New and Exciting in PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine

The Case of Deborah Rice: Who Is the Environmental Protection Agency Protecting?:

For researchers who operate at the intersection of basic biology and toxicology, following the data where they take you–as any good scientist would–carries the risk that you will be publicly attacked as a crank, charged with scientific misconduct, or removed from a government scientific review panel. Such a fate may seem unthinkable to those involved in primary research, but it has increasingly become the norm for toxicologists and environmental investigators. If you find evidence that a compound worth billions of dollars to its manufacturer poses a public health risk, you will almost certainly find yourself in the middle of a contentious battle that has little to do with scientific truth.

Retail Sales of Alcohol and the Risk of Being a Victim of Assault:

The relationship between alcohol sales, alcohol consumption patterns, and levels of violence is well established. In a meta-analysis of data from seven countries, Jason Bond and colleagues estimated that the fraction of violence-related injuries attributable to alcohol is between 28% and 43% [1]. There is a stronger link between alcohol impairment and being a victim of violence than between alcohol impairment and suffering from accidental injuries.

Communicating the Results of Clinical Research to Participants: Attitudes, Practices, and Future Directions:

Recent commentaries advocate routinely offering study results to research participants [1,2]. However, debate continues over the scope and limits of investigators’ responsibilities in this regard. A 2006 review identified 30 national and international policies and guidelines concerning the duty to return research results [3], of which 21 were published in the last decade. Worldwide interest in this complex issue will likely continue to rise in light of the increasing relevance of the results of biomedical research to participants’ health and well-being.

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