Posts by Sabina Alam

Obesity: exploring the causes, consequences and solutions

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obesity pic

The World Health Organization estimates that global levels of obesity have doubled since 1980. In 2012, more than 40 million children under the age of 5 were estimated to be overweight or obese, which is an issue of serious concern as excess body weight is believed to be the driver of many non-communicable diseases, namely type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.

To tackle what is, in most cases, a preventable condition, there is increasing focus on research into understanding the mechanisms behind obesity, including our genetics and the influence of lifestyle and the environment. There is also now increased focus on introducing public health initiatives to aid long-term weight loss, which range from improving public, …

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OA: it’s not just about the access

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It has been over a decade since the launch of the first major open access (OA) journals by  BioMed Central and PLoS, but controversies still  surround the field. Many of these concern the legitimacy of some of the many open access journals that are now available. Of these, a subset of OA journals have collectively been termed ‘predatory’ due to their questionable publication practices. As with every new business model, there are people who try to exploit it, and it is important to know who to trust and how to identify the miscreants. In this blog, I want to continue that discussion about how you - as readers, researchers and prospective authors -  can know which journals to …

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BMC Medicine: our 10 most highly cited articles

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BMC Medicine Man

Since the launch of BMC Medicine a decade ago, the journal has published over 900 open access articles, many of which have made significant contributions to the advance of medical research. We take this opportunity to look back at how frequently our articles have been cited since publication, and list the top 10 below. Data has been derived from the ISI Web of Science citation index.

Our ten most highly cited articles were published between 2004 and 2010, and the impact of the research is highlighted by the fact these have all continued to be cited by articles published in various journals this year.

The number of citations (at time of writing) received by each …

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Will ‘an app a day’ make us healthier?

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BMC Medicine 10th anniversary logo

It’s not often that I can claim to get excited about technology, but it’s hard not to after attending the Health 2.0 europe conference held this week in London (Nov 18th-19th). While it’s not exactly news that apps for healthcare are being developed for use by the public, what the presenters at Health 2.0 were able to showcase was how these can potentially go on to improve healthcare. The key word here is ‘potentially’.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are on the rise – globally, and according to the WHO the leading NCD risk factor for mortality is elevated blood pressure (16.5% of global deaths) followed by tobacco use (9%), raised blood glucose (6%), physical inactivity (6%) …

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Open access, medical research and global health – a BMC Medicine Twitter chat

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In recognition of Open Access Week (21st- 27th October), we hosted a one hour Twitter-chat to discuss how open access publishing impacts medical research and global health. We were joined in the discussion by a very prominent group of researchers: Agnes Binagwaho, Charles Wiysonge and Prabhat Jha.

Open access, medical research and global health – join the BMC Medicine Twitter chat #BMCMed

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Earlier this year, BMC Medicine launched the Medicine for Global Health article collection, which aims to explore public health initiatives, health care policies and economics, and research into the control and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Specifically, factors affecting evidence-based medicine in resource-limited settings, have been discussed in a Forum article published this week in the journal.

Accessibility of research findings is vital to the progress of such work, and this is where open access publishing can play an important role in dissemination. The benefits of doing so has been highlighted in this short video by some of our Editorial Board Members. In addition, the growing focus on …

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Impact! More about the research and less about the ’factor’

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Love them or hate them, the annual release of the Thomson Reuters Impact Factors (IF) in the Journal Citations Report (JCR) never fails to generate a flurry of interest in researchers and publishers alike. Many researchers closely monitor any changes in IF before deciding where to submit their papers. Some research institutions even have policies in place dictating the IF level a journal has to be for affiliated researchers to submit.

The 2012 IF for BMC Medicine has increased to 6.68, and we are now ranked seventh out of 151 journals in the 2012 JCR medicine, general and internal category. While we’re very pleased about this positive trend, it’s also worth focusing …

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Current Controversies in Psychiatry: a new article collection in BMC Medicine

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Mental health is a tricky branch of medicine – psychiatrists deal with significant diagnostic and research challenges, and some patients struggle with the stigma they may face socially due to having a mental disorder. In a bid to educate the public about psychiatric conditions, Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year runs from 13th–19th May, is focusing on raising awareness about how exercise can positively affect mental health. In fact, there is increasing focus on modifying key lifestyle factors as primary prevention strategies for mental health disorders, and in a recent opinion article published in BMC Medicine, Felice Jacka and colleagues argue that depression and anxiety should be ranked amongst prevalent …

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Autoimmunity: controversies in therapy and a new article collection in BMC Medicine

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Autoimmune diseases occur due to chronic stimulation of the immune system, leading the body to attack its own healthy tissues and organs. A wide variety of conditions, such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease, are classified under this disorder. In addition, many diseases of unknown etiology are also believed to be of autoimmune origin, such as scleroderma and systemic lupus erythmatosous. However, the complex immunopathogenesis makes it difficult to effectively treat and manage many of the diseases. In some cases, there is controversy over the classification – for example at the CORA 2013 congress in Budapest last week, an hour-long debate moderated by Marco Matucci-Cerinic on the best way to treat scleroderma …

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Meat consumption and mortality- public response to the results from the EPIC study now on Storify

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On 7th March, BMC Medicine published results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, on the association of red meat, processed meat, and poultry consumption with mortality.