Singing can improve physical and mental health in the elderly


The challenges of an aging population are never far from the headlines, whether it’s concerns over pensions, or the increase in dementia cases. In this guest post, Ichiro Saito tells us about his latest research into singing and how it could benefit older people.

Prior to the development of speech as a way of communicating, humans used songs, humming, and other musical sounds. Songs have been used – and still are – in many different ways, from communicating  when hunting was good, to celebrating after a good harvest, from praying for rain, to mourning at funerals.

We’ve been looking into how understanding human song is useful today for Japan’s ’super-aged’ society. National census data shows the population of Japan is …

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WHO joins PubMed Central

WHO is now open

An open access world news update


There are many drivers behind the open access movement: to accelerate the pace of scientific research, discovery and innovation; increase the visibility, readership and impact of authors’ works, as well as to enhance interdisciplinary research, to name but a few. All factors point to one ultimate goal, the advancement of knowledge, which both researchers and publishers know, can only be reached by sharing results and making them as accessible as possible.

Back in January, the global health authority, the World Health Organisation (WHO), announced the launch of a new open access policy to ensure the widespread dissemination of scientific research. The policy, which applies to all WHO-authored or WHO-funded research published in external journals …

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June blogs digest: Alcohol and football, eating disorders in men, irreproducible research, and more

Alcohol advertising Warsaw

Missed out on some of our posts in June? No need to trawl the archives – we’ve pulled together the highlights for you right here.

Do we need a red card for alcohol advertising in football?

With the World Cup kicking off on 12th June, we braced ourselves for the highs and lows of a month of football. But getting bitten by Luis Suarez might not be the only danger of the tournament. In a guest post, Dr Jean Adams, a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at Newcastle University, UK, told us about her latest research into alcohol advertising in football, published in BMC Public Health.

The perfect body? How eating disorders and body image are a threat to …

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Health Services Research conference – Highlights from Day 2


Our Health Services Research conference continues at King’s College London with its second day. What did we learn? And, what were the highlights? Guest bloggers, Jay Shaw and Anita Kothari, round up Day 2 with their key moments.

Three thematic sessions organized the day: Implementation Science, Health Economics, Health Human Resources and Health Systems. Here’s a flavour of how the day unfolded:

Anna Gagliardi, a Scientist with the Toronto General Research Institute, spoke about the problem of translating clinical practice guidelines into practice. In particular, successful implementation in the user setting is difficult to achieve. Since those who produce guidelines may not have the resources to focus on implementation, this task often falls to the user. Tools are …

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The Evidence-Based Medicine renaissance: holy grail or poisoned chalice?

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Today at our Health Services Research Conference, Professor Trish Greenhalgh announced her new campaign for Real Evidence-Based Medicine. In this guest post, her fellow campaigner Dr Jeremy Howick writes about why we need a renaissance in Evidence-Based Medicine.

A meeting involving critics and proponents of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) took place in September 2013 to discuss how to overcome current problems with EBM.

Led by Trish Greenhalgh, the meeting attendees wrote an editorial that was published last week in the BMJ. The article – Evidence based medicine: a movement in crisis? – argues that the many benefits of EBM have too often been obscured by undesirable and often unintended consequences including:

Misappropriation of EBM by vested interests. These interests …

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The failure rate of clinical trials for Alzheimer’s – why we need to raise our game

Dr Simon Ridley

New research published today in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy has shown that the failure rate for Alzheimer’s Disease drug development is 99.6%. In this guest blog, Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, discusses the challenges we are facing in tackling this devastating condition, and what we can do to address them.

Dementia is the name for a collection of many different conditions, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. Alzheimer’s is characterised by a gradual decline in memory and changes in behaviour and communication. In the later stages, people often forget their friends and family as well as how to walk and feed themselves …

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What would we do without antibiotics?


At one point antibiotics were a cure-all. Go to the doctor for any little ailment, antibiotics were prescribed and then you’re cured. Overprescription, patients not finishing their full course of antibiotics and some very clever evolution on the part of bacteria has led to antibiotic resistance becoming a wide-spread problem.

Discovery of penicillin
When Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 it changed the world. Common diseases with no cure were suddenly treatable. Antibiotics have saved countless lives and I think we’ve nearly all taken them at some point. I know I have.

I had a sore throat as a child and although on my first visit the doctor said I would be fine in a few days, I soon developed a …

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Health Services Research conference – Highlights from Day 1


Our Health Services Research conference kicked off yesterday at King’s College London. But what were the highlights of Day 1? What did we learn? Guest bloggers, Jay Shaw and Anita Kothari, round up the first day with their key moments:

Day 1 was packed full of speakers focused on Health Systems issues. We present some highlights:

Keynote speaker Professor Nicholas May, Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Health Services Research and Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, started the day by discussing the relationship between research and policy in today’s climate. He argued that there has been a widespread call for policy evaluation as the way to engage with evidence-based policy making. …

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Welcome to Health Services Research: Evidence Based Practice 2014!

HSR logo

Guest bloggers Jay Shaw and Anita Kothari kick off the 2014 Health Services Research conference with some conversation starters.

Leading up to this conference, Jay Shaw wrote about the importance of connecting with new colleagues for a better understanding of how various disciplines conceptualize problems to health services issues. He also wrote about the need for a globalized perspective regardless of where you actually conduct your research – global forces influence local trends, and vice versa. This perspective involves looking to places you might not typically turn to in the face of complex health challenges. Jay’s arguments for more cross-disciplinarity in our global context was done in the hopes that you might be inspired to reach out and meet new …

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EASE-ing into an Editors’ conference in Split

Folk dancing at the Welcome Reception at Mestrovic Gallery

I recently attended the 12th European Association of Science Editors (EASE) Conference in Split, Croatia. The meeting was based at the University of Split School of Medicine and included a reception in the beautiful Mestrovic Gallery and a dinner with delightful Croatian dishes to try, all of which provided a relaxing setting to meet conference delegates. The atmosphere was friendly and informal, and on each day a newsletter “Split Infinitive” was issued with news and gossip about the conference events.

At the conference I gave a presentation on “How can a Publisher support its Editors? A perspective from BioMed Central”. At BioMed Central we try to support our Editors in ways that suit them (every …

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