November blogs digest: Cas9, Angelina Jolie, diabetes, and more

Not had a chance to read all our posts this month? Here’s a roundup of what you’ve missed…

Extending the study of evidence-based medicine

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an approach to medical practice intended to enhance decision making, recognizing that only the strongest study types can yield strong recommendations. Many people owe their lives to evidence-based medicine, benefitting from trials and observational studies that have informed early diagnosis and effective treatments. But the indisputable successes are no cause for complacency, and Trish Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences at University of Oxford, explained more.

Cas9: one protein to rule them all

We hail CRISPR/Cas as the most versatile, easy to design genome editing tool. CRISPR in every form and color wins media attention, it is very easy to forget that the true workhorse in this system is an unimposing enzyme: Cas9. Rafal Marszalek, Senior Editor at BioMed Central explained more about this stable, unchanging element and how it is responsible for only one thing: cutting the DNA strand in the place to which it was guided.

What’s the right career path for you?

If you’re working in research and you’re unsure what direction to take your career in, this blog helps you think about the decisions to make. To begin exploring alternative career paths, first consider what aspects of research you find the most – and least – enjoyable, and let these preferences guide your career search. For example, if you love experimentation, troubleshooting, and making discoveries but hate writing reports and/or presenting data, a research position at a pharmaceutical company would be a good fit for you. Victoria Schulman from Yale University School of Medicine discussed this further.

From Angelina Jolie to a new species of Leishmania

1024px-Angelina_Jolie_2010The Angelina Jolie effect: Breast Cancer Research published an article summarizing the ongoing effect of Angelina Jolie’s admission that she underwent risk-reducing surgery for breast cancer. Sarah Theissen from BioMed Central explained more about the research, and also interviewed co-author Gareth Evans to find out more.

Crystal_Structure_of_Cas9_in_Complex_with_Guide_RNA_and_Target_DNA-620x342Genome editing: best invention since sliced bread: In molecular biology, if PCR was the invention of the 20th century, genome editing tools are the invention of the 21st. This month Genome Biology took a closer look at this promising but still very young technology.

Baby in incubatorAiming to prevent the consequences of premature birth: World Prematurity Day took place in November and Mary Giammarino from the March of Dimes Foundation, an organization working to improve the health of mothers and babies, told us more about what is being done to help prevent the costs of premature birth.

Foetus_Flickr_lunar-caustic-620x342Understanding and investigating the causes of infertility: Genome Biology published work investigating the causes of fertility problems, and finds the earliest known human embryonic lethality phenotype with a known genetic cause. Co-author Fowzan Alkuraya answered our questions about the research.

Diabetic itemsDiabetes and podiatry; what’s the connection? Foot complications in diabetes are common yet the link between the two is not very well-known. For World Diabetes Day specialist and author for Journal of Foot and Ankle Research Trevor Prior, with colleague Debbie Coleman spoke more about this link. You could also take our Diabetes Quiz.

addiction-71575_1280The emergence of antibiotic resistance: how can we put a stop to it? We are entering a new phase of the antibiotic era in which the prevalence of antibiotic resistance dictates how we treat invasive microbial pathogens. We can no longer predictably rely on the availability of safe, cheap, highly effective antibiotics to manage infectious diseases. For European Antibiotic Awareness Day, Steven Opal, Professor of Medicine, told us more.

sandfly-title-picture-620x342A new species of Leishmania? Leishmaniasis is the third most important vector-borne disease. It is estimated that worldwide there are 1.5 to 2 million cases annually, with up to 350 million people at risk of infection. A new species of Leishmania, within the L. enrietti complex has been identified in Ghana and more is explained on this BugBitten blog.

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