The details about the research productivity in the specialty of endocrinology from India is lacking. We plan to assess the publishing trends and the research productivity of Endocrinology related research articles published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India (JAPI).
Materials and Methods:
We carried the bibliometric analysis of endocrinology related articles from JAPI. The data were obtained from the JAPI website for the publications between 2000 and 2011. The articles were analyzed for the type (original article, case reports, correspondence, and pictorial image), subspecialty (diabetes, thyroid, etc.), and place of the research. Data were presented with descriptive statistics in numbers and percentages.
Out of a total 2977 articles published by JAPI, 312 articles belong to endocrine subspecialty. Endocrinology related articles constitute about 11.2%–23.2% of the published articles per year in JAPI and the percentage is increasing every year. Original articles (52%) and case reports (27%) constituite the majority, while the rest were letters to editor (9%) and pictorial images (12%). Diabetes (57%) and metabolic bone disorders (16%) lead the subspecialty articles, followed by thyroid (9%), adrenal and gonad (8%), and pituitary (8%). Chennai (20%), Mumbai (14%), and Delhi (9%) are the top 3 places contributing to the articles followed by Chandigarh and Varanasi.
Majority of endocrinology related research productivity is seen in form of original articles and case reports. Diabetes is the leading disease with maximum research articles from Chennai and other glands are equally represented in the research productivity.
Biomedical journals; endocrinology; India; publication trends; research productivity
The objective of this research is to analyse the evolution and nature of published empirical research in the fields of medical ethics and bioethics.
Retrospective quantitative study of nine peer reviewed journals in the field of bioethics and medical ethics (Bioethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Hastings Center Report, Journal of Clinical Ethics, Journal of Medical Ethics, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Nursing Ethics, Christian Bioethics, andTheoretical Medicine and Bioethics).
In total, 4029 articles published between 1990 and 2003 were retrieved from the journals studied. Over this period, 435 (10.8%) studies used an empirical design. The highest percentage of empirical research articles appeared in Nursing Ethics (n = 145, 39.5%), followed by the Journal of Medical Ethics (n = 128, 16.8%) and the Journal of Clinical Ethics (n = 93, 15.4%). These three journals account for 84.1% of all empirical research in bioethics published in this period. The results of the χ2 test for two independent samples for the entire dataset indicate that the period 1997–2003 presented a higher number of empirical studies (n = 309) than did the period 1990–1996 (n = 126). This increase is statistically significant (χ2 = 49.0264, p<.0001). Most empirical studies employed a quantitative paradigm (64.6%, n = 281). The main topic of research was prolongation of life and euthanasia (n = 68).
We conclude that the proportion of empirical research in the nine journals increased steadily from 5.4% in 1990 to 15.4% in 2003. It is likely that the importance of empirical methods in medical ethics and bioethics will continue to increase.
empirical ethics; retrospective quantitative study; empirical methods in bioethics
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction is an Open Access, online, electronic journal published by BioMed Central with full contents available to the scientific and medical community free of charge to all readers. Authors maintain the copyright to their own work, a policy facilitating dissemination of data to the widest possible audience without requiring permission from the publisher. This Open Access publishing model is subsidized by authors (or their institutions/funding agencies) in the form of a single £330 article processing charge (APC), due at the time of manuscript acceptance for publication. Payment of the APC is not a condition for formal peer review and does not apply to articles rejected after review. Additionally, this fee is waived for authors whose institutions are BioMed Central members or where genuine financial hardship exists. Considering ordinary publication fees related to page charges and reprints, the APC at Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction is comparable to costs associated with publishing in some traditional print journals, and is less expensive than many. Implementation of the APC within this Open Access framework is envisioned as a modern research-friendly policy that supports networking among investigators, brings new research into reach rapidly, and empowers authors with greater control over their own scholarly publications.
We conducted this analysis to determine i) which journals publish high-quality, clinically relevant studies in internal medicine, general/family practice, general practice nursing, and mental health; and ii) the proportion of clinically relevant articles in each journal.
