38 results for Undergraduate, 2013

  • To be Made Disabled, A Discourse Analysis of Intellectual Disability in New Zealand, 1900 - 1960

    Burt, Lucy (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The New Zealand historiography on intellectual disability has been expanded in the twenty years by histories of the residential institution and the foundation of advocacy groups. However, there is still a limited field of history regarding how the intellectually disabled were discussed in twentieth century New Zealand. This thesis will discuss how the identity of the intellectually disabled was constructed as a social category, through different discourses, in twentieth century New Zealand. It shall be argued that from 1900 to at least 1960 those who created medical, government and public discourse also maintained the power to create the identity of the intellectually disabled. This argument will take the form of a discourse analysis and will draw on both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources will include government documents, medical literature and newspaper content. The secondary sources will cover material which provides context, and / or which has discussed the construction of intellectual disability. It will be argued that discourses centred on an idea of a 'problem' within the intellectually disabled individual. Also, the medical discourse and 'medicalized' understandings of intellectual disability will be seen to influence public and government discourse. Further, a tension will be shown in these discourses between the desire to assist the intellectually disabled and their families, as well as to protect the New Zealand community from these people.

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  • A History of the Seabrook McKenzie Centre Christchurch 1973-2013

    Hughey-Cockerell, Ngaio (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The history of the Seabrook McKenzie Centre is closely connected with a thirty-year campaign by parents and professionals for official recognition of specific learning disability as a category and for a remedial service to address the needs of children affected to be provided within mainstream schooling in New Zealand. This paper focuses on the contribution of the two professional women, Dr Jean Seabrook and Mary Cameron-Lewis who stand out, along with the patron and benefactor Sir Roy McKenzie as making a substantial contribution to the development of the Centre. Inadequate recognition by the Department of Education of children with specific learning disabilities led to the need for a separate, private, facility. This essay discusses the significance this played in contributing to the opening of the initial Centre, the subsequent expansion of the Seabrook McKenzie Centre, and the eventual opening of a school. It argues that the lack of official recognition and provision of support for these children's learning needs played a major role in the history of the Centre's establishment and continues to be a factor in its operation today.

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  • Race relations in New Zealand Through an Analysis of Broadsheet Magazine 1972-1989

    Hayes, Kimberley (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This research essay addresses race relations within the context of New Zealand second wave feminism, 1972-1989. The 1970s and 1980s are decades recognised for the increased tension in the relationship between Maori and Pakeha society. I argue that race relations were a crucial aspect of second wave feminism in New Zealand at this time. This history is signified by an important primary source, the New Zealand feminist magazine Broadsheet. I argue that the progression that Maori women made over time to gain a space within New Zealand second wave feminism reflected deeper issues of race relations in wider New Zealand society. Themes that emerge from a close analysis of Broadsheet magazine include Maori women's questioning of the relevance of New Zealand second wave feminism for them, the important contribution that Maori women made to New Zealand second wave feminism, and the growing but necessary confrontation between Maori and Pakeha women.

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  • Executioners of Convenience - The Wehrmacht's Atrocities on the Ostfront. Genocide and Ideology in a War of Annihilation, 1941-1943

    Cheer, Michael (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Abstract This thesis explores to what degree the Wehrmacht was involved in atrocities on the Eastern Front and the structures that led to this involvement. The goal is to show that the men of the Wehrmacht were incorporated more completely into a genocidal 'war of annihilation' than has been previously thought. It will be demonstrated that the Wehrmacht Heer on the Ostfront cannot be understood as a traditional army conducting a conventional war. However, it was not made up of rabidly anti-Semitic 'willing executioners' either. This research is based mainly on perpetrator testimony, including secret POW recordings, official Wehrmacht documents and soldiers testimonies. Upon examination of these documents, it becomes clear that Wehrmacht Heer units during the Ostkreig were instructed and prepared not only to assist the SS and Einsatzgruppen in prosecuting the Final Solution, but also to act independently as a kind of 'vanguard' of annihilation in their area of operations. In contrast to existing interpretations however, this thesis will argue that in general soldiers did not commit war crimes due to Nazi indoctrination/ingrained anti-Semitism or through peer pressure and brutalisation but because of indiscriminate rules of engagement set within an extremely rigid military structure, which explicitly equated Jews with Bolshevik partisans while considering Soviet POWs and civilians to be expendable.

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  • You Wouldn't Know There Was a War On. A Cultural History of New Zealanders Serving in Bomber Command during the Second World War.

