DORA (De Montfort Open Research Archive) is De Montfort University's research repository. It forms the primary public and institutional record of DMU research outputs. The breadth of research at DMU means that these outputs include articles, conference papers, books, book chapters, and other material available in a digital form. The record for each item contains descriptive information as well as, where possible, a version of the final research output. DORA also provides access to DMU PhD theses. This includes most PhD produced from 2009 onwards.


Recent Submissions

ItemOpen Access
Ramadan Fasting during the COVID-19 pandemic: Impact on Young and Adult individuals with and without Type 2 Diabetes.
(De Montfort University, 2022-12) Elmajnoun, Hala Khalifa Said
Background: Many Muslims in the UK perform dawn-to-dusk fasting, with no food and water, for 29–30 days during the month of Ramadan. However, there has been no research regarding Ramadan fasting (RF) among young people in the UK, including children with type 2 diabetes (T2D), compared to adults with T2D. The COVID-19 pandemic created unique circumstances for fasting during Ramadan that have not been previously experienced in recent history. The quarantine restriction measures were associated with a significant impact on human health and lifestyle. The potential benefits or harms associated with fasting during a pandemic period have not been well investigated. Therefore, this thesis aimed to explore the impacts of RF on diet, physical activity, sleeping pattern, mental health, and glycaemic control among people with and without T2D during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020 and 2021) in the UK. Methods: Based on secondary/primary research approaches and descriptive quantitative research methods, three studies were undertaken. First, a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies was conducted to explore the impact of RF on glycaemic control in patients with T2D. The quality assessment was examined using the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) tool. RevMan software was used to conduct the metaanalysis. Second, a cross-sectional retrospective survey-based study examined the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ramadan 2020 among people with and without T2D aged 12-80 years old. The study was conducted in Muslim communities in the UK from November 2020 to February 2021. Third, a prospective, observational, cross over, pilot study investigated the effects of RF during the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young adults with T2D aged 12-24 years old. This study was conducted in three diabetes centres in the UK from March 2021 to June 2021. The COVID-19 restrictions created recruitment challenges, and face-to-face contact with the participants was not possible. Therefore, online questionnaire surveys were used to collect data before and after RF. SoGoSurvey software was used to design both retrospective and prospective questionnaires, and they were sent to the target age group, which planned to fast during Ramadan for a minimum of 10 days. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS, and FFQ EPIC Tool for Analysis (FETA) software was used to determine the intake of different nutrients. Ethical approvals were obtained from the Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee (EREC) at De Montfort University. Results: The systematic review included 5,554 participants, comprising 54% males and 46% females. The pooled analysis showed that HbA1c and FBG significantly decreased after RF compared to the pre-fasting stage, with WMD = 0.55 mg/dl, CI: 0.33-0.77, P < 0.00001, Ι2 = 93%, and WMD = 12.42, CI: 6.46-18.38, P < 0.0001, Ι2 = 81%, respectively. However, a non-significant difference was observed in body weight in fasting patients after RF compared to the pre-fasting stage. Although, the 12 selected studies contained young adults with T2D, studies that solely focused on this group were not identified. In the retrospective study, eighty-one participants, including 49 females (aged 12-51) and 32 males (aged 13-65), were enrolled. The vast majority of the participants are healthy individuals, and 4 participants with T2D were recruited. In addition, 52 participants, including children (4 out of 11) and individuals with T2D (2 out of 4), fasted the whole month of Ramadan 2020. The diet pattern was balanced with good consumption of fruit and vegetables, with a slight increase in carbohydrate and protein intake compared to the recommended levels. There was evidence of a relationship between weight gain and eating desserts (X2 = 27.187, P = 0.026). The sleeping pattern varied, and most people were physically inactive. This was significantly associated with the reported impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on body weight in Ramadan 2020 (X2= 26.749, P = <0.001). Furthermore, there was strong evidence of a relationship between the reported less physical activity and the COVID-19 associated mental health problems (Χ² =37.530, P = <0.001). In the prospective study, 9 participants with T2D, including 7 females and 2 males aged from 14-22 years old (mean age 17±3) with no comorbidities, fasted safely during Ramadan 2021. The glucose parameters, including HbA1c (P = 0.715), weight (P = 0.343), and body mass index (BMI) (P = 0.249) did not change after Ramadan. Most participants (N=8) were less active during fasting, and a sleeping pattern was reported (N=4) to be fairly bad. However, RF was associated with increased consumption of healthy food and decreased consumption of sugary 3 drinks. The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with weight gain, decreased consumption of healthy food, and deterioration in mental health (depression and anxiety). However, this improved during fasting, and no weight gain was reported. Conclusion: This is the first research study to provide evidence that some young people, including children in the UK, including those with T2D, fasted the whole month of Ramadan with no comorbidities. This study reported that fasting during the COVID-19 pandemic was not stressful, and the diet pattern was balanced, with improvement in mental health in patients with T2D in particular. However, restrictions on physical activity were associated with negative impacts on body weight and mental health in some people. A meta-analysis study revealed that RF improves glycaemic control in adults with T2D. In the future, much bigger studies are necessary to determine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people with T2D. This could be done through retrospective data from patients in hospitals and medical centres, especially in terms of their adherence to medication, diet, and physical activities.
