25,533 results for Thesis

  • Can Architecture Increase Productivity? The Case of Green Certified Buildings

    Onyeizu, Eziaku (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Green certified buildings have been marketed largely on the claim that they increase the productivity of occupants. It is claimed that the extra investment required to construct a Green building not only helps the environment but could also be recovered by the increased productivity of its occupants. This relationship between building design and productivity has been purported to be achieved with compliance to indoor environmental quality (IEQ) criteria of Green building rating tools. With productivity being so central to the characteristics of a Green certified building, one would expect there to be substantial and robust research relating the criteria of Green rating tools to the measure of productivity. This research investigated the proposition that IEQ of Green certified buildings increases occupant productivity. This was carried out by reviewing methods of measuring productivity in offices, evaluating the significance of IEQ over other factors to productivity and examining the appropriateness of the IEQ criteria in representing occupant perception of the environment. The Building in Use Studies (BUS) questionnaire was evaluated to ascertain its ability to measure the perception of occupants on their productivity and IEQ in office buildings. The findings showed that past research has not produced sufficient evidence to support the claim that IEQ increases productivity. Rather, it was observed that IEQ factors were not as significant to productivity as purported. Other factors such as social, organizational and personal factors were perceived to be more important to productivity. It was also found that the research supporting the Green IEQ criteria is insufficient in representing occupant perception of the environment let alone occupant productivity. Further observations of occupant comfort in office buildings showed that, despite a building???s compliance with IEQ criteria, occupants were not comfortable with the IEQ in these buildings. Occupants still resorted to exceptional measures to alter their working environment. This research concluded that the current methods of measuring occupant productivity are insufficient; that IEQ is not more significant to productivity than other factors; and that the IEQ criteria for building design are not good indicators of how occupants perceive the environment.

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  • A critical analysis of the legal functions and practices of central and local government in New Zealand in respect to environmental health

    Mead, Stephanie (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Environmental health combines public health and environmental planning, in a multidisciplinary approach that acknowledges the intrinsic link between human health and the environment. Recognising its multidisciplinary nature and mobilising a ???whole-of-government??? approach is important in monitoring, promoting and improving environmental health. While this area is rich in literature from the medical and social sciences perspective, there is little focus on the legal perspective. Developing the legal perspective of environmental health is imperative to create a workable, integrated environmental health framework which is capable of addressing the many contemporary environmental health challenges faced today. Accordingly this thesis focuses on a critical analysis of the legal functions and practices of central and local government in New Zealand in respect to environmental health. The critical analysis of this thesis is divided into two key propositions:- (a) Is the law and governance relating to environmental health in New Zealand appropriate for the 21st century? (b) What improvements or reforms to the law and governance in respect of environmental health are desirable for the future? New Zealand???s approach to environmental health has been complicated by historical factors. This ad hoc development has resulted in a fragmented system with a large number of interested parties. The separation of health and environmental law has resulted in a plethora of legislation being relevant to environmental health management in New Zealand. These factors contribute to environmental health being difficult to collate into a complete and discernible framework. Accordingly this thesis begins by providing foundation chapters that establish the nature and content of New Zealand???s environmental health framework prior to analysis. The discussion of reforms includes an examination of environmental health provisions relevant to central government and local government, with a view to determining the best allocation of functions. It appears that reforms are pulled into two directions ??? either towards consolidation at central government level, or collaboration at local government level. The thesis concludes that the law and governance relating to environmental health in New Zealand is not appropriate for the 21st century, and requires substantial reform. Secondly, as assessed in the chapters of the thesis, there are major pointers towards a need for a principled collaborative approach which will bring the legislation together into an integrated environmental health framework. Maori and local communities must also be adequately provided for. The thesis endeavours to set down the law as at the 1st of December 2012. Accordingly the statutes and sections discussed were in force at this date. Some of the Bills and proposed reforms were passed after this date and, where relevant, this has been acknowledged within the thesis.

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  • Pseudomonas DING proteins as human transcriptional regulators and HIV-1 antagonists.

    Suh, Andrew; Le Douce, Valentin; Rohr, Olivier; Schwartz, Christian; Scott, George (2013-01)

    Thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    BACKGROUND: Anti-HIV-1 therapy depends upon multiple agents that target different phases of the viral replication cycle. Recent reports indicate that plant and human DING proteins are unique in targeting viral gene transcription as the basis of their anti-HIV-1 therapy. METHODS: Two cloned DING genes from Pseudomonas were transiently expressed in human cells, and effects on NF??B-mediated transcription, HIV-1 transcription, and HIV-1 production were measured. RESULTS: Both DING proteins elevated NF??B-mediated transcription. In microglial cells, one protein, from P. aeruginosa PA14, suppressed HIV-1 transcription; the other protein, from P. fluorescens SBW25, was inactive. The PA14DING protein also reduces HIV-1 production in microglial cells. CONCLUSIONS: Structural differences between the two DING proteins highlight regions of the PA14DING protein essential to the anti-HIV-1 activity, and may guide the design of therapeutic agents.