    Kimberley, Aidan (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The intention of this project is to reconstruct the culture of New Zealanders serving in Bomber Command of the RAF during the Second World War. Similar work has emerged on the culture of British airmen but cultural histories looking specifically at New Zealand airmen are yet to emerge. In conducting a cultural history of this subject, this paper looks more closely at the airmens' behaviour, routines and emotions. To achieve this, it will focus on three main aspects of the New Zealanders' culture: rivalries, leisure and attitudes. Rivalries were commonplace and include sporting contests, which were encouraged as a morale boosting tool, tensions between members of aircrews, and also a bitter rivalry between Englishmen and New Zealanders which was caused by unpopular decision making by a handful of English commanders. Forms of leisure were particularly varied. Tourism was an activity New Zealanders commonly indulged in, as was visiting friends and extended family on leave, and frequenting the local concerts and stage shows. However it became clear that they had not quite grown out of their rebellious teenage selves as unsanctioned activities such as joy riding and pranks emerged. In the final chapter it is shown that the cheerful demeanour the men tried to present was the result of self-censorship to protect their families, and that once they began experiencing horrifying situations this demeanour became much harder to maintain.

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  • A Most Excellent Thing: The introduction of brown trout (Salmo trutta) to Canterbury, New Zealand 1864-1872

    Kos, Jack (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This essay examines the process undergone in the Canterbury province in the late 1860s and early 1870s to import Salmo trutta (brown trout) ova from Tasmania, to hatch them out and to distribute them throughout the waterways of the province. This essay seeks to answer two questions. First, how were trout introduced? Second, why was their introduction of such significance to colonists at the time? To answer these questions this essay draws upon a comprehensive range of primary sources including Society records and newspapers. The successful importation of trout represented one of the key early achievements of the fledgling Canterbury Acclimatisation Society at a time when several other attempted introductions were failing. The process undertaken to import the ova, rear hatchlings and distribute the �young trout� tested the scientific knowledge of the 1860s and 1870s. It necessitated significant interaction with international acclimatisation groups primarily in Australia but also further afield. This essay also attempts to convey the significance of the importation to Canterbury. Such was the public interest that the coverage of trout in print media extended to the hatching of individual ova or the sighting of escaped trout. Trout were afforded a romanticised status in colonial New Zealand society, largely as a result of their construction as a quintessentially British object. Their importation was motivated by several factors, namely the re-creation of a British ecology in New Zealand, the recreational opportunities they afforded and the food source they provided.

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  • Past within the Plot: Two Narrative Historians and their Discontents

    Vesty, Julian (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This dissertation examines the coexistence of 'narrative', popular history, which aims to tell a story to edify and entertain, with 'structural' history, which gained precedence in the university from the nineteenth century onward. Using the case studies of Simon Schama and Niall Ferguson, popular historians who transitioned from early 'structural' works to 'narrative' books and finally documentary, the precise nature of narrative is examined through the theory of literary historical tropes developed by Hayden White, where a political perspective engages an 'emplotment' where a form of narrative develops. After examining how tropes apply to the life experience, ideology and resulting emplotment of Schama and Ferguson, it looks at the academic criticisms of their narratives, in text and television documentary - namely, that the organisation of data into a compelling story negates accuracy and objectivity in the name of entertainment. Subsequently, the similarity of Schama and Ferguson's narrative style is compared to pre-academic historical writings from before Leopold von Ranke. The final argument is that the popular history espoused by Schama and Ferguson is a re-emergence of the older, pre-academic style, based on narrative, which predates the structural history which displaced it. This dissertation concludes by examining how the two historiographies might coexist, arguing that the new narrative can offer excitement and purpose to the structural historian, giving relevance to the rigorous work of structural history.

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  • ‘He’ll do the right thing’: A discussion of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan’s relationship with the Evangelical community

    Hart-Smith, Alexander (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Historiographical scholarship of previous presidents is never short in supply. James Earl Carter and Ronald Wilson Reagan are no exception to this assertion and have been extensively studied by historians. Similarly, the role of religion in politics in the United States is rarely neglected by historians. The role of the Religious Right in politics and the explanation for its emergence has also been well documented by academics. There is however a surprising lack of investigation into the specific issue of how Regan, the arguably less religious man, became more commonly identified with the Religious Right than Carter. Using both a mixture of primary and secondary sources this paper attempts to answer the question of why Carter's electoral success with Evangelicals was so short-lived. Utilizing remarks from the Presidents, their former advisors, debates and prominent Evangelical leaders this dissertation seeks to offer a new insight into why the support for Jimmy Carter was so ephemeral. This dissertation will offer a rather simple resolution to the complex question of why Evangelicals shifted their support to Reagan. The Religious Right were not just interested in the election of a pious President but wanted to transform the governance of a nation after two decades of growing secularism. Ultimately it appears that Carter's decision to campaign on little more than his moral image propelled him into the White House as this title of this thesis suggests because voters and most specifically Evangelicals believed,

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  • Re-excavating Wairau: A study of New Zealand repatriation and the excavation of Wairau Bar.

