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 …
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 climate dynamics and their consequences for the …
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 …
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 courses about them at scientific events, such as in the …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 collection,
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 things out.
I liked messing around in the garden, and enjoyed all those Attenborough programmes, and at school biology lessons were fun! I still remember those classic …
As the global obesity epidemic continues, more and more overweight and obese women are becoming pregnant. It is estimated that around 15-20% of pregnant women in the UK have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30, which can have serious health consequences for both mothers and their children.
The consequences of obesity during pregnancy
Obesity poses risks to mothers throughout gestation and childbirth, as well as in the postpartum period. During pregnancy, the risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia is elevated in obese women, and those with a BMI over 30 are more likely to suffer miscarriages and infections. There are also many risks to babies born to obese women, including stillbirth, preterm delivery, congenital …