Posts by Ursula D'Souza

Dementia: innovative approaches in therapy, care and diagnostics

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Late last year, ministers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and charities from around the world gathered together at the G8 dementia summit  to make a declaration and commitment for global action against dementia. This led to a significant increase in the budget to spend on research into the prevalence, diagnosis, clinical care, and policy issues in dementia, and the latest advances in these topics were highlighted last week at the 16th national conference on dementias in London. Some of the main discussions from the meeting have been highlighted below.

Prevalence and improving quality of life

Martin Prince gave an excellent overview of groundbreaking global epidemiological studies including some from the 10/66 Dementia Research Group. One of …

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Latest advances in respiratory medicine from the British Thoracic Society 2013 meeting

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lung infection cropped

Respiratory diseases are one of the major chronic diseases and considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to cause 60% of mortality worldwide. Significant research is being carried out on the diagnosis, treatment, management and care of patients with lung conditions. Clinical and scientific research on these specific topics were discussed at the recent British Thoracic Meeting (BTS 2013), where BMC Medicine joined over 2,100 delegates to hear new developments in the field.

Several clinical trials sessions were highlighted including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). A systematic review on randomized clinical trials was described by Daniel Bratton from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit in London, showing CPAP treatment reduces …

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BMC Medicine: authors’ and reviewers’ experiences

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To highlight our 10 year anniversary this week, the editors at BMC Medicine have been discussing the top 10 published articles based on their accesses, citations and social media impact. Today, we focus on the authors’ and reviewers’ experience with the journal.

The high standard of service to all authors and reviewers is a key focus for the journal. Submitted manuscripts that are within the scope of the journal are stringently reviewed by at least two experts in the field. We aim to send authors our editorial decision (after peer review) within 4-6 weeks of submission. Reviewers are required to declare any competing interests and we operate an open peer review process. Compared with closed …

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Current Controversies in Psychiatry: how might the DSM-5 impact clinical practice?

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The release of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association in May 2013 has stimulated much discussion on psychiatric diagnosis. Debate articles on the topic have been published in BMC Medicine in an article collection on Current Controversies in Psychiatry and described in a previous blog. The latest additions to this article collection focus on the impact and future directions of DSM-5 on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in clinical practice.

In an interview with BMC Medicine, David Kupfer, chair of the DSM-5 task force, discusses the future directions of DSM-5 in light of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) and

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Diabetes, obesity and lipid disorders: recent advances and highlights from the Endocrine Society Meeting 2013

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The World Health Organization estimates that at least 2.8 million adults die each year due to being overweight or obese. This is has resulted in a large proportion of the global burden of diabetes, ischaemic heart disease and certain cancers. In response to this global problem, large funding bodies are investing into understanding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these medical conditions.  New research developments in noncommunicable diseases including diabetes were discussed at the recent Endocrine Society Meeting (ENDO 2013) where BMC Medicine joined over 9000 delegates that attended to hear about advances in the field from the bench to bedside perspective.

One topic that generated much debate at the meeting, was on the benefits and drawbacks of …

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New developments in respiratory medicine: discussions at the American Thoracic Society 2013 meeting

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The Division of Lung Diseases of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funds a significant amount of research on the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of lung diseases and sleep disorders in the US. Advances in these areas were discussed at the recent American Thoracic Society meeting (ATS 2013), where BMC Medicine joined over 13,000 delegates to hear the latest developments in this field.

The meeting addressed several controversial topics in COPD, which included an interesting presentation by BMC Medicine’s Editorial Board Member Wisia Wedzicha on the effective use of macrolides to prevent exacerbations, which can cause severe illness, disability and death if not treated in time. As highlighted by Bartolome Celli, it is …

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This week in BMC Medicine: Novel therapies, diagnosis and clinical management of neuropsychiatry

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Common psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders are mainly treated using medications that modify the activity of monoamine neurotransmitter systems. New lines of pharmacological therapeutics for some of these disorders are emerging that target pathophysiological pathways, including inflammation, circadian and sleep patterns. Interestingly, sleep disorders are frequently associated with mental health particularly depression, whereas motor symptoms characterize Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease showing loss of dopaminergic neurons. Other progressive diseases such as neuromuscular diseases are more difficult to diagnose and quantify. These topics are highlighted in some recently published articles in BMC Medicine that we discuss below.

On the topic of therapies, Ian Hickie and colleagues recommend that sleep-wake cycles and circadian systems are …

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Dementia: focus on care, diagnosis and therapies at the 15th National UK Conference

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Dementia is becoming a serious problem due to growth in the ageing population, and in the UK 820,000 people have the disease with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common cause of dementia. To address this, the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia was launched last year to improve dementia care and research in the UK by 2015.

Last week, London hosted the 15th National Conference on Dementias, and BMC Medicine joined the 400 delegates who included old age psychiatrists, neurologists, geriatricians, GPs, policy makers, home care managers, social care workers and counselors.

The welcome address by Tom Arie and Alistair Burns was followed by an excellent talk from Martin Prince, who discussed the global …

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Innovations in interventional cardiology: Technology, funding and political strategies

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The number of interventional cardiology technologies is growing, and these devices will require clinical implementation, improved performance and standardized regulatory processes for worldwide patient benefit. These challenges are apparent in western medicine, and partnerships such as the Yale-UCL collaborative have been developed to facilitate EU-US innovations in cardiovascular medicine.

Engineering considerations, trans-Atlantic regulatory procedures, healthcare policies, funding of innovative devices, and most importantly, clinical needs, were all addressed recently at the Yale-UCL Cardiovascular Device Summit (18th-19th Jan), which BMC Medicine was pleased to attend. Political interest in this issue was clear as the opening address of this influential meeting was given by George Freeman, Member of UK Parliament and Government Advisor on Life Sciences, who highlighted …

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Advances in respiratory medicine: discussions at the British Thoracic Society Winter meeting and COPD 2012

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Respiratory medicine is a main area of acute general medicine and for research funding agencies, which invest in large clinical trials and ground-breaking research into the pathogenesis and treatment of debilitating lung diseases. To keep up with the latest developments in the area, BMC Medicine recently attended the 3rd national conference on COPD (Nov 8th and 9th) and the BTS or British Thoracic Society winter meeting (Dec 5th to 7th).

As expected, both meetings covered common respiratory diseases; however, there was also a focus on personalized therapy and rare lung diseases in children. Outcomes from a number of randomized clinical trials in COPD were additionally reported and included the SPACE trial, pooled analysis of GLOW …

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