We performed an analytic survey of a hand search of 170 general medicine, general healthcare, and specialty journals for 2000. Research staff assessed individual articles by using explicit criteria for scientific merit for healthcare application. Practitioners assessed the clinical importance of these articles. Outcome measures were the number of high-quality, clinically relevant studies published in the 170 journal titles and how many of these were published in each of four discipline-specific, secondary "evidence-based" journals (ACP Journal Club for internal medicine and its subspecialties; Evidence-Based Medicine for general/family practice; Evidence-Based Nursing for general practice nursing; and Evidence-Based Mental Health for all aspects of mental health). Original studies and review articles were classified for purpose: therapy and prevention, screening and diagnosis, prognosis, etiology and harm, economics and cost, clinical prediction guides, and qualitative studies.
We evaluated 60,352 articles from 170 journal titles. The pass criteria of high-quality methods and clinically relevant material were met by 3059 original articles and 1073 review articles. For ACP Journal Club (internal medicine), four titles supplied 56.5% of the articles and 27 titles supplied the other 43.5%. For Evidence-Based Medicine (general/family practice), five titles supplied 50.7% of the articles and 40 titles supplied the remaining 49.3%. For Evidence-Based Nursing (general practice nursing), seven titles supplied 51.0% of the articles and 34 additional titles supplied 49.0%. For Evidence-Based Mental Health (mental health), nine titles supplied 53.2% of the articles and 34 additional titles supplied 46.8%. For the disciplines of internal medicine, general/family practice, and mental health (but not general practice nursing), the number of clinically important articles was correlated withScience Citation Index (SCI) Impact Factors.
Although many clinical journals publish high-quality, clinically relevant and important original studies and systematic reviews, the articles for each discipline studied were concentrated in a small subset of journals. This subset varied according to healthcare discipline; however, many of the important articles for all disciplines in this study were published in broad-based healthcare journals rather than subspecialty or discipline-specific journals.
Recent advances in our understanding of the causes of infertility and of assisted reproductive technology (ART) have led to the development of complex diagnostic tools, prognostic models and treatment options. The Third Evian Annual Reproduction (EVAR) Workshop Meeting was held on 26–27 April 2008 to evaluate evidence supporting current approaches to the diagnosis and management of infertility and to identify areas for future research efforts.
Specialist reproductive medicine clinicians and scientists delivered presentations based on published literature and ongoing research on patient work-up, ovarian stimulation and embryo quality assessment during ART. This report is based on the expert presentations and subsequent group discussions and was supplemented with publications from literature searches and the authors' knowledge.
It was agreed that single embryo transfer (SET) should be used with increasing frequency in cycles of ART. Continued improvements in cryopreservation techniques, which improve pregnancy rates using supernumerary frozen embryos, are expected to augment the global uptake of SET. Adaptation and personalization of fertility therapy may help to optimize efficacy and safety outcomes for individual patients. Prognostic modelling and personalized management strategies based on individual patient characteristics may prove to represent real progress towards improved treatment. However, at present, there is limited good-quality evidence to support the use of these individualized approaches.
Greater quality control and standardization of clinical and laboratory evaluations are required to optimize ART practices and improve individual patient outcomes. Well-designed, good-quality studies are required to drive improvements to the diagnosis and management of ART processes.
infertility work-up; in vitro fertilization; ovarian response; predictive factors; single embryo transfer
In June 2005, Italy held a referendum on repealing the law on medically assisted fertilization (Law 40/2004), which limits access to artificial reproduction to infertile couples, and prohibits the donation of gametes, the cryopreservation of embryos, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PDG), and research on human embryos. The referendum was invalidated, and the law remained unchanged. The Italian political e bioethical debate on assisted reproduction was manipulated by the Catholic Church, which distorted scientific data and issues at stake with the help of Catholic politicians and bioethicists. What happened in Italy shows that some perverse socio‐cultural e political mechanisms are spreading the absurd and anti‐historical view that scientific and technological advancements are threatening democracy and personal freedom. Scientists should not only contrast the political attempts at limiting freedom of scientific research, but also tell politicians, humanists and citizens that the invention of Western science with its view of scientific community as an “open society”, contributed and still contributes, through scientific education, to the construction and maintaining of the moral and political values underlying Western democracies.
