• Associations of observer’s gender, Body Mass Index and internalization of societal beauty ideals to visual body processing

      Cazzato, V.; Walters, Elizabeth R.; Urgesi, C. (Springer, 2021-01)
      We examined whether visual processing mechanisms of the body of conspecifics are different in women and men and whether these rely on westernised socio-cultural ideals and body image concerns. Twenty-four women and 24 men performed a visual discrimination task of upright or inverted images of female or male bodies and faces (Experiment 1) and objects (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, both groups of women and men showed comparable abilities in the discrimination of upright and inverted bodies and faces. However, the gender of the human stimuli yielded different effects on participants’ performance, so that female faces, and male bodies appeared to be processed less configurally than female bodies and male faces, respectively. Interestingly, the reduction of configural processing for male bodies was significantly predicted by participants’ Body Mass Index (BMI) and their level of internalization of muscularity. Our findings suggest that configural visual processing of bodies and faces in women and men may be linked to a selective attention to detail needed for discriminating salient physical (perhaps sexual) cues of conspecifics. Importantly, BMI and muscularity internalization of beauty ideals may also play a crucial role in this mechanism.
    • The effect of prior caffeine consumption on neuropsychological test performance: a placebo-controlled study

      Walters, Elizabeth R.; Lesk, Valerie E. (2016)
      Background: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the prior consumption of 200mg of pure caffeine affected neuropsychological test scores in a group of elderly participants aged over 60 years. Method: Using a double blind placebo vs. caffeine design, participants were randomly assigned to receive 200mg of caffeine or placebo. A neuropsychological assessment testing the domains of general cognitive function, processing speed, semantic memory, episodic memory, executive function, working memory and short-term memory was carried out. Results: Significant interaction effects between age, caffeine and scores of executive function and processing speed were found; participants who had received caffeine showed a decline in performance with increasing age. This effect was not seen for participants who received placebo. Conclusion: The results highlight the need to consider and control prior caffeine consumption when scoring neuropsychological assessments in the elderly which is important for accuracy of diagnosis and corresponding normative data.
    • The feasibility of patient reported outcome measures for the care of penile cancer

      Branney, Peter; Walters, Elizabeth R.; Bryant, Eleanor J.; Hollyhead, Cyan; Njoku, K.; Vyas, L.; Modica, C.; Kayes, O.; Eardley, I.; Henry, A. (Wiley, 2022-07)
      When used in routine clinical practice, Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (PROMS) can give patients tacit approval to discuss embarrassing topics, which could be particularly useful for urological nursing. The aim of this study was to assess whether it would be feasible to use two such measures for penile cancer; one for body image (the Male Genital Self-Image Scale; MGSIS-5) and another for lymphedema (the Groin and Lower Limb Lymphedema questionnaire; G3L-20). Study packs were posted to penile cancer patients who had received (i) sentinel node biopsy only, (ii) inguinal node dissection only, and (iii) inguinal node dissection with post-operative radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy. The two measures (MGSIS-5 and G3L-20) were complemented with those specific to sexual function (IIEF) and cancer (EORTC-QLQ-C30 version 3) and a modified Lymphoedema Genitourinary Cancer Questionnaire (mLGUCQ). Twenty patients returned questionnaires. Validity and reliability analyses are presented but low participant numbers mean that results need treating with caution. Results show sufficient feasibility for the MGSIS-5 and the G3L-20 to warrant another study to attract larger numbers of participants, either over a longer time frame or at multiple sites. In these further studies, we would recommend adding (1) more Likert responses, (2) the timeframe to the MGIS and (3) exploring either the use of sexual desire psychometric measures or the addition of sexual desire items to the MGSIS for this patient group.
    • Investigating the time elapsed since the last food item was consumed as a factor affecting cognitive performance in young adults

