Mrs Helen Keyworth
Qualifications: BSc (Surrey), MSc (Surrey)
I completed by undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Surrey, specialising in toxicology. During my placement year I worked in the Safety Pharmacology department of AstraZeneca using electrophysiology to assess potentials drugs for adverse effects on cardiac ions channels. My undergraduate dissertation looked at the role of nicotinic receptor subtypes in cocaine addiction. After finishing my degree I worked at the University of Surrey as a research assistant supporting PhD students, continuing in the area of addiction research.
In 2009 I received funding from the MRC/ESRC for cross-disciplinary research. I completed a one year MSc in Research Methods in Psychology at Surrey; this expanded my general research and analysis skills and refreshed my knowledge of psychology which I had not studied since A level. My dissertation was on the effect of different intensities of exercise on reducing cigarette withdrawal and cravings.
I am coming to the end of my PhD researching the psychological and neuropharmacological mechanisms underlying the effect of exercise in smoking cessation.
My PhD is looking at exercise as an intervention in smoking cessation. The research is cross-disciplinary as smoking is an addiction with strong roles for both psychological and pharmacological dependence. Existing research has shown that just 10 mins of medium intensity exercise can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cigarette cravings, but we don’t yet understand the mechanisms behind this. My work aims to link together human and in vivo data in order to answer this question.
How does perception of exercise intensity mediate the effect of exercise on cigarette withdrawal? A smoker who does very little exercise may perceive jogging to be more intense and more stressful than a smoker who goes to the gym several times a week. As stress is an important factor in relapse how hard a person thinks they are exercising may be more important than how hard they actually are.
What are the biological mechanisms underlying the effect of exercise? Exercise may stop the decrease in stress hormone cortisol normally seen in cigarette withdrawal in humans. Also, since exercise causes the release of β-endorphin (“runner’s high”) this may replace the rewarding effect that nicotine normally has on the brain.
This research is undertaken between the Sleep, Chronobiology and Addiction research theme in the Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, and the Health and Wellbeing group in the Department of Psychology.
Metaxas, A., Keyworth, H., Yoo, J.-H., Chen, Y., Kitchen, I. and Bailey A. (2012) The stereotypy-inducing and OCD-like effects of chronic ‘binge’ cocaine are modulated by distinct subtypes of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. British Journal of Pharmacology, 167:450-464.
Bailey, A., Metaxas, A., Al-Hasani, R., Keyworth, H. L., Forster, D. M., & Kitchen, I. (2010) Mouse strain differences in locomotor, sensitisation and rewarding effect of heroin; association with alterations in MOP-r activation and dopamine transporter binding. European Journal of Neuroscience, 31(4), 742-753.
I demonstrate for a number of undergraduate bioscience practical lab modules, as well as supervising undergraduate and MSc bioscience dissertation projects.
If you have any questions about my research, or would like to volunteer for a study, then please contact me using the details above.
Presentations and Posters
Keyworth, H., Tziakouri, A., Cropley, M., Chen, Y., Kitchen, I., Bailey, A. (2012) Exercise attenuates nicotine withdrawal in mice and causes a nicotine-induced upregulation of α7 nAChRs in the hippocampus. Poster presented at: University Global Partnership Network Workshop: Genes & Behaviour; Guildford, UK; 13th-14th December 2012.
Keyworth, H., Tziakouri, A., Cropley, M., Chen, Y., Kitchen, I., Bailey, A. (2012) Exercise attenuates withdrawal symptoms from nicotine in mice. Oral presentation at: SRNT-E 2012, 14th Annual Meeting of the Society for Nicotine and Tobacco Research; Helsinki, Finland; 30th Aug-2nd Sep 2012.
Keyworth, H., Tziakouri, A., Cropley, M., Chen, Y., Kitchen, I., Bailey, A. (2012) Exercise attenuates nicotine withdrawal in mice and causes a nicotine-induced upregulation of α7 nAChRs in the hippocampus. Poster presented at: British Pharmacology Society Winter Meeting 2012; London, UK; 18th-20th December 2012.
Chu Sin Chung, P., Keyworth, H., Bailey, A., Befort, K., Filliol, D., Matifas, A., Kitchen, I., Lutz, B., Kieffer, B. (2012) Dlx-5/6Cre-mediated conditional gene knockout of the delta opioid receptor: implications for behaviour. Poster presented at: FENS 2012, 8th Annual Conference of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies; Barcelona, Spain; 14th-18th July 2012.
Hambsch, B., Keyworth, H., Otte, B.M., Dreisow, M.-L., Kitchen, I., Bailey, A. and Zimmer, A. (2012) Schizophrenia and comorbid smoking addiction – impact of chronic nicotine on different forms of memory in G72 transgenic mice. Poster presented at: FENS 2012, 8th Annual Conference of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies; Barcelona, Spain; 14th-18th July 2012.