Nucleus on the Development of Noise-Induced Tinnitus in Rats

    Vulinovich, Ana (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Tinnitus is a phantom auditory sensation that many experience at some point in their lives. Generally, the sensation is transient; however, an increasing number of people suffer from chronic tinnitus. Treatment options for tinnitus are limited, largely due to the lack of understanding of its underlying pathophysiology. Current literature indicates that hyperactivity within the central auditory system may be involved in the maintenance of noise-induced tinnitus. It is thought that this hyperactivity develops as a result of immediate plastic changes that occur within the central auditory system as a result of noise trauma, which includes the down regulation of gamma-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) neurotransmission. Consequently, GABAergic drugs that promote inhibition are a current focus for the potential treatment of tinnitus, including GABAB receptor, L-baclofen, which has shown to reverse behavioural evidence of tinnitus in animals. However, there is a need to identify the underlying mechanisms of tinnitus generation to develop a therapeutic treatment. Recent evidence has suggested that the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) is the primary generator of the observed hyperactivity. Lesion studies in animals have demonstrated that bilateral ablation of the DCN prior to tinnitus induction prevents the generation of tinnitus. The aim of the present study was to determine whether GABAB receptors located in the DCN are involved in the generation of tinnitus. In addition, the effects of local administration of GABAB agonist, L-baclofen, or GABAB positive allosteric modulator, CGP7930, into the DCN on tinnitus generation were assessed. Direct targeting of the DCN was achieved using a continuous local infusion of drugs via a micro-osmotic mini-pump for a seven day period. Tinnitus was induced on the second day of drug treatment using a unilateral acoustic trauma model. A conditioned lick suppression paradigm was used to assess tinnitus-like behaviour in animals. The paradigm used a foot shock as an unconditioned stimulus and speaker off periods as the conditioned stimulus. This resulted in the animals’ suppression of licking in response to the silent period. Animals with tinnitus additionally suppressed their licking in response to an acoustic stimulus with sensory features that resembled their tinnitus. The acoustic trauma resulted in a significant increase in auditory brainstem response (ABR) threshold of the ipsilateral ear (P ≤ 0.000). However, acoustic trauma did not produce a significant exposure effect in animals with bilateral cochlear nucleus cannula implantation, which indicated that the animals did not develop tinnitus. The limitations of the study that may have contributed to the lack of an exposure effect were recognised, which included unequal sample sizes and small animal numbers. Furthermore, local infusion of L-baclofen or CGP7930 for seven days did not produce a significant drug effect. However, since the animals did not develop tinnitus, the potential involvement of GABAB receptor activation in the DCN cannot be determined from these results.

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  • Circulating MicroRNAs in Bariatric Surgery

    Chan, Cheng Yee (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Obese patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery experience metabolic changes resulting in appetite loss and the apparent disappearance of type II diabetes within days to weeks, even before weight loss occurs. The biological mechanisms underlying these changes are not well-understood. This study aimed to investigate the change in circulating microRNAs that correspond to these metabolic effects. MicroRNAs are a recently-discovered class of small regulatory molecules that play a key role in diverse biological processes, including lipid metabolism and insulin regulation. It was hypothesised that the microRNAs that change uniquely in association with bariatric surgery will be involved with the modulation of expression of genes in metabolic pathways that produce the physiological changes observed post-operatively. The overall study comprised two phases, a discovery and a validation phase. The discovery phase formed the basis of this thesis. Three groups were recruited, a Bariatric group, consisting of obese patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery, and an obese Control group and a lean Control group, consisting of patients undergoing non-bariatric surgery. For the discovery phase, both Control groups were combined into a single Control group. Fasting blood samples were taken from twelve patients in each of the Bariatric and combined Control groups at baseline, 5 days and 6 weeks post-operatively, for microRNA analysis. Patient demographics and markers of surgical response including anthropometric measures (weight, body mass index, waist-hip ratio), glycaemic parameters (insulin, HbA1c, fasting glucose), fasting lipid profile, hs-CRP, blood pressure and results of an appetite questionnaire were recorded at each time-point. Affymetrix GeneChip arrays were used to generate microRNA profiles that were compared between samples. The Qlucore software package was used to identify differentially-expressed microRNAs by principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering. MicroRNAs specific to the post-operative Bariatric group were determined, and linked to the unique obesity-related metabolic changes. The validation phase involves replication of the specific microRNA changes detected in the discovery phase in a larger number of Bariatric and Control patients at all time-points previously assessed (baseline, 5 days and 6 weeks), as well as at 3 months and 1 year post-operatively, using microRNA-specific Taqman assays. This is currently ongoing. Discovery phase results revealed 7 differentially-expressed microRNAs at 6 weeks in the Bariatric group, and 22 at the same time-point in the Bariatric diabetic sub-group. These were associated with significant clinical improvements in weight, glycaemic parameters and appetite scores at 6 weeks. In contrast, there were no differentially-expressed microRNAs at 5 days in the Bariatric group, or at either time-point in the Control group. MicroRNA-associated gene ontology and predicted pathways analysis identified regulatory associations with genes known to be involved in potentially biologically-plausible roles encompassing adipogenesis, pancreatic β-cell regulation, insulin signalling and secretion, and appetite control. These roles appear consistent with the metabolic effects seen following gastric bypass surgery: weight and adipose tissue loss, improved insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism and decreased appetite. This work requires further validation; however, it indicates the therapeutic potential of altering levels of these unique microRNAs as novel pharmacological mechanisms that may mimic the effects of bariatric surgery.