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  • Prosody in typical and clinical populations: Children and adults with hearing loss

    Kalathottukaren, Rose (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Aims: Aims of this doctoral thesis were to: 1) evaluate published tools for assessing prosodic skills in children and adults, 2) investigate age effects on different aspects of prosody perception in typically developing children and report normative performance for New Zealand-English speaking 7-12 year olds, 3) compare prosody perception and production in children with hearing loss and age- and gender-matched children with normal hearing, 4) examine the effects of age, hearing level, and musicality on children???s prosody perception, and 5) investigate prosody perception and musical pitch discrimination in adults using cochlear implants. Methods: Published tools were identified through searching online databases, bibliographies of relevant articles and contacting authors. Six receptive subtests of Profiling Elements of Prosody in Speech-Communication (PEPS-C) and Child Paralanguage and Adult Paralanguage subtests of Diagnostic Analysis of Non Verbal Accuracy 2 (DANVA 2) were used as prosody perception measures. Musical pitch discrimination was assessed using Contour and Interval subtests of the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia (MBEA). Prosody productions were rated using the perceptual prosody rating scales. Results: The literature review identified nine prosody assessment tools available for use with children and adults that were appraised for their intended purpose, target population, domains of prosody assessed, feasibility, and psychometric properties. The review highlighted the need to continue to develop and test tools for effective and comprehensive assessment of prosodic skills. The second study revealed that prosodic competence develops significantly between the ages of 7 and 11 years. Results from the PEPS-C test revealed a differential pattern of acquisition for different aspects of prosody, with 7-8 year olds being significantly poorer than 11-12 year olds on Chunking and Contrastive Stress subtests. Performance on the DANVA 2 test of affective prosody perception differed significantly across emotional categories (angry > happy > sad > fearful) and the level of emotion intensity (better scores for high emotion intensity items). The third study showed that children with hearing loss aged 7 to 12 years performed significantly poorer than controls on PEPS-C and DANVA 2 tests. Prosody perception scores were significantly correlated with age, hearing level, and musicality. Prosody production evaluated using perceptual rating scales showed greater variation in perceptual ratings of pitch, pitch variation, and overall prosody in the hearing loss group compared to the control group. Adults using cochlear implants performed significantly poorer than adult normative values reported for PEPS-C and DANVA 2 tests and the majority performed at chance on MBEA tasks. Conclusions: The relatively small number of tools available to evaluate prosody compared to other aspects of language suggests that prosody is often overlooked in terms of formal language assessment. The normative results reported for New Zealand-English speaking children will be useful when assessing prosodic difficulties in children with hearing loss or autism spectrum disorder. Together, the studies on children and adults with hearing loss suggest that clinical assessment and therapy services for people with hearing loss should be expanded to target prosodic difficulties.

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  • Absence of Myostatin Improves Cardiac Function After Myocardial Infarction

    Lim, Sarina (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Myostatin is a well-established inhibitor of skeletal muscle development. However, the role of myostatin in cardiac muscle, specifically in acute myocardial infarction (MI), is less clear. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to determine the potential effects of myostatin following an acute MI. Methods: The first study examined the concentration of myostatin mRNA at different time points following an induction of MI in an ovine model. Using a murine model with a constitutive deletion of the myostatin gene (Mstn-/-) and compared with WT controls, the second study investigated several clinical outcomes in the absence of myostatin at 28 days following an acute MI via ligation of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. At 28 days post-MI, mice were injected with BrdU, then euthanized and their hearts were excised and weighed, followed by histological examination, immunohistochemistry and indirect immunofluorescence. Findings: When compared with non-infarcted ovine controls, the concentration of myostatin mRNA was reduced and reached a nadir at day one post-MI in the peri-infarct region of the myocardium before a progressive restoration of the concentration of myostatin mRNA to that of the controls (P < 0.01). This dynamic change was not observed in the distant region of the myocardium post-MI (P < 0.01). In the Mstn-/- mice, the total body weight was larger than WT mice (39.21 ?? 0.57g vs 24.66 ?? 0.37g, P < 0.001) and remained so during the study period. The mortality rate in Mstn-/- mice was lower compared with WT mice post-surgery (0% vs 20%, P < 0.05). Ligation of the LAD artery resulted in a similar infarct size in both the Mstn-/- and WT mice (9.9 ?? 1.9% vs 12.5 ?? 1.7%, P = 0.38). Cardiac ejection fraction (EF) as determined by echocardiography was similar at baseline between the genotypes (61.5 ?? 1.2% vs 60.6 ?? 1.3%, P = 0.15) and following induction of MI, a similar degree of reduction in EF resulted (-8.6 ?? 2.2% vs -7.3 ?? 2.7%, P = 0.6). However, at 28 days post-MI, EF was restored to baseline in Mstn-/- but not in the WT mice (61.8 ?? 1.1% vs 57.1 ?? 2.3%, P < 0.01). Mstn-/- mice had a lower mean increased in heart rate post-surgery compared with WT mice (+23.6 ?? 13.7bpm vs +109.5 ?? 14.3bpm, P < 0.01). Induction of MI resulted in a lower increased in mean arterial pressure in Mstn-/- mice compared with WT mice (-7 ?? 3.9mmHg vs +4.4 ?? 3.9mmHg, P < 0.05). There was no difference in the number of BrdU positive cells, the percent of apoptotic cardiomyocytes, and the size of cardiomyocytes between Mstn-/- and WT mice. However, a reduction in the extent of collagen deposition was observed in the Mstn-/- mice compared with WT mice (41.9 ?? 2.8% vs 54.7 ?? 3.4%, P < 0.05). Conclusion: The absence of myostatin protects the function of the heart following an acute MI likely via inhibiting the extent of fibrosis. Further studies are needed to determine whether administration of myostatin antagonists could be used as an effective adjunct to the current management of acute MI.

