Recent posts from our blogs

From: BioMed Central blog

Time for a change: Could additional daylight saving improve public health?

Joel Winston on October 24, 2014 at 14:48 - 0 Comments

With the clocks going back in Europe this weekend, most of us will probably be looking forward to that extra hour in bed. But that joy of catching up on sleep is always short-lived, when throughout the winter we have to cope with longer, darker evenings.

In some countries, there have been intense debates on whether there should instead be permanent daylight saving, with the clocks shifted forward by an additional hour year round. A proposal known as “Single/Double Summer Time” could see the UK enjoying later sunsets, as it adopts the same time as mainland Europe, essentially GMT+1 hour in the winter and GMT+2 hours in the summer.

Supporters of the proposals say that the changes could lead to fewer road

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From: BioMed Central blog

The theory and the practice: what open access publishing means to an early career researcher

Guest on October 24, 2014 at 09:51 - 0 Comments

Continuing our series of Open Access Week posts, today we get the views of Bryony Graham, a postdoctoral researcher at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM). She writes about the theory and the reality of publishing open access as a researcher at the beginning of her career.

 

Bryony Graham

As a postdoctoral research scientist who graduated just over two years ago, I’d say things are going relatively well. I’ve just about managed to convince myself that I’m no longer a student; my project is starting to shape itself into something vaguely publishable; and apparently I can even be trusted to speak at international conferences about my work. All in all: not bad.

But, like many scientists at this career stage,

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From: Bugbitten

Wolbachia as a weapon in the war against malaria

Hilary Hurd on October 23, 2014 at 17:08 - 0 Comments

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has just celebrated the tenth anniversary of its Grand Challenges in Global Health Programme. One of the original projects that holds great promise of success is Scott O’Neill’s plan to combat the spread of dengue fever. His objective is to introduce bacteria that can inhibit the development of the dengue virus into populations of mosquitoes that spread dengue from person to person. This bacterium is Wolbachia. The question now being asked is could this strategy also be used to control the spread of malaria?

Wolbachia is a genus of intracellular bacteria that infect many arthropods (particularly insects), as well as some round worms. Infected females can pass the bacteria on to their offspring in...

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From: BioMed Central blog

On ten years and open access (part 2)

Kam Arkinstall on October 23, 2014 at 15:55 - 0 Comments

Following on from yesterday, here’s the second of our two posts marking the 10th anniversary of some of our journals. As it’s Open Access Week, we asked some of our Editors-in-Chief to give us their perspectives on the last 10 years, and how their journal – and open access publishing – has changed. 

 

 

 

 

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If open access had been around when you were starting your research career, what impact do you think it would have had?

José M. Belizán, Reproductive Health: When I started my research career open access was not available. Since I lived in a middle-income country I had no access to publications and I needed to travel to the scarce number of libraries which existed only in the...

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From: BioMed Central blog

Generation Open: Open access in the eyes of a Middle Eastern young researcher

Guest on October 23, 2014 at 11:00 - 1 Comment

Aisha Gharaibeh

As part of Open Access Week, we’ve been asking young researchers for their points of view on open access. In this guest post, Aisha Gharaibeh, a medical student, gives us her perspective.

The concept of open access caught my eyes when I first read about it a year and a half ago. It was through the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) March Meeting 2013 in Baltimore, USA. The level of awareness among participating students was variable.

For me, I knew nothing about it, however I was eager to know more and I was fascinated by the level of awareness of some students from North America and European countries. Later on, I started working in an open access scientific

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From: BMC series blog

Canine epilepsy treatment - why more research still needs to be done

Hayley Henderson on October 22, 2014 at 19:31 - 0 Comments

Research published today in BMC Veterinary Research has added to a growing body of literature that suggests the evidence-base in some areas of veterinary science is still poor, or even lacking.  In this guest post, researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) Canine Epilepsy Clinic describe some of the issues they encountered when conducting the first systematic review on the efficacy of antiepileptic drugs (AED) in the field of canine epilepsy, and discuss the need for trials that provide high quality evidence to achieve more reliable and objective results.

Epilepsy is not a specific disease but a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures, and is the most common chronic neurological condition found in dogs and humans.  It affects

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From: BioMed Central blog

What’s killing us? The biggest causes of premature death

Lin Lee on October 22, 2014 at 16:12 - 0 Comments

The general aim of medicine is to reduce the burden of ill-health and mortality, such that individuals are able to enjoy longer, healthier lives. Indeed, advances in medicine have meant that life expectancy in most countries has increased by around 10 years in the past 40 years, albeit with large variation between the richest and poorest countries.

As a result of significant medical advances, the global population has continued to grow and age, but this has led to a broad shift in the type of diseases that cause the most burden; from communicable (i.e. infectious), maternal, neonatal and nutritional causes of death to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

So what does this mean in terms of disease burden? On which diseases

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From: BioMed Central blog

Responding to climate change

Kam Arkinstall on October 22, 2014 at 16:05 - 0 Comments

Frank Seebacher, co-Editor-in-Chief of Climate Change Responses

Our new journal Climate Change Responses launches today, and to mark the occasion, we’ve asked co-Editor-in-Chief Frank Seebacher to tell us all about it.

