Publications by authors named "George Hutchinson"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Mechanistically Guided Design of an Efficient and Enantioselective Aminocatalytic α-Chlorination of Aldehydes.

J Am Chem Soc 2021 May 30;143(18):6805-6809. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Department of Chemistry, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M13 9PL Manchester, U.K.

The enantioselective aminocatalytic α-chlorination of aldehydes is a challenging reaction because of its tendency to proceed through neutral intermediates in unselective pathways. Herein we report the rational shift to a highly selective reaction pathway involving charged intermediates using hexafluoroisopropanol as solvent. This change in mechanism has enabled us to match and improve upon the yields and enantioselectivities displayed by previous methods while using cheaper aminocatalysts and chlorinating agents, 80-95% less amount of catalyst, convenient temperatures, and shorter reaction times.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c02997DOI Listing
May 2021

Use of Standard Addition to Quantify In Situ FTIR Reaction Data.

J Org Chem 2021 01 24;86(2):2012-2016. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Department of Chemistry, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom.

FTIR spectroscopy is a common in situ reaction monitoring technique used in modern academic and industrial environments. The FTIR signals collected during the course of a reaction are proportional to the concentration of the reaction components but not intrinsically quantitative. To make FTIR data quantitative, precalibration or offline analyses of reaction samples are required, which diminishes the unique benefits of in situ reaction monitoring techniques. Herein, we report the use of standard addition as a convenient method to obtain quantitative FTIR data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.joc.0c02684DOI Listing
January 2021

Incubator-based Sound Attenuation: Active Noise Control In A Simulated Clinical Environment.

PLoS One 2020 15;15(7):e0235287. Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Pediatrix Medical Group, San Antonio, Texas, United States of America.

Objective: Noise in the neonatal intensive care unit can be detrimental to the health of the hospitalized infant. Means of reducing that noise include staff training, warning lights, and ear coverings, all of which have had limited success. Single family rooms, while an improvement, also expose the hospitalized infant to the same device alarms and mechanical noises found in open bay units.

Methods: We evaluated a non-contact incubator-based active noise control device (Neoasis™, Invictus Medical, San Antonio, Texas) in a simulated neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting to determine whether it could effectively reduce the noise exposure of infants within an incubator. In the NICU simulation center, we generated a series of clinically appropriate sound sequences with bedside medical devices such as a patient monitor and fluid infusion devices, hospital air handling systems, and device mechanical sounds. A microphone-equipped infant mannequin was oriented within an incubator. Measurements were made with the microphones with the Neoasis™ deactivated and activated.

Results: The active noise control device decreased sound pressure levels for certain alarm sounds by as much as 14.4 dB (a 5.2-fold reduction in sound pressure) at the alarm tone's primary frequency. Frequencies below the 2 kHz octave band were more effectively attenuated than frequencies at or above the 2 kHz octave band. Background noise levels below 40 dBA were essentially not impacted by the active noise control device.

Conclusions: The active noise control device further reduces noise inside infant incubators. Device safety and potential health benefits of the quieter environment should be verified in a clinical setting.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0235287PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7363066PMC
September 2020

The haemodynamics of the human placenta in utero.

PLoS Biol 2020 05 28;18(5):e3000676. Epub 2020 May 28.

Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.

We have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to provide important new insights into the function of the human placenta in utero. We have measured slow net flow and high net oxygenation in the placenta in vivo, which are consistent with efficient delivery of oxygen from mother to fetus. Our experimental evidence substantiates previous hypotheses on the effects of spiral artery remodelling in utero and also indicates rapid venous drainage from the placenta, which is important because this outflow has been largely neglected in the past. Furthermore, beyond Braxton Hicks contractions, which involve the entire uterus, we have identified a new physiological phenomenon, the 'utero-placental pump', by which the placenta and underlying uterine wall contract independently of the rest of the uterus, expelling maternal blood from the intervillous space.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000676DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255609PMC
May 2020

Modelling environmental technical efficiency and phosphorus pollution abatement cost in dairy farms.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Apr 16;714:136690. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Teagasc, Rural Economy and Development Centre, Co Galway, Ireland.

