Monday, 8 September 2014

Salimetrics One World: Profiles of International Leaders in Salivary Bioscience: Dr Glen Davison, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition at the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, University of Kent, UK

Each month we will feature an expert from the Salimetrics Saliva Research Community. We will bring together University Researchers around the World in order to encourage the sharing of ideas. We want to encourage Collaborative Research and to maximise Grant Applications / Awards in these challenging economic times. We have made it possible for you to communicate directly with the "Expert" featured. 





This Month Dr Glen Davison


Lecturer, in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition at the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, University of Kent

Glen's Profile


Dr Glen Davison is a lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition at the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences (SSES)  University of Kent, UK.  There he is the current co-ordinator of the Endurance Research Group (ERG), a large group of academics and scientists focusing on various aspects of Endurance. He is a BASES Accredited Sport & Exercise Scientist (Physiology Support) and also holds Chartered Scientist status (CSci). He has worked with amateur and professional/elite athletes from a range of sports, including Football, Rugby, Hockey, Athletics, Triathlon and Cycling. Glen’s current research interests include: Nutrition and Exercise Immunology; Immune System Function in athletes; Immune responses to various types of training (including high-intensity interval training); Nutritional supplements and upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) risk in athletes (and, of course, identifying the best salivary markers of immune status and URTI risk in athletes).

1. Can you tell us about the major themes in your research program?
Exercise Immunology (and the effects of nutrition): I am primarily interested in how exercise (as a physiological stressor) influences the immune system and hence susceptibility to illness (in particular URTI/URT symptoms). This ranges from the positive effects with regular moderate exercise (in healthy and clinical populations, and hence reduced illness susceptibility) to the transient immunodepression seen in endurance athletes during heavy training and competition periods making them more susceptible to URTI/URT symptoms.

2. If you had to pick one publication in the past 5 years as the "best of your best", what would it be and why?
In terms of salivary markers, I published a paper in 2009 on salivary antimicrobial responses to prolonged endurance exercise (Davison et al., 2009, Salivary antimicrobial peptides (LL-37 and alpha-defensins HNP1-3), antimicrobial and IgA responses to prolonged exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 106(2):277-84). I am quite proud of this paper because it was the first to look at certain antimicrobial proteins/peptides (AMPs) in an exercise context (the salivary defensins LL-37 and the Human Neutrophil Peptides, HNP1-3). These are important components of innate mucosal defences that had been extensively studied in relation to oral health and innate immune function in other fields (e.g. dentistry) so I was surprised that they had not previously been explored in an Exercise Immunology context. In this paper I also measured saliva overall/total antimicrobial capacity (ability to inhibit bacterial growth) before and after exercise. This part of the paper is often missed as the main focus was on the AMPs. However, I think this is a very important part because the immune system, and immune defences, are the product of many different components that work and function in synergy… therefore, measuring a single marker may not be the best way assess this complex interplay (and therefore overall defence status). Interestingly, although some salivary immune markers decreased after the endurance exercise stressor (e.g. SIgA relative to osmolality) others (e.g. the AMPs) increased, and saliva total antimicrobial capacity (ability to inhibit bacterial growth) did not change, suggesting that there is potential innate compensatory mechanisms within the system and highlighting the importance of looking at overall defences. Following on from this, we have recently published a paper (and this is probably the 'best' journal that I have published in {on salivary markers} to date) in which we were able to take a more advanced look at overall salivary defences by assessing saliva bacterial load in a large group of athletes over a 12-week training period (Jones et al., 2014, Effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on upper respiratory illness in active males, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 39: 194-203)- here we showed that bacterial load increased during the winter months (when URTI reports were increased) but these increase (in both bacterial load and URTI reports) were reduced with a nutritional intervention.

3. How did you get interested in using saliva in your research?
It is well accepted in our field that salivary immune markers are of particular relevance to immune defences. It is also simple and non-invasive to collect samples.

4. Which salivary analtyes are you working with?
Mainly IgA, AMPs, lysozyme, lactoferrin, alpha-amylase, salivary neutrophil function, and transferrin (as a marker of blood contamination). I am also interested in markers of latent virus reactivation.

5. How has working with saliva changed the direction of your research plans?
It has allowed me more flexibility to test in the field (e.g. during extreme endurance events) and also to collect more frequent samples in some studies.

6. What analyte is not measured in saliva now that you would hope could be measured in the future?
I don't think there is anything that cannot be measured by some means but it would be extremely useful if some of the analytes or markers that are currently very complex and expensive to measure (e.g. needing PCR or qPCR) could be measured with a simpler method that is more accessible to more labs. For example, it would be particularly useful if there was an easier way to measure EBV DNA in saliva.

