Popular books about sex differences

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The topic of the differences in male and female’s brains and behaviour has triggered a succession of popular books over the last decade which has helped advance study into the area of human brain differences in relation to sex and gender. In a book review, published today in Biology of Sex Differences, authors Margaret  McCarthy and Gregory  Ball provide a critique of two recent publications, Rebecca J. Jordan-Young’s “Brainstorm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences” and Cordelia Fine’s “Delusions of Gender"                                                                 
The critics agree with aspects of both Jordan-Young’s and  Fine’s approaches to questioning the translation of research in this field, but point out that there are areas of research that have …

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Selected papers from WABI 2010 – new series in Algorithms for Molecular Biology

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Algorithms for Molecular Biology has published a series of articles presented at the 10th Workshop on Algorithms in Bioinformatics (WABI), held at ALGO 2010. The articles cover a diverse range of topics, from supertree methods, to novel computational methods for inferring haplotypes from genotype data.

Algorithms in biology is an ever expanding field, which is helping to provide more cost effective methods of biological analysis than traditional wetlab investigations. WABI 2010’s focus was on discrete algorithms and machine learning methods that addressed existing problems in molecular biology.

Within the series, Prof Bonnie Berger and colleagues describe a novel approach to clarifying variability in the conformation of structures solved using X-ray crystallography by using an algorithm that is able to distinguish …

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Trials publishes the International Stroke Trial data set

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The journal Trials has, since its launch, aimed to be a force for change in publishing – experimenting with and refining novel approaches to reporting information about randomised controlled trials. The sharing and publishing of clinical research data underlying trials has been an area of the journal’s focus, and the editors have sought to establish guidelines for this emerging area of journal publishing. An article just-published in the journal puts clinical data sharing – from one of the largest clinical trials in acute stroke ever conducted – firmly into practice.

The results of the first International Stroke Trial (IST) suggested that aspirin should be administered to stroke patients as soon as possible after the onset of …

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Open Network Biology and the second Sage Bionetworks Commons Congress

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The Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit organization hoping to revolutionize how researchers approach the treatment of human disease, is holding its second annual meeting
this week in San Francisco. BioMed Central is supporting and will be on
location at the event, where Dr Eric Schadt, Pacific Biosciences, USA,
will give an overview of a new BioMed Central journal, Open Network Biology.

Sage Bionetworks aims to better understand changes at the molecular level when patients present with different diseases and symptoms, which in turn will produce better targets for new drug discoveries and facilitate more personalized  healthcare. Building these network models of disease, or maps, involves combining data from currently fragmented omics fields, which do not …

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Threaded publications: we need you and your data for the next phase

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BioMed Central recently convened some inaugural ‘threaded publications’ discussions in Oxford, UK. This post is an expanded summary of the discussions and next steps for the concept. Many thanks to Prof Doug Altman, Mr Geoffrey Bilder, Sir Iain Chalmers and Prof Mike Clarke for their contributions.

What is threaded publications trying to achieve?
What a reader or ‘user’ might gain from threaded publications depends on their role. As a systematic reviewer of the medical evidence, you need to easily and readily find all articles and data related to the topic you are studying. Research funders and ethics committees need to know if a new piece of research, such as a clinical trial, is warranted (indeed, all clinical trials should ideally …

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Locate clinical trials that are of interest to you with the new UK Clinical Trials Gateway

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BioMed Central are proud to be working with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to help them create and launch their new online resource UKCTG – UK Clinical Trials Gateway

Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer (CMO)
for England said,
“I am extremely pleased to announce that phase 2 of the UK Clinical Trials Gateway is now available for people to try out. It will increase transparency in research and will make it easy for patients,
their doctors and carers, friends and families to see what clinical trials are
taking place, what each trial is about, where it is taking place, and who is
running it.  The NIHR will go on working
to improve it.”

The UK Clinical …

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Rituximab does not increase risk of infection in lymphoma patients

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Using rituximab in addition to standard chemotherapy has been reported to have beneficial effects on treatment outcome in patients with CD-20 positive malignant lymphomas. Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody which is used to treat patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma either alone or in combination with other drugs. It is active against both malignant and normal B-cells which express CD20 on their cell surface. It is also used in some types of auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Due to its action against normal B-cells, rituximab causes immunosupression. This has lead to concerns that patients treated with this drug may be more susceptible to infection and there have been studies showing an increased risk of infection in …

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Celebrate National Robotics Week

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National Robotics Week (April 9-17) is a celebration of the science and technology behind automatons, unmanned vehicles and all things robotic.  Across the United States, scientists, local robotics clubs, schools and hobbyists are invited to share their projects in nationwide competitions and open house events.  
As well as providing a forum for enthusiasts, National Robotics Week is a chance to raise the profile of this growing high-tech industry. The diversity of tasks executed by robots include many that are now critical to medical and healthcare fields. A browse of the articles published in BioMedical Engineering OnLine reveals robotic innovations that would have seemed implausible only a generation ago.  For example, the collection of signals from muscle movement …

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BMC Research Notes and BioSharing – collaboration changes everything

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Since its launch in 2008, BMC Research Notes has been working with research communities in all fields of biology and medicine to ensure that data files are published in standard, reusable formats. To facilitate this we have been aiming to produce recommendations for domain-specific data file standards, making it easier for researchers to find information about the optimum, interoperable formats for their data. This is a formidable task but now, via an exciting new partnership with BioSharing, the first version of the catalogue is available.

The launch of our series on Data standardization, sharing and publication edited by open access advocates Dr …

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Prevention is better than cure: Elimination of parasitic infections

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This year’s World Health Day focuses on combating drug resistance, which is a growing concern throughout the world, as antimicrobial resistance renders once powerful drugs useless in the fight against certain diseases. However, treatment is not the only answer to combating disease. Eradicating a disease is the ultimate goal of many health organisations, and the new series Elimination of parasitic infections, published in Parasites and Vectors will highlight campaigns from around the world where parasitic infections are being targeted for elimination

The targets of these elimination campaigns can be the parasite, the vector or both. The first article in the series reports the successful progress towards the elimination of the Tsetse fly in Guinea. Tsetse flies are the …

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