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  • Public defence: 2017-12-15 09:00 Vårdvetarhusets aula, Umeå
    Långström Berggren, Monica
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Geriatric Medicine.
    Consequences of a hip fracture among old people2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    The full text will be freely available from 2018-12-15 00:00
  • Public defence: 2017-12-15 09:30 Carl Kempe Salen, KBC, Umeå
    Egelkraut, Dagmar D.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Long-lasting ecological legacies of reindeer on tundra vegetation2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Reindeer can have strong effects on the plant species composition and functioning of tundra ecosystems, and often promote a transition towards a graminoid-dominated vegetation type. As a result, they influence many ecological processes, such as nutrient dynamics, soil biotic composition and functioning, and carbon storage. Several studies suggest that the effect of reindeer on vegetation may follow predictable patterns and could induce an alternative stable vegetation state. However, little empirical data on the long-term stability of reindeer effects on vegetation exist, as it is inherently challenging to study these ecological processes experimentally on a sufficiently long timescale. The main objective of this thesis was therefore to gain a better understanding of the long-term ecological processes following reindeer-induced vegetation shifts.

    In order to gain a more mechanistic insight in what initially drives this transition, I used a field-based grazing simulation experiment in which I separated defoliation, trampling, moss removal and the addition of feces. This allowed me to test the relative contribution of reindeer-related activities to initiating the shift from moss and heath- dominated tundra towards a graminoid-dominated vegetation state. Additionally, I studied the long-term ecological stability following such a vegetation shift. I did this by addressing historical milking grounds (HMGs): sites where high reindeer concentrations associated with historical traditional reindeer herding practices induced a vegetation transition from shrubs towards graminoids several centuries earlier, but which were abandoned a century ago. Studying HMGs allowed me to address: 1. The potential stability of reindeer-induced vegetation shifts; 2. The ecological mechanisms contributing to the long-term stability of these vegetation shifts; and 3. How such long-lasting vegetation changes influence soil carbon- and nutrient cycling.

    I found that trampling by reindeer is an important mechanism by which reindeer cause vegetation change. Addressing HMGs further revealed that this vegetation change can be hightly persistent, as the studied HMGs showed only a low encroachment at the surrounding borders in the last 50 years. The vegetation in the core areas of all studied HMGs had remained strikingly stable, and were hardly invaded by surrounding shrubs. Interestingly, soil nutrient concentrations and microbial activities were still different from the surrounding area as well, and even comparable to actively grazed areas. Even after many centuries of changed vegetation composition and soil processes, there was no difference in total carbon sequestration. This suggests that the environmental conditions for microbial decomposition were more important than vegetation composition for the soil carbon stocks, in our study site.

    After studying the contemporary habitat use of HMGs by reindeer and other herbivores, investigating the potential plant-soil feedbacks mechanisms and detailed soil analyses, I concluded that several ecological mechanisms contribute to the long-term stability of HMGs: first, the altered soil biotic and abiotic conditions appear to have a stronger advantage for HMG vegetation than for the surrounding tundra vegetation. Furthermore, I found a clear browsing preference of small rodents on single shrubs proliferating in HMGs, causing a strong limitation on shrub expansion. Moreover, the dense established sward of graminoids likely poses a strong direct competition for space and nutrients, hindering seedling establishment. Finally, I conclude that HMGs are highly stable on relevant ecological timescales, and propose how the concepts of historical contingency and ASS can be applied to understand stability of these reindeer-induced vegetation transitions.

  • Public defence: 2017-12-15 10:00 N 320, Umeå
    Björk, Åsa
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
    Drama, hat och vänskap: om ungdomars interaktioner i sociala medier2017Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Departing from narratives of young people, the aim of this thesis is to deepen the knowledge about the meaning of their social interactions in social media.

    In this qualitative study, young people’s interactions when they use social media are studied in a Swedish context. The study constitutes an important contribution since it makes young people’s voices heard. It is based on semi-structured interviews with 32 young people aged 13-15.