Reproduction is required for the survival of all mammalian species, and thousands of essential ‘sex’ genes are conserved through evolution. Basic research helps to define these genes and the mechanisms responsible for the development, function and regulation of the male and female reproductive systems. However, many infertile couples continue to be labeled with the diagnosis of idiopathic infertility or given descriptive diagnoses that do not provide a cause for their defect. For other individuals with a known etiology, effective cures are lacking, although their infertility is often bypassed with assisted reproductive technologies (ART), some accompanied by safety or ethical concerns. Certainly, progress in the field of reproduction has been realized in the twenty-first century with advances in the understanding of the regulation of fertility, with the production of over 400 mutant mouse models with a reproductive phenotype and with the promise of regenerative gonadal stem cells. Indeed, the past six years have witnessed a virtual explosion in the identification of gene mutations or polymorphisms that cause or are linked to human infertility. Translation of these findings to the clinic remains slow, however, as do new methods to diagnose and treat infertile couples. Additionally, new approaches to contraception remain elusive. Nevertheless, the basic and clinical advances in the understanding of the molecular controls of reproduction are impressive and will ultimately improve patient care.
Bibliometric analysis of the journal is a method to assess the research impact or research influence of that journal. This information can also be used to evaluate the influence/performance of a researcher and to provide a comparison between researchers. This work was aimed at performing bibliometric analysis of Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism (IJEM).
Materials and Methods:
The publications of year 2011-12 of IJEM were analyzed. Total number of articles published, type of articles, their authorship, and the coverage of various subspecialties was studied. The publications were also classified as Indian or foreign, from endocrine or nonendocrine departments and from academic or nonacademic institutions according to the institution of first author.
Results and Conclusions:
A total of 10 main issues and 7 supplementary issues were published in IJEM in year 2011 and 2012. These included a total of 605 publications, which depict a dramatic increase in the number of publications in last 2 years as compared to the previous years. Taking collectively, review articles were published in majority. Maximum number of articles was dealing with pancreas and metabolic disorders followed by thyroid. Other endocrine organs were given almost similar importance. Publications were largely originating from endocrine departments and from academic institutions. Although maximum number of articles were from India, but the publications from other countries are also on an increase. Thus, the widespread coverage of this journal suggests that IJEM has begun to represent global face of Indian endocrinology.
Bibliometric analysis; endocrinology; publications
Assisted reproductive technology has made great progress during the last three decades. After the initial enthusiasm, many ethical, legal and social issues related to the application of these procedures began to evolve. Multifetal pregnancy and fetal reduction, embryo cryopreservation, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, risks of birth defects and other adverse outcome associated with assisted reproductive technology are issues that have to be addressed building future collaborative studies and continuing the debate on related ethical issues.
Minimally Invasive Surgery is the most important revolution in surgical technique since the early 1900s. Its development was facilitated by the introduction of miniaturized video cameras with good image reproduction. The marvels of electronic and information technology have strengthened the biochemical and molecular power of diagnosis and the surgical and medical management of gynecology, transforming the very practice of medical science into a reality that could barely be envisaged two decades ago. We now enter the age of Robotics, Telesurgery, and Therapeutic Cloning. This dynamic process of reform continues to deliver practitioners with information, ideas and tools that spell answers to some of the most pressing dilemmas in clinical management. New technology will provide us with better opportunities of vision of the operative field, such as 3-D Endoscopy. Other promising technologies such as incorporation of ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, laser-based technology or assisted optical coherence tomography will not only enhance better visualization of the surgical field, but also discriminate the pathologic tissue from the normal one, enabling the surgeon to excise the pathologic tissue accurately. Pain mapping and photodiagnosis offer a new direction in the diagnosis of microscopic endometriosis. Better detection of the disease results in higher chances of success following treatment.
This paper examines the increases in prices for the last twenty years for the journals listed in the 1987 Brandon/Hill list and for the last twelve years for those on a list of medical and general periodicals published annually in Library Journal. This information is compared to the general U.S. inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Despite the decline in the general rate of inflation, the buying power of libraries has continued to dwindle. Librarians need to use this information when justifying increased budget requests. They also need to interact more effectively with publishers to resolve this problem. The buying power of the dollar (as compared to the 1975 dollar) spent on the Brandon/Hill list journals is now 59% of that of a dollar spent in the general economy. This compares to 64% in 1983, when this research was last updated.