    Hickland, Shaun (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Repatriation is an increasingly significant issue in the museum world. It is concerned with the return of cultural artefacts that have been previously traded or sold into foreign countries or institutions, either at the behest of the indigenous people or the initiative of the institution holding them. This dissertation explores the role of repatriation in modern New Zealand museums and its role in furthering the often contentious relationship between Maori and museum staff. It has a specific focus on the excavation and repatriation of human remains at Wairau Bar in Marlborough. It critiques an unpublished history of the Bar written by independent historian David Armstrong, which was commissioned by Rangitane in 2009. My overall argument disputes Armstrong's portrayal of Roger Duff, ethnologist at the Canterbury Museum, as the leader of a surreptitious excavation who was consistently underhand and secretive in his dealings with Rangitane. I counter Armstrong's claims to demonstrate that Duff valued an open and transparent relationship with Rangitane and respected their cultural attitudes to ancestral remains. I conclude that these remain core values in both modern repatriation policies and museum relations with Maori. My contextual discussion draws largely on secondary scholarship and journal articles while my conclusions about Wairau Bar are largely based on primary archives and Armstrong's report.

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  • Andrew Miller and his Eagles - American Citizens, British Subjects and Rights in the ImpressmentControversy

    Rennie, Connor (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    In 1812 impressment was left as the implied cause for the outbreak of war between Britain and the United States of America. Scholars have focused on how impressment was involved in diplomacy. There remains, however, a lack of investigation into the justification of impressment. This dissertation explores the impressment of Americans by the Royal Navy and the resulting fallout. The research will focus on one group in particular: naturalised American citizens. The aim is to show that the conflict over impressment stemmed from Britain and America possessing different conceptualisations of citizenship and rights. The dissertation examines the history of impressment in Britain and the doctrine of indefeasible allegiance together with American arguments against the doctrine. This research is based on the correspondence of politicians, treatises, laws and secondary scholarship. Using these sources a narrative of diplomacy and rights will be constructed. Upon the examination of the evidence it becomes clear that American claims about the unjustness of the impressment of naturalised American citizens are wrong. While there was a dispute if naturalisation could occur, the fact is that the American government loudly disputed the British right to reclaim a large number of naturalised sailors when by the laws of America these sailors were not naturalised.

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  • Immune suppression and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma tumour biology

    Seddon, Annika (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is a non-melanoma skin cancer that is among the most common cancers capable of metastasis. The majority of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCCs) are easily treated by simple surgical excision, but there exists a subset of cases (approximately five percent) that will become invasive and metastatic. Currently, there are no clinically relevant biomarkers to identify potentially aggressive cSCC, and the biological mechanisms remain unclear. Previous work by our laboratory found high levels of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), particularly the granulocytic subpopulation, in the circulating blood of renal transplant patients and patients with cSCC. MDSCs are a mixed group of immature immune cells (including a high proportion of immature granulocytes) that have been shown to inhibit anti-cancer immunosurveillance and hence facilitate tumour progression. This study analysed circulating and tumour infiltrating immunoregulatory cell populations (MDSCs, neutrophils and lymphocytes) in the blood and tumour samples from patients with cSCC who were not on immunosuppressive medications (non-immunosuppressed, n = 29) and immunosuppressed patients with cSCC (n = 18). The frequencies of MDSCs in the immunosuppressed group were significantly higher compared to the non-immunosuppressed group when analysed as a whole. When we split the non-immunosuppressed patient group by tumour stage (high-stage tumours (n =8) and low-stage tumours (n = 21)), we found that frequencies of total MDSCs and granulocytic MDSCs were significantly higher in the blood of both the high-stage tumour group and the immunosuppressed group compared to the low-stage tumour group. When the tumours of these patients were analysed, increased peritumoural and intratumoural levels of CD66b positive neutrophils as well as higher ratios of CD66b positive neutrophils to CD8 positive lymphocytes were observed as tumour stage increased. Moderate to strong correlations between levels of tumour-associated neutrophils and lymphocytes and levels of circulating MDSCs, were also observed. A clinical audit of cSCC patients treated in the Department of Plastic Surgery, Christchurch Hospital (2009 - 2011) was performed to investigate associations among immunoregulatory cell populations, high-risk tumour characteristics and survival in a larger cohort (n=168). Immunosuppressed patients (n = 39) had higher levels of circulating neutrophils and lower levels of lymphocytes in their blood compared to the non-immunosuppressed patients (n = 129). When the non-immunosuppressed patients were analysed independently, patients that had neutrophil counts of over 4.5 x 109/L, compared to those with lower neutrophil counts, had a significantly higher proportion of tumours that were greater than five millimetres in thickness (p = 0.03), a Clark level of five (p = 0.02) and had higher overall tumour stage (p = 0.04). Furthermore, a thickness of greater than five millimetres was the most significant predictor of overall survival in non-immunosuppressed patients, a characteristic that is given relatively little importance under the current staging system. None of the circulating immune cell populations investigated were associated with overall survival, however neutrophil levels in circulation showed some association with advanced tumour stage (p = 0.04). This is the first study to investigate MDSCs, neutrophils and lymphocytes with clinical information in patients with cSCC. Although patient numbers were small in the current study, and survival and recurrence data for this cohort is beyond the scope of this thesis, this work will be ongoing. As part of this ongoing research, the mechanisms by which neutrophils and granulocytic MDSCs might contribute to tumour progression should be explored. This research will lead to a greater understanding of the underlying pathology of aggressive cSCC, and may provide more informative biomarkers to help identify patients with high-risk cSCC.