The dairy sector is an important sector in Northern Ireland being the single largest contributor to its agricultural economy. However, the sector contributes more to soil phosphorus (P) surplus compared to other agricultural sectors. Consequently, the goal of this research is to analyse the environmental technical efficiency of dairy farms making use of a novel parametric hyperbolic distance function approach. The model is able to internalise P surplus as undesirable output in the dairy production process by treating desirable and undesirable outputs asymmetrically. The stochastic production frontier model is analysed simultaneously with an inefficiency model to explain variability in efficiency scores assuming the existence of heteroskedasticity in the idiosyncratic error term. Additionally, we estimated the shadow price and pollution cost ratio of P surplus in dairy farms. This paper contributes to the existing literature as it provides the first attempt to empirically estimate the pollution abatement cost of P surplus in dairy farms. Besides, the hyperbolic environmental technology distance function methodology employed to achieve the study objectives is less restrictive compared to the radial output/input distance function approach employed in previous studies. This allows for the estimation of a more robust environmental efficiency measure and shadow price of P surplus that is consistent with public policy goals that seek to simultaneously reduce pollution and increase production of desirable outputs. Our results showed that the average environmental technical efficiency estimates for dairy farms in Northern Ireland is 0.93 and the shadow price (marginal abatement cost) of P surplus evaluated at the mean is £12.29/kg. Intensification resulting in increased use of concentrates feed was found to be negatively related to environmental technical efficiency. We also found that age of the farmer and share of milk output have a positive relationship with environmental technical efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136690DOI Listing
April 2020

Association between time preference, present-bias and physical activity: implications for designing behavior change interventions.

BMC Public Health 2018 Dec 19;18(1):1388. Epub 2018 Dec 19.

UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI)/Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Institute of Clinical Science B, Royal Victoria Hospital, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT12 6BJ, UK.

Background: The decision to initiate or maintain a healthy habit, such as physical activity involves a trade-off between a short-term cost, such as time and effort, which are commonly identified as barriers to physical activity, and a long-term health benefit. Research suggests that individual time preference may be associated with unhealthy behaviors. However, empirical evidence of this for physical activity is scant. This study investigated the relationship between time preference and physical activity, and how this might influence behavior change.

Methods: Employees (n = 176; mean age 42.2 years) who participated in a physical activity intervention were invited to take part in a behavioral economic field experiment. Two economic experiments, using multiple price lists and monetary trade-off tables involving real money choices, were conducted face-to-face with participants to measure the two components of time preference, namely present-bias and discount rate. Together with individual risk preferences, these three variables were jointly estimated by maximum likelihood. These three parameters were expressed as a linear function of the levels of physical activity while controlling for socio-demographic variables within the same maximum likelihood framework.

Results: Those who were present-biased and who had higher discount rates did significantly less physical activity than their patient and non present-biased counterparts. A 3% lower discount rate and 1.14 unit decrement in the present-bias parameter was associated with a 30 min increase of physical activity per week. This negative association was more significant for certain sub-groups, such as younger and married adults and those with higher staff grade and those who have children. Participants who dropped out of the study earlier were more present-biased.

Conclusions: Results demonstrated that discount rate and present-biasedness have a significant impact on physical activity levels. Such concepts have been largely overlooked and underutilized in physical activity interventions. Promising implications include 1) utilizing individuals' time preferences to better target interventions; 2) taking account of time preferences in the intervention design; 3) interventions attempting to correct for present-biasedness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6305-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6300013PMC
December 2018

Relationship between monetary delay discounting and obesity: a systematic review and meta-regression.

Int J Obes (Lond) 2019 06 27;43(6):1135-1146. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

Centre for Public Health/UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI), Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK.

Background And Objectives: Previous studies have documented that high rates of delay discounting are associated with obesity. However, studies utilizing monetary reward experiments typically report no associations, as opposed to positive associations apparent in studies utilising food-reward experiments. Our objective was to investigate the reasons behind the mixed evidence from a methodological perspective using systematic review and meta-analytic methodologies.

Methods: Seven databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science, Econlit and IBSS) were systematically searched. Logistic meta-regression was applied to identify the determinants of a significant association and risk of bias was assessed using a modified form of the Newcastle Ottawa cohort scale.

