October 2015: BMC series highlights

Psychiatry: 5-a-day keeps psychological distress at bay

This month, research published in BMC Psychiatry shows that eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day is associated with lower psychological distress. Researchers have long suggested that the complex mix of nutrients present in fruit and vegetables might account for better health and well-being. More recently the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables on mental health have also been explored, as presented in this blog. Three portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit a day seem to be the optimal balance correlated to a lower risk of mental health issues.

Medical ethics: Integrating values with evidence-based medicine

As part of the cross-journal series on Extending evidence-based medicine, BMC Medical Ethics debates this month the importance of values in evidence-based medicine (EBM). 20 years after its birth, the EBM movement is now facing an increasing number of critics for having imposed an overly technical approach that does not always take into consideration patients’ needs. In this debate article, the authors comment on the need to include values to define questions and methods and to consider patients’ and clinicians’ values in the process of clinical decision making to strengthen the humanitarian principles on which EBM is based.

Microbiology: Can different strains of Chlamydia cause different reactions?

Despite limited genetic variability, different strains of Chlamydia pneumoniae are known to generate different responses during host infection, namely an acute respiratory response as well as chronic pathogen-induced complications. This study in BMC Microbiology compares two strains of C. pneumoniae by looking at both in vitro and in vivo bacterial growth and host responses, demonstrating the existence of phenotypic differences between human isolates that lead to differences in inflammatory potential.

 

Image of the month

This picture from Ma et al., BMC Plant Biology 2015, 15:237 shows the effect of ambient temperature on flower phenotypes of rose plants.

 

Evolutionary biology: Northern lizards benefit from a warmer world

New research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology suggests a positive effect of climate warming on the Swedish sand lizard Lacerta agilis. Higher spring temperatures advance the egg laying date, a trait strongly linked to offspring survival, suggesting a beneficial effect of warmer climates for this high latitude population.

Geriatrics: “He seems to be ill” said the nurse

Signs and symptoms of infections in nursing home residents usually go undetected, leading to a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Assessments are often based on the observations of nurses, who are not involved further in the decision-making process. A new study in BMC Geriatrics presents the development and validation of a new instrument, the Early Detection of Infection Scale (EDIS), which uses the qualitative data from nurses’ reports for early detection of infections in nursing homes.

Genomics: Pathogenic bacterial gene circuits

BMC Genomics presents this month a study on bacterial pathways for pathogenicity, part of an ambitious project to create an encyclopedia for bacteria – host interactions. Using the KEGG repository, a comparative genomic assessment identified sets of genes abundant in pathogenic but absent in commensal strains, allowing the elucidation of gene clusters and circuits as possible signatures of pathogenicity.

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