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    EEG-based neurophysiological indices for expert psychomotor performance – a review

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    A primary objective of current human neuropsychological performance research is to define the physiological correlates of adaptive knowledge utilization, in order to support the enhanced execution of both simple and complex tasks. Within the present article, electroencephalography-based neurophysiological indices characterizing expert psychomotor performance, will be explored. As a means of characterizing fundamental processes underlying efficient psychometric performance, the neural efficiency model will be evaluated in terms of alpha-wave-based selective cortical processes. Cognitive and motor domains will initially be explored independently, which will act to encapsulate the task-related neuronal adaptive requirements for enhanced psychomotor performance associating with the neural efficiency model. Moderating variables impacting the practical application of such neuropsychological model, will also be investigated. As a result, the aim of this review is to provide insight into detectable task-related modulation involved in developed neurocognitive strategies which support heightened psychomotor performance, for the implementation within practical settings requiring a high degree of expert performance (such as sports or military operational settings)

    Injury incidence, severity and type across the menstrual cycle in female footballers: a prospective three season cohort study

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    Purpose: The aim of the study was to assess the influence of menstrual cycle phase on injury incidence, severity and type in elite female professional footballers over three seasons. Methods: Time-loss injuries and menstrual cycle data were prospectively recorded for 26 elite female football players across three seasons. The menstrual cycle was categorised into four phases using a standardised model: menstruation (phase 1; P1), remainder of follicular phase (phase 2; P2), early luteal (phase 3; P3), and pre-menstrual phase (phase 4; P4). Injury incidence rates (IRR) and ratios (IIRR) were calculated for overall injuries, injury severity, type, contact vs non-contact and game/training. Results: 593 cycles across 13,390 days were tracked during the study and 74 injuries from 26 players were eligible for analysis. When comparing IRR between phases (reference: P1), overall injury rates were highest in P4 (IIRR: 2.30 [95% CI: 0.99-5.34; p=0.05]). When examining rates by injury severity and type, IRR were also highest in P4 for ≤7 days’ time-loss (4.40 [0.93-20.76; p=0.06]), muscle-specific (6.07 [1.34-27.43; p=0.02]) and non-contact (3.05 [1.10-8.50; p=0.03]) injuries. Muscle-specific (IIRR P3:P1: 5.07 [1.16-22.07; p=0.03]) and ≤7 days’ time-loss (4.47 [1.01-19.68; p=0.05]) injury risk was also significantly higher in P3. Muscle injuries were the most prevalent sub-type (n=41). No anterior cruciate ligament injuries were recorded across the monitoring period. Conclusion: Injury risk was significantly elevated during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (P3 and P4) among elite female professional footballers. Further research is urgently needed to better understand the influence of the menstrual cycle on injury risk and to develop interventions to mitigate risk

    'Pushing through the pain cave': Lived experiences of pain tolerance in male ultra-marathon runners

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    Extant research has typically focused on the study of pain tolerance in endurance sport from a psychophysiological perspective, with findings illustrating that ultra-runners can tolerate pain for a longer duration of time than non-running active controls. However, qualitative investigation that explores the lived experiences of pain tolerance in ultra-running has been limited thus far. This research explored the lived experiences of pain tolerance in male ultra-marathon runners and how this evolved over time. Six male ultra-marathon runners were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. The methodology and analysis were guided by Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four group experiential themes (GETs) were identified, and these are: building relationships with pain, what is ‘real’ pain? gratification of pushing through pain, and the trajectory of enduring hardship. The findings highlight the challenge of distinguishing between discomfort and real pain and the influence of socio-cultural norms on pain tolerance within ultra-running. The study raises important applied implications for coaches and sport psychology practitioners with regards to developing a holistic picture of ultra-runners’ pain experiences and cultivating environments that facilitate multiple narratives and enhance individuals ultra-running experiences

    Moving from Ethnic Exclusions to Cultural Safety: How is athlete ethnicity discussed in research on menstrual health in sports? A Scoping Review.