Hormone analysis is a precise and widely accepted tool for monitoring reproductive function and responses to stressors. Although hormones are present and can be measured in various biological matrices, non-invasive methods have gained popularity over the past 30 years as a more practical approach for assessing ovarian, testicular and, more recently, adrenocortical activity in intractable wildlife species. Non-invasive hormone monitoring also has been key to understanding biological mechanisms related to observed behaviours of captive and free-ranging animals. Despite the increasing popularity of this research field, wildlife endocrinologists have not had a specific forum for sharing and discussing their latest findings, technical developments and common challenges. To provide such a communication platform, the International Society for Wildlife Endocrinology (ISWE) was established in 2010, followed by an international meeting held on 3–4 November 2011 at the Toronto Zoo, Canada. Over several sessions, keynote speakers and participants discussed recent developments of new and innovative methods for hormone monitoring, as well as the latest advances in basic endocrinology as applied to adrenal function, reproductive physiology, animal health, ecology and evolution. Here, we introduce ISWE to the scientific community and discuss how this new society will serve as a resource for wildlife endocrinologists worldwide.
non-invasive hormone monitoring; behavioural endocrinology; environmental endocrinology; conservation endocrinology; reproductive hormones; stress hormones
Research concerning the psychosocial aspects of infertility and infertility treatment focuses more often on women than men. The aim of this review was to synthesize the English-language evidence related to the psychological and social aspects of infertility in men and discuss the implications of these reports for clinical care and future research. A structured search identified 73 studies that reported data concerning the desire for fatherhood and the psychological and social aspects of diagnosis, assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment and unsuccessful treatment among men with fertility difficulties. The studies are diverse in conceptualisation, design, setting and data collection, but the findings were reasonably consistent. These studies indicated that fertile and infertile childless men of reproductive age have desires to experience parenthood that are similar to those of their female counterparts; in addition, diagnosis and initiation of treatment are associated with elevated infertility-specific anxiety, and unsuccessful treatment can lead to a state of lasting sadness. However, rates of clinically significant mental health problems among this patient population are no higher than in the general population. Infertile men who are socially isolated, have an avoidant coping style and appraise stressful events as overwhelming, are more vulnerable to severe anxiety than men without these characteristics. Men prefer oral to written treatment information and prefer to receive emotional support from infertility clinicians rather than from mental health professionals, self-help support groups or friends. Nevertheless, structured, facilitated psycho-educational groups that are didactic but permit informal sharing of experiences might be beneficial. There are gaps in knowledge about factors governing seeking, persisting with and deciding to cease treatment; experiences of invasive procedures; parenting after assisted conception; adoption and infertility-related grief and shame among men. Few resource-constrained countries have any data concerning male experiences of infertility.
assisted reproductive technologies; male infertility; psychologically-informed clinical care; psychosocial aspects
Journal of Midlife Health, in existence for 2½ years, has been working to disseminate information and research in the field of midlife health, including menopause management. This bibliometric review aimed to assess the coverage of this journal across article types, country, and specialty of origin. An online analysis of all the published articles from 2011 to July 2012 was carried out by the authors. Datas collected were analyzed by descriptive statistics. The journal has succeeded in ensuring broad-based, comprehensive, multidisciplinary coverage of midlife health-related issues, as shown by the variety of types of articles published, the emphasis on original articles, the international authorship, and the wide spectrum of medical and surgical specialties covered.
India; menopause; multidisciplinary; publication trends
Human reproduction is relatively inefficient. Nearly 30% of pregnancies result in spontaneous losses, which are both a clinical problem and a psychological stress to the families involved. Furthermore, although the human population is growing rapidly and is predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, 15% of couples worldwide are childless because of infertility. Many underlying causes of infertility have been overcome by assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization, yet pregnancy success rates using such approaches remain disappointingly low. Since mechanistic approaches to study human reproductive processes are ethically restricted, future advances in fertility treatment and the development of new contraceptives rely predominantly on the study of the factors influencing reproduction in model systems. The articles in this Reproductive Biology Review series present updates on the current understanding of various reproductive processes in model systems and raise questions that need to be addressed if we are to improve human reproductive health.