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  • Improving Prediction of Streamflow Response to Spatially-Distributed Vegetation Change: Exploring computer simulation.

    Adams, Keith (2010)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    The aim of this thesis is to explore the use of a digital experimental catchment (DEC) to improve the prediction of streamflow response to spatially-distributed vegetation change. In the empirical approach to vegetation-change hydrology research, hundreds of catchment-based vegetation-change (CBVC) studies have been carried out worldwide during a century of research, and about 25 studies have been carried out in New Zealand (NZ) since the 1950s. The pooled results of these studies allow generalised prediction of streamflow response to vegetation change. However, the results have excessive scatter, and empirical predictive relationships derived from the results have very wide prediction limits, restricting their value for prediction, and severely restricting their use for predicting streamflow response to spatially-distributed vegetation change. Much of the scatter arises because control of the many variables in a catchment is not possible during a vegetation-change study. In the theoretical approach, computer simulation is becoming increasingly attractive with continuing advances in computing. However, building the type of complex hydrological model required for prediction of streamflow response to spatially-distributed vegetation change is difficult and time consuming, limiting the direct application of the theoretical approach on a catchment by catchment basis. Both approaches have serious problems that restrict the development of vegetation-change research. This thesis proposes that the way forward is to combine the two approaches as follows: ??? The empirical approach provides bounds within which results of the theoretical approach should lie and identifies topics for research in the theoretical approach. ??? In the theoretical approach experiments are carried out in a DEC, a physically-based fully-distributed model that has been shown to contain credible representations of catchment hydrological processes. ??? The DEC experiments expand the scope of CBVC studies to include spatially-distributed vegetation changes and the results of the DEC experiments are used to improve the empirical predictive relationships developed from the results of the CBVC studies, so that they can be used to predict streamflow response to spatially-distributed vegetation change. In the empirical-approach component of this thesis, preliminary research included a review of the development of CBVC methodologies worldwide, a review of empirical predictive relationships, an analysis of causes of scatter, and an investigation of measures to improve empirical predictive relationships. Empirical predictive relationships were then developed for NZ, and an analysis of residuals was used to identify significant secondary variables, and thereby suitable topics for research in the DEC. In the theoretical approach component of this thesis, a physically-based fully distributed model of the Mahurangi Catchment was built using the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model modelling software, and in accordance with good modelling practice. After satisfactory calibration and validation, the model was accepted as suitable for use as a DEC, and was named the Tucker DEC. Two groups of experiments were carried out in the Tucker DEC. Experiments in the first group were similar to previous NZ CBVC studies, and produced results similar to, but slightly less than, the CBVC studies. The second group consisted of spatially-distributed experiments. The results from these experiments were used to demonstrate how the DEC methodology can be used to improve the precision of empirical predictive relationships and increase their value for predicting streamflow response to spatially-distributed vegetation change. The conclusions from the research were: ??? Because of lack of control of other variables in CBVC studies, the empirical approach by itself is not sufficient for accurate and precise prediction of streamflow response to vegetation change. ??? Building a DEC is a complex and laborious process but carrying out experiments in a DEC is simple and quick, and experiments that can not be done in a real-world catchment can be easily done in a DEC. ??? The two approaches are necessary for mutual checking of results. ??? A cycle of vegetation-change research could be completed by using the results of DEC experiments to identify suitable topics for process studies and for catchment-based research.

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  • Developments in photogrammetric remote sensing for grain-scale fluvial morphology studies

    Bertin, Stephane (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    THE AIM OF THIS STUDY is two-fold. Firstly, it uses the latest advances in photogrammetric engineering and computer vision to develop a remote-sensing technique customised for grain-scale fluvial morphology research in both the laboratory and the field. Secondly, the recorded gravelbed elevation data are processed by means of geostatistical methods, providing new observations on fluvial microtopography, and its interaction with flows. Initially, a series of flume tests is presented, which allowed to test, develop and optimise a solution for measuring water-worked gravel beds using digital photogrammetry, a growing technique used in the Earth Sciences. The thesis presents in detail the use and evaluation of digital cameras and off-the-shelf calibration and stereo matching methods for non-proprietary close-range remote sensing applications. Substantial developments are made (i) to customise the camera arrangement to the measurement tasks, (ii) to improve the measurement of submerged topographies in flumes, (iii) to identify and quantify photogrammetric errors using purposely-designed 3D-printed ground truths, (iv) to design optimisation strategies to minimise calibration and stereo matching errors and their propagation to digital elevation models (DEMs), and finally (v) to allow merging of overlapping DEMs to optimise surface coverage and measurement resolution. This results in a photogrammetric technique that is capable of efficient and effective DEM collection in both the laboratory and the field, with sub-millimetre resolution and accuracy, needed for precise measurements of gravel beds and roughness properties. In the second part, the presented photogrammetric developments are then used to study riverbed armouring manifestations of water-worked gravel beds. A range of geostatical analysis methods are introduced to determine (i) bed-surface sediment size and preferential orientation, (ii) bedelevation distribution moments and spatial correlations, (iii) distribution of surface slope and aspect angles, and (iv) grain inclination and imbrication. Analytical results show that stable armour layers are replicable for similar formative flow and sediment and that armour layer formation and break-up involves a complete and consistent re-arrangement of the bed material, beyond the generally reported surface coarsening. For an initial field application, using the developed photogrammetric and geostatical analytical techniques, it is shown that sedimentological and geomorphic contrasts exist between gravel bars of the same river reach, and advances are made to relate these differences to the flow history.