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  • “I’m not a pill-taker”: Medication and meaning for older people

    Ritchie, Lorraine Helen (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: The philosophy of ageing in place has seen a greater emphasis on community care for older people. In New Zealand, access to assistance at home from health services begins with a comprehensive geriatric assessment, which includes medication management. This thesis examines specifically older participants’ self-management of medications and what medication-taking means to them. Aims 1. To explore how older people make sense of their medication-taking and medication self-management. 2. To explore the value of a narrative approach/methodology in eliciting older people’s attitudes and practices in medication-taking. 3. To critically view how the meaning older people make of their medication self- management might influence policy and practice. Methodology and Methods The overarching methodological approach to this thesis is a narrative one. Twenty participants underwent two separate sets of interviews: a needs assessment interview guided by a standardised geriatric assessment tool, and a semi-structured interview about their practices and beliefs on medication-taking. In total, forty interviews with older participants who were living in their own homes in the community were analysed using narrative analysis and presenting data in the form of themes and case studies. Results Four key findings emerged from the analysis. These were the themes of: 1. Living with illness – the impact on lives and medication-taking First and foremost, participants lived and coped with illness as part of their everyday living at home. Medication-taking was one of multiple consequences of the daily reality of living with a chronic illness. Any sense that participants made of their medication was in the first instance viewed through the lens of a recent illness, hospitalization, chronic pain or uncertainty of the future trajectory of the illness. 2. Trust and the older patient-doctor relationship The majority of participants expressed a strong sense of trust in their doctor as the main prescriber of their medication. The doctor’s word and advice was law to most participants, who imbued their doctor with an authority and competence without question. Further, many also valued a ‘social’ relationship with their doctor where a personable interaction was able to exist largely due to longevity of relationship, but also a willingness to see the doctor as a person, not just a health professional in an objective transaction. 3. Everyday routines and strategies These showed resourcefulness, coping and adaptation. Participants demonstrated a variety of unique systems and strategies related to medication self-management, from sophisticated routines where medication was checked, administered and stored correctly through to haphazard and inconsistent patterns of self-administration. Strategies depended on their beliefs but also on life circumstances and the meaning and importance placed on medication. Participants coped variously with management of their medication in the same way they coped with other aspects of daily life at home such as preparing meals, showering and socialising. Managing medication was not seen by the participants in isolation from the lived daily context of everyday managing routines and strategies. Self-management of medication required the ability to navigate through layers of complex context. For some it was more important to comply with medication taking; for others it was not a priority. 4. Advice – formal and informal Participants had valued relationships with others beyond doctors in relation to medication-taking. This was primarily with other formal health professionals such as pharmacists, but also on an ‘informal’ level, with family and friends. Some advice and recommendations came from surprising sources such as a bank teller or a women’s magazine. The gathering of information which informed medication-taking showed that older people’s lived context was far wider than a doctor-patient relationship. Views and attitudes of others all contributed to the sense older participants made of their medications. Conclusion/implications for practice Health services and professionals need to respect strategies and coping methods which older people have developed to self-manage medications and other aspects of their daily living. By listening to older people’s narratives of how they manage, health professionals can work with older people on their own terms starting with the voice of the older person as expert self-manager. Health professional education is necessary to raise awareness that meaning for older people is produced through narrative and that this is a key component of assessment and service delivery.

