Posts by Philippa Harris

Senior Executive Editor for the BMC-series

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How to treat severe infections in the ICU


BMC Infectious Diseases is delighted publish a special series entitled ‘How to treat severe infections in the ICU’. The series, commissioned by Dimitrios Matthaiou, has a broad focus and features reviews on everything from diagnostics to antibiotic resistance in the intensive care unit setting.

The treatment of Gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in critically ill patients is explored in a review by Marin Kollef and colleagues. The rise in infectious caused by these agents is discussed, alongside the need for prompt and effective treatment with appropriate antibiotics.

Whilst the overall approach to treating infections in surgical patients is comparable to other patient groups Jan De Waele and Liesbet De Bus discuss the specific …

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GP chlamydia testing rates: previously unexplored associations

By Patho on Wikipedia

Written by Veronica Wignall, Assistant Editor, BMC Series

Chlamydia, the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI), is easily tested for and easily treated. However, since the disease is asymptomatic in over 80% of cases it can remain undiagnosed, leading to increased transmission between sexual partners and a higher incidence in the population. Left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, a painful infection of the upper genital tract that can lead to several complications including ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and infertility; men can also become infertile.

While self-testing kits for chlamydia are available at many sexual health clinics and doctors’ surgeries, a primary source of testing is directly via a general practitioner (GP). But is every …

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Patterning of the urinary collecting duct tree

BMP7 beads

Glandular organs, such as the liver, pancreas and kidney, contain systems of branched epithelial tubes that resemble trees. The development of these tree structures has been the subject of much previous research and is known to be regulated by factors including signalling molecules and extracellular matrix molecules.

In the kidney the urinary collecting duct tree is involved in the movement of urine through the kidneys to the ureter. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, in new research published in BMC Developmental Biology, explored the development of the urinary collecting duct tree to further analyse how these branches form.

Using cultured kidney rudiments the researchers initially discovered that the position of new branches appeared linked to the …

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Understanding physiological responses at IUPS


July signaled the 37th International Congress of Physiological Sciences, organized in conjunction with the Physiological Society and many other society partners, and BMC Physiology was lucky enough to attend.

The conference covered every aspect of physiological research but it was clear that obesity, and the huge number of downstream effects this can cause, was a major theme.  Kimberley Bruce (The Scripps Research Institute) battled valiantly with technical difficulties to share research on the changes in the circadian rhythms of offspring when mothers are fed a high fat diet together with more recent work looking at the impact of diet on the lives of Drosophila. Kevin Grove revealed intriguing data on behavioral changes in macaques born …

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IUPS 2013 signals its arrival


The International Congress of Physiological Sciences only arrives every 4 years so BMC Physiology leapt at the chance to attend. The conference, running from the 21st-26th July in Birmingham, UK, showcases the best of today’s physiological research. In addition a series of public events means non-researchers can also learn more about this exciting field.

If you would like to get in touch before the conference please email Philippa Harris.

Semmelweis’ Seminal Study (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hand Hygiene)


Today is the 195th anniversary of the birth of Ignaz Semmelweis and BMC Infectious Diseases is celebrating the achievements of this pioneer of infection control.

At the beginning of the 19th century people were unaware that bacteria could cause disease and it was not until the work of scientists, including Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, in the second half of the century that the causative agents of many common diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis were identified.

In 1846 Semmelweis was working as a doctor in the First Obstetrical Clinic of Vienna General Hospital. He was troubled by the rate of puerperal fever in the hospital and the resulting high maternal mortality rate. In addition …

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Auf Wiedersehen ECCMID 2013


Caravaggio is not an artist traditionally associated with Berlin, but discussion of potential causes of his death–postulated to be due to sepsis– at a recent microbiology conference held in the city–mean that sometime in future  he just may be! Luckily the eventful  life of the famous Italian painter was not emulated by the participants at the 23rd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2013) and we, BMC Infectious Diseases included, instead enjoyed a diverse set of presentations covering the whole spectrum of infectious disease research.

The focus of many of the talks was on prevention, rather than the treatment of diseases, from Linos Vandekerckhove’s review of early initiation of HIV treatment to prevent transmission, …

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BMC Infectious Diseases ist ein Berliner


Berlin has seen more than its fair share of microbiology pioneers, including Robert Koch and Paul Ehrlich. In light of this it is only fitting that Berlin will be the host city for the 23rd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2013) from the 27th-30th April. BMC Infectious Diseases will be attending and are looking forward to a diverse range of talks. If you are interested in meeting to discuss anything please contact the Executive Editor Philippa Harris.

Defining bacterial species in the genomic era: insights from the genus Acinetobacter


A recent paper in BMC Microbiology argues that delineation of bacterial species based purely on whole genome sequences is both feasible and desirable. In this guest blog, the authors outline why.

In the early eighteenth century, in his Systema Naturae, Linnaeus provided the first workable hierarchical classification of species, based on the clustering of organisms according to their phenotypic characteristics. Over a century later in On the Origin of Species, Darwin added phylogeny, i.e. the history of organismal lineages over time, to biological taxonomy, while also emphasizing the arbitrary nature of biological species. Despite concerns over the capricious nature of taxonomic boundaries, the pragmatic reality and utility of the species concept continues to inform the theory and …

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BMC Infectious Diseases highlights hepatitis


BMC Infectious Diseases has always prided itself on the hepatitis research it publishes, from epidemiology studies in underreported locations such as Iraq  and Libya, as well as more global studies. In addition we have been working closely with conferences to publish supplements on this subject, such as the recent proceedings of the Second Workshop of the Regional Study Group on HCV in the Calabria Region.

In recognition of this growing area of the journal we are delighted to announce our expansion to include a new section dedicated to manuscripts reporting research into hepatitis and co-infections. Authors will be able to submit directly to this section and readers will be able to search directly for …

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