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  • The Paediatric Outpatient Coding Pilot Study

    Kerr, Neal Alexander Moealia (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    In New Zealand, recent literature would suggest that children with chronic health conditions and disabilities, and their families are in need of greater support. The primary aims of this thesis were to; determine whether the information currently available on these children was sufficient for service planning; explore the options for information collection; assess whether paediatric outpatient diagnostic coding could be used to inform planning and funding decisions for this group. These aims were addressed by examination of the national information sources on children with chronic health conditions and disabilities and assessing their ability to inform population Health Needs Assessment for service planning within District Health Boards. The data within the National Non-Admitted Patient Collection was then analysed in detail to determine whether it could yield findings on children with chronic health conditions and disabilities useful for service planning. Finally, a pilot study was undertaken to determine whether clinician based diagnostic coding of paediatric outpatient services comparing the use of ICD-10-AM and SNOMED-CT to yield data on these children is suitable for service planning and funding decisions. Review of the available information on children with chronic health conditions and disabilities in New Zealand confirmed that these children and their families are in need of greater support but that there are no sources currently in use which are suitable to inform service planning and funding decisions at the local District Health Board level (e.g. Timely, Comprehensive, Consistent, Regionally Specific, Diagnostically Defined and with associated Demographic Elements). The National Non-Admitted Patient Collection was shown to have many of the elements required to inform planning and funding decisions but lacked diagnostic information. Preliminary analysis of the Paediatric Outpatient Coding Pilot Study findings from the Southern District Health Board indicated that on average clinician based coding was faster with SNOMED-CT (1.1minutes) per visit than ICD-10-AM (1.6 minutes) or than Trained Clinical Coders using ICD-10-AM (3.1 minutes). Trained Clinical Coders using ICD-10-A M were able to assign diagnostic codes to the most common conditions more consistently than clinicians using ICD-10-AM or SNOMED-CT. Overall, 85 percent of participating clinicians either supported or strongly supported the national routine collection of paediatric outpatient diagnostic codes. A number of conclusions were evident from the research. The information currently available on children with chronic health conditions and disabilities is adequate to demonstrate that they need greater support. However, the information is not sufficient to inform local service planning to address this need. The preliminary findings of the Paediatric Outpatient Coding Pilot Study would suggest that, with further development in IT systems particularly, paediatric outpatient diagnostic coding combined with the National Non-Admitted Patient Collection, would constitute an ideal approach to capturing information on children with chronic health conditions and disabilities suitable to inform planning of local and national level health support services.

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  • Voluntary Tremor Suppression in Parkinson's Disease

