August 31, 2016
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High Fidelity will be on vacation this Friday to celebrate Labor Day, so look for us next week.
Cell Press launches STAR Methods to encourage transparency and reproducibility
Cell Press announced that they are getting into the rigor and reproducibility game with the launch of their STAR Methods initiative. Effective with the current issue, Cell has a much expanded methods section. “Inspired by the changes to the way research is done, by the needs of the community, and by the new ways science is being communicated” the STAR Methods: Structured, Transparent Accessible Reporting promotes transparent reporting of experimental design and protocols/methods in a clear, easily found, and required section. First up is the Key Resources Table (Table), which details assays and resources used, so for example, one can log a western blot protocol in real time including time, PH, and antibody used. The Table allows for linking to reagent databases such as the Resource Identification Initiative’s RRID. In addition, the methods section will have no size limit and, more importantly, will NOT count against a word count. Cell suggests that “[t]he presence of these sections helps authors to report and readers to easily appreciate how the studies follow guidelines from the NIH Rigor and Reproducibility initiative” as well as the ARRIVE and TOP guidelines. STAR Methods is being launched with Cell this month and Cell Systems in the fall, to be followed by other Cell Press journals in 2017.
All about Zika: So you’ve heard all sorts of bad news about Zika, and while there is some good news on the horizon, let’s begin with what we do know. Zika is being locally transmitted in Florida, and those locals are in favor of using GMO mosquitoes and are not happy with their elected officials. Some pregnant women are leaving Miami and Orlando theme parks are offering free bug repellant. Even the FDA is chiming in, requiring all donated blood to be tested for Zika. Internationally, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua have reported cases of Zika-caused microcephaly and Singapore has 41 cases of locally transmitted Zika. OK, so what’s the good news? Three existing drugs appear promising in the fight against Zika. The most promising is for the treatment of tapeworm and other gut parasites. A team of researchers from Florida State University, Johns Hopkins, and the NIH found that these drug compounds can both stop Zika from replicating, and prevent microcephaly. Published Monday in Nature Medicine, category B anthelmintic drug Niclosamide inhibited ZIKV replication. Thanks to @Statnews for their information.
The National Cancer Institute has submitted a request for information on a proposed project to estimate radiation doses and cancer risks from the radioactive fallout after the Trinity nuclear test. The first test of the atomic bomb was held at the Trinity test site in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. Data will be collected on the lifestyle and diet habits of three ethnic groups (non-Hispanic white, white, and Native American) alive during the Trinity test to determine exposure-related parameters.
Ever feel like your need for coffee goes deeper than most? According to a team of Italian researchers, you may be genetically predisposed to drinking coffee citing the discovery of 21 coffee-associated SNPs. Researchers in the Netherlands replicated five of those 21, but the weaker association could be linked to the different ways of preparing coffee in Italy (likely an espresso) versus in the Netherlands (pre-ground, from a drip machine, and possibly containing cannabis). Either way, drinking coffee does have benefits.

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