BMC Psychology – How to Respond to a Pandemic: Keep Calm and Stay Home?

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In an interesting analysis, researchers from the Technical University of Munich and the University of Cambridge examined the difference in response to the COVID-19 pandemic between residents of Germany and the UK. Your results (now published in BMC psychology) highlight a notable discrepancy in how respondents in both countries rated the impact of the pandemic on their financial situation as well as their personal prospects: While German participants reported less impact in terms of job and income losses, they were less hopeful of the pandemic when compared soon to UK participants ends.

Overall, both populations showed increases in symptoms of mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety, caused or exacerbated by the pandemic. This alarming increase requires better public awareness of mental health and mental illness, as well as better access to help in both countries.

The comparison between Germany and Great Britain is particularly interesting because both countries are very similar economically and culturally. However, the initial response to the pandemic was different in both countries. Germany closed significantly earlier than the UK, which has been shown to have had an impact on the number of deaths.

Since the data for this study was collected during the first lockdown in both countries (April / May 2020), it will be interesting to see how the mental health response has changed over the course of the pandemic.

BMC Medical Ethics – Integrity, Misconduct, and Consequences of Research

Research ethics is not only a hot topic in science, it also receives widespread public attention. In recent years in particular, cases of prominent researchers suspected of misconduct have been widely publicized in all news agencies.

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In a recently published study in BMC Medical EthicsResearchers from Hungary, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Norway collected and analyzed data on cases of research misconduct available in scientific journals. Interestingly, the natural sciences (41.5%) found the most cases in terms of the number of publications in the field, followed by health and medical sciences (25.1%) and engineering (22%).

The most common category of wrongdoing was the production and falsification of data in violation of relevant laws such as informed consent and ethical approval. In addition, the researchers rated the consequences for research misconduct, seeing paper withdrawal (45.4%) and disqualification from funding requests (35.5%) as the most common sanctions.

The authors of this study also criticize the fact that retraction instructions often do not contain enough details, which affects the transparency of the retraction process. In-depth analysis like this study helps the research community find ways to prevent misconduct and uphold standards for research integrity.

BMC Medical Research Methodology – Equity in Clinical Trial Registration – Why aren’t places with higher disease prevalence (yet) aligned with the study sites?

Clinical trials that aim to investigate treatment options for specific diseases are often not recruited from populations with a high prevalence of the disease in question.

Group of healthcare workers and patients of different ages and ethnicities in a group, all with hands up smiling in hospital.

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This geographical discrepancy affects both the quality of care and the validity or generalizability of results, and funding agencies seek to distribute it more evenly. As researchers and funding agencies are becoming increasingly aware of these issues, Oxford University researchers are investigating why this mismatch exists and how clinical trial chief investigators (CIs) can be helped to achieve a more equitable distribution.

The results of their qualitative study have now been published in BMC Medical Research Methodology It turns out that the main factors in location selection for CIs are ensuring a successful testing process and the risk associated with choosing less research-active locations. Most importantly, CIs are aware of potential problems with patient recruitment and retention, and are concerned about the impact a less successful trial could have on their reputation and future funding opportunities. This often leads CIs to choose locations where they have personal contact or have worked with in the past, thus perpetuating this system of inequality.

The authors suggest strategies to mitigate these perceived risk factors and motivate senior researchers to adapt their research sites to the location of disease prevalence, highlighting the benefits experienced by CIs who previously “broke the mold”.

BMC Research Notes – Reforesting Our Planet With Nitrogen Fixing Legumes

Awareness of the importance of tropical rainforests and forests in general to our global climate has grown in recent years, and forest restoration is critical to our efforts to prevent a climate crisis.

Reforestation programs are on the rise, but a major obstacle to restoring abundance of plant life is often depleted soils that have lost nutrients and minerals through monoculture farming.

Hand of a farmer feeding a young green plant with a natural green background.

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Here, Brazilian researchers present data on the use of various legume plants in restoration work, which has now been published in BMC Research Notes. Nitrogen-fixing legumes are a useful soil restoration tool and provide a good base for second generation plants, but the process is often slow.

By measuring the biomass growth of reforestation blocks treated with different fertilization schemes, the researchers were able to demonstrate a fundamental role for additional fertilization in the early stages of plantation development.

These findings will be important for policymakers to develop strategies to curb global warming and reclaim carbon from our atmosphere through natural fixation by plants.

BMC Pediatrics – Is Vitamin D And Magnesium Supplement A Successful Treatment For Children With ADHD?

Problem child and desperate mother in the psychological center.
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that causes learning or social dysfunction in affected children, the symptoms of which often persist into adulthood.

Previous research has shown that children with ADHD often have lower levels of vitamin D and magnesium in their serum. However, few studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of vitamin D / magnesium supplementation on behavioral problems in children diagnosed with ADHD.

In a study published in BMC Pediatrics Hemamy and colleagues present data from a randomized, placebo-controlled study examining the effects of vitamin D / Mg supplementation on Iranian children with ADHD. Interestingly, the researchers found significant improvement in various behavioral variables, including emotional and peer issues, with children in the treatment group doing significantly better than children given a placebo.

This research forms the basis for larger clinical trials examining the effects of vitamin D and magnesium on the behavior of children with ADHD, as well as the underlying physiological mechanism that leads to potentially new treatment recommendations.

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