Month: November 2018

Bringing the lab into the field

Many technologies get smaller, cheaper and better over time. From transistor radios to boom boxes to Discman to the iPod to now.  Portable music players have undergone a transition like many other technologies, reducing costs, improving speed, and capable of doing more. The evolution of  technology is coming into its own in a new interpretation of the scientific laboratory – in which new gadgets and capabilities are making laboratories portable so that they can be deployed into remote locations and even been collapsed into a backpack. This backpack PCR only weighs 10 lbs and can detect a single larvae...

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Standardization of the diagnostic process for idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH)

Corresponding authors Alex Sinclair (L) and Jan Hoffmann (R) Could you please give us a short summary of the most important areas of the consensus article on idiopathic intracranial hypertension? Headache is an extremely disabling aspect of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) that dramatically reduces quality of life for these patients over many years. There is a growing realization that medication overuse is a significant issue in IIH and that the headache phenotype is typically migrainous. Despite the high levels of morbidity from IIH headache, there has been no research into underlying mechanisms or treatment for headache in IIH. This...

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Why we should care about the language we use in science

Photo by Bogomil Mihaylov on Unsplash Responsible language use – a brief personal history From around 2005 onwards synthetic biology was in the air in the natural and social sciences. In 2008 two of Brigitte’s colleagues, Andrew Balmer, now Manchester, and Paul Martin, now Sheffield, wrote a first report on the social and ethical challenges posed by synthetic biology. At the same time, Brigitte became intrigued by the language used to talk about this emerging field. This led to a chapter by Andy Balmer and Camille Herreman which she included in a book co-edited with Richard Elliott and Brendon Larson on Communicating...

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Ovale malaria: seasonal trends in relapse

Mosquito feeding on the finger © CHBD / Getty Images / iStock Of the 216 million cases and 445,000 deaths worldwide from malaria in 2016, most are caused by falciparum and, to a lesser extent, vivax malaria. However, two further malaria species, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae, are widely distributed through the tropical world. The more common species, P. ovale, causes an estimated 15 million cases of febrile illness each year and probably contributes significantly to the economic burden of malaria. Because this infection is rarely fatal, and is often misdiagnosed microscopically as falciparum malaria, there is relatively little...

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Exploring cancer risk in men on International Men’s day

© Syda Productions / stock.adobe.com Lifestyle and healthcare interaction We know that modifiable lifestyle factors such as smoking, being overweight or obese and drinking alcohol are related to 4 out of 10 cancers and men are more likely to have at least one or more of these risk factors. Taking tobacco as an example, smoking in men has had a significant impact on the rates of certain cancer types, particularly lung, head and neck, bowel, bladder, pancreatic – cancers that can have particularly poor outcomes. Fortunately, smoking rates in men are now steadily falling and we’re starting to see...

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