Recent posts from our blogs

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 suggest 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 about the efficacy of the AEDs in veterinary medicine.

Epilepsy is not a specific disease but a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures, and is the most common chronic

...

Read more

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

...

Read more

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

...

Read more

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...

Read more

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

...

Read more

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

...

Read more

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

...

Read more

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

...

Read more

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

...

Read more

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...

Read more

From: BioMed Central blog

Breast cancer awareness: genes, behaviors and subtypes

Claire Barnard on October 17, 2014 at 13:24 - 0 Comments

With October in full swing, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is underway to highlight the importance of breast cancer prevention, early detection and prompt treatment. Understanding the risk factors for breast cancer is key for prevention, and in BMC Medicine we take a look at how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the chance of developing the disease.

Can disease risk genes be modified by environmental factors?

While a number of validated genes are known to confer breast cancer risk, increasing evidence suggests that certain behavioral factors, such as alcohol consumption and smoking, are thought to modify the effect of genetic risk markers. In a commentary article published as part of our Spotlight on breast cancer article...

Read more

From: Clinical Epigenetics blog

The epigenetic basis of immune function

Sam Rose on October 16, 2014 at 13:03 - 0 Comments

Written by Professor Lucia Altucci, Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli

European teams discovered unprecedented news on the epigenetic control on the immune system. Three recently published studies provide exciting biomedical-oriented advances on the epigenetic mechanisms regulating the immune function and, contextually, represent the step forward for the potential exploitation of the immune function to fight diseases in humans. All the three studies are a result of the Blueprint, the high-impact European consortium, which aims at deciphering and mining epigenomes of blood cells (www.blueprint-epigenome.eu).

For the first time, one study identifies that different epigenetic programs execute immune tolerance and trained immunity classifying novel pathways that control these processes. In sepsis, monocytes and macrophages undergo a period of ‘tolerance’ in which...

Read more

Tags:

From: Open Access in the Developing World

Family Farming: “Feeding the world, caring for the earth”

Alanna Orpen on October 16, 2014 at 08:10 - 0 Comments

Food insecurity affects one billion people around the world, with millions suffering from chronic hunger and under-nourishment. Urban societies often enjoy ease of access to worldly foods and the luxury to feast on meals of their choice, but if attitudes do not change, and action is not taken, everyone could be eating a limited diet. Global supply lines will become vulnerable as a direct result of human-induced climate change and we will bear witness to a decline in local production and reduced food imports.  

Today is World Food Day, a day to commemorate the founding of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. The UN General Assembly has designated 2014 “International Year of Family Farming.” This is to...

Read more

From: BMC series blog

BMC Gastroenterology at United European Gastroenterology Week 2014

Magdalena Morawska on October 15, 2014 at 16:08 - 0 Comments

BMC Gastroenterology is excited to be attending the United European Gastroenterology Week 2014 held in Vienna , 20-22 October.

In addition to attending the scientific sessions, Executive Editor Magdalena Morawska is very interested in meeting with researchers to discuss their work and possible involvement in the Editorial Board of the journal.

If you are attending the conference and would like to meet, please contact Executive Editor Magdalena Morawska.

We look forward to meeting you in Vienna!

Tags:

From: BioMed Central blog

From plants to publishing - a biologist's story

Kam Arkinstall on October 15, 2014 at 12:32 - 0 Comments

“I still remember those classic experiments, counting bugs and plants in a quadrat, covering a leaf with black paper and seeing what happened.” - Elizabeth Moylan

As part of this year’s Biology Week celebrations, organised by the Society of Biology, we interviewed Elizabeth Moylan, Biology Editor here at BioMed Central and asked her about what first got her interested in biology and how she ended up working in publishing.

Tell us about what first got you interested in biology, and what you went on to study.

I can’t really remember a ‘light bulb’ moment where I fell in love with the subject so to speak. I guess growing up, the natural world is all around you and it was just fascinating to find

...

Read more