7. What advice would you give young investigators who might be considering working with saliva in their research?
Make sure that you thoroughly research the appropriate methods first (e.g. saliva collection and storage procedures) and if you have not done it before speak to somebody with experience (maybe even visit their lab if feasible- this could also lead to collaboration, which is very useful so I would also encourage them to collaborate as much as possible). Saliva is a very useful medium but you have to be very careful to collect the sample and process it in an appropriate way or the results you get may be incorrect. One important fact that is very often overlooked is the potential for blood contamination of the sample, which can completely invalidate certain markers (e.g. if the marker is found in significantly higher concentrations in blood, you will get falsely elevated results when measuring the sample). This blood leakage can occur from, for example, bleeding gums or even less obvious micro-damage within the mouth (even when there is no obvious reason for, or overt signs of, this). Even a tiny amount can influence the measurement of some markers so it is not always possible to detect this simply by visual inspection (hence, you need to use an appropriate screening assay). You usually have to wait until the end of the study, however, to run the assay on a batch of samples so you should be aware that you may have to exclude some samples from your final results (we typically have to exclude 10-20% for this reason). This should be taken into account when determining what sample size you need in planning and designing the study. You also need to have a very consistent method and standardise as many factors as possible that could potentially influence the quality and composition of the sample (i.e. when did your participants last eat or drink?). We usually ask participants to avoid brushing their teeth, and eating, for at least 2 hours before sample collection (as this can lead to blood contamination) and have them rinse their mouth with plain water at least 10 minutes before collection (we leave at least 10 minutes otherwise it may affect the saliva flow rate, which is also an important measure for us). We have found that these careful practices help to improve reliability and reduce the incidence of blood contamination but they are not always easy or feasible to implement (e.g. in field-based studies).

8. Tell us something about you (a hobby or special interest) that we would be surprised to know?
This is probably no surprise to most people that know me, but I am a very keen middle-distance runner. I enjoy a good punishing training session, especially high-intensity intervals. I'll sometimes do this on one of the treadmills in our labs: the treadmill gets pretty noisy when running intervals at 27 kmh on a treadmill (I'm sure this looks worse from 'off the treadmill'), and after these sessions I usually have to lie down on the crash mat for 20 min to recover (I'm sure some of the PhD students from our lab think I'm crazy!!).

To talk directly to Glen E Mail: G.Davison@kent.ac.uk

To feature in this series, please e mail: europe@salimetrics.com

Friday, 5 September 2014

Latest research into Hair Cortisol at the Salimetrics Laboratory - Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, "Perceived Stress, Gender and Hair Cortisol Concentration"





Hair Samples are increasingly being used to measure Cortisol production over the past weeks or months. Here we share the latest work in this area carried out by the Psychology Department of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. The analysis utilises the world leading Salimetrics Cortisol Assay and the work was completed within the Salimetrics Laboratory based at the ARU Cambridge Campus

 



To talk to us about Hair Cortisol Analysis e mail: europe@salimetrics.com

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Salimetrics to Exhibit at the 16th Congress of the European Neuroendocrine Association, Sofia, Bulgaria 10-13 September








Salimetrics will be exhibiting at the 16th Congress of the European Neuroendocrine Association, Sofia, Bulgaria 10-13 September

We will be pleased to welcome you to our stand to discuss the use of Salivary Assays and the Testing of Hair Cortisol

Salimetrics Product Range: www.salimetrics.com


Conference Website ENEA 2014

Talk to us at: europe@salimetrics.com



Sunday, 17 August 2014

Secured your University Place? Studies to involve Psychology, Hormones, Behaviour? Learn from the Salimetrics Library or ask us directly, Free Learning Opportunity...Links Below

Bookmark this page for future reference during your studies, we hope it will be a very useful tool
However our support does not stop there, if you need help with any aspect of Salivary Bioscience e mail..... europe@salimetrics.com
or call +44 (0) 1638 782619 to chat
Salimetrics is widely regarded as a global leader in salivary bioscience because in many instances, we pioneered the science and technology that supports the field.
Our salivary collection methods and assay kits are designed around the science of saliva—tools you can count on to get reliable results.


Our lab services and extensive salivary training and support staff offer expert guidance for researchers; not only for tools of the trade, but how to best utilise them for consistent, reliable, results.


What is an ELISA Test, Learn the ABC Here

Your studies involve Stress, what is Cortisol, learn Here

Where does Saliva come from, how to collect and test Here

An introduction to Immunoassay Here

What equipment do I need in my Saliva Lab to test my samples, Here

Learn Saliva Testing at our fun "Spit Camp" Days Here

Saliva Collection, do's and don'ts Here

Shipping Saliva Samples described Here

Hair Cortisol described Here

Read the latest Research from around the Globe Here

Useful "Spit Tips" Here

How much does a Saliva Assay Kit Cost, Here

Salimetrics Products and Main Website Here

We Tweet lots, follow us Here

If in doubt, still need an answer: europe@salimetrics.com



Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Salimetrics One World: Profiles of International Leaders in Salivary Bioscience: Dr Daniel Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Health and Society, University of Worcester, UK



Each month we will feature an expert from the Salimetrics Saliva Research Community. We will bring together University Researchers around the World in order to encourage the sharing of ideas. We want to encourage Collaborative Research and to maximise Grant Applications / Awards in these challenging economic times. We have made it possible for you to communicate directly with the "Expert" featured. 






