Time to reduce needless deaths from liver cirrhosis

- 0 Comments
Cirrhosis_of_the_liver_(trichrome_stain)_(5690946257)

Our guest author, Ali. A. Mokdad is based at University of Texas and affiliated with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE). He is the lead author of a recent study published in BMC Medicine, focusing on deaths caused by liver cirrhosis. 

 

Liver cirrhosis is a costly disease that is devastating to families and their finances. Most of these deaths are preventable, however. Countries can reverse the tide of liver cirrhosis by implementing a variety of cost-effective solutions.

When my colleagues and I saw just how many deaths occurred each year as a result of liver cirrhosis, we decided to write a paper to raise awareness about these disease trends and the steps that could be taken …

Read more

We need stronger evidence to make the case for close-to-community health providers

- 0 Comments

In this guest post, Dr Miriam Taegtmeyer, Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine writes for Human Resources for Health on the need for better evidence on the benefits and implementation of close-to-community health provider programs in low- and middle- income countries.

I am currently a member of the Thematic Working Group on Supporting and Strengthening the Role of Community Health Workers in Health System DevelopmentandtheREACHOUTConsortium. REACHOUT is a research consortium working in six countries in Africa and Asia. The Thematic Working Group brings together academics, policy makers and practitioners interested in strengthening the use of evidence on community health workers.

Many countries are rolling out or scaling up the use of community health workers – …

Read more

Publication ethics in North America – COPE North American Seminar 2014

- 0 Comments

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) North American Seminar was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA this August with a record breaking attendance from across the region of 81 delegates, including myself representing BioMed Central. The focus of the seminar was new technologies and behaviors for identifying publication ethics issues and those present were fortunate to be involved in an engaging and informative program covering a wide breadth of topics including persistent identifiers in the authoring process, linked content, open access and copyright, and a panel discussion on the use of plagiarism checking software and its effectiveness in identifying misconduct.

Publication ethics are vitally important to editors and the scientific community as they are the foundation for the integrity of the published literature. …

Read more

Together we are stronger: charities join forces to support open access

- 0 Comments
book-92771_1280

A consortium of six leading UK medical research charities will support the costs of making research articles from their funded research immediately and freely openly available to scientists, patients, and donors alike, through the recently announced joint Charity Open Access Fund. David Carr of the Wellcome Trust, Sanjay Thakrar of the British Heart Foundation and Matt Kaiser of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research explain how this new partnership came about.

As charitable funders of medical research, we are dedicated to maximizing the societal benefits that flow from the research we fund. We know that making research publications openly available ensures that the knowledge and data they contain can be more widely accessed, corroborated and used to advance research …

Read more

Implementing nature’s solution to dirty bacteria with the bioinspired Sharklet™ micropattern

- 0 Comments
ethan

A guest blog from Dr. Ethan Mann, a research scientist at Sharklet Technologies, Inc, in which he discusses how different materials can prevent the spread of human disease bacteria.

Microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses  are contacted during interaction with everyday surfaces. Picking up germs from surfaces contributes to transmission of infectious diseases. Bacteria are able to survive on hard surfaces for days to weeks before they are reintroduced to a host. Once in a host, the bacteria are able to cause an illness often resulting in further propagation of the microorganism and potentially the need for treatment.

High touch public surfaces such as door handles and railings would benefit from a self-cleaning surface technology to reduce the amount of microorganisms …

Read more

Top-predator control does not always initiate trophic cascades

- 0 Comments
Dingo

Guest post by: Benjamin Allen, University of Queensland  &  Robert Wicks Pest Animal Research Centre, Biosecurity Queensland, Australia.

 

Trophic cascades are an ecological chain reaction, where changes to one organism flow through the food chain and indirectly influence many other organisms. The study of trophic cascades has become very popular in the last few decades. Ecological theory now predicts that where and when large carnivores, top-predators or apex predators (such as lions, wolves or sharks) are removed, smaller predator and herbivore populations increase, putting increased pressure on plants and animals further down the food chain. In short, top-predator removal = biodiversity decline. This has led to calls for cessation of top-predator control globally, which is often practiced …

Read more

We are all sweet enough; it’s time for less sugar now

- 0 Comments

Katharine Jenner is a Registered Public Health Nutritionist and the Campaign Director of Action on Sugar, a new campaign group concerned with the effects of sugar on our diet, and of Consensus Action on Salt and Health; who have already been successful in reducing the UK’s salt intake and are expanding worldwide. Katharine is also Chief Executive of Blood Pressure UK, Chair of the Better Hospital Food campaign, and a lecturer in nutrition and public health at Queen Mary University of London.

A gold standard of evidence in nutritional science is notoriously hard to achieve. Calls for double blind trials of free sugars, or systematic reviews on intakes are often used as delaying tactics favoured by organisations that are …

Read more

A new angiogenesis inhibitor targeting multiple tyrosine kinases offers new hope for treating tumors

- 0 Comments
Cancercell

A guest blog from co-Editor-in-Chief of Vascular Cell, Jan Kitajewski, in which he discusses the potential of using the newly developed lenvatinib as an anti-angiogenic therapy in the treatment of thyroid cancer.

Blood vessels can be thought to function as do the roots of a tree, acting to nourish both near and far reaches of the living organism. Despite the amazing capacity of blood vessels to keep your tissues healthy, your blood vessels can be diverted toward more insidious purpose. Tumors attract and accept new blood vessels that they recruit from neighboring tissues. This process of tumor angiogenesis acts to assure that the growing tumor is nourished and provides a path for tumor cells to travel to distant sites.

Targeting …

Read more

Was it really the barber? A look at Jack the Ripper’s DNA test

- 0 Comments
jr

Jack the Ripper hit the headlines this week, as his supposed ‘true’ identity was revealed. It was said to be none other than Aaron Kosminski, a Polish immigrant and hairdresser of 23 years of age. It’s not a huge shock that the public has been in uproar: ‘Jack the Ripper’ trended on Twitter, news outlets are dishing out the details, and everyone is surprised the mask has finally been lifted 126 years later. But while the media world is blowing up, we’d do well to remember these are only claims.

 

Aaron Kosminski was a relatively young barber, only 23 years old. I’ve always imagined our famed murderer to be much older, but instead we’re faced with a suspect …

Read more

A new impact factor, a model modeler, and how to make a syllabub

- 0 Comments
Proto_Phylo_Variants_final_RGB

This year, the impact factor of BMC Biology has increased for the second year in succession, to reach 7.4. Although like (probably) most of you, we have serious reservations about the value and validity of impact factors as a measure of quality, we know how much they matter in practice to research biologists competing for jobs and funds; so it would be silly to say we don’t care about them. And it is especially important to acknowledge our debt to all the Editorial Board members, off-Board experts, and referees, without whose help we should not have been able to achieve this.

Our saddest news this year is the loss of Julian Lewis, one of the most thoughtful and sagacious of our …

Read more