      Walters, Elizabeth R.; Khan, Azhar (2018-12-17)
      Cognitive ability is used in numerous everyday situations (for example, in the classroom, workplace and home) and can be measured using cognitive tests designed to target specific cognitive domains. Cognition can be influenced by external factors (for example, age, education, caffeine intake and time of day) which if not controlled for or noted could influence performance. Prior food intake has not received a direct focus in the cognition literature, and therefore, this study aims to investigate the time elapsed since the last food item was consumed as a factor which may affect cognitive performance. Fifty-two healthy adults with no reported cognitive impairment or diagnosis of any eating or metabolic disorder took part in the study. Participants completed a self-rated hunger scale and stated the time that they last consumed a food item. The time of day that the assessments were completed was also noted. All participants completed a brief cognitive battery consisting of a semantic recall assessment, digit span and parts A and B of the Trail Making Test. Results revealed a significant main effect of minutes since the last food item was consumed on semantic recall and both Trails A and B whereby performance was significantly worse as the time since the last food item was consumed increased. These results suggest that information about when the participant consumed food prior to assessment should be gathered to check for any such effects. This could have implications for cognitive performance in educational settings and clinical environments, where scores often determine academic progression and further interventions.
    • Participatory video and well-being in long-term care

      Capstick, Andrea; Ludwin, Katherine; Chatwin, John; Walters, Elizabeth R. (2016-01)
      Film-making is an effective way of engaging people with dementia and improving their well-being. Andrea Capstick and colleagues explain how ‘participatory video’ gave one group an opportunity to tell their own story in film.
    • Time of day and caffeine influence some neuropsychological tests in the elderly

      Walters, Elizabeth R.; Lesk, Valerie E. (2015-03)
      We report that performance on neuropsychological tests used in the diagnosis of dementia can be influenced by external factors such as time of day (TOD) and caffeine. This study investigates TOD effects on cognitive performance in the elderly. The optimal TOD at which an individual is at their maximal arousal alters with age and in the elderly typically occurs in the morning. Neuropsychological test scores from healthy elderly participants were analysed to determine whether TOD affected performance. Interactions between caffeine and TOD were also investigated. Across two data sets that were analysed, significant TOD effects were noted for Pattern Comparison Speed (PCS), Letter Comparison Speed (LCS), Trail Making Test Part A, Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Graded Naming Test (GNT), revealing a decline in test scores as TOD increases. Significant interactions between TOD, age and the PCS, LCS and Trail Making part A were noted in data set one. In data set two, where caffeine intake had been controlled for, significant interactions between caffeine, TOD and scores on the MMSE and GNT were found. The TOD and caffeine effects highlight the need to control for these external factors when scoring the assessments. This conclusion has implications for the clinical procedure of diagnosis and treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
    • Towards early diagnosis of dementia using a virtual environment

      Shamsuddin, Syadiah Nor Wan; Ugail, Hassan; Lesk, Valerie E.; Walters, Elizabeth R. (2013)
      Dementia is one of the biggest fears in the process of ageing and the most common cause is Alzheimer’s Disease(AD). Topographic disorientation is an early manifestation of AD and threatens activities of their daily lives. Finding solutions are essential in the early diagnosis of dementia if medical treatment and healthcare services to be deployed in time. Recent studies have shown that people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may convert to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) over time although not all MCI cases progress to dementia. The diagnosis of MCI is important to allow prompt treatment and disease management before the neurons degenerate to a stage beyond repair. Hence, the ability to obtain a method of identifying MCI is of great importance. This work presents a virtual environment which can be utilized as a quick, easy and friendly tool for early diagnosis of dementia. This tool was developed with an aim to investigate cognitive functioning in a group of healthy elderly and those with MCI. It focuses on the task of following a route, since Topographical Disorientation (TD) is common in AD. The results shows that this novel simulation was able to predict with about 90% overall accuracy using weighting function proposed to discriminate between MCI and healthy elderly.
    • Using a virtual environment to assess cognition in the elderly

      Lesk, Valerie E.; Shamsuddin, Syadiah Nor Wan; Walters, Elizabeth R.; Ugail, Hassan (2014-11)
      Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is essential if treatments are to be administered at an earlier point in time before neurons degenerate to a stage beyond repair. In order for early detection to occur tools used to detect the disorder must be sensitive to the earliest of cognitive impairments. Virtual reality (VR) technology offers opportunities to provide products which attempt to mimic daily life situations, as much as is possible, within the computational environment. This may be useful for the detection of cognitive difficulties. We develop a virtual simulation designed to assess visuospatial memory in order to investigate cognitive function in a group of healthy elderly participants and those with a mild cognitive impairment. Participants were required to guide themselves along a virtual path to reach a virtual destination which they were required to remember. The preliminary results indicate that this virtual simulation has the potential to be used for detection of early AD since significant correlations of scores on the virtual environment with existing neuropsychological tests were found. Furthermore, the test discriminated between healthy elderly participants and those with a mild cognitive impairment (MCI).