Recent posts from our blogs

From: BioMed Central blog

Unusual case of a tapeworm moving across the brain sparks genomic insight

Guest on November 21, 2014 at 13:52 - 0 Comments

Dr Hayley Bennett is a researcher from the parasite genomics group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. She is the lead author of an article published in Genome Biology which has revealed the genome of a rare tapeworm found living inside a patient’s brain. In this post she talks about new developments in genome sequencing that are managing to reveal an impressive amount of detail on potential drug targets for rare infections.

We have recently collaborated with pathologists, radiologists and clinicians looking at an exceptionally rare case of a tapeworm in a patient’s brain. The worm was removed by surgery and the material was used to find out more about a hitherto unsequenced order of tapeworms.

The case had baffled clinicians

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From: BMC series blog

GP chlamydia testing rates: previously unexplored associations

Philippa Harris on November 20, 2014 at 15:43 - 0 Comments

Blog by Veronica Wignall:

Chlamydia, the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI), is easily tested for and easily treated. However, since the disease is asymptomatic in over 80% of cases it can remain undiagnosed, leading to increased transmission between sexual partners and a higher incidence in the population. Left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, a painful infection of the upper genital tract that can lead to several complications including ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and infertility; men can also become infertile.

While self-testing kits for chlamydia are available at many sexual health clinics and doctors’ surgeries, a primary source of testing is directly via a general practitioner (GP). But is every GP equally likely to test

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From: BioMed Central blog

On 20 years and open access: Q&A with Professor Wen-Chang Chang

Kam Arkinstall on November 20, 2014 at 14:50 - 0 Comments

At the start of November, the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biomedical Science gathered for a very special board meeting, marking the journal’s 20th anniversary. To celebrate this landmark, we spoke to Editor-in-Chief Wen-Chang Chang about the journal’s history and its switch – five years ago – to open access.

The editorial board of Journal of Biomedical Science celebrated the journal’s 20th Anniversary in Taipei Medical University, Taiwan

In the 20 years since your journal started, what changes have you seen to publishing, and researchers’ attitudes to open access?

In these 20 years, the Journal of Biomedical Science (JBS) has changed from traditional to open access publishing. The journal became open access in 2009. We noticed a tremendous increase

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From: BioMed Central blog

Take a deep breath for COPD day

Holly Young on November 19, 2014 at 10:00 - 0 Comments

The third biggest killer

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, better known simply as COPD, is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Three million people died of COPD in 2012 according to the WHO, yet public awareness of this disease isn’t nearly as high as say cancer, HIV or heart disease.

This is where the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) come in with their annual World COPD Day, hoping to raise awareness about COPD and improve treatment options worldwide.

 

 

 

 

So, what exactly is COPD?

COPD can be classified as a narrowing of the airways which obstructs normal breathing, resulting in symptoms such as chronic cough, shortness of breath and abnormal sputum production.

COPD is an umbrella term

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From: BMC series blog

Measuring the impact of humanitarian assistance

Guest on November 18, 2014 at 11:13 - 0 Comments

With few measures currently agreed upon, how can we judge the impact of humanitarian assistance following natural disasters? In this guest post, Christopher Lee*, tells us about his new paper just published in BMC Public Health, which describes an impact assessment of humanitarian services carried out in Aceh, Indonesia, following the 2004 tsunami.

Tibang 2011: The study team conducting the impact assessment in a village in Banda Aceh, 2011.

On a sunny morning in Banda Aceh in January 2011, I woke up to the familiar sound of morning prayers and the occasional chirping bird. I was going to be driving down the coast to Meulaboh, another major town in Aceh Province in northern Sumatra that was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean

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From: BioMed Central blog

15 million babies born too soon: World Prematurity Day 2014

Natasha Salaria on November 17, 2014 at 13:46 - 0 Comments

This year 15 million babies will be born prematurely, with 1 million a year – or 3000 a day – dying as a result of premature birth. And for the first time in history, preterm birth has overtaken pneumonia as the leading cause of death in young children.

Today marks the 4th World Prematurity Day, a global effort to raise awareness of preterm birth and its prevention, involving over 200 countries, NGOs and relevant organizations.

What are the problems?

Preterm birth is now the leading global killer of young children with more than 3,000 children dying daily from preterm birth complications as outlined in a recent Lancet special issue.

Across the world, the top 5 countries with the highest numbers of babies

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From: BioMed Central blog

Sealed with a kiss - and 80 million oral bacteria

Ben Johnson on November 17, 2014 at 10:22 - 0 Comments

Christmas seems to come earlier each year. Our thoughts turn to the exchange of gifts, time with family and friends and the inevitable office party. But you may find that you exchange more than a secret santa gift this year. A drunken kiss with a colleague could leave you with many million of their oral bacteria, according to a new study in Microbiome.

It is an oft-quoted fact that we have more bacterial cells living on us than the number of human cells we’re made from. Less well understood is how bacteria move between us, travelling from human to human, from human to animal (including our pets) and to and from our built environment.

The oral microbiome has been

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From: Open Access in the Developing World

Open access in Ghana – a medical student perspective

Kam Arkinstall on November 14, 2014 at 16:55 - 0 Comments

Sadat Bogobire

Sadat Bogobire is Clinical Year 2 at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, part of University of Development Studies in Ghana. He’s also currently a SCOMER representative for the Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations. Here he tells us about his views on open access.

