Genetic defects linked to Alzheimer’s disease

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Alzheimer’s disease is the
most common cause of dementia in the developed world. Recent progress has
resulted in a flurry of papers identifying new genes linked to this disease
and Genome Medicine is pleased to
have published one of these key papers.

Despite continued
investigation, the causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not yet fully understood
but they are thought to be a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.
Several studies have used genome-wide association
studies (GWAS) to search the entire human genome for genes that are
mutated in Alzheimer’s sufferers in the hope of finding a way to treat or slow
down the disease.

A team of researchers
across Spain …

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Microbial Informatics and Experimentation; bridging the gap between computers and microbes

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BioMed Central launches a new journal
today, Microbial Informatics and Experimentation, under the leadership of
Editors-in-Chief Barry Wanner and Michael Wise.

Microbial Informatics and Experimentation (MIE) is a journal about computers and microbes”, say the
co-Editors-in-Chief in
their inaugural Editorial, satisfying the need for a “new journal to fill a gap for which there is no publication avenue
that is particularly geared to computationally-oriented, strongly
biologically-motivated, pragmatic articles focused on microbes”.

As such, MIE publishes high-quality research related to the application of
computational methods to data from microbial organisms and systems. The journal
covers a wide range of topics, from microbial systems biology to metagenomics.

MIE launches
today with a …

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Invitation to submit to the new thematic series ‘Forests: looking to the Future’

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In a bid to increase awareness of sustainable management and development of the world’s forests, the UN has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests.  To mark this occasion, BMC Ecology and Carbon Balance and Management are co-publishing a thematic series entitled ‘Forests: Looking to the Future’ to showcase the latest forestry research and published content in both journals.

For the series we will consider manuscripts on topics ranging from carbon cycling and climate change, to deforestation and long term reforestation strategies. We would like to welcome original research, reviews, database, methodology, and software articles that address these topics. The series will be presented on its own dedicated webpage.

The deadline for submissions is the 14th August and so …

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Genome Medicine’s 250th article: Stuart Orkin launches the stem cell series

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The latest editorial in Genome Medicine, written by Guest Editor Stuart Orkin (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), is the 250th article published in the journal since its launch in 2009. This editorial, published in the June issue, sets the scene for a new thematic series of articles on stem cell genomics. The series aims to highlight key advances in basic and translational research in this evolving field with specially commissioned review and comment articles.

Stuart Orkin introduces the series by discussing recent developments in stem cell genomics and cellular reprogramming, predicting what new insights and therapeutic strategies might emerge in the future.  

Kicking off the series, Joanna Wysocka (Stanford University) reviews technological advances that have enabled epigenomic profiling of human …

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Read the lay summary of a clinical trial

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One key aspect to the success of the UK Clinical Trials Gateway (UKCTG) launched in March 2011 is the presentation of trial information in a format that can be easily understood by the general public, in the shape of a “lay summary”. This is part of the UK Government’s commitmentin the NHS Constitution to ensure that more trial participants are made aware of research that is of particular relevance to them.

A lay summary is the description of the research question of a trial in laymen’s terms and should aim to answer the following questions:

Background and study aims
What does the study involve
Who can take part
Where does the study take place
What are the risks to participants
Who is funding the …

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Stem cell individuality, stochastic behavior and drug discovery

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Why is it important to consider the individuality of stem cells? Can mathematical equations predict when mutations in stem cells cause potentially fatal disease? Will pluripotent stem cells be future models for disease, driving drug discovery and predicting side effects? These are some of the questions discussed in recent publications in BMC Biology as part of a thematic series on stem cells launched by three of BioMed Central’s flagship journals (BMC Biology, BMC Medicine and Genome Medicine).

To open, Arthur Lander, Consulting Editor for the series with BMC Biology, comments that current notions of stem cell biology may fail to take into account the implications of the plasticity and diversity of single stem …

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A new series on vector-borne canine parasites

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In April 2011, leading experts in the field of canine parasitic infections gathered to present and discuss their research at the 6th Symposium of Canine Vector-borne Diseases (CVBD). Parasites & Vectors has published a series of articles from delegates of the Symposium, highlighting and discussing the latest findings in the field.

The articles in the series explore various aspects of canine parasitic diseases, including the continued spread of some parasitic diseases e.g. tick-borne encephalitis virus;  research into possible therapeutic targets and the development of diagnostic tools. There is also evidence to show that, in some cases, canines have evolved mechanisms to resist parasitic invasion. For example, Barend Penzhorn reviews how dogs descended from wild African canids

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Aiding recovery from critical illness

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Guest blog from Christina Jones, winner of
the Medicine Award at the BioMed
Central 5th Annual Research Awards
for her article ‘Intensive care diaries reduce new
onset post traumatic stress disorder following critical illness: a randomised,
controlled trial’

Here, Christina talks about how she became
interested in critical illness recovery and how her research has aided
rehabilitation across the globe

Starting
over 20 years ago I became interested in the struggle patients and their families
had in recovering from a stay in intensive care. Intensive care treats some of
the sickest patients in  hospital, but  little was offered to help to rebuild their
strength and cope with the psychological after matter, such as post traumatic
stress …

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Clinical Proteomics launches with BioMed Central

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BioMed Central has launched Clinical Proteomics this week, with Dr Daniel Chan as Editor-in-Chief. Previously published by Springer, the journal has joined BioMed Central’s portfolio of open-access titles.

Dr Chan writes in his launch editorial that ‘targeted proteomic diagnostics and therapeutics will be the basis of personalized molecular medicine’, and as such the journal will cover a wide range of topics within the clinical proteomics field, including translational proteomics, and will place special emphasis on the applications of proteomics technology to clinical investigations.

Clinical Proteomics launches with a number of interesting articles, including an article from Mehrani et al. that identifies protein expression signatures for lung damage from the warfare agent Sulfur Mustard. Rukmangadachar et …

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Uncovering the secrets of the human microbiome

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A diverse range of so-called "friendly" bacteria live within each human body and can be considered an ecosystem in their own right. A new article published in Genome Biology shows that the make-up of this bacterial ecosystem is unique to each individual and that living with someone does not cause your sets of bacteria to become alike.

The study, which was performed by Rob Knight's group at the University of Colorado, also demonstrates that different parts of the body – even your right and left palms – are home to different sets of bacteria and that the bacterial species in your body change on a day-to-day basis. In fact, much as you might expect in an ecosystem, some …

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