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    Visualisation of Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS): An Iterative Process Using an Overarm Throw

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    Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) are precursor gross motor skills to more complex or specialised skills and are recognised as important indicators of physical competence, a key component of physical literacy. FMS are predominantly assessed using pre-defined manual methodologies, most commonly the various iterations of the Test of Gross Motor Development. However, such assessments are time-consuming and often require a minimum basic level of training to conduct. Therefore, the overall aim of this thesis was to utilise accelerometry to develop a visualisation concept as part of a feasibility study to support the learning and assessment of FMS, by reducing subjectivity and the overall time taken to conduct a gross motor skill assessment. The overarm throw, an important fundamental movement skill, was specifically selected for the visualisation development as it is an acyclic movement with a distinct initiation and conclusion. Thirteen children (14.8 ± 0.3 years; 9 boys) wore an ActiGraph GT9X Link Inertial Measurement Unit device on the dominant wrist whilst performing a series of overarm throws. This thesis illustrates how the visualisation concept was developed using raw accelerometer data, which was processed and manipulated using MATLAB 2019b software to obtain and depict key throw performance data, including the trajectory and velocity of the wrist during the throw. Overall, this thesis found that the developed visualisation concept can provide strong indicators of throw competency based on the shape of the throw trajectory. Future research should seek to utilise a larger, more diverse, population, and incorporate machine learning. Finally, further work is required to translate this concept to other gross motor skills

    Tragic but brave or just crips with chips? Songs and their lyrics in the Disability Arts Movement in Britain

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    Disability culture is a site within which social and positional identities are struggled for and dominant discourses rejected; in which mainstream representations of people with impairments – as victims of personal tragedy – are held to the light and revealed as hegemonic constructions within a disabling society. Drawing upon styles that range from jazz, blues and folk to reggae, performance poetry and punk, disabled singers and bands in the Disability Arts Movement in Britain have been central to the development of an affirmative disability discourse rooted in ideas of pride, anger and strength. Examining lyrics by Johnny Crescendo, Ian Stanton and the Fugertivs – performers emerging as part of this movement in the 1980s and 1990s – this article considers the dark humour which runs through much of this work. It is suggested that these lyrics' observational reflections on everyday experiences of being oppressed as disabled people have been overlooked within critical disability studies to date, but are important in developing an understanding of positive disability identity as a tool available to disabled people in order to make sense of, and express themselves within, the world in which they find themselves

    Low back pain in dance: Prevalence and associated factors

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    Introduction Low back pain (LBP) is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Dancers, who are often required to perform complex and repetitive movements of the spine, are thought to be vulnerable to LBP. However, there is limited available evidence concerning the prevalence, experience, impact, or factors associated with LBP in this population. Therefore, the overarching aim of this thesis was to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with LBP in dance. Methods This thesis consists of five discrete but interrelated studies. Study one systematically synthesises the available evidence for the prevalence of, and risk factors for, LBP and injury in dance populations. Studies two and three investigates the prevalence and risk factors for LBP in multiple pre-professional and professional contemporary dance and classical ballet cohorts. Lifetime prevalence of LBP is determined using a cross-sectional study design. Monthly prevalence, duration, and impact of LBP episodes are investigated prospectively. Multivariable logistic regression is used to examine for individual and demographic factors associated with LBP. Studies four and five investigate the interaction between dance, LBP, and spine kinematics. To do so, they employ three-dimensional motion analysis and a multi-segment spine marker set. Posture as well as clinical and functional movement tasks common in LBP assessment are examined in dancers and non-dancers with and without LBP. Results The systematic review supported that dancers appear vulnerable to the experience of LBP. However, due to the heterogeneous nature of available research, and an absence of multivariable statistical analysis, clarity regarding the prevalence and risk factors for LBP remains limited. The need for multi-site epidemiological studies that employ definitions sensitive to the nature of LBP and that use appropriate statistical methods to investigate risk factors for LBP within dance populations was identified. The cross-sectional study revealed 74% of pre-professional and professional dancers had a history of LBP. Prospectively, 52% of dancers experienced activity limiting LBP and 24% suffered from LBP that was chronic in duration. Prior experience of LBP preceded the experience of future episodes of LBP (adjusted odds ratio: 3.98; 95% confidence interval: 1.44, 11.00; p < 0.01). There was no association between personal or demographic factors and LBP. With respect to spine kinematics, female dancers presented with a flatter upper lumbar spine posture (p< 0.01, ηp2 = 0.15) in the sagittal plane and increased upper lumbar (p=0.04, ηp2=0.08) and lower thoracic (p=0.02, ηp2=0.09) frontal plane range of motion than non-dancers. However, there was no interaction between these measures and LBP. During walking gait, female dancers with recent LBP displayed a moderate reduction in transverse plane ROM for the lower lumbar spine (effect size (ES)=-0.65, 95% CI: -1.24, -0.06, p=0.03), and a moderate increase in lower thoracic transverse plane ROM (ES=0.62, 95% CI: 0.04, 1.21, p=0.04) compared to asymptomatic dancers. Conclusion Dancers are vulnerable to the experience of LBP. However, there is considerable variation in the time-course and impact of LBP episodes. History of LBP predicts future episodes, which supports that LBP is rarely limited to a single episode. Beyond this, the factors associated with LBP are complex and not easily discerned. With respect to movement, an altered movement strategy during walking gait suggests that female dancers with LBP may compensate for reduced mobility in painful regions by increasing mobility in other regions. However, these movement strategies are subtle, and the overall number of biomechanical differences was limited. Whether this indicates dance training protects against biomechanical changes normally associated with LBP, or suggests dancers are intrinsically different to non-dancers requires further consideration