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  • The Soviet Legacy and Post‐Communist Civil Society in the Caucasus

    Aliyev, Huseyn (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    This study argues that the weakness of civil society in the post-Soviet Caucasus is not only a result of post-communist political and economic problems but is also due to the effects of historical legacies which continue influencing both formal and informal civil societies of the Caucasus’s countries, weakening their ability to facilitate democratization. Two decades after the break up of the USSR, democratization continues to present a challenge to all non-Baltic former Soviet states. The failure of most post-Soviet governments to overcome autocratic patrimonial habits of governance and to embark on democratic institution-building has been a characteristic of the former Soviet Union for the past two decades. Among many other malaises of post-communism, the inherent weakness of civil society has been observed in virtually all post-Soviet regimes. Unlike civil sectors of post-communist Central Europe or even the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, civil societies of ex-Soviet countries remain underdeveloped, ineffective and weak. In contrast, the entrenchment of authoritarian regimes, failures of institutional reforms, in conjunction with the continued reliance of ruling elites on informal structures rather than formal institutions is on the rise in most countries of the post-Soviet region. All of the above is most notable in the former Soviet region of Caucasus. Throughout the entire post-communist period, the political and civil actors across the Caucasus have shown themselves incapable of shedding the old forms of governance, which led to further growth of authoritarianism and weakening of independent civil society. So why does the Caucasus’s civil society fail to facilitate democratic state-building and institution-building processes, invigorating civil mobilization and serving as a balance between the state and society? This thesis examines the relationship between the weakness of civil society and the legacy of Soviet public and private spheres in the post-Soviet Caucasus. Starting from the assumption that the analysis of ‘civic traditions’ of formal and informal civil association inherited from the Soviet period can provide explanations as to why the present-day civil sector is weak, this study seeks to reveal the significance of the former regime’s legacy for contemporary civic institutions. Using qualitative methods of inquiry, this thesis conducts an in-depth examination of both Soviet and post-communist formal and informal civic association, offering fresh insights into our understanding of Soviet civic legacy and of how and why ‘civic traditions’ continue. The findings of this thesis emphasize, among others, that the antecedent regime’s institutional norms and individual attitudes can have long-lasting effects not only in particular countries but also trans-nationally.

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  • Techniques to Determine Quiet Day Curves for Subionospheric VLF Observations

