Browsing Ph.D. Applied Health Sciences by Title
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Tea types and their effects on in vitro mineralization and in vivo bone structure and densityThe consumption of tea has many proposed health benefits thought to likely be the result of an abundance of unique polyphenols. In particular, one exciting potential health benefit of tea is its capacity to have bone supportive effects when consumed throughout life. Prior to testing the potential bone supportive effects, it was important to characterize several types of tea and determine the ideal steeping time for each tea, maximizing the quantity of polyphenols while also maintaining taste (Study 1). Results from this study were congruent with manufacturer’s recommendations. Following this, several types of teas and tisanes were tested in an in vitro osteoblast model to determine if there were any alterations in quantity of mineral produced (Study 2). Findings demonstrated that all teas effectively increased mineralization at a dietary concentration of polyphenols, but red rooibos tea appeared to produce the greatest effects. The next important aspect which needed to be clarified was if there was an optimal concentration of red rooibos tea that elicited maximal results (Study 3). To determine this, a dose response study was conducted in the same osteoblast model as study 2 and mineral quantity was measured. From this study a positive dose-dependent response was observed without any signs of toxicity, suggesting that high concentrations may be beneficial. Following the initial in vitro studies it was important to test red rooibos tea in a physiologically relevant model of elevated bone turnover, pregnancy and lactation (Study 4). Female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to one of the following groups: PREG TEA (pregnant and received a supplemental level of red rooibos: ~2.6 g /kg body weight/day in water), PREG WATER (became pregnant and received water), or NONPREG CON (age-matched, non-pregnant control) from 2 weeks prior to pregnancy (age 8 weeks) through to 4 months post-lactation. Results demonstrated that there were immediate losses of both trabecular and cortical bone following lactation. However, cortical bone rapidly recovered in both pregnancy groups while the majority of trabecular outcomes only partially recovered and appeared to have permanent reductions. When comparing the two pregnancy groups, there were no differences in cortical bone post-lactation but there were significant improvements in several of the trabecular outcomes in rats that received red rooibos herbal tea. The findings from this thesis demonstrated in progressively more complex and physiologically relevant models that tea does have the capacity to be bone supportive, particularly during periods of high turnover.
Teachers’ Experiences of Implementing a Pedagogical Approach for Meaningful Physical EducationDominant forms of physical education (PE) have been criticized for their inability to promote lifelong movement, with many scholars arguing in favour of an approach oriented toward meaningful experiences in PE. The Meaningful PE approach has been designed in response to this but has yet to be tested extensively in practice. The purpose of this dissertation has been to study teachers’ experiences of learning about and implementing the Meaningful PE approach. Five teachers based in Ireland and 12 teachers based in Canada participated in two separate studies lasting eight weeks and across two school years, respectively. Qualitative data were collected in the form of semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations, community of practice (CoP) meeting transcripts, and reflections. Results of this dissertation are presented in four articles. Article One highlights the experiences of Irish primary classroom teachers, demonstrating preliminary support for the approach from classroom teachers with little background in PE. Article Two focuses on Canadian elementary teachers’ experiences of implementing the Meaningful PE approach with their students and on the factors that influenced their implementation decisions. Primary factors influencing implementation included teachers’ prior experiences and beliefs, students’ responses to the implementation process, and external organizational pressures. Article Three focuses on Canadian teachers’ experiences of learning about Meaningful PE through a professional (PD) initiative designed around characteristics of effective PD outlined in the literature. Teachers were most supportive of the use of a CoP and modelling of the approach to foster their learning about Meaningful PE, while also highlighting several tensions between ideal and practical forms of PD, taking personal and organizational barriers into account. Article Four focuses on my experience of becoming a facilitator of teachers’ PD through facilitating a CoP for teachers. This article highlights the important role of identity in the process of learning to become a facilitator and navigating the tensions associated with that process. Collectively, this dissertation makes a significant contribution to the literature by a) informing the refinement of the Meaningful PE approach, b) offering insights into educational implementation research, and c) adding to the literature on teachers’ professional learning when being introduced to innovations.
Use of micro-computed tomography to evaluate changes to bone structure due to ovariectomy and polyunsaturated fatty acid intervention in a rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosisThe testing of osteoporosis-related therapies and the investigation into their mechanism of action largely relies on the use of the preclinical model of postmenopausal osteoporosis, the ovariectomized (OVX) rat. Study 1 evaluated the time-course of changes to the trabecular and cortical microarchitecture of the proximal tibia of the Sham-control and OVX rat over a 3-month period following surgery at 3-months of age, a typical period used in the testing of nutritional and/or drug intervention. This study confirmed the use of the 3-month OVX rat as a model for trabecular microarchitecture changes, but did not support its use as a model for cortical bone changes. The OVX rat was also used to test its resistance to repeated radiation exposure from micro-computed tomography (μCT), a method necessary for the longitudinal evaluation of a single animal (Study 2). The method of μCT and its scanning parameters were also investigated to confirm their use in appropriately quantifying the 3-dimensional microarchitecture of the rat hind limb both in vivo and ex vivo (Study 3). Together, findings from these methodological studies led to its use in the evaluation of changes to bone structure in response to a nutritional intervention in the OVX rat (Study 4). Previous studies of growing rats and of OVX rats suggest a benefit to bone with supplementation with a lower n-6 to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) dietary ratio, and to altered sources of n-3 PUFA, but no study has investigated the impact of these nutritional patterns over the life course. Therefore, Study 4 determined the effect of the dietary ratio and source of n- 3 PUFA on bone during periods of growth (1 through 3 months of age) and following Sham or OVX surgery (at 3 months of age). A low PUFA ratio with n-3 provided from flaxseed oil provided benefits to bone health during growth, but these changes were not maintained following OVX. These data suggest that dietary PUFA, at levels attainable in humans through a healthful diet, are not an adequate strategy for the prevention of the rapid and drastic bone loss induced by OVX.