    The results show that young people do not use the term bullying when they define a situation that is of a negative nature. They use other terms such as hate and drama to define a situation they perceive to be negative, both in situations when they themselves are involved and in situations when they are among the audience. It depends on how they define the situation. Explanations for why drama, hate and negative actions occur can be understood based on on-going relation-building work and an effort to fit into a certain peer culture. The results also indicate that it is important to receive attention from significant others. In interaction with others, social skills are developed to navigate drama, hate, friendship, negative actions and relation-building efforts in social media.

    Social norms, gender norms and negotiating identities come to expression when the young people discuss self-presentations in pictures.

    Explanations as to why they choose to publish a certain kind of picture can be linked with complex relationship and identity construction processes where the young peoples position themselves and others in the struggle to doing gender and a desire to participate in a certain peer culture.

  • Public defence: 2017-12-15 10:15 Hörsal F, Umeå
    Priebe, Janina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. Umeå University, Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University.
    Greenland's future: narratives of natural resource development in the 1900s until the 1960s2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This doctoral thesis identifies and analyzes narratives of Greenland's future that emerged in the context of developing and modernizing the dependency's natural resources industries in the 1900s until the 1960s. After almost two centuries of Danish colonial rule, the turn of the 20th century witnessed a profound change in Greenland's governance. Although contested at first, the notion of cultural progress increasingly linked developing a modern industry to a productive economy under Danish auspices. Ideas of modernity that connected rationalities of the market with political power and science were unparalleled in the colonial discourse on Greenland's future. How were the development of Greenland's natural resource industries and its role in Danish governance debated? Which narratives emerged in this context? As the studies in this compilation thesis suggest, the rationalities of science, markets, and power became entangled in an unprecedented way during these decades, creating new ways to imagine Greenland's future.

    The first paper analyzes the application of a private stakeholder group of Copenhagen's financial and economic elite for access to Greenland as a private, for-profit venture to extract and trade with the colony's living resources in 1905. The motif of an Arctic scramble was constructed through the authority of science, still resonating in the debate on rare earth mining today. The second paper identifies the business relationships between the group's members, connecting major Danish financial institutes and private economic interests in the late 19th and early 20th century. The third paper focuses on the commercialization of Greenlandic fisheries in the 1910s until the late 1920s and the fisheries scientist Adolf Severin Jensen (1866-1953). Jensen's work is an example of how applied sciences connected both scientific and political agendas, carried out in a colonial setting. The fourth paper focuses on the narrative analysis of (Danish-language) Greenlandic newspaper coverage of Qullissat between 1942 and 1968. Representations of the coal mine and nearby settlement on Greenland's west coast, which were closed down in 1972, are at the center of this study. While the coal mine was presented as a Danish success to establish an independent energy supply and to introduce modernization measures, it was presented as a Greenlandic failure to adapt to modern demands of economic productivity in the years leading up to its closure. 

  • Public defence: 2017-12-15 13:15 Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå
    Kalucza, Sara
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Who becomes a teenage parent?: life course perspectives on selection into teenage motherhood and fatherhood trajectories in Sweden2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Background. The aim of the research described in thesis is to study processes of selection leading to teenage parenthood in contemporary Sweden. I ask how factors related to socio-economic position, mental health issues in youth, and family formation behaviour of previous generations directs young individuals into teenage parent trajectories. Having children as a teenager is often seen as a burden and a failure, and framed as a public health concern. This is true, even as mounting evidence points to the fact that the connections between teenage parenthood and future adverse outcomes are muddled by selection effects. This research makes a contribution to the body of knowledge by looking at how several factors influence selection processes, namely socio-economic background factors, mental health issues in adolescence and family formation patterns of the teenage parent’s own parents. Both teenage mothers and teenage fathers are considered from a life course perspective. The theoretical framework also draws on the literature relating to opportunity costs and competing alternatives.

    Method. Two longitudinal data sources are utilized: register population data accessed through the Umeå SIMSAM lab and the Northern Swedish Cohort survey. In order to answer questions about both selection leading into events and trajectories, random intercept models for longitudinal data as well as sequence analysis are applied.

