Hand hygiene, cannabis use and dinosaur bones: highlights of the BMC Series in November 2014

How to improve hand hygiene compliance • Zebra seasonal immune system trade-offs • Predictors of onset of cannabis use in males • Anthelmintic treatment response in calving dairy cows • Onset of metal disorders for victims of gender-based violence • How to count dinosaur bones

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Infectious Diseases: How to improve hand hygiene compliance

From the perspective of hospital managers, there are several suggestions for strengthening and reinvigorating hospital hand hygiene programmes. There is a need to develop strategies that take into account the entire patient journey and which can be adapted to and tailored for differing workplace roles, responsibilities, disciplines and settings, level of patient contact, and level of knowledge about infection control.

Ecology: Zebra seasonal immune system trade-offs

Seasonality of infectious diseases and the seasonal interactions between concurrent infections and immunity have been examined in plains zebra. Gastrointestinal parasite infections flourish in zebras during the rainy months, eliciting an immune response that can suppress the ability to ward off other types of infection, like anthrax, that require different immune reactions. These findings suggest that, through immunomodulation, seasonally constrained pathogens could help force seasonality on other pathogens that are, on their own, not as temporally driven.

Public Health: Predictors of onset of cannabis use in males

Factors such as not providing for oneself, parental divorce, peer pressure, very low nicotine dependence and sensation seeking are positively associated with the onset of cannabis use in young male adults. Instead, believing in God and practising religion protected from the initiation of illegal drug use. The results of the study might help to identify individuals for whom preventive measures for cannabis or illegal drug use are most appropriate and to develop screening instruments for the identification of male young adults at risk for cannabis and other drug use.

 

Image of the month

image November

Nymphalid ground plan of Nymphalinae butterfly wing patterns. From “Gradual and contingent evolutionary emergence of leaf mimicry in butterfly wing patterns” Suzuki et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2014 14:229

Veterinary Research: Anthelmintic treatment response in calving dairy cows

A randomized controlled clinical trial was performed to investigate the effect of anthelmintic treatment at calving on milk production in dairy cattle and to evaluate if some easy-to-use animal parameters are associated with the milk production response following anthelmintic treatment. The study demonstrates that eprinomectin treatment of dairy cows at calving causes a reduction in gastrointestinal nematode infection and an increase in daily milk yield during the following lactation, which is related to non-invasive parameters, including body condition score.

Psychiatry: Onset of metal disorders for victims of gender-based violence

Two thirds of women exposed to gender based violence who have not experienced mental disturbances prior to the abuse, manifest the first onset of ‘mental disturbance’ within one and five years following initial exposure to abuse. The results support the need for developing policy and innovative strategies aimed at addressing the dual challenge of responding to gender based violence and the associated mental health consequences for women in a comprehensive and integrated manner.

Evolution biology: How to count dinosaur bones

Studies of the microscopic structures of bones from fossil vertebrates have provided important insights into their ontogeny and physiology. Estimating growth rates from fossil bones is difficult, depending on counting lines of arrested growth or measuring density. By comparing dinosaur bones, a new study suggests that both methods appear to be variable and too easily affected by other factors of bone growth and modification, including variation between bones and individuals, to be of repeatable use.

 

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