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    Objective: To investigate how athlete ethnicity is discussed in the inclusion and exclusion criteria, methodology, findings, and conclusions of research focused on menstrual health in sports science and medicine. Design: A scoping review of sports-based research conducted on athletes related to (1) menstrual health and ethnicity, (2) how researchers include/exclude participants based on ethnicity, and (3) how ethnicity is discussed. Data Sources: Electronic search of PubMed, and ProQuest. Eligibility criteria: Articles were included if they met the following criteria: (1) published before September 2023, (2) published in peer-reviewed journals, (3) participants were women athletes, (4) published in English, and (5) relating to menstrual health. Articles were assessed as good, fair, or poor quality using the Inclusion of Participant Ethnicity Quality Assessment Criteria. Results: From the 1089 studies available from the initial database search, 55 studies considered ethnicity. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria and were assessed as either good (22%), fair (44%), or poor (33%) in quality in their consideration of athlete ethnicity. 81% of research articles on menstrual health in sports do not consider athlete ethnicity, and when ethnicity is discussed, it rarely meets the criteria for cultural safety in the research process. Most studies did not factor ethnicity into the analysis and lacked cultural considerations in the research design and interventions. Conclusion: More careful inclusion of ethnicity in sports menstrual health-related research and recognition of social and cultural influences on health and research outcomes for indigenous and other ethnic minority groups is needed. Such research is required to support coaches, medical personnel, and support staff in designing culturally safe environments for sportswomen from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds

    Corticospinal and spinal responses following a single session of lower limb motor skill and resistance training

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    Prior studies suggest resistance exercise as a potential form of motor learning due to task-specific corticospinal responses observed in single sessions of motor skill and resistance training. While existing literature primarily focuses on upper limb muscles, revealing a task-dependent nature in eliciting corticospinal responses, our aim was to investigate such responses after a single session of lower limb motor skill and resistance training. Twelve participants engaged in a visuomotor force tracking task, self-paced knee extensions, and a control task. Corticospinal, spinal, and neuromuscular responses were measured using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS). Assessments occurred at baseline, immediately post, and at 30-min intervals over two hours. Force steadiness significantly improved in the visuomotor task (P < 0.001). Significant fixed-effects emerged between conditions for corticospinal excitability, corticospinal inhibition, and spinal excitability (all P < 0.001). Lower limb motor skill training resulted in a greater corticospinal excitability compared to resistance training (mean difference [MD] = 35%, P < 0.001) and control (MD; 37%, P < 0.001). Motor skill training resulted in a lower corticospinal inhibition compared to control (MD; – 10%, P < 0.001) and resistance training (MD; – 9%, P < 0.001). Spinal excitability was lower following motor skill training compared to control (MD; – 28%, P < 0.001). No significant fixed effect of Time or Time*Condition interactions were observed. Our findings highlight task-dependent corticospinal responses in lower limb motor skill training, offering insights for neurorehabilitation program design

    A systematic literature review of intersectionality and disability in education

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    This systematic literature review synthesizes empirical analyses and applications of intersectionality in discussing disability in education. Even though intersectional methodologies have gained increased attention during the last decade, disability has rarely featured in these multi-axial analyses. The systematic review explores intersections of disability with other axes of identity and social disadvantage concerning perceptions and understandings of disability in education, experiences of ex/inclusion and educational dis/advantage. The review addresses the following questions: What intersectional dimensions of disability experience are explored? In what ways do students with disabilities experience intersectional forms of discrimination and oppression? What intersectionality-based education policy and practice implications are discussed in these articles? The review’s findings provide empirically tested insights into how the experience of disability is interwoven with and compounded by other markers of difference, while discussing implications for developing intersectionality-based policies and education research

    LEGAL CHALLENGES OF THE GLOBALISED WORLD: How should the law protect and realise rights?