ItemOpen Access
‘Let Us Compare Mythologies’ or Raising Hell?: Rebellious Actors in 1960s British Cinema
(De Montfort University, 2023-02) Langhorst, Caroline
This PhD thesis undertakes an interdisciplinary investigation that seeks to integrate star, gender and theatre and performance studies with a cultural history perspective on post-war British screen actors. Starting with actors associated with the Angry Young Man generation and the British New Wave, the project conducts several comparative analyses of ‘rebellious’ male actors through four main case studies (Richard Burton, Patrick McGoohan, Dirk Bogarde and Terence Stamp). The thesis aims to discover how gendered forms of 1960s transgression are rehearsed through specific onscreen performances and star personae. It charts how certain male actors came to prominence in unconventional screen roles in British cinema of the ‘long 1960s’ and how their performances and star images helped construct discourses around new kinds of deviant masculinity. Key actors have been identified as ‘zeitgeist icon’ stars (Shingler, 2012:150; Gaffney and Holmes, 2007:1) who embody the tensions in British culture of the time and articulate changes in codes of masculinity in response to the emergence of the so-called ‘affluent’, ‘permissive society’, its related consumerism, liberal attitudes towards sexuality and an ambivalent countercultural mindset that was marked by a rebellious, anti-authoritarian stance. By juxtaposing selected rebellious male actors from different backgrounds in terms of star images, role repertoires and performance styles in key films, this PhD presents a critical interrogation of the relationship between British cinema and codes of masculinity during the ‘long 1960s’ that endeavours to question and deconstruct clichéd narratives about the affluent, permissive society, Swinging London and the counterculture. From this analysis, which showcases an evolution of male screen acting styles towards more non-verbal, physical modes of acting, the thesis argues that it is possible to consider acting styles as periodised and as embodying broader sociocultural transformations of the era.
