December blogs digest: DNA methylation, mistletoe, mental illness, and more

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

Do stress factors alter DNA methylation during aging?

Epigenetic aging is a measure that uses DNA methylation levels to predict an individual’s age. It takes into account the methylation levels of many sites from different parts of the genome. What these sites have in common is that they correlate strongly with chronological age.

Genome Biology published research investigating the effect of lifetime stressors on DNA methylation-based age predictors. We asked co-author Anthony Zannas to explain more about what it means.

Mistletoe: a paradoxical parasite

This Christmas, many people around the world would have put up a sprig of mistletoe to kiss under. It is an established festive tradition, but not many people realize that mistletoe is in fact a parasite. Furthermore, it is paradoxical among parasites because, whereas most parasites are abhorred by humans as the architects of disease, suffering and death, mistletoe has not suffered from this ‘stigma’. Here, Journal Development Manager Srimathy examined the secret to its successful image.

Moving out of academia: rethink and reshape your skills

For those transitioning from academia to non-academic jobs, the fear of not getting hired due to a lack of skills or experience can be very real. However, scientists have many transferrable skills that are highly sought after by various companies. As part of her career exploration series, Guest Editor Victoria Schulman explains how to assess your skillsets when transitioning to a new career outside of academia.

From a bumper biology quiz to a cardio-oncology podcast

On BiologyQuizQuiz: The big end of year On Biology bumper quiz: As we approached the end of 2015, we decided to look back at some of our most outstanding biology articles and put together a fun, but challenging, quiz for you to take. Think you kept up with our latest research? Why not see how well you do!

rat-757834_1920The estrous cycle surpasses sex differences: Genome Biology published research investigating how the estrous cycle of female rats influences gene expression. Here we asked co-author of the work to explain more, including what the implications could be for research into sex differences.

xmas mental healthChristmas: as good a time as any to talk about mental illness: Christmas may be a time of fun and celebration, but it can also be a time of stress and anxiety, particularly for people with mental health problems. The ISRCTN registry discussed what research is being done in this area.

scaling single cellsScaling down to single cells: Interest in single-cell studies is growing quickly, especially when profiling diverse or rare cell populations. In preparation for Genome Biology’s upcoming Special Issue on Single-Cell Omics, they highlighted some of the exciting, recently published research in this field.

Book Review: Sharing Clinical Trial Data: A recent book publication, Sharing Clinical Trial Data; Maximizing Benefits, Minimizing Risk, is reviewed by Richard Lehman. The risks of data sharing, what to share and how to share it are all discussed, concluding that this needs to be read by everyone interested in the progress of shared medical knowledge.

CI_Image_Heart_HIV_iStock_000018618038_250x250px (22)Quiz: What our latest research reveals about HIV/AIDs: In light of World AIDs Day, we put together a short quiz to test your knowledge on the contraction, prevalence and prevention of HIV and AIDs. The questions are based on scientific research, and are bound to make you think twice about the stigmatism surrounding AIDS.

1070300135_73312f8eef_zFemale Genital Mutilation: health care professionals, legislation and a movement for change: BMC International Health and Human Rights published research investigating the knowledge and attitudes of health professionals on female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C). Rachel Cunningham-Burley, a former GP, told us more about this global issue.

cardiooncologyPodcast: Cardio-oncology, how cancer treatments affect the heart: While cancer survival has improved over recent decades with better treatments, anti-cancer drugs can also have adverse effects on the cardiovascular health of patients. In this podcast, we found out more from editors of our new Cardio-Oncology journal about how research is trying to mitigate this problem.

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