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  • Snakin-1: a Case Study in Racemic Protein Crystallography

    Yeung, Ho (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    X-ray crystallography experiments have well-known bottlenecks that include the ability to crystallise any given protein, and the so-called crystallographic phase problem that hampers the process of structure solution from experimentally measured diffraction intensities. Racemic protein crystallography has the potential to address both of these issues, as racemic mixtures of proteins: a) appear to crystallise more readily than enantiopure solutions; and b) structure determination in the centrosymmetric space groups sampled by racemic mixtures is simplified by restriction of the crystallographic phases to two possible values. The overall aim of this work was to explore the general utility of this technique in de novo protein structure determination. Snakin-1 is a 63 residue antimicrobial protein originally isolated from potato (Solanum tuberosum) which is active against a number of bacterial and fungal phytopathogens such as Clavibacter michiganensis, Pseudomonas syringae and Fusarium solani. It is a member of the GASA (gibberellic acid stimulated in Arabidopsis)/snakin family and the mature protein consists of a GASA domain incorporating six intramolecular disulfide bonds. These proteins are found in a variety of plant species and appear to be involved in a range of functions including cell elongation and cell division. It has also been speculated that the 12 conserved cysteines in these proteins perform a role in redox regulation. The structure of these GASA/snakin proteins is not known and their amino acid sequences do not correspond to any known structural motifs. In this work, the de novo structure determination of snakin-1 was carried out as a case study in racemic protein crystallography. Total chemical synthesis of the native L-snakin-1 and its enantiomer D-snakin-1 was accomplished using contemporary techniques for protein synthesis. Crystallisation of racemic snakin-1 was readily achieved using macromolecular crystallisation techniques, but crystals of racemic snakin-1 alone were insufficient for structure determination. Iodinated quasi-racemic snakin-1 crystals were subsequently prepared and provided essential phase information for successful structure elucidation. The sensitivity of the C-I bond to X-ray irradiation was instrumental in affording a radiation damage-induced signal used in phasing. This study has shown that despite some difficulties encountered in solving the snakin-1 structure, racemic protein crystallography provided a clear benefit in structure solution; the crystal structure of this antimicrobial protein would not have been solved by conventional methods and lays the way towards the rational design of novel antimicrobial agents.

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  • A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating an Online Parenting Programme for Parents of Preschool-Aged Children with Hyperactive/Inattentive Behaviour Difficulties

    Franke, Nike (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Parent-child relationships of pre-school aged children with hyperactive/inattentive behaviour problems are often difficult, leading to parenting stress and negative parent-child interactions. By intervening early it may be possible to reduce some of the poor long-term outcomes associated with these early behaviour difficulties, such as exacerbation of ADHD symptoms and relationship problems with family, teachers, and peers. No online self-help parenting programme has been tested in this population. Online delivery may decrease the burden on clinicians, while meeting the need for parenting services. This study investigated the efficacy of the self-administered, online version of Triple P Positive Parenting Program, which consists of eight modules, with two added telephone consultations with a qualified Triple P facilitator. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a subsample of 11 parents to gain a more in-depth understanding pf parents experience with using the online parenting programme. In the first part of the study a randomized control design, with an intervention condition (n = 27) and a delayed intervention condition (n = 26), was used to test the efficacy of Triple P online in a total sample of 53 parents of three to four year old children with hyperactive/inattentive behaviour difficulties. Participant selection was based on elevated levels of child hyperactivity/inattentiveness according to parent report on the Werry-Weiss-Peters Activity Rating Scale (age range 6 to 18; WWP; Routh, 1978) as well as interviewer ratings of inattention and hyperactivity on the Parental Account of Children???s Symptoms Interview (PACS; Taylor, Sandberg, Thorley, & Giles, 1991). Questionnaire data on child behaviour, parenting, parent mental health, and parenting efficacy were collected at three different time points (pre-intervention, post-intervention, and six-month follow-up). With regard to child behaviours, mother- and father-ratings on inattention/hyperactivity, defiance/aggression, and social functioning were collected, as well as mother-ratings of restlessness/impulsivity and teacher-ratings of child hyperactivity, peer problems, and prosocial behaviour. At post-intervention, results indicate that in comparison to the delayed intervention group, the intervention group showed significant improvements in child inattention/hyperactivity, restlessness/impulsivity, social functioning, and prosocial behaviour, as well as significant improvements in parental overreactivity, verbosity, positive parenting, stress, depression, parenting satisfaction, and parenting self-efficacy. At the six-month follow-up the intervention group showed greater improvements in overreactivity, verbosity, anxiety, stress, depression, satisfaction, and self-efficacy. The second part of the study comprised semi-structured post-intervention interviews with a subsample of 11 families to evaluate parents??? experience and satisfaction with using the online parenting programme. Thematic analysis of the interview data revealed a number of barriers and facilitators to using and completing the programme. Time constraints were the most frequently mentioned barrier, followed by lack of partner involvement and the linearity of the programme. Programme content, particularly parenting information and parenting skills, was the most often cited facilitator, followed by programme format such as videos demonstrating parenting strategies and the engaging activities provided. The analysis also showed that parents were regularly using strategies taught by the programme, such as being consistent with discipline, remaining calm, and having logical consequences for misbehaviour. In addition, all parents had noticed improvements in at least two hyperactive/inattentive child behaviours. These included being better able to follow instructions, more on task behaviour, like independent play, and reductions in restless behaviour, for instance, staying seated at mealtimes. Key implications of the study findings include evidence for the usefulness of online self-help as a first-step-approach in treating preschool hyperactivity, including the increase in parental self-efficacy and the decrease in parental laxness, both associated with child hyperactivity.