    Results. The results show that, apart from confirming the continued importance of socio-economic factors selecting young men and women to become teenage parents and embark on teenage parenthood trajectories, mental health issues in youth are also important. Through this route, both teenage girls and boys enter into teenage parenthood in a way that does not happen with on-time parenthood. Furthermore, the results show that selection not only affects the chances of becoming a teenage parent, but also which type of teenage parent trajectory the individual follows. Moreover, the results reveal that these trajectories, and not only the event of becoming a teenage parent, are repeated over generations. The results illustrate that teenage parents are a heterogeneous group with diverse backgrounds and selection processes, and hence policy measures aimed at teenage parents should not try to offer blanket solutions.

  • Public defence: 2018-01-12 09:00 Betula, Umeå
    Henriksson, Tommy
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sports medicine. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).
    Physiological- and Socio-Cultural Conditions for Performance in Women's Ice Hockey2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: The ice hockey community is founded on masculine norms and values, and the hockey rink is often described as “the home of men’s ice hockey”. Despite a growing popularity, women’s ice hockey has low priority in comparison to the men’s game. On top of that, the women’s game does not allow body checking, which makes it deviant from what some see as “the real game of ice hockey”. The checking prohibition causes physiological requirements to differ from the men’s game, and since women are underrepresented in ice hockey research, not much is known regarding the physiological- and socio-cultural conditions of women’s ice hockey. The overall aim of this doctoral thesis is to investigate physiological- and socio-cultural conditions important for performance in women’s ice hockey.

    Methods: This thesis is unique in terms of the interdisciplinary approach between physiology and gender science, and the inclusion of studies based on both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative thematic interviews with ice hockey coaches from Sweden, Canada, and the United States were used to explore socio-cultural conditions in relation to performance and sport development (Paper I). Relative age effect (RAE) in relation to maturity status was examined through anthropometric measurements and a player questionnaire (Paper II). Physiological field- and laboratory assessments were used to investigate physiological conditions and performance in female competitive ice hockey players from Sweden (Paper III-IV), and players from Canada (Paper IV).

    Results: The findings from Paper I suggest that coaches need to maintain a holistic approach to coaching to be able to coordinate and optimize the effects based on available conditions. Socio-cultural conditions, such as structural and financial support, are mentioned as important to support opportunities in women’s ice hockey. Furthermore, the results (Paper I) show that female players in Canada and the United States have superior opportunities compared to female players in Sweden. These advantages are mainly attributed to the support provided by the North American education systems. The findings from Paper II suggest that the relative age effect (RAEs) in women’s hockey are also influenced by socio-cultural conditions. Significant RAE (p<.05) was found for Swedish players born in the third quartile (Q3) and for Canadian player born in the second quartile (Q2). Players born in the fourth quartile (Q4) are significantly (p<.05) underrepresentated in both countries. Players tend to be average or late maturers, but no differences can be found by country or position. The findings from Paper III show that field-based assessments are comparable to laboratory assessments with the purpose of predicting skating performance. The Prediction models accounted for 13.6 % to 42 % (laboratory-based models) and 24.4 to 66.3 % (field-based models) of the variance in skating time. Regardless of assessment method, uni-lateral assessments are superior to bi-lateral assessments. The results support the use of field-based assessments in Paper IV. The findings from Paper IV show various physiological profiles for female Swedish and Canadian players. Swedish players had less body fat (p=.007), more lean mass (p=.005), and greater aerobic fitness measured with the20-meter shuttle run beep test (p=<.001). Canadian players had greater maximal isometric leg strength (p=.026), exhibit a greater running acceleration (p=<.001), performed better in single leg standing long jumps (right leg p=.002, left leg p=.030), and showed better anaerobic endurance (p=.029) on- ice. No significant differences can be found between forwards and defenders.