    Cresswell-Moorcock, Alyson Kathleen Mary (Kathy) (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The ionization rate of the upper atmosphere can be significantly increased by space weather events, examples being solar proton events (SPE), solar flares, and energetic electron precipitation from the radiation belts. An increase in the ionization rate leads to a lowering of the lower edge of the ionospheric D-region. To study the effect of space weather events on our atmosphere it is important 1) to be able to detect the events and also 2) to have some way of determining changes in the height of the D-region. Very low frequency (VLF) radio waves propagate in the waveguide between the surface of the Earth and the lower edge of the ionosphere (D-region). Changes in the height of the D-region lead to changes in the amplitude and phase of the VLF signal received at an antenna. To gain an accurate indication of the size of these changes we need to know what the undisturbed signal, known as a Quiet Day Curve (QDC), would have been if no space weather event had taken place. High power narrow-band communications transmitters operated by multiple nations provide the VLF radio signals used in this technique. In this study we use VLF radio wave observations from the Antarctic-Arctic Radiation- belt Dynamic Deposition VLF Atmospheric Research Konsortia (AARDDVARK) receivers located at Edmonton, Canada and Scott Base, Antarctica. The purpose of this study is to develop a technique for the automatic calculation of QDCs for long-period experimental subionospheric VLF data sets. To enable the quantitative evaluation of how well our QDC finding techniques identify the true QDC of a data set, we have created a suite of synthetic data layers with a known QDC and imposed perturbations similar to those seen in real VLF data. We present this evaluation and comparison between the techniques to allow determination of the best QDC finding technique from those developed. We evaluate two techniques for determining a long-period QDC by algorithm. These are Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and 2-dimensional Discrete Fourier Transforms (DFT). We also evaluate an averaging technique that finds a combined daily curve as a baseline comparison to our techniques. We further evaluate several adjustments to these techniques, endeavouring to improve the resulting QDC. We determine that the best QDC technique for data sets longer than two years is an adjustment to the DFT technique, while, for data sets shorter than two years, the best technique is PCA applied to a smoothed data set. We judge the success of our adjusted DFT technique from the finding that the typical difference between the QDC and the synthetic data background is 0.13~dB for day and 0.17~dB for night. These values are smaller than typical experimentally observed noise levels. We therefore conclude that this QDC finding technique is successful. The pre-smoothed PCA technique gives a typical difference between the QDC and the synthetic data background of 0.38~dB for day, 0.47~dB for night. We therefore conclude that this QDC finding technique is fairly successful, although not as conclusively as the DFT based technique is. We then apply our chosen QDC finding techniques, according to the length of the data sets, to the VLF observations. We apply the adjusted DFT technique to our Scott Base data sets, which span 4 years of observations, i.e., 2,103,840 minutes. We find that the QDC finding technique appears to qualitatively extract the QDC from these real data sets. In particular during solar flares, the extraction looks sensible. We provide examples of the difference between the received VLF signal and the QDC for an example day during which 10 solar flares occurred. We apply the pre-smoothed PCA technique to our Edmonton data sets, which span 20 months of usable data, i.e., 915,840 minutes. We find that this technique appears to be working, but have less confidence in its ability to extract perturbations lasting longer than a few hours.

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  • Effect of oestradiol on neurotrophin receptor expression in cholinergic neurons in vivo

    Milne, Michael Robert Dore (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The basal forebrain is home to the largest population of the cholinergic neurons in the brain. These neurons are involved in a number of cognitive functions including attention, learning and memory. Basal forebrain cholinergic neurons (BFCNs) are particularly vulnerable in a number of neurological diseases with the most notable being Alzheimer’s disease, with evidence illustrating the link between decreasing cholinergic markers and the degree of cognitive impairment. The neurotrophin growth factor system is present on these BFCNs and has been shown to promote survival and differentiation on these neurons. Clinical and neurodegenerative studies have demonstrated the neuroprotective effects of 17β-oestradiol (E2) on neurodegeneration in BFCNs. It is believed that E2 interacts with neurotrophin signalling on cholinergic neurons to mediate these beneficial effects. In this study we aimed to observe if E2 influences the neurotrophin system by examining the effect of short-term ovariectomy (OVX) on neurotrophin receptor expression. Then, to determine if this effect is mediated by oestrogen receptor α (ERα), co-localisation between neurotrophin receptors and oestrogen receptor α was examined. Finally, neurotrophin receptor expression in neuron-specific ERα knockout mice was studied. To investigate the effect of E2 on neurotrophin receptor expression, coronal sections of the basal forebrain from OVX, OVX with E2 subcutaneous (s.c.) implant or sham operated cholinergic acetyltransferase-eGFP (ChAT-eGFP) mice were labelled using immunohistochemistry for neurotrophin receptors. Results confirmed that the loss of E2 in OVX mice resulted in a significant reduction in neurotrophin receptor expression in BFCN populations, with effects depending on neurotrophin receptor and region examined. The involvement of ERα in this relationship was then studied using double labelling immunohistochemistry staining for neurotrophin receptors and ERα in ChAT-eGFP mice. Results from this indicated that ERα co-localised with all the neurotrophin receptors investigated, however co-localisation between ERα and neurotrophin receptors was below 20% in the majority of basal forebrain regions. In the final experiment a similar protocol to the one used in experiment 1 was conducted on neuron-specific ERα knockout mice. Results indicated that OVX failed to affect neurotrophin receptor expression on BFCNs in knockout mice and in some regions basal neurotrophin expression was significantly lower than expression seen in wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Evidence presented in this study confirms that altering the levels of circulating E2 levels via OVX and E2 replacement significantly affects the expression of the neurotrophin receptors on BFCN, with effects differing depending on neurotrophin receptor and brain region examined. ERα was found to co-localise to a small extent with neurotrophin receptors on these cholinergic neurons, suggesting that there is potential for direct regulation of neurotrophin receptors through ERα, however indirect mechanisms are probably involved as well. The final experiment provided some evidence of an ERα mediated effect, however further studies are required to confirm its role and importance beside the effects mediated by other oestrogen receptors.

