Sealed with a kiss – and 80 million oral bacteria


Christmas seems to come earlier each year. Our thoughts turn to the exchange of gifts, time with family and friends and the inevitable office party. But you may find that you exchange more than a secret santa gift this year. A drunken kiss with a colleague could leave you with many million of their oral bacteria, according to a new study in Microbiome.

It is an oft-quoted fact that we have more bacterial cells living on us than the number of human cells we’re made from. Less well understood is how bacteria move between us, travelling from human to human, from human to animal (including our pets) and to and from our built environment.

The oral microbiome has been …

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An open future for neuroscience – join BioMed Central at SfN 2014!


SfN 2014 starts tomorrow, and I will be there, along with several of my colleagues. It’s a big event in the neuroscience research calendar, and every year the conference is an opportunity to hear about the latest and most cutting edge research in the field.

Over the last few years I’ve seen open access becomes increasingly popular within the field of neuroscience (and rightly so, I think), and it’s great to be part of that. I work with some of the first high-quality open access neuroscience journals, edited and supported by a community of leading experts, and we’re proud of that here at BioMed Central.

This year, as we’ve been gearing up for SfN, we decided to mark the occasion by summing up in …

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Diabetes: Risk factors and lifestyle interventions

Diabetes definition

Today is World Diabetes Day and this year it is centred on the theme of healthy living and diabetes. To mark this, we take a look at some of the recent research and discussions on risk factors and lifestyle interventions associated with type 2 diabetes*.

The rise in the global burden of diabetes is expected to challenge healthcare systems. Already, it is estimated that 29.1 million people in the US have the condition. Diabetes is one of the four main non-communicable diseases and the World Health Organization (WHO) action plan includes a global strategy for its prevention and control. This is an important aim, as diabetes is known to lead to many co-morbid conditions, which in …

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Chemical sterilization: A safe alternative for dogs?


Could chemical sterilization be an affordable solution to keeping stray dog populations under control? Raffaella Leoci, DVM, PhD, is a researcher at the University Bari Aldo Moro in Italy and a specialist in pet reproduction. She is the lead author of two articles published in Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica on chemical sterilization of dogs using calcium chloride, which identified the most effective concentration and the optimal solution. In this guest post she tells us why she thinks use of calcium chloride sterilization could be the answer to stray overpopulation.


Pet overpopulation is a serious problem across much of the world. In some regions such as where I live, the number of stray dogs is not under control and many dogs …

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Keeping it clean: Spotlight on contamination in microbiome studies

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microbiome paper

A study published today in BMC Biology has found that many published microbiome studies may have been contaminated. In this guest post, Susannah Salter and Alan Walker, authors on the paper, tell us more about what they found.


The last decade has seen amazing developments in DNA sequencing technology. One area that has benefitted tremendously from these advances is the field of microbiology, as it is now possible to characterise microbial communities (“microbiota”) at previously unimaginable depths.


As a result microbiota research is currently booming, led by many recent large-scale, world-wide initiatives such as The Human Microbiome Project, MetaHIT, and the Earth Microbiome Project, which use the power of sequencing to try and understand …

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October blogs digest: Open Access Week, Viagra, hepatitis, and more

We as scientists work to further

October was a busy month on the BioMed Central blogs, so here are some of the top posts for you to browse through at your leisure.

Open Access Week

October 20-26 was Open Access Week, and we celebrated with a whole variety of posts on the topic. The theme for the week was ‘Generation Open’, with the emphasis on engaging students and early career researchers with open access, so among other things, we asked some early career researchers what they thought about about open access publishing. Particularly popular was Bryony Graham’s post about the theory and the reality of being able to publish open access when you’re at the start of your research career.

We also marked Open Access Week …

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The 10th NCRI Cancer Conference: disease prevention, patient care and genomic medicine

Claire Barnard

Having just returned from the 10th National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Conference – the UK’s biggest cancer meeting – BMC Medicine takes a look at some key themes and new research presented at the meeting.

NCRI 2014 brought together clinicians, scientists, patients, funders and many other groups in Liverpool to showcase and discuss the latest findings in cancer research.

Cancer risk and prevention

One of the key themes of the meeting was cancer prevention. As highlighted by Peter Sasieni, smoking is the number one cause of cancer, and removing tobacco would substantially reduce the number of people developing cancer. However, Tim Lobstein from the World Obesity Federation explained that after smoking, being overweight is the second most important preventable risk …

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The Impact Factor of journals converting from subscription to open access

Journal logos 2

This is a post by Stefan Busch, Publisher at BioMed Central, and Gerald Langhanke, Trainee Librarian at ULB Darmstadt – a co-authored poster on the topic is also available.

January’s piece about the Impact Factor trend of established journals that had joined BioMed Central’s portfolio of open access publications generated considerable interest. We asked whether there was an open access citation effect to observe, and whether the findings had implications for an editorial strategy? The answer we found was ‘yes’ to both questions.

We are now reporting additional data, and gradually the picture is becoming more fine grained. It shows the extent and the sustainability of the Impact Factor gains of such journals after their conversion to …

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Exposure to stress and environmental toxins: Effects across generations

Stressed Young Businessman at Office

Today is National Stress Awareness day and the theme this year is Stress: the balancing act. Here, we take a look at some recent research on stress in relation to its effect over generations and through epigenetic mechanisms.

The stress response normally results in the release of glucorticoid hormones that are secreted by the adrenal glands to enable several physiological functions. However, chronic stress leads to continual release of these hormones that are associated with serious mental and physical health problems.

Recent data show that environmental factors such as stress and toxins, for example pesticides and smoking, during prenatal and/or early life are known to result in adverse health effects not only in offspring but also in subsequent generations …

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The top 5 innovations in knowledge translation

Knowledge transfer

In this post, regular guest blogger Jay Shaw looks at 5 key innovations that are bringing the practice of knowledge translation into the future.

A colleague of mine recently told me that she asked a psychology professor at a large university what his knowledge translation strategies were, and the professor replied, “I’m paid to write papers – knowledge translation is not my job”.

But I doubt that’s a very familiar phrase these days. In a world where money is tight in every corner of public service, the kinds of health research that best defend their value are those that have a clear, measured impact on health and health care.

Although we should most definitely take the time to ask ourselves how this perhaps narrow focus …

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