    Ha, William Anthony (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common degenerative neurological disorder, and resting tremor is one of the main symptoms of this disease. It has been observed that some patients with Parkinsonian rest tremor are able to suppress their tremor voluntarily with mental concentration or by focusing attention on the affected limb. This process is not well understood and this study aims to describe and assess voluntary tremor suppression in patients with PD, as well as to identify the critical cortical or subcortical regions activated during this process. Methods: Nine participants with tremor-dominant PD were recruited for this study. These patients had unilateral rest tremors of the upper limb and were able to consciously stop their tremor for a period of time. Each patient was assessed using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), movement tracking and functional imaging. Physical characteristics of the tremor such as amplitude and frequency were measured using a 3-D Polhemus Liberty electromagnetic movement tracking in the MoVELab. Functional imaging was undertaken using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a 3.0 Tesla scanner, with functional data collected with a standard T2 weighted MRI sequence along with T1 weighted 3-D anatomical data. Results: The extent of voluntary tremor suppression differed between the participants with some being able to suppress reliably for long periods of time, and others unable to do so consistently. Participants had slight to moderate tremors according to the UPDRS. The majority of participants described their method of suppression as concentrating on the affected limb and/or focusing on relaxing the limb. Movement tracking confirmed what was observed, with variation in tremor amplitude, and the extent of suppression. FMRI showed differing areas of activation involved in tremor suppression amongst the participants. Activated areas were generally contralateral to the tremor, and were widespread, including parts of the primary motor cortex, superior parietal lobule, supramarginal gyrus and middle frontal gyrus. Conclusion: This study was the first attempt at describing the process of voluntary tremor suppression in PD. The differing methods the participants used to suppress their tremor were recorded and described, and objective measures of the suppression taken. Functional imaging revealed a number of areas involved in tremor suppression.

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  • Predicting Steroid Responsiveness using Exhaled Nitric Oxide

    Rawcliffe, Laura Kay (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: In susceptible individuals, exercise can be a potent trigger of bronchoconstriction resulting in symptoms which are commonly diagnosed as exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Empiric trials of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are often employed as treatment in preventing EIA symptoms, yet there is marked variability in treatment response. This heterogeneity may be explained by the differing pathological mechanisms which predispose to exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). These include airway inflammation, which itself is heterogeneous. Patients with eosinophilic airway inflammation, compared to noneosinophilic, demonstrate greater protection against EIB with regular ICS therapy. Additionally, the degree of sputum eosinophilia correlates with the severity of EIB. Exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) is a non-invasive surrogate biomarker for eosinophilic airway inflammation. Increased levels of FENO are associated with the presence and severity of EIB, and in patients with non-specific respiratory symptoms can predict steroid responsiveness. Investigating the potential ability of FENO measurements to identify patients with EIA symptoms likely to have a favourable response to ICS would reduce empiric prescribing, and is therefore clinically important. Hypothesis: Patients with EIA symptoms and high FENO are more likely to respond to ICS treatment, compared to those with low FENO Aims: 1. Calculate the predictive utility of FENO measurements in patients with EIA symptoms and airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) for response to ICS 2. Compare the effectiveness of ICS in the management of patients with EIA symptoms with low versus high FENO 3. Confirm that pre-treatment measurement of FENO is an important way to approach the management of patients with EIA symptoms. Methods: Patients with EIA symptoms and AHR to mannitol and/or exercise challenge were enrolled. A randomised, crossover, placebo-controlled trial of budesonide 800μg b.d was undertaken. Each treatment period was one month in duration, with an intervening two week washout. Patients were allocated to a low or high FENO group based on their pre-treatment off steroid measurement, using 45ppb as the cut-point. The following endpoints were measured at baseline and after each treatment arm: FENO, spirometry, AHR to mannitol and exercise challenges, Asthma Control Questionnaire score, and Borg Dyspnoea Score. Results: Forty five symptomatic patients were screened and seventeen fulfilled the eligibility criteria. FENO had a high predictive utility for steroid responsiveness (ROC AUC=0.833). The optimum cut-point for FENO to predict steroid responsiveness in this population was 41.0ppb with corresponding sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of 78.6%, 66.7%, 91.7% and 40.0% respectively. Analyses by FENO stratification revealed there were no significant improvements in any of the measured endpoints following budesonide in the low FENO group, except for FENO itself (33.4ppb vs. 17.6ppb; p=0.006). In contrast, patients with a high baseline FENO, demonstrated a reduced FENO (76.5ppb vs. 36.1ppb; p=0.007) and reduced AHR to mannitol (PD15 to mannitol increased; 193mg vs. 443mg; p=0.010). Improvements in asthma control score and AHR to exercise challenge approached, but did not reach, significance (p=0.071 and 0.063 respectively). Conclusions: Patients with a high pre-treatment FENO demonstrated clinical improvements following treatment with budesonide, whereas those with a low FENO showed no improvement. Pre-treatment FENO measurements may be used to predict whether patients with EIA respiratory symptoms will respond to ICS treatment. These data support the use of this simple test to aid clinical decisions in the management EIA.

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  • Genome Architecture and Phenotypic Plasticity: Is the Lethal (2) Essential for Life cluster epigenetically regulated during ovary activation in the honeybee, Apis mellifera?