This Month Dr Daniel Farrelly

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Health and Society, University of Worcester



Daniel's Profile

Daniel is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Worcester. He obtained his BSc (Hons) in Psychology from Liverpool University in 1999, followed by an MSc in Evolutionary Psychology from Liverpool University in 2000. He gained his PhD in Psychology, studying the evolution of human cooperation, from Newcastle University in 2005. Previous to his current role, he has held research positions at Plymouth, Newcastle and Edinburgh Universities, and was also a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sunderland before taking up his current position at the University of Worcester in early 2014.

His main interests are in the empirical and theoretical application of evolutionary theory to explain human behaviour and psychological processes. This includes areas such as how cooperation has evolved in humans, particularly in response to different social situations and pressures. He also explores how social factors, including different life-history variables such as relationship status, influence male competitive behaviour and also levels of circulating testosterone. He is also interested in emotional intelligence, including its links with other personality traits and its application to different occupational and health settings


Daniel has also conducted different consultancy sessions in the area of Emotional Intelligence for different organisations, Including Nissan UK, NHS, and the Tyne Gateway charity.


Interview with Daniel:

1. Can you tell us about the major themes in your research program?

I am particularly interested in evolutionary explanations for different behaviours. This initially involved the effect of different social conditions on the evolution of human cooperative behaviours, which was the basis of my PhD. Since then I have become more interested in how life-history variables influence competitive behaviours in males. There has been a good deal of research showing that married males and males in long-term, committed relationships have lower circulatory testosterone levels, which is an adaptive response in motivation in males from competition to increased investment in their partner and children. I am interested how this also relates to competitive behaviour, and after showing that professional tennis players are less competitive after marriage (Farrelly & Nettle, 2007), I have since explored the role that testosterone also plays here.

Farrelly, D., & Nettle, D. (2007). Marriage affects competitive performance in male tennis players.Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 5, 141-148.

2. If you had to pick 1 publication in the past 5 years as the "best of your best", what would it be and why?

That would have to be my recent publication that shows that competitors who choose to be represented by the colour red have higher testosterone levels than those that choose to be blue. The reason for this is that it follows a lot of findings that red competitors have an advantage in lots of settings, including sport (team and individual) and online gaming. A hypothesised reason for this is that red is an important colour relating to aggression and dominance (as well as testosterone) in other primates, so it may be the same in humans. Alternatively, it could be that there are so many cultural effects on how we perceive red (e.g. Stop signs) that it is just an cultural artefact. I like our finding because it was the first to make the link between the colour red, competition and testosterone, which reveals a lot about the origins of this effect. I also like this paper because I can refer to it as ‘The Red Paper’, which makes it sound like a seminal Beatles album!

Farrelly, D., Slater, R., Elliott, H.R., Walden, H.R., and Wetherell, M.A. (2013). Competitors who choose to be red have higher testosterone levels. Psychological Science, 24, 2122-2124.

3. How did you get interested in using saliva in your research?

It was the next logical step in the research I was interested in. As a psychologist I wanted to explore competitive behaviours from an adaptive perspective. However it quickly became clear that to get a fuller sense of how changes in mens’ lives affect their motivation to compete I would need to examine testosterone levels too. This was initially quite daunting, but it soon became clear how easy and quick it was to do this from saliva samples and since then I’ve not looked back.

4. Which salivary analtyes are you working with?

At the moment I am just using circulatory testosterone as this is the most pertinent in my research area, but I’d like to explore the likes of cortisol and oxytocin as well. These will have an important role to play across a male’s lifetime, and I would like to see more of this in my research.

5. How has working with saliva changed the direction of your research plans?

It has opened up to me the full scope of what we can learn about behaviour. In most areas of social science there is a limit in the knowledge of what we can attempt to know, which I think holds back many disciplines and avenues of enquiry. On a practical level as well, I like how it provides measures that are not influenced by social influences, experimenter effects, or participant motivation. I see far too often good experiments spoilt by participants (particular when research participation credits are sought) clearly uninterested in engaging with what’s being asked of them, rushing through an experiment as quickly as they can. A lack of motivation won’t really affect the spit you provide!

6. What analyte is not measured in saliva now that you would hope could be measured in the future?

At the moment I’m really impressed with what is available and relatively straightforward for your average researcher (like me!) to use. Personally what I would like to see is a simpler way of measuring prenatal levels of testosterone. Currently I believe it’s only measurable following amniocentesis, so something less invasive would be great, as I think this might reveal a lot more of our adaptive psychology.

7. What advice would give young investigators who might be considering working with saliva in their research?

I tell them to not be daunted, and not to be put off by any obstacles that may occur. It was difficult to run the first of my experiments with salivary testosterone sampling, but since then I’ve not looked back. Speak to others with experience of working with saliva, and consider the costs and ethics as a necessary and valuable process rather than a pain. Also, don’t be put off by having to handle others’ saliva. I’ve never had any issues with spillage (so far)!

8. Tell us something about you (a hobby or special interest) that we would be surprised to know?

Although I am very interested in the advantage red competitors have, I am actually an Everton fan. However I would never, ever, like to see my beloved Blues wearing red shirts!

To make contact with Daniel please e mail: d.farrelly@worc.ac.uk