"Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets." After an extensive, months-long debate, one of two controversial papers showing ways the H5N1 "avian" influenza virus could potentially become transmissible in mammals with only 3 or 4 mutations was published in Nature today. The journal included an editorial on the merits and drawbacks of "publishing risky research" with regard to biosafety. The debate included an unprecedented recommendation by The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication -- a decision they later reversed. (Via: 1, 2) Nature's special report has additional articles, including interviews with the teams behind both papers.
How to read a paper is a series by Trisha Greenhalgh in BMJ, the British Medical Journal, that explains how to critically read and apply the biomedical literature. Deciding what the paper is about. Assessing methodological quality. Statistics for the non-statistician: parts I and II. Drug trials, diagnostic and screening tests, economic analyses, systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PDF), and qualitative research (PDF).
The inaugural edition of Open Medicine, a peer-reviewed, independent, open-access medical journal is now available online. The online medical journal launched in the aftermath of a rift last year between some editors and the publisher of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Among the first interesting articles? a review of studies which suggests that health outcomes may be superior in patients cared for in Canada versus the United States (but differences are not consistent), even though spending is higher south of the border.
Where do all the teaspoons go to? A scientific study published in the British Medical Journal about where all the teaspoons in a works canteen go to.