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    LEGAL CHALLENGES OF THE GLOBALISED WORLD: How should the law protect and realise rights?: Summaries of the papers of the International Scientific and Practice Conference (Dnipro, London, October 11th , 2023) held by Dnipro Humanitarian University, University of Roehampton and the University of Westminster with the assistance of St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. The conference collection contains a summary of the proceedings of the International scientific and practical conference "LEGAL CHALLENGES OF THE GLOBALISED WORLD: How should the law protect and realise rights?" (October 11th, 2023), which was attended by representatives of higher education institutions, scientific institutions, law enforcement agencies and courts, non-governmental institutions of Ukraine and foreign countries

    Understanding how volunteer companionship impacts those during the end of life: A realist evaluation

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    Abstract Volunteers are a popular unpaid support role in end of life care yet how accompaniment influences the dying is underdeveloped. This study examined how companionship works, for whom, in what circumstances and why. Initial realist ideas were developed through participant observation (14 months), document analysis, and realist interviews with companionship trainers (n=6). Theory testing involved volunteer interviews (n=7), accounts from the dying, proxy accounts for the dying, and written reflections from companionship training. Companionship helps people live well until they die, prepare for death, and experience a good death. Four areas of volunteering explain these outcomes namely a loving friend, a holistic presence, a non-judgmental intermediary, and wrap around care. The four areas activate mechanisms related to reminiscing, preserving dignity/personhood, and easing suffering, contingent on specific contexts. The findings unpack how volunteering exerts its influence and what contextual factors facilitate outcomes, advancing the knowledge in this area. The presence of volunteers in palliative care is popular, yet, a definition of what volunteering entails is underdeveloped (Bloomer & Walshe, 2020; Payne et al., 2022). Nonetheless, it is largely accepted that volunteers complement formal services by offering holistic support that can enhance wellbeing (Knights et al., 2020; Walshe et al., 2021). Volunteers emphasize the relational aspects of care and support the practical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the dying (Bloomer & Walshe, 2020; Dodd et al., 2018; Sharp, 2022). Typically, volunteers occupy a unique position traversing health professional and family. This can mean they are often better placed to provide neutrality and advocacy for the dying person (Vanderstichelen et al., 2020). The importance of addressing the holistic needs of the dying is well established but research on how volunteers support the dying is lacking (Abu-Odah et al., 2022; Sévigny et al., 2010; Vanderstichelen, 2022). Although volunteering is diverse companionship is often seen as a core function of the role. Companionship involves “being with” rather than “doing for” people and a volunteer’s presence is central to the envisaged impact on a person’s quality of life (Dodd et al., 2018; Fakoya et al., 2021). Companionship can offer opportunities for conversation, psychosocial support, advocacy, and sense making (Bloomer & Walshe, 2020). Nonetheless, understanding what individual outcomes are influenced through companionship in palliative care is largely unknown. The companionship literature to date has largely explored companion’s experiences through surveys or qualitative methods to categorize features of the work. Alternatively, a priori coding manuals have been used to appraise how companionship presents in interactions with the dying. Both approaches fail to unpick how actions determine outcomes or how varying circumstances produce different outcomes, which is lacking in the literature (Pino et al., 2021; Pino & Land, 2022). Conversational analysis may be a useful innovation in understanding the intricacies of companionship, but the link to explaining how the actions of companions exert their influence is only emerging. The impact of companionship in palliative care is noted elsewhere and common outcomes include enhancing comfort, dignity, respect and wellbeing (Sévigny et al., 2010). Nonetheless, research exploring how the companions navigate their role and what contexts catalyst outcomes is largely not documented. Where authors have aspired to outline the intricacies of end of life support, results have emphasized medical needs, coordination, referral pathways, leadership approaches, and the knowledge and skills of staff (Costello, 2006; Hashem et al., 2020; Stewart-Lord et al., 2022). Some exploratory research does exist but is restricted to single outcomes or cohorts (Fakoya et al., 2021; Malcolm & Knighting, 2022). At the time of writing this manuscript a chasm remains between understanding the well documented outcomes of championship and how the presence of volunteers achieves these outcomes. Quantifying and explaining companions contribution to care is difficult (Bloomer & Walshe, 2020) as many of the benefits escape typical measurement tools and companions do not have a routine place in the healthcare system (Dodd et al., 2018; Scott et al., 2021). Yet, companionship may mitigate the medialization of death, help ease healthcare burden, and improve quality of life (Parks & Howard, 2021). To overcome the current challenges research must build and test theory about what works, for whom, in what circumstances and why (van der Steen et al., 2022). The aim of this research was therefore to advance the understanding of what works, for whom, in what circumstances and why, in relation to end of life companionship