    Conclusion: The findings of this study show that physiological- and socio-cultural conditions should both be considered in relation to performance in women’s ice hockey. For example, the various physiological profiles are probably an effect of the different socio-cultural conditions in Sweden and Canada. The Canadian profile may be better adapted to performance in ice hockey, but further research is needed to establish a relationship. Since women’s ice hockey often has somewhat limited resources, this knowledge may help optimize the effect of the available resources, and thus improve performance. Improved performance may have a positive long-term effect on the symbolic view of women’s ice hockey. Women can probably further optimize their physical performance in relation to their current conditions. But for permanent changes to occur, power structures in sport must also change. Women themselves have limited opportunities to affect the dominating gender norms and values in ice hockey.

  • Public defence: 2018-01-12 09:00 Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå
    Andersson, Sofia
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
    Vård i livets slutskede på särskilt boende för äldre personer: närstående och vårdpersonals skattade och berättade erfarenheter2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Background Hospital care for older people in Europe is being replaced by other care facilities such as residential care homes (RCHs). RCHs are therefore playing an increasing and important role in end-of-life (EOL) care. The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life both for persons with life-threating diseases and for their family members. Care pathways such as the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient (LCP) are used to improve the quality of EOL care. There is a lack of research focusing on family members’ and care professionals’ perspectives on the use of pathways in EOL care in RCHs. This thesis is part of a larger research project on the implementation of the LCP in RCHs.

    Aim The overall aim of this thesis was to describe family members’ and care professionals’ perspectives on end-of-life care in residential care homes for older people.

    Methods This thesis consists of four studies, two quantitative and two qualitative. The data in Study I were based on the questionnaire, “Views of Informal Carers – Evaluation of Services” (VOICES), filled in by family members (n=189) of older persons who had died in RCHs. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. Study II was based on registered expected deaths in RCHs (n=22 855) reported to the Swedish Register of Palliative Care (SRPC) by care professionals. The data were explored with univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis. In Study III and IV, a descriptive qualitative design was used. Data in study III were collected through focus groups and individual interviews with care professionals (n=24). The data in Study IV were collected through individual interviews with family members of residents who had died in RCHs (n=15). The data in Studies III and IV were analysed with qualitative content analysis.

    Results The family members in Study I reported that they had been given enough help with nursing such as getting dressings change and with medication, and personal care such as bathing, dressing, help with eating and going to the bathroom, in the last three days of life. They also reported that they were told (86.2%) that the resident was likely to die shortly, and most of them (94.1%) reported that they felt that the resident had died in their preferred place. Just under half of the residents (46.5%) had experienced pain, with the majority (86.4%) receiving treatment for this symptom, and slightly more than half (55.9%) had experienced shortness of breath, with around a third of them (39.7%) receiving treatment for this. Shortness of breath was significantly more common in the younger age group (<85 years; p=0.01) and they were significantly more likely to have received treatment (p=0.006).

    In Study II, the SRPC data revealed high prevalence of pain (68.8%) and anxiety (44.0%). Shortness of breath (14.1%) and nausea (10.2%) were less common. In the multivariate regression analyses, two explanatory factors were significantly associated with symptom relief, of pain, nausea, anxiety and shortness of breath: use of validated pain assessment scales, and assessment of oral health. In both the univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis, individual presciptions of injections to be administered when required (PRN, pro re nata) for pain, nausea, and anxiety were significantly associated with relief of symptom.

    The care professionals in Study III described several aspects of their experiences of EOL care after implementation of the LCP: they became more confident through a shared approach, they were supported in tailoring the care to the residents’ individual needs, they were supported in involving the family members in decision-making and care, and they had become more aware of the care environment.

    The family members in Study IV also described several aspects of their experiences of care of the dying in RCHs where an EOL care pathway was used: they felt confident in a familiar and warm atmosphere, they were involved or not in the EOL care, and they were consoled by witnessing the care professionals’ endeavours to relieve suffering.

    Conclusion The results described in this thesis indicate a high quality of nursing care and personal care, but also inadequate management of symptom relief in the last days of life for residents in RCHs. Still, despite a high prevalence of symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, and anxiety, RCHs were described as a natural and appropriate place of death. The results confirm that use of a validated pain assessment scale and medication PRN prescribed could be a way to increase the quality of EOL care. The results also indicate that a standardized care pathway can offer one way to improve the quality of care. The care professionals felt supported in involving the family members in care and decision making, and both family members and care professionals felt supported in the care by the use of the LCP. 

