Highlights of the BMC series: August 2018

• Preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea using probiotics • Men’s suicidality in Norway • Life history traits in a capital breeding pine caterpillar • Palliative care in intensive care units • Emotion regulation and its relation to symptoms of anxiety and depression in children • A new journal in the BMC Series

BMC Gastroenterology: Preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea using probiotics

Antibiotics can have a number of side effects, the most common being gastro-intestinal such as diarrhea. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is caused by antibiotics disrupting the ecology of the intestinal microbiota, altering the diversity and numbers of bacteria in the gut. This can lead to long-lasting effects on the balance of the intestinal microbiota and consequently on the patient’s susceptibility to infection and other diseases. In an article published in BMC Gastroenterology, Kort et al. present a practical guide to the use of probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

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The researchers found that probiotics were associated with lower incidence of AAD overall. In addition, there are a number of factors affecting the efficacy of probiotics, such as strain composition, probiotic product formulation, and specific patient differences (e.g. – genetic factors). The researchers concluded that there is sufficient evidence to make a recommendation for the use of specific probiotic products for the prevention of AAD. In particular, Kort et al. recommend Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG as the most effective probiotic to prevent AAD.

BMC Psychiatry: Men’s suicidality in Norway

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Gender has been emphasized as crucial for understanding suicidal behavior. Previous research has concluded that men who adhere to traditional masculinity seem to have increased health risks compared to those who do not. Further research has shown that some circumstances make men more vulnerable to suicidal behavior, such as single marital status, unemployment and retirement.

In a published article in BMC Psychiatry, Knizek and Hjelmeland sought to investigate what men who have engaged in a suicidal act perceived as crucial for their decision to harm themselves or attempt to take their life.

The researchers conducted interviews with men who were admitted to hospital after a suicidal act. It was concluded that the main reason or trigger for the suicidal act were complex problems in intimate relationships, with some men saying pain and ennui were reasons. The most striking finding was how unique and different each story was, which makes it important to consider that standardized efforts of suicide prevention may not be beneficial.

BMC Ecology: Life history traits in a capital breeding pine caterpillar

Host plants (or the plants an organism relies on) are thought to play important roles in the evolution of various traits for herbivorous insects. Liu et al. sought to investigate the influence of host plant species and pine needle age on larval performances, adult mating behavior and fitness consequences in a capital breeding caterpillar, Dendrolimus punctatus Walker.

The researchers found that the pine species and needle age significantly affected larval performance, such as developmental duration, survivorship, and body weight. Male body weight was significantly influenced by pine species and needle age; however interestingly, female body weight was only significantly influenced by pine species, not by needle age.

The findings highlight the importance of larval host plants on larval performance and adult reproductive fitness in this pine caterpillar. The previous-year needles of one particular pine (masson pine P. massoniana) were concluded to be the best host for this pine caterpillar.

BMC Anesthesiology: Palliative care in intensive care units

Distressing symptoms are common for most intensive care unit (ICU) patients and their families. Previous research has suggested that palliative care assessment should start as early as possible in ICU patients at a high risk of dying, to minimize unnecessary suffering.

A review article published in BMC Anesthesiology discusses palliative care in ICUs and provides anesthesiologists and critical care physicians practical advice on the application of palliative care in ICUs.

ICU doctors should be familiar with and competent in all aspects of palliative care through dedicated training

Currently, ICU doctors may not have the knowledge to effectively carry out palliative care. Therefore, Cortegiani et al. conclude that ICU doctors should be familiar with and competent in all aspects of palliative care through dedicated training. Such training would provide critically ill patients and their families access to care that would meet their needs and improve patients quality of life.

BMC Psychology: Emotion regulation and its relation to symptoms of anxiety and depression in children

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The regulation of emotions is considered to be important in children’s adaptive development. Previous studies have found that children who repeatedly fail to regulate their emotions in accordance to context are at greater risk of developing internalizing symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. Loevaas et al. sought to investigate the associations between anxious and depressive symptoms and difficulties in emotion regulation in Norwegian school children in a published article in BMC Psychology.

The researchers found that a lack of positive strategies to regulate emotions were associated with anxious and depressive symptoms. Therefore, emotional regulation is considered to be a potentially important target in the prevention and identification of children at risk of anxiety and/or depression.

It was found that there was no difference between the maternal and paternal reports regarding the association between emotion regulation in children and anxiety symptoms; though there were differences for depressive symptoms. The study highlighted that research involving children should include both parents if possible, to prevent the chance of bias.

BMC Energy: A new journal in the BMC Series

BMC Energy covers theory, development and applications in the interdisciplinary field of energy and fuel research from across the physical sciences.

A new journal in the BMC Series opened for submissions in August. The journal, BMC Energy, adds to BMC Series’ expansion into the engineering and energy research fields, joining the already launched BMC Biomedical Engineering and BMC Chemical Engineering journals. BMC Energy covers theory, development and applications in the interdisciplinary field of energy and fuel research from across the physical sciences.

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The journal will cover the following sections: Solar thermal energy; Bioenergy; Low carbon energy sources; Carbon capture, storage and applications; Energy storage; Energy systems, processes, planning and policy. The journal is open access and peer reviewed, and does not make editorial decisions on the basis of the interest of a study or its likely impact.

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