Choosing the right mate could help your offspring to survive infections (if you’re a mouse)

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Mice

Choosey females should, “like physicians, unclothe the subject, weigh, listen, observe vital capacity, and take blood, urine and fecal samples.” – so said Hamilton and Zuk in 1982, when they first posited that mate choice enables females to select healthy, disease-resistant males, and produce disease-resistant offspring.

While I’m not sure that this is the approach I’ll be taking, it seems that female mice are working along those lines. And research published today in BMC Evolutionary Biology suggests that it’s with good reason.

The researchers, led by Dustin Penn, wanted to test whether the female’s choice of mate affected the health and disease-resistance of their offspring. They tested the preferences of female mice for certain males, …

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Sneezing sponges provide evidence of a new sensory organ in an ancient lineage

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By Ciara Ni Dhubhghaill, Assistant Editor, BMC Series

Despite lacking nerves, muscles and a central nervous system, sponges (Porifera) are capable of organizing behaviours in response to external stimuli. One such interesting response among the demosponges (the largest class in the phylum Porifera, comprising 90% of all sponges) is an inflation/contraction response, or “sneeze”, as a coordinated response to stimuli. This combination of simplicity of form and sophisticated reactive responses prompted a group of researchers, led by Sally Leys of the University of Alberta, to investigate the means of sensory function in these ancient Metazoans; beginning with the discovery of cilia on all cells forming the epithelial lining of the osculum in the freshwater sponge Ephydatia muelleri in …

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The BMC-series 2013 in review: Highly accessed articles

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By Nawsheen Boodhun, Assistant Editor BMC-series

2013 has seen more than 10,200 articles published across the BMC Series* journals. Now that 2014 is upon us, we thought it would be opportune to look back on some of our most-viewed articles of the past 12 months.

1.    Occupational issues of adults with ADHD (>44 200 Accesses)

Published in February 2013, this consensus development conference statement by Adamou and colleagues covers the impact of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on employment. ADHD is a common childhood neurodevelopmental disorder which can persist into adulthood, often with profound negative effects on social interactions for sufferers, especially in the workplace. This consensus statement was developed as a result of an international conference held in July 2010 …

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A year in pictures from the BMC-series

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12. Computed Tomography (CT) imaging quality of the skeletal system of an embalmed human cadaver

Here at the BMC-series, we’re proud to be able to bring you the latest open access research covering virtually all fields of biological and clinical research — from anaesthesiology to zoonotic disease, and everything in between. To give you a flavour of this diversity, we’ve put together a selection of some of our favourite images published in the series during 2013.

Take a browse through the slideshow by clicking on any image and scrolling through. Each image is annotated with an attribution to the original authors, and each comes with a short description.

Happy browsing!

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Highlights of the BMC-series: December 2013

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BMCWordle

Definitions and DSM-5 • Sunshine and strength • Rethinking honeybee history •  High altitude horses • Polar bear consuming a seal •  Causes of academic burnout •  Useful urine? •  The Agouti and the ecstasy

Psychiatry: Definitions and DSM-5

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of psychiatry has been described as the ‘bible’ of disease definitions for the field of mental health, providing a standardised framework for classifying and discussing mental disorders. However, the recent publication of its fifth edition (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association has proved controversial, with the National Institute of Mental Health in the US proposing an alternative framework “from genes to neural circuits to behaviors”, that they argue is based on less subjective criteria. In …

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Africa Health 2013: Highlights from the 3rd Ethics, Human Rights and Medical Law Conference

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Johannesburg, South Africa. 7-9 May 2013

Last December BMC Medical Ethics published a supplement including a selection of articles from the “3rd Ethics, Human Rights and Medical Law Conference”, held on May 7th, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa, as part of the Africa Health Congress 2013.

Edited by Sylvester Chima, Takafira Mduluza and Julius Kipkemboi

With the theme of bioethical and legal perspectives in biomedical research and medical practice in Africa, the conference  focused on Informed Consent, HIV-AIDS & Tuberculosis, Leadership and Organizational Ethics, Patients and Healthcare Workers Rights. The 8 research articles  included in this supplement highlight the increasing relevance of the ethical implications of biomedical research and medical practice, fostering the debate on issues such as the incentives for …

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Highlights of the BMC-series: November 2013

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BMCWordle

Origins of avian vision • A mating strategy to ruffle some feathers • Boomerang birds? • Microbes in space • A battery of neuropsychological tasks • Bulimia and body image • A need for better definition • Filling in the details on tooth decay risk

Evolution: Origins of avian vision

Male bowerbirds are famed for building elaborate structures from colourful found objects, in order to woo their mates. Because of this, they’ve become something of a model organism for studying the evolution of vision in birds. A new study now analyses the sequences of light-sensitive proteins called opsins to confirm that UV sensitivity in the visual system of the Great Bowerbird has re-evolved from violet-sensitive ancestors several times –representing an …

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APHA: For science. For action. For health.

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November the 6th saw the end of the American Public Health Association’s (APHA’s) 141st Annual Meeting and Exposition held in Boston. With a program full of exciting sessions and events, the largest public health gathering in the world brought together over 12,500 public health enthusiasts including influential advocates, researchers and practitioners. BMC Public Health was lucky to be a part of this group and witness to the dissemination of a wide array of new research relating to this year’s theme.

The theme – “Think Global, Act Local: Best Practices Around the World” emphasized the importance of learning from the best public health practices around the globe and using these to solve local problems.  The Opening General Session, which …

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BMC Geriatrics at the 2013 BGS Autumn Scientific Meeting

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BMC Geriatrics is excited to be attending the 2013 British Geriatrics Society (BGS) Autumn Scientific Meeting held in Harrogate, UK, from 20-22 November.

In addition to attending the scientific sessions and poster presentations on the 21st, Executive Editor Irene Pala is very interested in meeting with researchers to discuss their work and interests.

If you are attending the conference and would like to meet, please contact Executive Editor Irene Pala.

We look forward to meeting you in Harrogate.

BioVis 2012: Highlights from the 2nd Symposium on Biological Data Visualization

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Fig 2 Lindow et al BMC Bioinformatics 2013 14(Suppl 19)S5

As the volume of research data increases so does its complexity, and with it the need to find sophisticated solutions for visualisation. In this guest post, Nils Gehlenborg, one of the General Chairs of the organizing committee of the BioVis 2012 Symposium, guides us through some highlights from last year’s meeting. Published as a new Supplement in BMC Bioinformatics, this collection of articles brings together six of the meeting’s most notable submissions, and is co-edited by Organising Committee members Miriah Meyer and Jan Aerts.

Novel approaches for visualization of biological data are becoming ever more relevant in a time when data sets are rapidly growing in size and heterogeneity. Given the complexity of the challenges that …

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