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  • Discovering the role of the Medicago truncatula SOC1 gene family in control of flowering time

    Fudge, Jared Blair (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Flowering in the legume Medicago truncatula (Medicago) is promoted in spring by long day (LD) photoperiod and vernalisation, exposure to winter cold, by the transcription factor MtFTa1. In Arabidopsis thaliana, flowering is promoted by the same cues, by AtFT, to activate AtSOC1 at the shoot apex. However, in Medicago, the role of the three MtSOC1 genes in control of flowering time remains unknown. It was hypothesised MtFTa1 activates at least one MtSOC1 gene to induce flowering. This thesis aimed to discover the function and transcriptional regulation of MtSOC1 by inductive floral cues, to determine a role in the control of Medicago flowering time. The ability of each MtSOC1 gene to complement the late-flowering Arabidopsis soc1-2 mutant was examined in stable transgenic plants. 35S::MtSOC1a lines complemented soc1-2, 35S::MtSOC1b lines partially complemented, whilst 35S::MtSOC1c lines did not. Flowering time phenotypes positively associated with transgene mRNA levels in selected lines, confirmed by re-introducing AtSOC1, with 1 of 7 lines flowering at the same time as wild type (WT). MtSOC1 genes are differentially expressed in various aerial tissues under inductive conditions and all three are expressed in nodes (the location of the shoot apex), consistent with a role in flowering time. MtSOC1 expression is also observed in leaves, where MtFT genes are expressed under LD. A photoperiodic shift experiment tested MtSOC1 responsiveness to changes in photoperiod. Following a shift to 3 LD, all three genes were up-regulated in nodes and remained expressed upon return to short days (SD). As 3 LD is sufficient to commit vernalised WT plants to flowering, it is likely MtSOC1 activation is important for heralding the Medicago floral transition. MtFTa1-independent mechanisms also act to up-regulate MtSOC1 in the LD photoperiod pathway, possibly via MtFTb genes which respond to LD. During a developmental time course, MtSOC1b and MtSOC1c were strongly induced in WT plants under inductive conditions, prior to flowering. In late-flowering, vernalisation-insensitive fta1-1 mutants, expression was greatly attenuated and not up-regulated by vernalisation. In nodes of 15 day old WT plants, MtSOC1 genes were activated by vernalisation. In stable transgenic 35S::MtFTa1 Medicago, the levels of MtSOC1b and MtSOC1c were dramatically higher. Nodes of non-vernalised WT plants mimicked that of fta1-1 mutants, indicating MtFTa1 expression is important for MtSOC1 regulation. Transient over-expression of MtFTb1 + MtFD, but not MtFTa1+ MtFD, in fta1-1 leaves by Agrobacterium infiltration resulted in expression of MtPIM and a weak expression of MtSOC1a. This result may provide an insight into the LD photoperiod regulation of candidate flowering time genes downstream of MtFT genes. Under non-inductive SD photoperiod, exogenous GA3 promotes A. thaliana and tobacco flowering via a gibberellin-responsive cis-element in SOC1, when FT is low. In contrast with Arabidopsis and tobacco studies, exogenous did not promote Medicago flowering under SD photoperiod. A detailed transcriptional characterisation of MtSOC1 regulation by inductive floral cues suggests MtSOC1b and MtSOC1c are primary targets of MtFTa1 for promoting the floral transition in Medicago.

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  • The One-China controversy, 1996-2002 : the impact of Taiwan's democratisation on the cross-strait policies of Taipei, Beijing and Washington

    Lin, Chin-sheng (2005)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    xii, 535 p. ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: Political Studies. "February 2005."

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  • Augmented reality projects in the automotive and aerospace industries

    Regenbrecht, Holger; Baratoff, G; Wilke, W (2005)

    Journal article
    University of Otago

    To view the full text you require an IEEE log in. Click on the related link and you will be prompted for this.

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