    Implementation of ILLIAC 4 algorithms for multispectral image interpretation

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    Research has focused on the design and partial implementation of a comprehensive ILLIAC software system for computer-assisted interpretation of multispectral earth resources data such as that now collected by the Earth Resources Technology Satellite. Research suggests generally that the ILLIAC 4 should be as much as two orders of magnitude more cost effective than serial processing computers for digital interpretation of ERTS imagery via multivariate statistical classification techniques. The potential of the ARPA Network as a mechanism for interfacing geographically-dispersed users to an ILLIAC 4 image processing facility is discussed

    Applying Downscaled Global Climate Model Data to a Hydrodynamic Surface-Water and Groundwater Model

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    Precipitation data from Global Climate Models have been downscaled to smaller regions. Adapting this downscaled precipitation data to a coupled hydrodynamic surface-water/groundwater model of southern Florida allows an examination of future conditions and their effect on groundwater levels, inundation patterns, surface-water stage and flows, and salinity. The downscaled rainfall data include the 1996-2001 time series from the European Center for MediumRange Weather Forecasting ERA-40 simulation and both the 1996-1999 and 2038-2057 time series from two global climate models: the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory (GFDL). Synthesized surface-water inflow datasets were developed for the 2038-2057 simulations. The resulting hydrologic simulations, with and without a 30-cm sea-level rise, were compared with each other and field data to analyze a range of projected conditions. Simulations predicted generally higher future stage and groundwater levels and surface-water flows, with sea-level rise inducing higher coastal salinities. A coincident rise in sea level, precipitation and surface-water flows resulted in a narrower inland saline/fresh transition zone. The inland areas were affected more by the rainfall difference than the sea-level rise, and the rainfall differences make little difference in coastal inundation, but a larger difference in coastal salinities

    Comparative study of three commonly used continuous deterministic methods for modeling gene regulation networks

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    BACKGROUND: A gene-regulatory network (GRN) refers to DNA segments that interact through their RNA and protein products and thereby govern the rates at which genes are transcribed. Creating accurate dynamic models of GRNs is gaining importance in biomedical research and development. To improve our understanding of continuous deterministic modeling methods employed to construct dynamic GRN models, we have carried out a comprehensive comparative study of three commonly used systems of ordinary differential equations: The S-system (SS), artificial neural networks (ANNs), and the general rate law of transcription (GRLOT) method. These were thoroughly evaluated in terms of their ability to replicate the reference models' regulatory structure and dynamic gene expression behavior under varying conditions. RESULTS: While the ANN and GRLOT methods appeared to produce robust models even when the model parameters deviated considerably from those of the reference models, SS-based models exhibited a notable loss of performance even when the parameters of the reverse-engineered models corresponded closely to those of the reference models: this is due to the high number of power terms in the SS-method, and the manner in which they are combined. In cross-method reverse-engineering experiments the different characteristics, biases and idiosynchracies of the methods were revealed. Based on limited training data, with only one experimental condition, all methods produced dynamic models that were able to reproduce the training data accurately. However, an accurate reproduction of regulatory network features was only possible with training data originating from multiple experiments under varying conditions. CONCLUSIONS: The studied GRN modeling methods produced dynamic GRN models exhibiting marked differences in their ability to replicate the reference models' structure and behavior. Our results suggest that care should be taking when a method is chosen for a particular application. In particular, reliance on only a single method might unduly bias the results

    The perceptions of a situated learning experience mediated by novice teachers' autonomy

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    With the development of online language learning comes a growing need for courses in language teaching to incorporate educational technologies into course content. The challenge this development poses is how to incorporate educational technologies in teacher education programmes to prepare teachers for online language teaching. This study explores the way in which an authentic environment of English online and at a distance is facilitated by novice teachers and how their perceptions of the experience influence their own autonomy. The article presents how novice teachers cope with the complexity of the design of online materials, their pedagogy and their expectations. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews and novice teachers’ own evaluations of the course. The study found the opportunities and challenges for novice teachers in materials design, more complex roles and course expectations as they self-direct themselves in terms of both their learning and pedagogical skills. These findings suggest that teachers’ perceptions of situated learning can be shaped by their own teacher autonomy
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