Results: A total of 59 studies were identified, among which 29 studies (49.2%) found a significant positive association and 29 (49.2%) reported no association. A higher proportion of significant and positive associations was reported in those studies utilizing 'best-practice' methods (i.e. appropriate measurement models) to estimate monetary delay discounting (15/27; 55.6%) and incentive-compatible experiments (10/16; 62.5%) than those using non-'best-practice' methods (14/34; 41.2%) and hypothetical experiments (19/43; 44.2%). All five studies utilizing both 'best-practice' methods and incentive-compatible experiments generated a positive and significant relationship. Results from a logistic meta-regression also suggested that studies employing incentive-compatible experiments (OR: 4.38, 95% CI = 1.05-18.33, p value: 0.04), 'best-practice' methods (OR: 4.40, 95% CI = 0.88-22.99, p value: 0.07), parametric methods (OR: 3.36, 95% CI = 0.83-13.57, p value: 0.04), those conducted in children/adolescent populations (OR: 3.90, 95% CI = 0.85-17.88, p value: 0.08), and those with larger sample size (OR: 1.91, 95% CI = 1.15-3.18, p value: 0.01) tended to show positive and significant associations between delay discounting and obesity.

Conclusions: This review suggests that the mixed evidence to date is a result of methodological heterogeneity, and that future studies should utilise 'best practice' methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41366-018-0265-0DOI Listing
June 2019

Comparing mortality risk reduction, life expectancy gains, and probability of achieving full life span, as alternatives for presenting CVD mortality risk reduction: A discrete choice study of framing risk and health behaviour change.

Soc Sci Med 2018 08 19;211:164-174. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

Queen's School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University, UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI), Belfast, Ireland.

The growing rate of obesity has recently required governments to divert considerable resources in the promotion of healthy lifestyles. We explored the relative effectiveness in inducing healthy behaviour change of three different communication strategies about the benefits of an intervention that reduces the mortality risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and encourages respondents to embrace healthier lifestyles. We designed a Discrete Choice Experiments questionnaire to analyse the trade-off between lifestyles, defined in terms of diet and exercise, and reduction in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality risk. We set three ways of framing an identical benefit: (A) as a reduction in mortality risk from cardiovascular disease, (B) as an increase in months of life expectancy, and (C) as an increase in the probability of reaching an individual's full lifespan. The experiment was tailored for each subject in the sample according to his/her individual's baseline information on diet and physical activity. During the period February 2010-July 2011, we interviewed 1008 individuals in Northern Ireland, split randomly into three samples for the three CVD risk reduction frames. Considering the models' goodness of fit and significance, we conclude that the most effective way of communicating these CVD health benefits is using an increase in life expectancy, since with this frame individuals are more inclined to state that they would change to a healthier lifestyle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.06.011DOI Listing
August 2018

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a physical activity loyalty scheme for behaviour change maintenance: a cluster randomised controlled trial.

BMC Public Health 2016 07 22;16:618. Epub 2016 Jul 22.

UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research (NI)/Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Background: Increasing physical activity in the workplace can provide employee physical and mental health benefits, and employer economic benefits through reduced absenteeism and increased productivity. The workplace is an opportune setting to encourage habitual activity. However, there is limited evidence on effective behaviour change interventions that lead to maintained physical activity. This study aims to address this gap and help build the necessary evidence base for effective, and cost-effective, workplace interventions.

Methods/design: This cluster randomised control trial will recruit 776 office-based employees from public sector organisations in Belfast and Lisburn city centres, Northern Ireland. Participants will be randomly allocated by cluster to either the Intervention Group or Control Group (waiting list control). The 6-month intervention consists of rewards (retail vouchers, based on similar principles to high street loyalty cards), feedback and other evidence-based behaviour change techniques. Sensors situated in the vicinity of participating workplaces will promote and monitor minutes of physical activity undertaken by participants. Both groups will complete all outcome measures. The primary outcome is steps per day recorded using a pedometer (Yamax Digiwalker CW-701) for 7 consecutive days at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 months. Secondary outcomes include health, mental wellbeing, quality of life, work absenteeism and presenteeism, and use of healthcare resources. Process measures will assess intervention "dose", website usage, and intervention fidelity. An economic evaluation will be conducted from the National Health Service, employer and retailer perspective using both a cost-utility and cost-effectiveness framework. The inclusion of a discrete choice experiment will further generate values for a cost-benefit analysis. Participant focus groups will explore who the intervention worked for and why, and interviews with retailers will elucidate their views on the sustainability of a public health focused loyalty card scheme.

