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Essential Guide to Reading Biomedical Papers: Recognising and Interpreting Best Practice

Essential Guide to Reading Biomedical Papers: Recognising and Interpreting Best Practice

Philip D. Langton (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-40218-4 November 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 352 Pages


Essential Guide to Reading Biomedical Papers: Recognising and Interpreting Best Practice is an indispensable companion to the biomedical literature. This concise, easy-to-follow text gives an insight into core techniques and practices in biomedical research and how, when and why a technique should be used and presented in the literature.  Readers are alerted to common failures and misinterpretations that may evade peer review and are equipped with the judgment necessary to be properly critical of the findings claimed by research articles. This unique book will be an invaluable resource for students, technicians and researchers in all areas of biomedicine.


  • Allows the reader to develop the necessary skills to properly evaluate research articles
  • Coverage of over 30 commonly-used techniques in the biomedical sciences
  • Global approach and application, with contributions from leading experts in diverse fields

Related Resources

List of contributors ix

Foreword xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgements xvii

Introduction xix

Section A - Basic principles 1

1 Philosophy of science 3
James Ladyman

2 Ingredients of experimental design 9
Nick Colegrave

3 Statistics: a journey that needs a guide 17
Gordon Drummond

Section B - Cell and molecular 27

4 Organ bath pharmacology 29
Emma Robinson

5 Small vessel myography 39
Tomoko Kamishima and John M Quayle

6 Mammalian cell cultures: the example of airway epithelial cell cultures for cystic fibrosis research 49
Scott H Randell

7 Electron microscopy (TEM and SEM) 59
Paul Verkade

8 Fluorescence microscopy 67
Mark Jepson

9 Intracellular 'sharp' microelectrode recording 77
Helena C Parkington and Harold A Coleman

10 Single electrode voltage-clamp (SEVC) 85
Harold A Coleman and Helena C Parkington

11 Patch clamp recording 95
Neil Bannister and Phil Langton

12 Production of antibodies 105
Elek Molnar

13 Immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry 117
Elek Molnar

14 Immunoprecipitation (IP) 129
David Bates

15 Immunoblotting (western) 137
Samantha F. Moore, Joshua S. Savage and Ingeborg Hers

16 Applications of green fluorescent protein (GFP) 147
Mark Jepson

17 Fluorescent measurement of ion activity in cells 153
Helen Kennedy

18 Detection of exocytosis – real time 163
Anja Teschemacher

19 Viral vector transgenesis 173
Anja Teschemacher

20 Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse transcription (RT)-PCR 179
Lucy F. Donaldson

21 In situ hybridisation (ISH) 187
Lucy F. Donaldson

22 Methods of interference (antisense, siRNAs and dominant negative mutations) 193
Allison Fulford

23 Transcriptome analysis: microarrays 203
Charles Hindmarch

24 Experimental proteomics 215
Thierry Le Bihan

Section C - In vivo / integrative 229

25 Behavioural methodology 231
Emma Robinson

26 Genetically modified mouse models 241
Nina Balthasar

27 Wireless recording of cardiovascular signals 247
Julian FR Paton and Fiona D McBryde

28 Electrical stimulation methods 253
Jon Wakerley

29 Extracellular recording 261
Jon Wakerley

30 Antidromic identification 271
Jon Wakerley

31 Event-triggered averaging, including spike-triggered averaging 279
Richard Apps

32 Axonal transport tracing of CNS pathways 285
John Crabtree

33 Cardiovascular methods: general considerations for human studies 291
Erica A Wehrwein and Michael J Joyner

34 Measuring cardiac output in humans 299
Erica A Wehrwein and Michael J Joyner

35 Measuring peripheral blood flow in humans 311
Erica A Wehrwein and Michael J Joyner

Index 319

“The book would be of most benefit to new researchers or early career scientists though with some benefits to the more experienced scientist moving into a new discipline.”  (Microbiology Today, 1 September 2013)

“As a guide to how to properly ask questions of life and how to interpret its often-enigmatic answers, this book is a must read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers/faculty, and professionals.”  (Choice, 1 August 2013)

“Too many recent bioscience graduates lack significant research lab experience. Even research projects can expose them to just a few techniques. Appraisal of research papers in undergraduate courses tends to address the results, but rarely includes a critical evaluation of the researchers methodology. In reality, few bioscientists can claim a working knowledge of more than a handful of the techniques covered in this collection.

These shortcomings can be greatly overcome thanks to this book. The contributors are active research scientists of high quality. Each addresses the methods in a critical sense and provide an expert's view of the advantages and pitfalls. There is no equivalent book currently available.” Dr David J. Miller on behalf of The Physiological Society

“Research questions require the scientist to employ molecular, cell, organism and population approaches, and the reader of scientific literature to carefully consume data from each of those environments.  This book provides a clear and concise summary of the research techniques and approaches that generate data.  Importantly, the authors identify appropriate uses and cautionary caveats, essential for readers who do not use the technique.  This book is essential for accurate and careful interpretation of scientific literature.” Professor Robert G. Carroll, Editor Advances in Physiology Education