Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Question


Gender inequity in science and academia, especially in senior positions, is a recognised problem. The reasons are poorly understood, but include the persistence of historical gender ratios, discrimination and other factors, including gender-based behavioural differences. We studied participation in a professional context by observing question-asking behaviour at a large international conference with a clear equality code of conduct that prohibited any form of discrimination. Accounting for audience gender ratio, male attendees asked 1.8 questions for each question asked by a female attendee. Amongst only younger researchers, male attendees also asked 1.8 questions per female question, suggesting the pattern cannot be attributed to the temporary problem of demographic inertia. We link our findings to the ‘chilly’ climate for women in STEM, including wider experiences of discrimination likely encountered by women throughout their education and careers. We call for a broader and coordinated approach to understanding and addressing the barriers to women and other under-represented groups. We encourage the scientific community to recognise the context in which these gender differences occur, and evaluate and develop methods to support full participation from all attendees.

Concepts: Scientific method, Male, Female, Gender, Sex, Question, Interrogative word, Questions


Antimicrobial review is an important part of antimicrobial stewardship. A novel enzyme template generation and amplification technique (ETGA), the Cognitor(®) Minus (Momentum Bioscience, Long Hanborough, UK) test, has a 99.5% negative predictive value for bacteraemia and fungaemia. This observational study asked two questions: (1) Does a negative ETGA, indicating no bacteraemia or fungaemia, aid antimicrobial review within 48 h of admission; (2) In this real-life clinical setting, does a negative ETGA mean no bacteraemia or fungaemia?

Concepts: Scientific method, Molecular biology, Blood, Microbiology, Observational study, Question, Bacteremia, Long Hanborough


Do highly productive researchers have significantly higher probability to produce top cited papers? Or do high productive researchers mainly produce a sea of irrelevant papers-in other words do we find a diminishing marginal result from productivity? The answer on these questions is important, as it may help to answer the question of whether the increased competition and increased use of indicators for research evaluation and accountability focus has perverse effects or not. We use a Swedish author disambiguated dataset consisting of 48.000 researchers and their WoS-publications during the period of 2008-2011 with citations until 2014 to investigate the relation between productivity and production of highly cited papers. As the analysis shows, quantity does make a difference.

Concepts: Evaluation, Sentence, Question, Answer, Productivity, Diminishing returns, Questions


The central venous pressure (CVP) is the most frequently used variable to guide fluid resuscitation in critically ill patients, although its use has been challenged. In this viewpoint, we use a question and answer format to highlight the potential advantages and limitations of using CVP measurements to guide fluid resuscitation.

Concepts: Medical terms, Question, Answer, Timeline of temperature and pressure measurement technology


Today, computer vision systems are tested by their accuracy in detecting and localizing instances of objects. As an alternative, and motivated by the ability of humans to provide far richer descriptions and even tell a story about an image, we construct a “visual Turing test”: an operator-assisted device that produces a stochastic sequence of binary questions from a given test image. The query engine proposes a question; the operator either provides the correct answer or rejects the question as ambiguous; the engine proposes the next question (“just-in-time truthing”). The test is then administered to the computer-vision system, one question at a time. After the system’s answer is recorded, the system is provided the correct answer and the next question. Parsing is trivial and deterministic; the system being tested requires no natural language processing. The query engine employs statistical constraints, learned from a training set, to produce questions with essentially unpredictable answers-the answer to a question, given the history of questions and their correct answers, is nearly equally likely to be positive or negative. In this sense, the test is only about vision. The system is designed to produce streams of questions that follow natural story lines, from the instantiation of a unique object, through an exploration of its properties, and on to its relationships with other uniquely instantiated objects.

Concepts: Question, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Answer, Image processing, Alan Turing, Parsing, Machine vision


Loneliness stems from a mismatch between the social relationships one has and those one desires. Loneliness often has severe consequences for individuals and society. Recently, an online adaptation of the friendship enrichment program (FEP) was developed and tested to gain insight in its contribution to the alleviation of loneliness. Three loneliness coping strategies are introduced during the program: network development, adapting relationship standards, and reducing the importance of the discrepancy between actual and desired relationships. Data were collected among 239 participants aged 50-86. Loneliness was measured four times using a multi-item scale, and on various days with a single, direct question. Loneliness assessed with the scale declined during and after the program. Scores on loneliness assessed for a specific day, however, are more ambiguous. Despite the immediate positive effect of conducting assignments, we did not observe a decline in the single loneliness item score over the course of the program. The online FEP seems to reduce loneliness in general, but these effects are not visible on today’s loneliness. Nevertheless, the online intervention to reduce loneliness is a valuable new contribution to the collection of loneliness interventions.

Concepts: Relationship, Effect, Psychometrics, Question, Interpersonal relationship, Intervention, Decline, Adaptation


Celebrities are highly influential people whose actions and decisions are watched and often emulated by wide audiences. Many celebrities have used their prominent social standing to offer medical advice or endorse health products, a trend that is expected to increase. However, the extent of the impact that celebrities have in shaping the public’s health-related knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and status is unclear. This systematic review seeks to answer the following questions: (1) Which health-related outcomes are influenced by celebrities? (2) How large of an impact do celebrities actually have on these health-related outcomes? (3) Under what circumstances do celebrities produce either beneficial or harmful impacts?

Concepts: Medicine, Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Following, Sociology, Question, Meta-analysis, Time 100


Model organisms are widely used in research as accessible and convenient systems to study a particular area or question in biology. Traditionally only a handful of organisms have been widely studied, but modern research tools are enabling researchers to extend the set of model organisms to include less-studied and more unusual systems. This Forum highlights a range of ‘non-model model organisms’ as emerging systems for tackling questions across the whole spectrum of biology (and beyond), the opportunities and challenges, and the outlook for the future.

Concepts: Biology, Yeast, Model organism, Research, Question, BBC World Service, Drosophila melanogaster, Outlook


We hypothesized that embedding educational learning in a game would improve learning outcomes, with increased engagement and recruitment of cognitive resources evidenced by increased activation of working memory network (WMN) and deactivation of default mode network (DMN) regions. In an fMRI study, we compared activity during periods of learning in three conditions that were increasingly game-like: Study-only (when periods of learning were followed by an exemplar question together with its correct answer), Self-quizzing (when periods of learning were followed by a multiple choice question in return for a fixed number of points) and Game-based (when, following each period of learning, participants competed with a peer to answer the question for escalating, uncertain rewards). DMN hubs deactivated as conditions became more game-like, alongside greater self-reported engagement and, in the Game-based condition, higher learning scores. These changes did not occur with any detectable increase in WMN activity. Additionally, ventral striatal activation was associated with responding to questions and receiving positive question feedback. Results support the significance of DMN deactivation for educational learning, and are aligned with recent evidence suggesting DMN and WMN activity may not always be anti-correlated.

Concepts: Psychology, Attention, Cognitive science, Autism, Question, Cognitive neuroscience, Schizophrenia, Higher education


Although a request for help can impose a burden on the provider and has the potential of harming a relationship, the theory of amae suggests that in fact it could help promote a stronger relationship. In an experiment, both Japanese and American participants who were asked for help from a confederate increased their liking of the confederate relative to the baseline. Sociable impression of the confederate and perceived closeness of the relationship also increased relative to the baseline. There was, however, no such increase when participants helped the confederate without receiving a direct request. This study suggests that despite the potential risks to relationships, asking favors can provide opportunities for requesters to build and promote relationships.

Concepts: Relationship, Science, Question, Interpersonal relationship, Theory, Interrogative word, Theory of everything,