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  • Development and application of locally resonant metamaterials for acoustic barriers

    Hall, Andrew (2013)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    There is increasing concern in New Zealand and overseas about inadequate sound insulation in buildings and the implications for occupants??? health and well-being both in the public and commercial sector. The application of metamaterials or structured material principles to this problem has produced a new isolation concept known as locally resonant structures (LRS). LRS combine interacting components specifically arranged to generate localised resonances within the structure and have exceptional sound transmission loss (TL) performance in defined frequency bands. Low frequency noise (below 1 kHz) is where irritating acoustic intrusion frequently occurs but is both challenging and expensive to prevent with conventional solutions, and where the LRS is a potentially compact and relatively lightweight solution. In this thesis the first large scale implementation of a locally resonant elastic metamaterials is presented, targeted at practical applications in building. Lumped parameter mass models were used to understand how the components of the LRS can be manipulated to generate a designated TL performance spectrum. Designs with the desired TL characteristics were then modelled using FEA software, and samples were fabricated for testing. TL results obtained under normal incidence and diffuse field conditions showed that the highest performing network arrangements combined layers of multiple resonators with multiple resonances to increase system bandwidth. Samples yielded systems with attenuation peaks of 80dB over band widths approaching 350 Hz at frequencies well below 1 KHz under normal incidence conditions with good correspondence to modelling predictions. In diffuse field conditions samples showed large TL improvement over band widths of 300+ Hz, 7 to 20dB above that of a conventional panel. The resulting systems have the potential to provide significantly higher transmission loss at low frequencies than conventional wall systems of similar size and weight.

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  • Developmental programming and reversibility in early life

    Li, Minglan (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Background: The incidence of obesity and related metabolic disorders has become a major global health issue. A growing body of evidence suggests that early life nutritional adversity plays an important role in the development of long-term metabolic disorders. However, to date, the mechanisms underpinning the phenomenon is poorly understood. In addition, there is a growing interest in the field to explore potential intervention strategies to reverse the detrimental effects associated with a poor early life environment. Aim: The primary aim of the work detailed in this thesis was to identify potential mechanisms in established rodent models of developmental programming of obesity and metabolic dysfunction and evaluate the effectiveness of targeted pharmacologic and nutrition intervention strategies. Methods: The work described in this thesis investigated three animal models of altered maternal nutrition with corresponding interventions: 1) a maternal high fructose diet with taurine supplementation, whereby pregnant dams exposed to either chow or high fructose intake during pregnancy and lactation were supplemented either with or without taurine, 2) a maternal high fat:high fructose diet with taurine supplementation, whereby dams exposed to either chow or high fat:high fructose diet during pregnancy and lactation, and supplemented with or without taurine, and 3) maternal global caloric restriction with pre-weaning growth hormone (GH) treatment, in which dams were exposed to 50% caloric intake compared to control dams during pregnancy and offspring received GH treatment (2.5??g/g/day) daily during the pre-weaning period. The rational for taurine was based on limited evidence that taurine can ameliorate fructose and high fat diet induced insulin resistance in the non-pregnant state and has been shown to have protective effects on pancreatic development in rodent models of reduced maternal protein intake. However, taurine had yet to be examined as an intervention agent in the setting of a maternal obesogenic environment. GH was chosen due to known changes in the GH-insulin like growth factor axis in offspring born following a suboptimal early life nutritional environment but, as with taurine, had not been investigated in the setting of poor early life nutrition. The window of GH treatment was based on a key period of developmental plasticity where our group had shown previous efficacy of other interventions during this period such as leptin. In all studies body weight and food intakes were recorded regularly in both mothers and offspring. Blood samples and tissue of interest for each independent experiment were collected at the different key developmental time points. Importantly, both male and female offspring were examined to determine possible sexual-dimorphism in the offspring responsiveness to both the altered maternal dietary environment and the intervention. Results: Excessive fructose intake during pregnancy and lactation induced impaired maternal insulin sensitivity, hepatic steatosis and low-grade inflammation, increased offspring susceptibility to impaired glucose metabolism and induced early onset of puberty in female offspring. Taurine supplementation reversed most of the metabolic dysfunction in mothers arising from a high fructose intake and showed beneficial effects on offspring health outcomes in a sex-specific manner. A maternal high fat:high fructose diet led to profound maternal metabolic dysfunction and induced a number of adverse programming effects in offspring including an enhanced neonatal hepatic pro-inflammatory profile, impaired glucose metabolism and obesity in adulthood, altered food preference and early onset puberty. Taurine supplementation result in a number of protective effects in offspring in a sex-specific manner. Interestingly, despite showing some systemic beneficial effects taurine supplementation further impaired maternal hepatic lipid metabolism and inflammatory profile, which suggests a possible maternal trade-off to protect the offspring. Maternal global undernutrition resulted in a typical metabolic syndrome phenotype in offspring with increased adiposity, low-grade inflammation, impaired insulin sensitivity, increased blood pressure and endothelial dysfunction. Manipulating GH-IGF axis in the preweaning period normalised offspring postnatal growth and adiposity, and protected adult male offspring against cardio-metabolic dysfunction. Conclusions: Our findings further support the DOHaD hypothesis with evidence of adverse maternal and offspring health outcomes across a range of altered maternal nutritional environments. Both taurine and GH treatment during critical developmental windows showed great effectiveness in reducing long term adverse developmental programming effects in each respective cohort. Given that the directionality of effects was dependent upon prior maternal nutritional status and that sexually dimorphic responses to both altered maternal diet and intervention were observed, therapeutic approaches may need to be targeted to maximise potential efficacy. Our studies from a DOHaD perspective suggest promising strategies in combating the current global obesity and metabolic syndrome epidemic.

