James is an Associate Professor in Ageing and Metabolism in the School of Biosciences, and Director of the Aston Research Centre for healthy Ageing (ARCHA). James is also Associate Dean for External Engagement and a seasoned science communicator. His is research interests are type 2 diabetes in young and old adults, obesity and adipose tissue, exercise and healthy ageing. James is also a Trustee of the British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA), the world's oldest biogerontology research society. His PhD was on the role of fat-secreted hormones in pancreatic function and James now works in the related field of body fat and how excess adiposity affects health and disease.
Areas of Expertise (6)
Exercise in PCOS
Type 2 Diabetes in Young Adults
Type 2 Diabetes in Older Adults
Muscle and Fat Hormones
Aston University: PGcPP, Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching 2011
University of Wolverhampton: PhD, Biomedical Scienceas 2005
University of Wolverhampton: BSc, Biomedical Science 1999
Media Appearances (5)
This food can help ward off depression and decrease blood pressure
Woman & Home online
Dr. James Brown, a professor from the Aston University, explored the correlation between marine oils and a range of health benefits, in particular heart health. The scientific report revealed fish oil has a positive effect on five different areas of heart health, including blood pressure and chronic heart disease.
How to live longer: A drink to reduce the risk of heart disease and boost life expectancy
Metabolism researcher, Dr James Brown from Aston University carried out an experiment to investigate if apple cider vinegar made changes in a person’s blood sugar levels compared to malt vinegar. The experiment involved volunteers fasting for a certain period and then consuming two bagels the next day followed by either a drink with dilute apple cider vinegar or with malt vinegar.
Revealed: How fish oil helps heart health – and the fight against depression
The Scotsman online
Dr James Brown, a professor from Aston University, explored the correlation between marine oils and a range of health benefits, in particular heart health. The scientific report revealed fish oil has a positive effect on five different areas of heart health, including blood pressure and chronic heart disease.
News in brief: Spielberg had Schindler’s wife on the wrong list…
Metro News online
The Omega-3 in cod liver oil helps beat depression as well as reducing blood pressure, a study shows. The fatty acid also eases arthritis and cuts body fat build-up, found Dr James Brown, of Aston University.
The Unexpected Benefits Of A 20-Minute Walk
HuffPost UK online
Walking also significantly reduces your chances of heart disease, stroke, dementia, colon and breast cancer, and depression, according to NHS UK. What’s more, it’s been hailed a ‘magic pill’ by Dr James Brown, a senior lecturer in biology and biomedical science from the School of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University.
Research Focus (6)
Ageing and metabolism
Ageing and metabolism are intrinsically linked. My research includes investigating the effect that aged cells have on cells that regulate nutrient homeostasis (muscle cells, adipocytes and liver cells) and studying the impact that metabolic disease such as diabetes have on the ageing process.
My research into adipokines (factors released from body fat) has continued since my PhD. Currently, our work focuses on the impact that adipokines have on glucose homeostaisis and cardiovascular risk.
Type 2 diabetes in young adults (T2DMY)
Increasing numbers of young people (aged
Frailty in type 2 diabetes
Functional decline associated with the ageing process and the onset of frailty is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the UK. Estimates suggest that as many as 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men known as ‘young-old’ (65-74) in the UK can be classified as being frail. Diabetes and frailty may be causally related and operate through each of the key components of the frailty phenotype or via associated medical co-morbidities. The presence of frailty in a setting of diabetes increases the level of disability and leads to poorer clinical outcomes.
Exercise and PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work and which is assopciated with unpleasant side effectsm, including obesity and metabolic disturbance. Our work has assessed the impact of exercise interventions on PCOS, and attempts to also understand the barriers to exercise and the cardiovascular risks associated with women with PCOS who do not get enough physical activity.
Our work on breast cancer includes understanding the role of water channels known as aquaporins, and evaluating the cytotoxicity of a plant extract (fagonia indica) in drug resistant breast and colon cancer cells.
The drugs don't work: evaluation of educational theatre to gauge and influence public opinion on antimicrobial resistanceJournal of Hospital Infection
Ahmed, R., Bashir, A., Brown, J. E. P., Cox, J. A. G., Hilton, A. C., Hilton, C. E., Lambert, P. A., Theodosiou, E., Tritter, J. Q., Watkin, S. J. & Worthington, T.
2020 Increased public awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a key component of effective antimicrobial stewardship strategies. Educational theatre combined with an expert panel was used to engage the public about AMR through delivery of a play entitled 'The drugs don't work'. Audience knowledge and understanding of AMR were measured by pre- and post-play questionnaires. Performance of the play and discussion with the expert panel significantly improved audience knowledge and understanding of AMR, including antibiotic misuse and prescribing. Educational theatre provides a positive learning experience and is an innovative method of public engagement to disseminate important public health messages.
Abundant Active Ingredients of Green Tea Regulate Glucose Metabolism in 3T3-L1 Cell LineIndian Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicolog
Al-shaeli, S. J. J., Ethaeb, A. M. & Brown, J. E.
2019 Adipose tissue has a crucial role involving in regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism dysfunction of adipose tissue can disrupted glucose and lipid regulation process which both are a hill marks of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Recently, green tea and its abundant active compounds showed several potential health benefits including amelioration this impairment, however, the mechanism of this effect is not yet fully understood. Therefore, the effect of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin (EC), and epicatechin gallate (ECG) on glucose uptake and utilisation in 3T3-L1 (adipocyte), and the possible mechanism of this impact were determined. Glucose uptake in the presence of adenosine 5’-monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and protein kinase B (Akt) inhibitors, triglyceride and glycerol released, cell viability, and metabolic gene expression were investigated. Selected green tea compounds significantly increased glucose uptake without alteration cell viability, and this biological changing was suppressed by additive Akt inhibitor molecule. A remarkable reduction in cellular triglyceride and glycerol released were seen, which suggesting the compounds suppressed adipogenesis and lipolysis, however measurement of adipogenic and lipolysis gene expression showed no significant alteration. In conclusion, these active compounds of green tea could regulate glucose and lipid metabolism through activating phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt possibly its downstream signalling, and therefore could be a potential anti-obesity and anti-diabetic agent.
