Highlights of the BMC-series: October 2013


Who is better at multitasking? • Giant panda genetics • Ethnicity affects experience • Making a game out of science • The tardigrade nervous system • Google Maps for molecular biology • Is Herpes helping HIV?• Housework is not good exercise

Psychology: Who is better at multitasking?

It’s a long-standing question that’s been beset by rumour and stereotype, but it seems that women really do appear to outperform men in multitasking. Female subjects performed better than their male counterparts at both a task-switching computer game and a ‘pencil and pen’ multitasking test, suggesting that they really do have the advantage when it comes to multitasking ability. Why not take the test for yourself, and see how well you perform?


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ACR 2013’s mission: advancing rheumatology!

by tauchris on Flickr, CC

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting 2013 was the must-attend event for anyone involved in research or delivery of rheumatologic care and services, and BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders was lucky enough to attend. The beautiful setting of San Diego stimulated thousands of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals from around the world to discuss the latest science, research and treatment in rheumatology.

The conference covered every aspect of rheumatology from basic research to clinical practice and intensive care, but it was clear that treatment choices in rheumatoid arthritis were a major theme. Developing and marketing new therapies for rheumatoid arthritis is only the first step towards improving treatment and outcomes. Using new therapeutic agents in the most appropriate and effective …

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Resistance to Treatment in Eating Disorders: a new article collection for BMC Psychiatry

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BMC Psychiatry launches an article collection today on resistance to treatment in eating disorders.

Edited by Secondo Fassino, Section Editor for BMC Psychiatry, this special issue presents  a collection of articles that focus on treatment resistance in eating disorders, a growing concern in psychiatric clinical practice and one that affects a broad range of disorders from anorexia to obesity.

Eating disorders are characteristically difficult to  treat mental illnesses, in which effective evidence-based treatments are currently lacking. The articles in this collection aim to encourage more research in the area and to stimulate discussion on this complex, and sometimes controversial, subject.


Clinical practice and psychological aspects

Some of the articles in the series focus on the psychological aspects of treatment resistance that could …

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My heart is open

S Harold

The magnetic resonance image on the right is my heart. It was taken a little while back when I took part in a clinical trial investigating the genetics of heart abnormalities. I was just one of many healthy(ish) volunteers recruited to provide data to be compared against patients whose heart function had gone awry.

I don’t know at what stage the trial is at currently and I don’t know when or where the investigators will choose to publish their results, but I hope that they choose to publish them openly.

Healthy volunteers take part in clinical trials for many reasons. Out of curiosity, sometimes out of benevolence, often because of financial incentives. Regardless of their motivations, it seems likely that …

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Embracing citizen science: BioMed Central gets hands-on to help tree health


A few weeks back, staff here at BioMed Central took some time out to turn the tables on publishing science by becoming citizen scientists. Swapping the office environment for the great outdoors (well, a park in London), a small band of dedicated data-gatherers joined organisers of a new initiative lead by Imperial College London to survey the health of the UK’s trees. Here, we talk to Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) about how a new generation of enthusiastic amateurs are helping to crowdsource answers to some of sciences’ most intractable puzzles, and how even an urban jungle can yield useful data on the spread of deadly plant disease.

What is OPAL?

Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) led by Imperial College London, is a …

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Hope springs Eterna? Citizen science comes to BMC Biochemistry


What can the general public contribute to scientific research? Quite a lot as it turns out…

Imagine how many hours are spent worldwide every day playing Bejeweled, or Angry Birds, or Candy Crush. We’d hesitate to even estimate, but it’s safe to say that it’s rather a lot. Now, imagine if all that time was instead spent doing science. We’d likely unlock the secrets of the universe within a year. Ok, we’re obviously being fanciful, but the idea isn’t so far-fetched as you might think. For proof, just look to this Editorial recently published in BMC Biochemistry. In it, we speak to a number of the top players of the online game Eterna which, while not quite …

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders at ACR 2013, San Diego


BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders is excited to be attending the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting 2013 held in San Diego, CA, from the 25th to the 30th of October.

The ACR Annual Meeting is the premier scientific meeting devoted to the rheumatic diseases, bringing together thousands of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals from around the world to discuss the latest science, research and treatment in rheumatology.

If you are attending the conference and would like to meet to discuss the journal or your work and interests, please contact Executive Editor Catia Cornacchia.

We look forward to meeting you in San Diego!

BMC Public Health at APHA


BMC Public Health will be attending the American Public Health Association’s (APHA’s) 141st annual meeting and exposition held in Boston, MA from the 2nd to the 6th of November. This year’s theme ‘Think Global, Act Local’ aims to bring public health professionals the skills to address global health issues both at home and abroad by highlighting the best public health practices around the world with interactive educational courses, scientific sessions and much more.

If you are attending the conference and would like to meet to discuss the journal or your work and interests, please contact Senior Executive Editor Natalie Pafitis in advance of the meeting.

We look forward to meeting you in Boston!

GPs under pressure, trying to get better – RCGP 2013


It was hard to keep politics out of the 2013 meeting of the Royal College of General Practitioners, held in Harrogate, UK earlier this month and attended by approximately 1700 practising GPs and primary care researchers – as well as BMC Family Practice.

The reason for this? The UK government has recently enacted far-reaching reforms to the organisation and delivery of primary care. With Prime Minister David Cameron also announcing just a few days before the RCGP meeting plans for all GP practices to open from 8AM to 8PM, seven days a week, GPs in the UK are more aware than most health professionals of how substantially politics can affect them.


It’s fair to say many of the attendees …

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BMC Editors at World Health Summit, Berlin

WHS logo

BMC International Health & Human Rights is excited to be attending the World Health Summit (WHS) 2013 held in Berlin, Germany, from 20-22 October. The WHS will bring together key stakeholders in international health and development, with a vision to improve health worldwide and set the agenda for future research, education and health care policy.

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

We look forward to meeting you in Berlin.