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  • Bargaining and balancing life with CPAP: A grounded theory

    Ward, Kim (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Aim: To explore experiences of using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is recognised as a cost-effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea, which left untreated increases morbidity and mortality. CPAP can be challenging for users, with adherence perceived as poor. This thesis adds to limited evidence regarding CPAP from users??? perspectives, and contributes original knowledge about how users successfully manage therapy. Methods: Adults prescribed CPAP for sleep apnoea (n=12) and their partners (n=4), recruited through a main-centre respiratory service in New Zealand, participated in semi-structured interviews. Using constructionist grounded theory, data were analysed until theoretical saturation was reached. Findings: This study identifies that living with CPAP involves a process of individual change management underpinned by the substantive theory bargaining and balancing life with CPAP. The process comprises three main categories: becoming a team for good-sleep, making choices about CPAP and becoming used to CPAP. Partners and/or family members form a collaborative support team with CPAP-users, positively influencing therapy management through joint problem-solving and decision-making. By making choices, participants balance reactions to needing CPAP with the factors that motivate its use and the consequences of their choices. Using or not using CPAP is contingent upon participants determining which choice helps them to feel most well. Indeed, this study highlights participants as active, reasoned decision-makers in their healthcare who identify personal motivations for CPAP use based on personal experience and knowledge about CPAP and sleep apnoea. Furthermore, propensity to persevere acts as a condition under which users make choices about CPAP. The process concludes once mastery is achieved. Conclusions: By using grounded theory, this study reveals how people live with CPAP. Theoretical models of change management and decision-making underpin the theory bargaining and balancing. True to the principles of patient- and family-centred care, partners should be incorporated in the process from diagnosis to successful CPAP management. Further research should explore the role of partners in the successful management of CPAP and develop this study???s findings regarding elements that hallmark success with CPAP. Interventions should address factors that leverage inclination to persevere with CPAP, and identify those for whom managing CPAP is counterproductive.

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  • The Cultural Representation of Taiwaneseness and Taiwanese Nationalism in Li Qiao???s Wintry Night Trilogy

    Chih, Yu-Wen (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This thesis offers a response to the existing controversy over how Taiwanese national discourse emerged, and the role of the arts in the formation of this consciousness. It does this via a cultural, historical and narrative analysis of Li Qiao???s Wintry Night Trilogy, systematically revealing, for the first time, the way in which this work is pivotal in the development of Taiwanese national consciousness, and showing that this process began as early as the 1970s, rather than 1980s period that existing scholarship focuses on. By employing an integrated narratological approach which includes the theoretical concepts of intertextuality, post-colonial theory, Bakhtin???s dialogic discourse, multilingualism, and reader response, this thesis shows both how the cultural aspect of the discourse of Taiwanese nationalism was developed in Li Qiao???s Wintry Night Trilogy, and how this discourse was conveyed and understood. Wintry Night Trilogy is shown to have played a key role in the establishment of a discourse in which both Taiwan???s past and an imaginary Taiwan nation are simultaneously sought. Under the conditions of martial law it represents key elements of Taiwanese nationalist consciousness, including the construction of a common identity of being Taiwanese, and the recovery and narration of the hidden history of Taiwan in the context of neo-colonial rule. A multidimensional narrative of Taiwan???s past is shown to be represented through Li Qiao???s appropriation of historical source material and via his deployment of postcolonial, intertextual, and multilingual textual strategies.