How did you find out about open access?

I first heard about open access (OA) from a presentation made at the African Regional Meeting in a SCORE/SCOPE session in 2012. This seemed like a very laudable idea to me. My school had a practical program that took place ‘in the field’ and I thought being able to have instant access to research findings in this sort of situation would be ideal. I had

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From: BioMed Central blog

An open future for neuroscience - join BioMed Central at SfN 2014!

Elizabeth Bal on November 14, 2014 at 13:36 - 0 Comments

SfN 2014 starts tomorrow, and I will be there, along with several of my colleagues. It’s a big event in the neuroscience research calendar, and every year the conference is an opportunity to hear about the latest and most cutting edge research in the field.

Over the last few years I’ve seen open access becomes increasingly popular within the field of neuroscience (and rightly so, I think), and it’s great to be part of that. I work with some of the first high-quality open access neuroscience journals, edited and supported by a community of leading experts, and we’re proud of that here at BioMed Central.

This year, as we’ve been gearing up for SfN, we decided to mark the occasion by summing up in

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From: Bugbitten

Humanitarian mapping – for when location really does matter

Srimathy Sriskantharajah on November 14, 2014 at 12:44 - 0 Comments

In the UK, we take it for granted that we will be able to find a certain place either by using a paper map, road signs or online route planners. However, there are many regions of the world where locating a whole town or village is a challenge because they don’t exist yet on maps. In fact, whole cities are ‘invisible’ because no one has ever bothered to map them. You may ask: why is this such a problem? Well, for people living in these ‘invisible’ cities, towns and settlements it really can be a matter of life and death, most especially when disasters, such as the current Ebola outbreak, strike and aid workers cannot find you.

A challenge facing

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From: BioMed Central blog

Diabetes: Risk factors and lifestyle interventions

Ursula D'Souza on November 14, 2014 at 09:00 - 0 Comments

Today is World Diabetes Day and this year it is centred on the theme of healthy living and diabetes. To mark this, we take a look at some of the recent research and discussions on risk factors and lifestyle interventions associated with type 2 diabetes*.

The rise in the global burden of diabetes is expected to challenge healthcare systems. Already, it is estimated that 29.1 million people in the US have the condition. Diabetes is one of the four main non-communicable diseases and the World Health Organization (WHO) action plan includes a global strategy for its prevention and control. This is an important aim, as diabetes is known to lead to many co-morbid conditions, which in...

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From: Aquatic Biosystems blog

Dried up! The effects of 2014 on Western US Lake Ecosystems

Matthew Landau on November 13, 2014 at 17:07 - 0 Comments

Dr. Ron Larson is a retired fish and wildlife biologist and photographer based in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and a co-author of the “Common Plants of the Upper Klamath Basin” field guide. Here, Ron writes for the Aquatic Biosystems blog about the hydrologic conditions of lakes in the Basin and Range province of the western United States.

 

Water year 2014 was a difficult one for parts of the western US. Attention was rightfully focused on the human costs of the water shortage, but there were substantial ecological costs too, and these got almost no attention.

The northwestern Basin and Range physiographic province in south-central Oregon and adjacent areas of California and Nevada has numerous lakes that lie in the basins between

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From: BioMed Central blog

Chemical sterilization: A safe alternative for dogs?

Guest on November 13, 2014 at 11:56 - 4 Comments

Raffaella Leoci

Could chemical sterilization be an affordable solution to keeping stray dog populations under control? Raffaella Leoci, DVM, PhD, is a researcher at the University Bari Aldo Moro in Italy and a specialist in pet reproduction. She is the lead author of two articles published in Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica on chemical sterilization of dogs using calcium chloride, which identified the most effective concentration and the optimal solution. In this guest post she tells us why she thinks use of calcium chloride sterilization could be the answer to stray overpopulation.

 

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem across much of the world. In some regions such as where I live, the number of stray dogs is not under control and

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From: BioMed Central blog

Keeping it clean: Spotlight on contamination in microbiome studies

Guest on November 12, 2014 at 10:00 - 1 Comment

Alan Walker, co-author on the paper

A study published today in BMC Biology has found that many published microbiome studies may have been contaminated. In this guest post, Susannah Salter and Alan Walker, authors on the paper, tell us more about what they found.

 

The last decade has seen amazing developments in DNA sequencing technology. One area that has benefitted tremendously from these advances is the field of microbiology, as it is now possible to characterise microbial communities (“microbiota”) at previously unimaginable depths.

 

As a result microbiota research is currently booming, led by many recent large-scale, world-wide initiatives such as The Human Microbiome Project, MetaHIT, and the Earth Microbiome Project, which use the power...

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From: GigaBlog

Publishing our first virtual box of delights to aid the fight against heart disease

Scott Edmunds on November 12, 2014 at 07:32 - 0 Comments

Sheer Heart Attack
Diagnosis is key to beginning treatment for preventing coronary heart disease, the most common cause of heart attacks. One useful tool in the fight against this leading killer is magnetic resonance imaging, which allows the direct examination of blood flow to the myocardium of the heart. However, for this perfusion analysis technique to be the most effective requires compensation for the breathing motion of the patient, which is done using complex image processing methods. Thus, there is a need to improve these tools and algorithms. The key to achieving things is the availability of large publicly available MRI datasets to allow testing, optimization and development of...

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