    The full text will be freely available from 2019-01-12 10:00
  • Public defence: 2018-01-19 09:00 A5_R0, Umeå
    Kurhade, Chaitanya
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology.
    Interplay between tick-borne encephalitis virus and the host innate immunity2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Flaviviruses are important emerging and re-emerging arthropod-borne pathogens that cause significant morbidity and mortality in humans. It consists of globally distributed human pathogens such as tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), West Nile virus (WNV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), yellow fever virus (YFV), dengue virus (DENV), and Zika virus (ZIKV). Depending on type, flaviviruses can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from haemorrhage to neurological disorders.

    Virus infection is detected by host pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), and through downstream signalling it leads to the production of interferons (IFNs). These IFNs then act in an autocrine or paracrine manner on the cells to induce various IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), which have antiviral roles. However, the amount of IFN produced depends on the nature of the PRRs used by host cells to detect a particular virus. Although there are many PRRs present in the host cells, their relative contribution in different cell types and against a specific virus may vary. In the first study, we determined the importance of IPS-1 signalling in immunity and pathogenicity of tick-borne flaviviruses. This is an adaptor protein for cytoplasmic RIG-I-like receptors. Using IPS-1-deficient mice, we showed its importance against TBEV and Langat virus (LGTV) infection (the LGTV model virus belongs to the TBEV serogroup). Absence of IPS-1 leads to uncontrolled virus replication in the central nervous system (CNS), but it has only a minor role in shaping the humoral immune response at the periphery. LGTV-infected IPS-1-deficient mice showed apoptosis, activation of microglia and astrocytes, an elevated proinflammatory response, and recruitment of immune cells to the CNS. Interestingly, we also found that IFN-b upregulation after viral infection was dependent on IPS-1 in the olfactory bulb of the brain.  Thus, our results suggest that local immune microenvironment of distinct brain regions is critical for determination of virus permissiveness.

    Interferons can upregulate several ISGs. Viperin is one such ISG that has a broad-spectrum antiviral action against many viruses. However, the importance of cell type and the significance of viperin in controlling many flavivirus infections in vivo is not known. Using viperin-deficient mice, we found that viperin was necessary for restriction of LGTV replication in the olfactory bulb and cerebrum, but not in the cerebellum. This finding was also confirmed with primary neurons derived from these brain regions. Furthermore, we could also show the particular importance of viperin in cortical neurons against TBEV, WNV, and ZIKV infection. The results suggested that a single ISG can shape the susceptibility and immune response to a flavivirus in different regions of the brain.

    Although viperin is such an important ISG against flaviviruses, the exact molecular mechanism of action is not known. To understand the mechanism, we performed co-immunoprecipitation screening to identify TBEV proteins that could interact with viperin. While viperin interacted with the prM, E, NS2A, NS2B, and NS3 proteins of TBEV, its interaction with NS3 led to its degradation through the proteosomal pathway. Furthermore, viperin could reduce the stability of other viperin-binding TBEV proteins in an NS3-dependent manner. We screened for viperin activity regarding interaction with NS3 proteins of other flaviviruses. Viperin interacted with NS3 of JEV, ZIKV, and YFV, but selectively degraded NS3 proteins of TBEV and ZIKV, and this activity correlated with its antiviral activity against these viruses.

    The last study was based on in vivo characterization of the newly isolated MucAr HB 171/11 strain of TBEV which caused unusual gastrointestinal and constitutional symptoms. This strain was compared with another strain, Torö-2003, of the same European subtype of TBEV but isolated from the different focus. Here we found unique differences in their neuroinvasiveness and neurovirulence, and in the immune response to these two strains.

    In summary, my work shed some light on the interplay between tick-borne flavivirus and the innate immune system. I have shown two examples of CNS region-specific differences in innate immune response regarding both in IFN induction pathways and antiviral effectors. Furthermore, we have investigated the in vivo pathogenesis of a strain of TBEV that caused unusual gastrointestinal and constitutional symptoms.