    Lovegrove, Mackenzie R. (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of an organism to alter its phenotype, without altering its genome, in response to environmental cues. There is mounting evidence it is involved in human development, where it has been implicated in the risk of developing noncommunicable adult diseases. Studying the molecular basis of this in mammals can be difficult, particularly separating out single influences from complex environmental interactions. The honey bee, Apis mellifera, provides a useful model in which to study plasticity because of its well-controlled, easily triggered plastic responses. Queen bees are normally the only reproductively active females within a hive, but workers can activate their ovaries in response to the loss of the queen. During this process, over a third of the genome shows altered gene expression, implying that coordinated gene regulation within a chromatin domain may play a role. We have identified a candidate cluster for investigating this hypothesis, the Lethal (2) Essential for Life (L(2)efl) group. The genes of which are down-regulated as the workers undergo ovary activation. The findings of this study show that the original boundaries of the chromatin domain had been underestimated, and that the CTCF insulator element binding sites which flank the genes of the Lethal(2)efl cluster, LOC100576174 and Gmap, appear to be the boundaries of the coordinated regulation. All of the genes within these sites show co-ordinated regulation, with expression occurring in the terminal filament cells of the ovary in queens, workers and active workers. As ovary activation is a phenotypically plastic response to an environmental cue, it was hypothesised that the mechanisms which underlie it are epigenetic in nature, with previous work identifying the repressive histone mark H3K27me3 as likely playing a role in ovary activation. Potential binding sites for the ecdysteroid-regulated transcription factors BR-C Z1 and Z4 were found for all of the genes within the CTCF binding sites, and none directly outside it (LOC411452 and LOC412824). The proposed model for the coordinated regulation of the genes within the chromatin domain containing the L(2)efl group is through an interaction of both histone modifications and ecdysteroid-regulated transcription factors. This work provides evidence for large scale, coordinated changes in gene expression leading to phenotypic plasticity in response to an environmental influence.

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  • The Effects of Pharmacological Preconditioning with GYKI-52466 and Domoic Acid on LTP and LTD Induction in the Rat Hippocampus

    Macindoe, Jessica Ellen (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Many neurodegenerative diseases are associated with severe memory loss and cognitive impairment, highlighting a critical demand for the development of neuroprotectants and nootropics. It has been shown that certain compounds can trigger lasting neuroprotective mechanisms. This phenomenon is called ‘pharmacological preconditioning,’ and it has recently been suggested that preconditioning may also enhance cognitive function. Indeed, preconditioning with GYKI-52466 and domoic acid (DOM) has prophylactic neuroprotective efficacy in vivo and in vitro, and preliminary in vitro results demonstrate their ability to enhance long term synaptic potentiation (LTP) and long term depression (LTD), thus denoting nootropic potential. The aim of the present study was develop an effective in vitro preconditioning strategy using GYKI-52466 or DOM, and clarify their effects on LTP and LTD induction in the rat hippocampus. Hippocampal slices from male Sprague Dawley rats were subject to acute or chronic preconditioning with 6 μM GYKI-52466, or acute preconditioning with 50 nM DOM. Control slices were not preconditioned. Slices subsequently underwent LTP or LTD induction, and electrophysiological techniques were used to assess the response to this. Orthodromic Schaffer collateral-evoked CA1 population spikes and field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSP) were monitored before and after LTP or LTD induction. Data were expressed as mean percentage change from baseline (± SEM) and group differences compared to controls at a 30 minute time-point post LTP or LTD induction was determined by an unpaired student’s t-test at a confidence level of P<0.05. GYKI-52466 and DOM preconditioning failed to enhance LTP and LTD induction. Both control and preconditioned slices exhibited comparable magnitudes of LTP and LTD for population spike amplitude, area and fEPSP slope, with no significant differences between control and preconditioned slices evident at a 30 minute time-point. These findings suggest that preconditioning with GYKI-52466 and DOM would not confer nootropic potential.

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  • Allocation and Ageism in Aotearoa: An exploration of the ethical justification for age-based healthcare rationing

