September 2015: Highlights of the BMC Series

Speaking 'Giraffe' • Decision making on organ donation • The oldest holometabolous insect larva • Smoking partners • The poliovirus endgame

Zoology: Speaking ‘Giraffe’

New research, published in BMC Research Notes, describes 65 night-time occurrences of a kind of humming vocalization with rich harmonic structure, never before documented in the scientific literature, made by captive giraffes. Unable to determine which giraffes produced these sounds, the authors speculate on their importance in contact between the animals at night when put to bed in separate stalls.


Medical Ethics: Decision making on organ donation

In this study published in BMC Medical Ethics, researchers in the Netherlands conducted in-depth interviews with relatives of brain dead potential donors to gain further insight into the decision-making process involved in organ donation. The authors attribute discrepancies between willingness of families to consent to donate and refusal at the bedside to the unresolved dilemma of aiding other people or protecting the body of the deceased.


Image of the month

Diaz and Trainor 2015

These images are from a larger selection published by Daiz and Trainor in Hand/foot splitting and the ‘re-evolution’ of mesopodial skeletal elements during the evolution and radiation of chameleons – BMC Evolutionary Biology.


Evolutionary Biology: The oldest holometabolous insect larva

A busy month for BMC Evolutionary Biology, this article describes in detail the anatomic structure of  the oldest holometabolous larva fossil dating back 311 million years. With a caterpillar-like body plan it was likely an inactive herbivore, contradicting the alternative hypothesis that the earliest holometabolous larvae were highly active and predatory and giving new insights into the evolution of a group that now dominates the planet.


Public Health: Smoking partners

New research in BMC Public Health seeks to understand how partners of pregnant women perceive the barriers and facilitators to smoking cessation in pregnancy. Using meta-ethnography, the authors were able to identify recurring smoking-related perceptions and experiences that hindered and encouraged partners to consider quitting during the woman’s pregnancy and into the post-partum period, which could help target more effective interventions.


Infectious diseases: The poliovirus endgame

This month, BMC Infectious Diseases published a special thematic series entitled ‘Integrated modeling and management of poliovirus endgame risks and policies’. Articles by researchers from Kid Risk, Inc. a non-profit, grant-funded research organization with 14 years of experience modeling the polio endgame, offer a glimpse into the possible futures and provides critical insights to help national, regional, and global health leaders as they navigate the road ahead.



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