Recurring themes around these parts

A tour around some of the things that seem to be on an increasing number of minds lately, and thus showing up increasingly in DDNews

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Don’t worry; you’re not seeing double. Well, not the vast majority of you, anyway. You’ll notice that the column titled “Reproduci-bull?” this issue and authored by Randall C Willis tackles the issue of reproducibility.
Yes, the very same topic our other regular columnist, Peter T. Kissinger, covered in his piece titled “The irreproducibility of published science” in our February issue. However, far from giving you a sense of deja vu, I suspect you’ll find a lot of fresh mental meat to chew on, as Randy and Pete approach the topic from very different angles and tones.
And is it surprising they would both latch on to this subject matter? Reproducibility is one of the biggest and thorniest issues being talked about these days in pharma, biotech and life sciences—especially in academia but even in the corporate sector. Heck, in our Special Focus feature on cancer research news in February, the very first topic addressed in the main article was the issue of reproducibility. The issue even came up in the guest commentary that issue, titled “Validating antibodies—The good, the bad and the necessary.” And another relatively recent antibody piece we ran, “First proposal of strategies for validating antibody specificity,” had reproducibility as a key matter to be addressed.
In similar and probably in even more subtle ways, the topic has slipped into other articles in the magazine and on our websites at and increasingly over the past year. I would expect you’ll be seeing even more.
Speaking of the February issue and recurring themes, I said in my editorial “Cannabinoid research speeding up its pace” that we would likely be seeing a bit more coverage of the cannabinoid topic in the future. Lo and behold, whether accurate prediction or self-fulfilling prophecy, an issue later and we’ve already got a pain management/cannabinoid article in our Research & Development section.
And if I may utterly stomp the theme of recurring themes into the dust, let me talk about nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is more commonly and casually known as NASH, a pleasant-sounding nickname for this particular form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—much cooler, in fact, than the other NAFLD, which goes by the name “simple fatty liver.” Based on name alone, I imagine NASH as the cool but reckless guy in the leather jacket in school and simple fatty liver as the nerdy guy and, appropriately, it’s NASH that is liable to get you into more trouble.
To be honest, I don’t know if I’d ever heard (or at least noticed) the term NASH before about a year ago, but it’s been popping up more and more often in my inbox these days as I get news of discovery, R&D and clinical trials around therapeutics to target the condition. To give the topic its time in the spotlight, after appearing throughout various issues for a while here and there, we have a Special Focus section this issue on NASH specifically.
So, whether topics returned to (and there are plenty we return to often, cancer chief among them) or topics more rarely and sporadically covered or those perhaps you’ve never run across before in our pages, may this issue bring you plenty of knowledge and help give you that news that you might not have known you needed to know about yet.

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