    Lambie, Deborah (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    New Zealand’s population, like many first world countries, is ‘ageing’. This will place our healthcare system under increasing and changing pressures, as there will be a greater proportion of older people in our population who have particular health needs and generally require greater levels of care over longer periods. These projected changes have resulted in calls to ration healthcare resources to the elderly. This is driven in part by concerns that the elderly will consume resources at the expense of other generations. Such proposals have been met with staunch criticism, most of which focuses on the idea that age-based allocation devalues those discriminated against, viz. the elderly. In this thesis I argue that this criticism can theoretically be overcome if the principles of age prioritisation are applied consistently over the lifetime of members of society, so that everyone is equally affected. I then introduce Norman Daniels’ ‘Prudential Lifespan Account’, which provides a moral basis from which such principles can be derived. This shows us that as a society we should protect the ‘normal range of opportunity’ available to citizens. This creates a need for resources to be distributed fairly between generations in order to ensure that each is given the best chance possible of having the normal range of opportunity. Under this theory, certain forms of age-based allocation can be justified. I go on to outline Daniel Callahan’s view of the nature of mortality and end-of-life care, which incorporates Daniels’ Prudential Lifespan Account. This provides a helpful framework for reflecting on our collective response to ageing and dying, which will place certain limits on the amount spent on care for the elderly. However, these limits will not ultimately address the challenges our healthcare sector is currently facing due to the ageing population. With this in mind, I consider whether a straightforward cut-off for healthcare allocation is ethically justifiable. I argue that it cannot because it contradicts the basic principles of justice underpinning Norman Daniels’ theory, and so lacks an adequate moral foundation. Some other responses must be taken in order to ensure that members of our society receive their share of opportunity. In the final chapter I outline some possible strategies that are consistent with the ideals put forward by both Daniels and Callahan.

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  • Body Weight Regulation During Pregnancy in the mouse

    Fieldwick, Diana Maria (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Leptin is an adipose-derived hormone that acts in the hypothalamus to regulate energy homeostasis by decreasing appetite and increasing metabolic rate. During pregnancy, food intake and fat deposition increases, despite elevated leptin levels, suggesting a state of leptin resistance. The aim of this thesis is to determine whether mice become resistant to leptin during pregnancy. This would facilitate use of transgenic animals to elucidate the mechanism of pregnancy-induced leptin resistance. To examine this we looked at food intake in response to leptin administration, and the effect of leptin on the expression of phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (pSTAT3) in the hypothalamus of pregnant mice. To establish normal eating patterns throughout the mouse reproductive cycle, food, water intake and body weight were monitored during the estrous cycle, pregnancy and early lactation. To investigate whether pregnant mice remained responsive to the satiety effects of leptin, food intake was measured after an intraperitoneal (i.p.) leptin or vehicle injection in fasted mid-pregnant (day 13) mice and compared to non-pregnant (diestrous) mice. Leptin treatment significantly reduced food intake in the non-pregnant mice while no effect was seen in the pregnant mice. This indicates that mice become resistant to the appetite suppressant effects of leptin during pregnancy. To quantify hypothalamic leptin resistance in the pregnant mouse, pSTAT3, a marker of leptin signal transduction, was measured in mid-pregnant and non-pregnant mice following i.p. administration of leptin. In all regions examined in both the pregnant and non-pregnant mice, leptin treatment induced significant pSTAT3 expression compared to vehicle treatment. However, in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH), leptin treatment induced significantly less pSTAT3 expression in pregnant compared to nonpregnant mice. In contrast, in the arcuate nucleus there was no significant difference in expression of pSTAT3 following leptin treatment between pregnant and non-pregnant mice. These data support the hypothesis that pregnancy in the mouse is a leptin resistant state associated with impaired leptin-induced signal transduction, involving the JAK/STAT pathway, specifically in the VMH and DMH. This is an adaptive maternal response to provide sufficient energy stores for the metabolically demanding tasks of pregnancy and lactation. Maternal obesity is a significant health concern that is exacerbated by this physiological adaptation with considerable side effects for both mother and baby. Gaining a better understanding of pregnancy-induced leptin resistance provides an opportunity to help in the management of this topical issue.

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  • Brain Regions Responding to Endogenous Prolactin during Pregnancy and Lactation