    A Low Omega-3 Index and High AA/EPA Ratio in American College Football Players are Both Improved Following 5 Weeks of DHA-Rich Algae Oil Supplementation

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    Many athletes are deficient in long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA). A consequent low Omega-3 Index (O3I) and high arachidonic acid/eicosapentaenoic acid (AA/EPA) ratio increase cardiovascular disease risk and inflammation. Algae oil is a plant-based, sustainable source of LC n-3 PUFA, suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Effects of algae oil supplementation on whole blood fatty acids among athletes has not been previously reported. This study evaluated the effects of 5 weeks of DHA-rich algae oil supplementation on the whole blood fatty acid profile, O3I and AA/EPA ratio of omnivorous Division I American College Football (ACF) players. Methods: Data, including a spot blood sample, were collected at baseline for all participants (n = 47), then for a subset of players (n = 22) following a 5-week control period (usual diet) and 5 weeks of algae oil supplementation (usual diet + 1575 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) + eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) 5 days/week; average 1125 mg/day). Results: Baseline O3I was 4.3% ± 0.1% and AA/EPA ratio was 45.6 ± 23.8. After 5 weeks of algae oil supplementation, the O3I was 6.1% ± 1.0% and the AA/EPA ratio was 25.1 ± 11.6. The O3I was significantly higher and the AA/EPA ratio was significantly lower (P < 0.0001 for both) compared with both baseline and the end of the control period. The increase in O3I from baseline was correlated with calculated DHA + EPA dose per unit body mass (R = 0.641, P = 0.001). Conclusions: Algae oil supplementation for 5 weeks improved both the low baseline O3I and high AA/EPA ratio among ACF players, with body mass specific dose effects

    The effectiveness of customised 3D-printed insoles on perceived pain, comfort, and completion time among frequent Park Runners: Study protocol for a pragmatic randomised controlled trial (The ZOLES RCT).

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    Running, a popular recreational activity, often leads to the experience of pain and discomfort among participants impacting performance and participation longevity. The ZOLES trial evaluates customised 3D-printed insoles for reducing pain in frequent parkrunners aged 35 and over. An innovative process of foot-scanning and responses to questions relating to size, pain, discomfort, and previous medical conditions are combined leading to the production of personalised 3D-printed orthotics. The ZOLES trial is a pragmatic, outcome assessor blinded, randomised, controlled, superiority trial involving 200 recreational runners, randomised to receive either customised 3D-printed insoles (ZOLES) or to a "do-as-usual" control group. The study follows a robust protocol, ensuring adherence to established guidelines for clinical trials, and is based at St Mary's University, Twickenham, London. The primary outcome is change in running-related pain over a 10-week period, assessed using an 11-point Numeric Rating Scale. Secondary outcomes include overall pain and discomfort, running-related comfort, 5k-completion time, time-loss due to injuries, running exposure, and adherence to the intervention. A balanced-block randomisation process is stratified by sex and parkrun location, and an intention-to-treat analyses will be employed on all outcomes in the primary trial report. The trial includes a 52-week post-market surveillance to assess long-term effects of the customised insoles. The ZOLES trial aims to provide insights into real-world applicability and effectiveness of customised 3D-printed insoles in reducing running-related pain and enhancing overall running experience. Despite the limitation of a subjective primary outcome measure without participant blinding, the methodological rigor, including external outcome assessment and data handling, we anticipate results that are academically credible and applicable in real-world settings The results of this trial may have important implications for runners, clinicians, and the sports footwear industry, as evidence for the use of individualised insoles to improve running experience and prevention of pain may become evident. The trial was pre-registered at ClinicalTrials.gov with the trial identifier NCT06034210 on September 4, 2023, and publicly posted on September 13, 202

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