Week in Review: September 22–26

Assessing PubPeer’s legal threat; how lengthy ICU stays impact the gut microbiome; gene links exercise to reduced depression risk; epigenetics of innate immunity; Ebola updates

Tracy Vence

Peril of post-publication peer review?

The lawyer of a pathologist threatening to sue PubPeer users said anonymous comments cost his client a job. PubPeer has also obtained legal counsel and is preparing for the possibility of a lawsuit.

ICU’s effects on gut microbes

ALEXANDER ZABORINLengthy stints in intensive care units alter the gut microflora, according to a study published in mBio this week (September 23). When a patient spends a long time in ICU, “the gut undergoes near-complete ecologic collapse,” study coauthor John Alverdy, a gastrointestinal surgeon and researcher at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, told The Scientist.


Monocyte and macrophage epigenetics

WIKIMEDIA, CHRISTOPH BOCKMembers of the European BLUEPRINT initiative outlined pathways crucial to macrophage training in three epigenetic analyses published in Science this week (September 25). The researchers “did a very thorough transcriptomic and epigenomic analysis of these cells and . ....

Climate change and the soil microbiome

Without knowing how microbes in the soil contribute to atmospheric carbon, researchers are unclear how they impact—and are impacted by—climate change.

Physical and mental health

WIKIMEDIA, JEPOIRRIER (FLICKR)Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden pinpointed how a muscle gene associated with the metabolite kynurenine, which can cross the blood-brain barrier, relieves symptoms of depression in exercising mice. Their work was published in Cell this week (September 25).

“This is a very interesting study about the non-pharmacologic mechanisms of antidepressant action, a topic that’s not addressed very much,” neuroscientist Michael Lutter of the University of Iowa who was not involved in the work told The Scientist.

Other news in life science:

Staggering Ebola Predictions
The WHO says more than 20,000 people could be infected by November, while the CDC estimates the epidemic could strike more than 1 million people by the end of January.

Ebola Outbreak Threatens World Security
The United Nations Security Council declares the situation in West Africa a “threat to international peace and security” and calls for even more resources to fight the spread of the Ebola virus.

NIH Funds to Tackle Sex Bias in Research
The awards will allow grantees to address sex differences in both preclinical and clinical studies.

Dangerous Research Regs Released
The US government releases its policy on so-called dual-use research involving dangerous pathogens that could be used for biological terrorist attacks.

Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists
Using citation statistics, the firm forecasts which researchers are likely to take home science’s top honors this year.

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