Discussion: The study is designed to maximise the potential for roll-out in similar settings, by engaging the public sector and business community in designing and delivering the intervention. We have developed a sustainable business model using a 'points' based loyalty platform, whereby local businesses 'sponsor' the incentive (retail vouchers) in return for increased footfall to their business.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN17975376 (Registered 19/09/2014).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3244-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4957294PMC
July 2016

Demand response to improved walking infrastructure: A study into the economics of walking and health behaviour change.

Soc Sci Med 2015 Oct 21;143:107-16. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom; UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI), United Kingdom.

Walking is the most common form of moderate-intensity physical activity among adults, is widely accessible and especially appealing to obese people. Most often policy makers are interested in valuing the effect on walking of changes in some characteristics of a neighbourhood, the demand response for walking, of infrastructure changes. A positive demand response to improvements in the walking environment could help meet the public health target of 150 min of at least moderate-intensity physical activity per week. We model walking in an individual's local neighbourhood as a 'weak complement' to the characteristics of the neighbourhood itself. Walking is affected by neighbourhood characteristics, substitutes, and individual's characteristics, including their opportunity cost of time. Using compensating variation, we assess the economic benefits of walking and how walking behaviour is affected by improvements to the neighbourhood. Using a sample of 1209 respondents surveyed over a 12 month period (Feb 2010-Jan 2011) in East Belfast, United Kingdom, we find that a policy that increased walkability and people's perception of access to shops and facilities would lead to an increase in walking of about 36 min/person/week, valued at £13.65/person/week. When focussing on inactive residents, a policy that improved the walkability of the area would lead to guidelines for physical activity being reached by only 12.8% of the population who are currently inactive. Additional interventions would therefore be needed to encourage inactive residents to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity, as it appears that interventions that improve the walkability of an area are particularly effective in increasing walking among already active citizens, and, among the inactive ones, the best response is found among healthier, younger and wealthier citizens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.08.033DOI Listing
October 2015

Applying Health Locus of Control and Latent Class Modelling to food and physical activity choices affecting CVD risk.

Soc Sci Med 2015 May 5;132:1-10. Epub 2015 Mar 5.

Queen's School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, NI, UK. Electronic address:

Health Locus of Control (HLC) classifies our beliefs about the connection between our actions and health outcomes (Skinner, 1996) into three categories: "internal control", corresponding to health being the result of an individual's effort and habits; "control by powerful others", whereby health depends on others, such as doctors; and "chance control", according to which health depends on fate and chance. Using Choice Experiments we investigate the relationship between HLC and willingness to change lifestyle, in terms of eating habits, physical activity and associated cardiovascular disease risk, in a 384 person sample representative of the 40-65 aged population of Northern Ireland administered between February and July 2011. Using latent class analysis we identify three discrete classes of people based on their HLC: the first class is sceptical about their capacity to control their health and certain unhealthy habits. Despite being unsatisfied with their situation, they are reluctant to accept behaviour changes. The second is a group of individuals unhappy with their current situation but willing to change through exercise and diet. Finally, a group of healthy optimists is identified, who are satisfied with their current situation but happy to take more physical activity and improve their diet. Our findings show that any policy designed to modify people's health related behaviour should consider the needs of this sceptical class which represents a considerable proportion of the population in the region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.03.006DOI Listing
May 2015

Physical activity and the rejuvenation of Connswater (PARC study): protocol for a natural experiment investigating the impact of urban regeneration on public health.

BMC Public Health 2013 Aug 23;13:774. Epub 2013 Aug 23.

UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Background: There is a dearth of evidence regarding the impact of urban regeneration projects on public health, particularly the nature and degree to which urban regeneration impacts upon health-related behaviour change. Natural experiment methodology enables comprehensive large-scale evaluations of such interventions. The Connswater Community Greenway in Belfast is a major urban regeneration project involving the development of a 9 km linear park, including the provision of new cycle paths and walkways. In addition to the environmental improvements, this complex intervention involves a number of programmes to promote physical activity in the regenerated area. The project affords a unique opportunity to investigate the public health impact of urban regeneration.

Methods/design: The evaluation framework was informed by the socio-ecological model and guided by the RE-AIM Framework. Key components include: (1) a quasi-experimental before-and-after survey of the Greenway population (repeated cross-sectional design), in tandem with data from a parallel Northern Ireland-wide survey for comparison; (2) an assessment of changes in the local built environment and of walkability using geographic information systems; (3) semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of survey respondents, and a range of community stakeholders, before and after the regeneration project; and (4) a cost-effectiveness analysis. The primary outcome is change in proportion of individuals identified as being regularly physically active, according to the current UK recommendations. The RE-AIM Framework will be used to make an overall assessment of the impact of the Greenway on the physical activity behaviour of local residents.

Discussion: The Connswater Community Greenway provides a significant opportunity to achieve long-term, population level behaviour change. We argue that urban regeneration may be conceptualised meaningfully as a complex intervention comprising multiple components with the potential, individually and interactively, to affect the behaviour of a diverse population. The development and implementation of our comprehensive evaluation framework reflects this complexity and illuminates an approach to the empirical, rigorous evaluation of urban regeneration. More specifically, this study will add to the much needed evidence-base about the impact of urban regeneration on public health as well as having important implications for the development of natural experiment methodology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-774DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3844319PMC
August 2013

Trading off dietary choices, physical exercise and cardiovascular disease risks.

Soc Sci Med 2013 Sep 19;93:130-8. Epub 2013 Jun 19.

Department of Applied Economics Analysis, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus Universitario de Tafira Baja, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.

Despite several decades of decline, cardiovascular diseases are still the most common causes of death in Western societies. Sedentary living and high fat diets contribute to the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. This paper analyses the trade-offs between lifestyle choices defined in terms of diet, physical activity, cost, and risk of cardiovascular disease that a representative sample of the population of Northern Ireland aged 40-65 are willing to make. Using computer assisted personal interviews, we survey 493 individuals at their homes using a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) questionnaire administered between February and July 2011 in Northern Ireland. Unlike most DCE studies for valuing public health programmes, this questionnaire uses a tailored exercise, based on the individuals' baseline choices. A "fat screener" module in the questionnaire links personal cardiovascular disease risk to each specific choice set in terms of dietary constituents. Individuals are informed about their real status quo risk of a fatal cardiovascular event, based on an initial set of health questions. Thus, actual risks, real diet and exercise choices are the elements that constitute the choice task. Our results show that our respondents are willing to pay for reducing mortality risk and, more importantly, are willing to change physical exercise and dietary behaviours. In particular, we find that to improve their lifestyles, overweight and obese people would be more likely to do more physical activity than to change their diets. Therefore, public policies aimed to target obesity and its related illnesses in Northern Ireland should invest public money in promoting physical activity rather than healthier diets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.05.031DOI Listing
September 2013

The role of regret minimisation in lifestyle choices affecting the risk of coronary heart disease.

J Health Econ 2013 Jan 26;32(1):253-60. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Queen's University of Belfast, Gibson Institute for Land, Food and Environment, School of Biological Sciences, 97 Lisburn Road, Medical Biology Centre, Belfast BT9 7BL, United Kingdom.

This paper introduces the discrete choice model-paradigm of Random Regret Minimisation (RRM) to the field of health economics. The RRM is a regret-based model that explores a driver of choice different from the traditional utility-based Random Utility Maximisation (RUM). The RRM approach is based on the idea that, when choosing, individuals aim to minimise their regret-regret being defined as what one experiences when a non-chosen alternative in a choice set performs better than a chosen one in relation to one or more attributes. Analysing data from a discrete choice experiment on diet, physical activity and risk of a fatal heart attack in the next ten years administered to a sample of the Northern Ireland population, we find that the combined use of RUM and RRM models offer additional information, providing useful behavioural insights for better informed policy appraisal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhealeco.2012.10.007DOI Listing
January 2013