Anti-neoplastic effect of epigallocatechin gallate on breast cancer cells through glucose metabolismJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Al-shaeli, S. J., Ethaeb, A. M. & Brown, J. E.
2019 Breast cancer (BC) is the primary cause of women cancer death, which could be prevented by EGCG that has been recently shown several health properties included anti-cancer, however the mechanism underpinning still poorly understood. In this study, several biological activities of both MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells were evaluated in response to EGCG. Cell viability and the role of Akt and AMPK inhibitor molecules, and sodium pyruvate on this viability, apoptosis, metastasis, and interestingly regulation of glucose metabolism were assessed. EGCG promoted cytotoxicity in both BC cell lines after 24h but not less. Co-incubated cells with Akt and AMPK inhibitors alongside EGCG significantly caused more reduction in cell viability compared to the effect of EGCG alone with maximum effect referred to Akt inhibitor. While supplemented sodium pyruvate significantly restored the decreases in cell viability. Remarkably, EGCG induced apoptosis through increased caspase 3/7 activation associated with upregulated Bax gene, in addition to anti-metastatic effect through decreasing cellular migration. Importantly, lactate production was sharply reduced after 6h (no alteration of viable cells) and 24h (decreased viable cells) concomitant with significant blocked glucose uptake in response to EGCG. In conclusion, EGCG could be a potential anti-migration, the anti-cancerous therapeutic agent through targeting cancer cells glucose metabolism.
Exercise, or exercise and diet for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysisSystematic Reviews
Kite, C., Lahart, I. M., Afzal, I., Broom, D., Randeva, H. S., Kyrou, I. & Brown, J. E.
2019 Typically, management of PCOS focuses on lifestyle changes (exercise and diet), aiming to alleviate symptoms, and lower the associated risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our objective was to analyse evidence on the effectiveness of exercise in the management of PCOS, when compared to (i) usual care, (ii) diet alone, and (iii) exercise combined with diet, and also exercise combined with diet, compared to (i) control or usual care and (ii) diet alone. Methods: Relevant databases were searched (June 2017) with no time limit for trial inclusion. Eligible trials employed a randomised or quasi-randomised design to measure the chronic effects of exercise, or exercise and diet in women with PCOS. Results: Searches returned 2390 articles; of those, 27 papers from 18 trials were included. Results are presented as mean difference (MD) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Compared with control, exercise had a statistical effect on change from baseline fasting insulin (MD - 2.44 μIU/mL, 95% CIs - 4.24 to - 0.64; very low-quality evidence), HOMA-IR (- 0.57, - 0.99 to - 0.14; very low-quality evidence), total cholesterol (- 5.88 mg/dL, - 9.92 to - 1.83; low-quality evidence), LDL cholesterol (- 7.39 mg/dL, - 9.83 to - 4.95; low-quality evidence), and triglycerides (- 4.78 mg/dL, - 7.52 to - 2.05; low-quality evidence). Exercise also improved VO 2 max (3.84 ml/kg/min, 2.87 to 4.81), waist circumference (- 2.62 cm, - 4.13 to - 1.11), and body fat percentage (- 1.39%, - 2.61 to - 0.18) when compared with usual care. No effect was found for change value systolic/diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, HDL cholesterol (all low-quality evidence), or waist-to-hip ratio.
Phenotypic characteristics and risk factors in a multi-ethnic cohort of young adults with type 2 diabetesCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Lascar, N., Altaf, Q-A., Raymond, N. T., Brown, J. E., Pattison, H., Barnett, A., Bailey, C. J. & Bellary, S.
2019 Background: Early onset of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is associated with prolonged exposure to hyperglycaemia and increased propensity to chronic complications. The aim of this study was to characterize and compare the phenotypic characteristics and risk factors in a multi-ethnic cohort of young adults with type 2 diabetes (T2DMY). Methods: One hundred young adults (White European [WE], South Asian [SA] and African-Caribbean [AC]) diagnosed with T2DM before the age of 40 years were recruited. Demographics, family history, diabetes related complications, co-morbidities, anthropometry (body mass index [BMI], body composition), physical activity and biochemistry (HbA1c, lipid profile, liver and renal function) and autoantibodies (anti GAD, anti islet cell) were collected for all participants. Data were analysed for the most represented ethnic groups: (WE, N = 36 and SA, N = 53) using SPSS version 23. Results: Mean (± standard deviation) age at diagnosis was 32.5 ± 5.5 years and mean diabetes duration was 7.7 ± 3.8 years. Overweight/obesity was present in 95% of participants, history of maternal diabetes in 68%, deprivation 75%, low physical activity 40%, polycystic ovarian disease 29% (in females), acanthosis nigricans 12% and non-alcoholic fatty liver 11%. There was considerable clustering of risk factors within the cohort with over 75% of all subjects having three or more of the above risk factors and 52% required insulin within 3 years of diagnosis. Two-thirds of the patients had evidence of at least one diabetes related microvascular complication. Conclusion: T2DMY is characterized by a high burden of commonly associated risk factors for both the disease and its long-term complications.