ItemOpen Access
Engineering Biomaterials using Quality by Design for the delivery of Ibuprofen for use in Cardiovascular therapy
(De Montfort University, 2022-08) Yousef, Bushra
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide representing 32% of global deaths in 2019 alone. This percentage has been steadily rising. Pharmaceutically, many strategies have been implemented worldwide to help fight the consequences of this disease, such as polymer heart patches and pacemakers. Treatment of damaged tissue may involve the delivery of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medicines to target damaged areas. However, challenges arise as these medications present as poorly water-soluble, limiting the options available for treatment of the damaged tissue. Strategies such as spray drying, solvent evaporation and encapsulation of these drugs have been previously implemented to overcome present limitations. In this thesis, Ibuprofen drug was loaded into two types of mesoporous silica (MCM-48 and MCM-41) via Electrohydrodynamic atomisation (EHDA). The Quality by Design (QBD) process was carried out prior to loading in order to identify optimum parameters (flow rate, voltage, distance from the needle to the platform) in the EHDA technique. All formulations were found to hold ideal viscosity, surface tension and electrical conductivity values and were then carried out to investigate the effect of the technique on the physicochemical properties (entrapment efficiency, uniformity of morphology and size, permeability, dissolution, crystallinity and thermal behavior) of the particles produced. It was found that uniform morphology and size of the silica particles were obtained at a flow rate range of 30-35 µm/min and a voltage range of 18-23(KV) Following this, these ibuprofen loaded mesoporous silica particles were then encapsulated in PLGA using the coaxial EHDA method with an aim to sustain the release of the drug from the pores of the silixa. It was concluded from TGA and XRD analysis that the ibuprofen drug was successfully encapsulated in a complete amorphous form into the mesoporous silica pores via XRD analysis. It was found that using EHDA resulted in dissolution rates 3.8 folds higher compared to the raw crystalline form of the drug, taking the original 17% release in 24 hours to a maximum of 73% in 24 hours. It was also concluded that the encapsulation in PLGA resulted in a 2 fold dissolution in comparison to the loaded mesoporous silica alone, resulting in a maximum of around 50% in 24 hours. QBD was then used a second time to identify optimum parameters in the formulation of PVA-PVP-GLY polymer films. The physicochemical properties were then investigated as in previous chapters. It was found that the films presented excellent flexibility, uniform topography, and ideal swelling properties. Furthermore, both the tensile strength and contact angle results demonstrate an ideal film for use in drug delivery. Finally, these encapsulated particles previously created were then loaded onto these films using single needle EHDA at the optimum ranges identified previously and their physicochemical properties were them investigated again in order to see if desirable results had been met. These included XRD, DSC, Tensile strength, flexibility, TGA,FTIR and Invitro drug release. It was concluded that successful loading of the encapsulated loaded silica onto the polymer film had taken place via EHDA. Furthermore, an amorphous state was maintained for both the film and the encapsulated ibuprofen loaded silica particles. This was confirmed using multiple characterization methods such as XRD, DSC and TGA. This displays the potential of this drug delivery system in tissue regeneration and targeted drug delivery treatments.
‘Frenemy’ of progress? Investigation of the disruptive impacts of generative pre-trained transformers (GPT) on learning and assessment in higher education
(2023-08) Kolade, Oluwaseun; Owoseni, Adebowale; Egbetokun, Abiodun
ChatGPT, a state-of-the-art chatbot built upon Open AI’s generative pre-trained transformer (GPT-3), has generated a major public interest and caused quite a stir in the higher education sector, where reactions have ranged from excitement to consternation. With approximately 175 billion parameters at its command, GPT-3 is one of the largest and most powerful natural language processing AI models available, with vast and versatile capabilities surpassing previous chatbot models. We conducted a quasi-experiment in which we deployed ChatGPT to generate academic essays in response to a typical assessment brief, and then subjected the essays to plagiarism checks. In addition, Chat GPT was instructed to generate contents in various formats, including editorial and poetry, and the output was subjected to summary thematic analysis. The results of the quasi-experiment show that ChatGPT is able to generate highly original, and high quality, contents from distinct individual accounts in response to the same assessment brief. However, it is unable to generate multiple original contents from the same account, and it struggled with referencing. The discussion highlights the need for higher education providers to rethink their approach to assessment, in response to disruption precipitated by artificial intelligence. Thus, following the discussion of empirical data, we propose a new conceptual framework for AI-assisted assessment for lifelong learning, in which the parameters of assessment extend beyond knowledge (know what) testing, to competence (know how) assessment and performance (show how) evaluation.
Philosophical and practical challenges of Ubuntu: Application to decolonial activism and conceptions of personhood and disability
(Routledge, 2023-12-19) Berghs, Maria
In this chapter, an explanation is given of the concept of Ubuntu or Unhu which is a Southern-African humanist and ethical worldview. From the Zulu language, it is often translated as “a person is a person through other persons” and as such is both a description of diversity and also a normative ethical claim about how we should live. In the popular consciousness, people associate Ubuntu with South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) but it has been gaining ground in decolonial activism and also has a rich history in the African continent. Despite this history, there have been present issues with the philosophical and practical application of Ubuntu and its acceptance. This chapter examines why and tries to find an answer for how Ubuntu could become part of efforts of activism linked to understanding wider and more diverse conceptions of ‘rights’ and ecology.