What exactly will Climate Change Responses cover and why is it important to have a journal in this field?

Changing climate affects species and ecosystems at all levels of organization, from molecular interactions within cells, to global patterns of species distributions. This recent video by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides some graphic examples of how climate change and interactions with humans affects wildlife in many parts of the world.

As research progresses, our understanding of climate change is shifting all the time, both with respect to

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From: BioMed Central blog

On ten years and open access - Editor perspectives

Kam Arkinstall on October 22, 2014 at 14:17 - 0 Comments

We have a whole host of journals celebrating their 10th anniversaries this year. To mark such a special occasion, and as part of Open Access Week, we asked some of our Editors-in-Chief to give us their perspectives on the last 10 years, and how their journal – and open access publishing – has changed. Here’s the first of two posts with their thoughts…

 

In the 10 years since your journal started, what changes have you seen to publishing, and researchers’ attitudes to open access?

José M. Belizán, Reproductive Health: I can see that researchers are becoming keener to publish in open access journals since they value the speed of the process, the fact that these journals do not have the...

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From: BioMed Central blog

Open Access: A teacher’s point of view

Kam Arkinstall on October 21, 2014 at 09:16 - 0 Comments

Experimentation with mobile devices. Image credit: Renata Aquino Ribeiro CC-BY.

As part of our celebrations for Open Access Week, we asked Renata Aquino Ribeiro (second from left), doctor in educational technology in Brazil, and author of the blog Pesquisa Educação (Research in Education) to give us her perspective on open access.

Tell us about yourself

As a researcher in education and technology, I have learned the importance of open access and I plan to continue advocating it. I’m part of a research group in Federal University of Ceará – UFC – Fortaleza, Brazil doing a project with biblographic management open tools for scientific publications (Zotero).

I believe in the power of scientific social networks and I encourage educators to use them. I teach

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From: BioMed Central blog

Generation Open: What do you know about open access?

Kam Arkinstall on October 20, 2014 at 14:08 - 0 Comments

It’s Open Access Week this week, and the theme is Generation Open. To mark it, we’ve asked a range of students and early career researchers from around the world to tell us what they think about open access. We’ll be bringing you their answers over the course of the week.

First up is Emma Sackville (right), who’s in the first year of her PhD at the University of Bath as part of the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies which is a Doctoral Training Program focussing on issues surrounding sustainability.

How did you find out about open access? Do you think there’s much awareness of it amongst students?

I feel like I’ve been aware of open access since starting my PhD but to be honest

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From: Open Access in the Developing World

Ebola and the beginnings of a tragic saga

Alanna Orpen on October 20, 2014 at 09:05 - 0 Comments

Panic; major social, economic and political disruptions; border closures and violent protests; this summarizes the state of affairs in the three countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the Ebola epidemic is raging.

The current number of Ebola cases far surpasses the total number of cases reported for all previous Ebola outbreaks combined and it continues to rise. A review, recently published in Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, traces the history and progress of Ebola epidemics starting from the very first outbreak in 1976. Researcher and guest blogger, Jean-Philippe Chippaux, explains why the spread of the epidemic is slow in the beginning, and explosive and hard to control thereafter.

The West African epidemic began in

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From: BioMed Central blog

Viagra protects the heart: back to the future for the love pills

Guest on October 20, 2014 at 01:00 - 0 Comments

New research published today in BMC Medicine shows that Viagra could be used as a safe treatment for heart disease. In this guest post, lead author on the paper, Andrea M. Isidori of Department of Experimental Medicine at Sapienza University of Rome, tells us more about the background to this research and what they found out.

Everybody’s heard of Viagra (sildenafil). It was the first phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i) marketed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. But few people are aware of the other beneficial effects and potential new uses for this class of drugs.

Viagra was originally tested for heart problems – angina pectoris, a chest pain associated with coronary heart disease – on the basis of its vasodilatory

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From: GigaBlog

Guest Blog: Challenges and opportunities with sharing neuroimaging data

Nicole Nogoy on October 19, 2014 at 21:50 - 0 Comments

Here we present a guest blog by our Editorial Board Member Russell Poldrack, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, who highlights the challenges and opportunities surrounding imaging data to enable the neuroscience community to “stand on the shoulders of giants”.

The sharing of neuroimaging data is an idea whose time has finally come, but many challenges remain.  Foremost is the incentive problem: Why should a researcher take the time to organize their data for sharing when they could spend the same time working on a new study or paper?  Related is the credit problem: How will a researcher receive credit for having shared their data?  In addition, there are technical challenges

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From: BioMed Central blog

Biology – The foreseeable future

Miranda Robertson on October 17, 2014 at 17:10 - 0 Comments

It’s a year and a half since we last looked at what our Editorial Board thinks we still need to know about biology, and it’s Biology Week in the UK. Good enough reason for another look at the open questions our expert Board thinks are most pressing, interesting or neglected in biological science.

Do we know our planet?

Ecology, not surprisingly is replete with open questions. We don’t know how biodiversity comes about (Anne Magurran), or how to predict what our blundering footprints will do to it (Anne Magurran and Charles Godfray, who roped in Robert May to help frame the questions), or whether biodiversity offsetting is a real possibility for making good the damage done by...

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