    McFadden, Sarah Louise (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    There is an increased incidence of dysfunctional mood disorders postpartum, affecting approximately 10-20% of all women. Postpartum mood disorders can have devastating effects on the mother, and lead to altered relationships with offspring, an increased incidence of child abuse, and increased conflict in relationships leading to a higher rate of separation. It has been discovered that low levels of prolactin during early pregnancy prevent the normal increase in neurogenesis in the subventricular zone (SVZ) from occurring, resulting in markedly increased anxiety postpartum in mice. However, it has been observed that the SVZ does not express prolactin receptor mRNA, nor prolactin-induced phosphorylation of the transcription factor STAT5 (pSTAT5), a marker of prolactin mediated signal transduction. Therefore, we hypothesized that the normal elevation of prolactin that occurs in early pregnancy initiates changes in other areas of the maternal brain that indirectly lead to increased neurogenesis in the SVZ. The aim of this study was to characterize which areas of the brain are activated in response to the normal surges of prolactin that occur during early pregnancy, and also if there is a difference in the regions of the brain that are activated during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. A group of mice were killed on day 3 of pregnancy at a time when prolactin levels were low, and another group of mice were killed during a surge when prolactin levels were high. Two groups of mice were also killed on day 7, one at a time when prolactin was low, and the other when prolactin was high. The final two groups were killed on postpartum day 4; one group had been exposed to pups, and the other had not. Using immunohistochemistry we analyzed levels of pSTAT5 throughout the mouse brain. We found that expression of pSTAT5 was significantly increased when prolactin levels were high compared to when they were low during pregnancy. Expression of pSTAT5 was seen in regions of the brain known to be crucial for regulation of mood and behaviour, such as the medial preoptic area, and also in the Arcuate nucleus and the VMH (ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus). In the lactating mice, a higher expression of pSTAT5 was seen in these areas, as well as in additional areas not seen during pregnancy, such as the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis, the Amygdala and the Dorsomedial Hypothalamic Nucleus. These areas may be areas necessary for maternal behaviours at the time of lactation. We also stained for c-fos, a marker of early gene activation in neurons to establish if there were nuclei that are indirectly responding to prolactin. The c-fos data showed that it was not a good marker for prolactin activation, but it was able to show areas of the brain important for maternal behaviour. In conclusion, this study confirmed that prolactin does not activate pSTAT5 in the sub ventricular zone during pregnancy, consistent with the hypothesis that prolactin induced increase in neurogenesis in this area is mediated indirectly. We identified the MPA, the arcuate and the VMH as the major areas responsive to endogenous prolactin in early pregnancy. Moreover, we found that there were more prolactin-responsive areas in the maternal brain during lactation.

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  • The Effect of Mepilex Lite Dressings on Acute Radiation-Induced Skin Reactions in Women Receiving Post-Mastectomy Chest wall Irradiation

    Poonam, Prashika (2013)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Acute radiation-induced skin reactions are the most common side-effect of external beam radiation therapy ranging from changes in skin colour to dry and flaky skin, leading to moist desquamation (ulceration). Severe skin reactions compromise quality of life; however, there is currently no standard treatment. Treatment is therefore based on historical and/or anecdotal data which has resulted in substantial variation in skin care practice. A multicentre, intra-individually controlled, randomised trial was conducted to investigate whether Mepilex Lite dressings are superior to the standard departmental care in reducing the extent of acute radiation-induced skin reactions in patients receiving treatment for breast cancer post-mastectomy. Mepilex Lite (Mölnlycke Health Care LTD, Göteborg, Sweden) is a thin, self-adhering, absorbent, soft silicone dressing which was hypothesised to reduce reactions by protecting the irradiated skin against mechanical damage caused by friction and abrasion from clothing or adjacent tissue. This thesis analyses the results of 13 patients recruited at the Regional Cancer Treatment Services who were a subset of the large 80 patient multicentre trial. From the first sign of erythema on the chest wall, the erythematous patch was divided into two equal halves; one half was randomly assigned to be covered in Mepilex Lite dressings, the other to be treated with aqueous cream. Once erythema advanced to moist desquamation, skin under the control patch was dressed with dressings that were standard to the department while the intervention patch continued to be treated with Mepilex Lite dressings. The Modified Radiation-Induced Skin Reaction Assessment Scale (RISRAS) was used to assess the visual signs (researcher component) of the skin reaction while the patient component assessed symptomatic changes for at least three times a week during radiation therapy and once a week post-treatment until all reactions were resolved. An exit questionnaire was filled out by each patient upon completion of the trial allowing them to comment on the different aspects of the trial including their experience with using the Mepilex Lite dressings. Mepilex Lite dressings decreased the severity of skin reactions by 38% (p=0.002) based on the mean combined (patients and researcher) RISRAS scores. Patient RISRAS scores heavily influenced this score, showing a decrease of 77% (p=0.004) compared to the researcher scores which showed a decrease of 19% (p=0.008). Analysis of the peak RISRAS scores to assess the difference in the maximum severity of the skin reactions under each arm showed a similar trend. Combined peak RISRAS showed a decrease of 43% (p=0.005), with a patient component of 74% (p=0.006) and a researcher component of 20% (p=0.026). Analysis of moist desquamation scores alone showed a decrease in both the mean and peak RISRAS scores (38% (p=0.04); 46% (p=0.02) respectively) in favour of the Mepilex Lite dressings. Exit questionnaires highlighted that the silicon dressing was easy to use and comfortable to wear and most patients preferred the dressings over the cream. The findings of this thesis demonstrates that Mepilex Lite dressings reduce the visible signs of radiation-induced acute skin reactions and cause a substantial decrease in patient discomfort and subjective symptoms.

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