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  • ???I am the play???: The drama of authenticity in John Kneubuhl???s Mele Kanikau

    Johansson, Michelle (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This research engages with the work of afakasi American-American Samoan playwright John Kneubuhl. As a polycultural, pan-Pacific dramatist, Kneubuhl???s work explores post-colonial discourses, power structures and social and cultural hierarchies. An afakasi playwright also concerned with authenticity, Kneubuhl wrote from both inside and outside these contesting dialectics of power and his unique dramatic voice fuses the best of Modernist Western drama with the ancient Samoan performance tradition of Fale Aitu. By navigating the complicated spaces between his worlds, however uneasily, Kneubuhl advocated for theatre that spoke to and for Polynesian people. Through the production of Mele Kanikau: A Pageant, and a Tongan based methodology of kie1 weaving, this thesis engages with and explores Kneubuhl???s work as an agent of change. In his published trilogy of plays, Kneubuhl presents cultures in crisis, at risk of not only the on-going and enormous impact of colonization, but new dangers in the forms of global commodification, the burgeoning demands of tourism, and the more critical, and much more subtle threat from within ??? Polynesian people themselves. This thesis and my production also engage with the occasion and impulse for the composition of Mele Kanikau. By exploring the dramatic manifestation of Kneubuhl???s afakasi heritage in Mele Kanikau and the play???s existential concerns with personal and cultural loss this research problematizes the drama of authenticity played out in the play.

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  • Neurophysiological effects of arm weight support: Implications for stroke rehabilitation

    Runnalls, Keith (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Arm weight support may be used as an adjuvant to increase training dosage and improve movement quality during upper limb stroke rehabilitation. However, the underlying neurophysiological effects of weight support are not well understood. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the neurophysiological effects of arm weight support in healthy adults and chronic stroke patients. Four experiments examined the effects of weight support on muscle activation and corticomotor excitability across the upper limb using multiple gradations of supportive force. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and electromyography were employed during different movement tasks. For muscles that generate shoulder abduction (antigravity) torque, muscle activity responded linearly to gradations of supportive force. For distal muscles, a trend between nonessential tonic muscle activity and the degree of weight support provided evidence in support of a common neural drive to the upper limb. Modulation of corticomotor excitability was muscle-specific and discontinuous with respect to linear gradations of supportive force. Therefore, weight support may interact with thresholds in multiple modulatory mechanisms. During a separate rhythmic movement task, an improvement in biceps brachii selectivity with greater weight support was revealed by task-dependent modulation of corticomotor excitability preceding agonist or antagonist contractions. The results indicate that weight support may interact with excitatory mechanisms linking muscle representations as well as local inhibitory circuits. In a comparison of sitting and standing postures, there were small but significant differences in corticomotor excitability across the upper limb. During a reaching task, patients with moderate-severe upper limb impairment were able to hit more targets with greater weight support. Muscle activity tended to decrease with more supportive force; however, the response depended on impairment severity. Weight support had an influence on corticomotor excitability in control, mild, and moderate-severe impairment groups. The pattern of modulation was not consistent and likely reflects individual differences in lesion extent and location. Several novel findings contribute to our understanding of upper limb control. Arm weight support appears to have direct mechanical effects and indirect neurophysiological effects. Chronic stroke patients respond to changes in weight support at behavioural and neurophysiological levels. The responses vary with the severity of motor impairment.

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  • Reasoning, Physical & Social Cognition in New Caledonian crows

    Jelbert, Sarah (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    New Caledonian crows are an exceptional species of bird, known to manufacture and use complex tools in the wild. In captivity, they appear to possess a causal understanding of many elements of tool use and to demonstrate a number of advanced cognitive abilities. As a member of the large-brained corvid family, these birds have been collectively referred to as ???feathered apes???. However, to what extent are the cognitive abilities of New Caledonian crows similar to those of the great apes? Is it the case that these crows possess a suite of generalised cognitive abilities, comparable in breadth and flexibility to those of our closest primate relatives? Or, alternatively, have these birds evolved more specialised cognitive adaptions, perhaps in response to the evolutionary pressures of tool manufacture and use? In this thesis, I investigate the cognitive abilities of New Caledonian crows across a broad range of domains. I report the results of five experimental studies designed to tap different aspects of New Caledonian crow cognition, spanning the fields of causal reasoning, reasoning by exclusion, cooperation, self-control, and the cultural transmission of tool designs. From the results of this work I argue that New Caledonian crows could be characterised as possessing a portfolio of advanced physical cognition and reasoning abilities, but more limited social cognition. This body of work therefore highlights a number of similarities, but also a number of differences, between the cognitive abilities of New Caledonian crows and the great apes, and provides a window into the ways in which intelligence evolves.

