Posts tagged: Medicine

SRST2: a new tool for genomic epidemiology

Generic pink bacteria (cropped)

“We began this project because we needed more reliable methods to do our own research work, which involves detecting resistance genes and other genetic markers in thousands of bacterial genomes, but we quickly saw that it had direct and important implications for diagnostic labs.”

In this Q&A, Michael Inouye and Kathryn Holt, authors of a Software article recently published in Genome Medicine, tell us about the development of the software SRST2. SRST2 is a read mapping-based computational tool that allows fast and accurate detection of genes, alleles and multi-locus sequence types from whole genome short sequencing reads.

Why did SRST2 need to be developed?

“Genomic surveillance is being adopted by diagnostic and public health labs all over the world, as …

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Dairy products and type 2 diabetes: protective or harmful?

Yoghurt (cropped)

It is recommended that we should eat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt as part of a healthy diet. Because these foods are high in protein and calcium, moderate consumption of low-fat dairy products is thought to be important for growth, repair and strong bones.

However, some recent studies have suggested that eating dairy products might not be as good for us as previously thought. A study published last week suggested that drinking three or more glasses of milk a day may be linked to increased fracture risk, and a Swedish investigation found a lower incidence of lung, breast and ovarian cancer in those with lactose intolerance – people who avoid consuming dairy …

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Take a deep breath for COPD day

World COPD Day 2014

The third biggest killer

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, better known simply as COPD, is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Three million people died of COPD in 2012 according to the WHO, yet public awareness of this disease isn’t nearly as high as say cancer, HIV or heart disease.

This is where the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) come in with their annual World COPD Day, hoping to raise awareness about COPD and improve treatment options worldwide.





So, what exactly is COPD?

COPD can be classified as a narrowing of the airways which obstructs normal breathing, resulting in symptoms such as chronic cough, shortness of breath and abnormal sputum production.

COPD is an umbrella term encompassing a whole range …

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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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Taking action to overcome breast cancer


To mark the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, guest blogger Katherine Woods, Senior Research Communications Manager at Breast Cancer Campaign tells us more about their research recently published in Breast Cancer Research and the Off-patent Drugs Bill which they are now collaborating on.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (or ‘BCAM’ to those of us at Breast Cancer Campaign who refer to it on a daily basis, all year round) is unsurprisingly our busiest and most exciting time of year.

In October 2013, with the dedicated hard work of over 100 international experts, we published our second ‘gap analysis’ paper in Breast Cancer Research, which highlighted the gaps in our knowledge which – if filled – would bring the …

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Developing compassionate health care

Christos Lionis

Our new journal, the Journal of Compassionate Health Care launched today. In a Q+A, we asked the Editors-in-Chief, Sue Shea and Christos Lionis, to tell us more about the field and what they hope to achieve with the journal.


Christos Lionis

What is compassionate health care and how has it developed?

Compassionate health care is a rapidly growing field which has come to the forefront following concerns that despite the increasing scope and sophistication of health care, it sometimes fails at a fundamental level.   Although there are many reported gaps in the humanity of health care, there is general agreement that care, compassion, and basic care delivery should form an important aspect of health care globally.

In addition, there is evidence to …

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Viagra protects the heart: back to the future for the love pills

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Viagra pills

New research published today in BMC Medicine shows that Viagra could be used as a safe treatment for heart disease. In this guest post, lead author on the paper, Andrea M. Isidori of Department of Experimental Medicine at Sapienza University of Rome, tells us more about the background to this research and what they found out.

Everybody’s heard of Viagra (sildenafil). It was the first phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i) marketed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. But few people are aware of the other beneficial effects and potential new uses for this class of drugs.

Viagra was originally tested for heart problems – angina pectoris, a chest pain associated with coronary heart disease – on the basis of its vasodilatory …

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Making multiple changes to lifestyle factors can reduce risk of developing colorectal cancer

Intestines (cropped)

Deborah Gilbert from Bowel & Cancer Research and Mohamed A Thaha the National Centre for Bowel Research and Surgical Innovation at Queen Mary University of London discuss a recent article published in BMC Medicine in which it has been found that adoption of a combination of five key healthy behaviors is associated with a reduction in the risk of developing bowel cancer.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most prevalent cancer and the second most common cancer killer. In recent decades, although cancer care has improved and more people survive longer, many CRC cases are still diagnosed at a late stage, when survival is much less likely. For this reason, much attention is now focused on …

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Thrombosis – what you need to know

Thrombosis facts

Thrombosis – blood clots that form in an artery or vein – is the one disorder that causes all three of the world’s top cardiovascular killers: heart attack, stroke and venous thromboembolism (VTE). Today is World Thrombosis Day, and to mark it, the Editors of Thrombosis Journal have put together some of the key things you ought to know about thrombosis and the associated risks.

An estimated 17.3 million people die every year from cardiovascular disease, making it the number one cause of deaths globally. This is estimated to increase to 20.3 million deaths by 2030. Given these numbers, it is undoubtedly vitally important for us to understand the mechanisms and causes of these diseases.

Heart attacks and strokes are, …

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Understanding the consequences of abortion

Diana Greene Foster

Findings from the Turnaway study, which aims to look at the effects of unwanted pregnancy on women’s lives, were published today in BMC Medicine. In this guest blog, Diana Greene Foster, Principal Investigator of the Turnaway study writes about her experiences in leading it.

When we started the Turnaway study, a main goal was to understand the consequences of abortion for women’s lives. A handful of researchers had posited that many women experience ‘post-abortion trauma syndrome’ – mental health disorders caused by having an abortion. Since nearly one out of three women in the U.S. has an abortion over her lifetime, such a syndrome would potentially affect millions of women.

I’m a demographer, so I naturally think about health conditions …

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