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  • Mechanisms of glucocorticoid-mediated impairment of glucose transport in adipocytes

    Ngo, Sherry (2008-08)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Glucocorticoids are widely used in clinical therapy. However, they cause adverse effects including insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, which are characterised by decreased glucose transport into the muscles and fat. How glucocorticoids inhibit glucose transport remains unclear. Insulin stimulates glucose uptake via the insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 / phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) / protein kinase B (AKT) pathway and promotes the redistribution of GLUT4 from intracellular storage compartments to the plasma membrane (PM). Insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of AKT substrate of 160 kDa (AS160), a Rab-GTPase activating protein is downstream of AKT and appears to be essential for exposure of GLUT4 at the PM and glucose uptake. This is mediated through the association of phosphorylated AS160 (at the key residue T642) with 14-3-3 in the cytosol. The mildly insulin-responsive GLUT1 mediates basal glucose uptake in adipocytes. It is also subject to regulated trafficking like GLUT4. This study aimed to determine the level at which glucocorticoids inhibit glucose uptake in adipocytes. Effects of the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone (Dex) and the natural glucocorticoid cortisol, on GLUT1 and GLUT4 function were examined. Candidates for the glucocorticoid-mediated inhibition of GLUT1- and GLUT4-mediated glucose uptake were investigated. These were glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3?? (an AKT substrate) for GLUT1-mediated glucose transport; and adaptor protein containing PH domain, PTB domain, and leucine zipper motif (APPL)-1 (an AKT-interacting protein) and AS160 for GLUT4-mediated glucose transport. Dex and cortisol significantly decreased basal glucose uptake by 50% (p<0.05) in SGBS and 3T3-L1 adipocytes via the glucocorticoid repector (GR). This correlated with reduced AS160:14-3-3 interaction. Similar results were obtained for AS160-T642 basal phosphorylation. At 1nM insulin, AS160-T642 phosphorylation is maximal at sub-maximal glucose uptake, i.e. AS160 phosphorylation significantly contributes to glucose uptake. RU486 significantly prevented but did not fully abrogate the Dex-mediated reduction in glucose uptake suggesting additional Dex-induced defects. In conclusion, glucocorticoids inhibit glucose uptake at a level distal to AKT by GR-dependent mechanisms. A role for GSK3?? or APPL1 in glucocorticoid-mediated inhibition of glucose uptake requires further investigations. FOXO1 represents a suitable candidate for mediating the Dex-induced defects. Of significance, perturbation in AS160-T642 phosphorylation contributes to Dex-mediated inhibition of glucose uptake. Thus, AS160 presents a novel therapeutic target in the improvement of glucocorticoid-mediated inhibition of glucose uptake.

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  • Evaluating the Seeding Genetic Algorithm

    Meadows, Benjamin (2012)

    Undergraduate thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This work is largely motivated by the PhD thesis of Cameron Skinner [Skinner, 2009], which features a rigorous mathematical and empirical approach to understanding the underlying mechanism behind the functioning of the genetic algorithm. The results are a new understanding of the algorithm in terms of the notions of discovery, selection and combination. Skinner uses these notions to create a modification to the genetic algorithm: the ???seeding??? genetic algorithm. We recognise this innovation as an important contribution to the field of evolutionary algorithms, and our focus in this dissertation will be to test its successes, failures, and the scope of its applicability.

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  • Terrible Silence, Eternal Silence: A Consideration of Dinah's Voicelessness in the Text and Interpretative Traditions of Genesis 34

    Blyth, Caroline (2008)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    In this thesis, the author takes a journey through both biblical and contemporary patriarchal cultures, contemplating the commonality of rape survivors??? experiences across space and time, and, in particular, evaluating the insidious and pervasive influences of patriarchy, which have long served to deny these women a voice with which to relate their narrative of suffering. Consideration is given to some of the common contemporary cultural attitudes and misperceptions regarding sexual violence, commonly known as ???rape myths???, which appear to be rooted within the deeply entrenched gender stereotypes of patriarchal cultures the world over, and which survivors of sexual violence regard as lying at the very heart of their own voicelessness. The author examines the means by which these rape myths silence victims of sexual violence, then, using these myths as a hermeneutical tool, evaluates whether they are likewise given voice within both the text and interpretive traditions of Genesis 34, a biblical narrative recounting the rape of Jacob???s daughter Dinah. When these myths do appear to be represented within this narrative, consideration is then given to the impact that they may likewise have had upon Dinah???s own experience of her violation and thus, upon her ability to share her story. Moreover, the author evaluates the representations of Dinah in her interpretive afterlife, assessing the ways in which biblical interpreters may or may not appeal to these same myths in order both to attend to her silence and to make sense of her experience. This thesis therefore has two primary aims. Firstly, there is an attempt to paint a picture of the world in which Dinah experienced her sexual assault, by casting light upon the attitudes and ideologies that she would have faced from others within her own community. In addition, consideration is also given to the narrative world, which Dinah continues to occupy in the minds of those who read her story, by looking at the responses she has received and continues to receive from this interpretive community. This thesis therefore attempts to provide a deeper insight into Dinah???s own experience of sexual violence, in order that contemporary readers can better comprehend the meaningfulness and complexity of her silence and grant to it a rich and new meaning.

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  • Pelvic floor muscle function in elite nulliparous athletes.

    Kruger, Jennifer (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

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