The human head and face is the target structure of a large number of medical disciplines which are subject to a continuing trend in medical science – 'ongoing fragmentation' or, to use a better established term, 'opening up new fields'. An adverse side effect of this trend is the separation of scientists, which contributes to a breakdown in communication. Specialization is necessary, but who is able to recombine the pieces of knowledge gained in different branches of science? Who is able to trace back an effect to its cause through the whole system? What is the instrument that enables scientists to think 'laterally', or across disciplines?
To be one of these instruments is the vision of Head & Face Medicine. To induce 'intra-interdisciplinary' thinking of scientists by bringing together the findings achieved by different researchers from various specialties, all exploring the same target structure – the human head and face. Head & Face Medicine's objective is to support scientists in gaining new insights from different views, to recognize patterns, to extract new thoughts, to recombine them and bring new visions to life.
Evolving tools like the internet, e-publishing, Open Access and open peer review make Head & Face Medicine a cross between a traditional journal and a data stream which can be queried, analyzed and processed with the aim of increasing medical knowledge in the area of head and face medicine. These tools represent several advantages: fast publication, increase of a paper's scientific impact and ethical superiority.
Head & Face Medicine looks forward to receiving your contributions.
The stem cell field in veterinary medicine continues to evolve rapidly both experimentally and clinically. Stem cells are most commonly used in clinical veterinary medicine in therapeutic applications for the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries in horses and dogs. New technologies of assisted reproduction are being developed to apply the properties of spermatogonial stem cells to preserve endangered animal species. The same methods can be used to generate transgenic animals for production of pharmaceuticals or for use as biomedical models. Small and large animal species serve as valuable models for preclinical evaluation of stem cell applications in human beings and in veterinary patients in areas such as spinal cord injury and myocardial infarction. However, these applications have not been implemented in the clinical treatment of veterinary patients. Reviews on the use of animal models for stem cell research have been published recently. Therefore, in this review, animal model research will be reviewed only in the context of supporting the current clinical application of stem cells in veterinary medicine.
Indonesia has high levels of biological need for infertility treatment, great sociological and psychological demand for children, and yet existing infertility services are underutilized. Access to adequate comprehensive reproductive health services, including infertility care, is a basic reproductive right regardless of the economic circumstances in which individuals are born into. Thus, identifying and implementing strategies to improve access to assisted reproductive technology (ART) in Indonesia is imperative. The principle objectives of this article are to improve our understanding of infertility patients’ patterns of health seeking behaviour and their patterns of access to infertility treatment in Indonesia, in order to highlight the possibilities for improving access.
An interviewer-administered survey was conducted with 212 female infertility patients recruited through three Indonesian infertility clinics between July and September 2011. Participants were self-selected and data was subject to descriptive statistical analysis.
Patients identified a number of barriers to access, including: low confidence in infertility treatment and high rates of switching between providers due to perceived treatment failure; the number and location of clinics; the lack of a well established referral system; the cost of treatment; and patients also experienced fear of receiving a diagnosis of sterility, of vaginal examinations and of embarrassment. Women’s age of marriage and the timing of their initial presentation to gynaecologists were not found to be barriers to timely access to infertility care.
The findings based on the responses of 212 female infertility patients indicated four key areas of opportunity for improving access to infertility care. Firstly, greater patient education about the nature and progression of infertility care was required among this group of women. Secondly, increased resources in terms of the number and distribution of infertility clinics would reduce the substantial travel required to access infertility care. Thirdly, improvements in the financial accessibility of infertility care would have promoted ease of access to care in this sample. Finally, the expansion of poorly developed referral systems would also have enhanced the efficiency with which this group of patients were able to access appropriate care.
Indonesia; Infertility care; ART; Access; Equity; Female infertility; Reproductive rights; Patient education; Referral systems; Cost of health care
Journal clubs are an internationally recognized teaching tool in many postgraduate medical education fields. In developing countries lack of funds for current print materials may have limited journal club use. But with advancing information technology trainees in developing countries increasingly have more access to high quality journals online. However, we are aware of no studies describing journal club existence and effectiveness in postgraduate medical training in Pakistan. Also we have found no published effectiveness studies of this teaching modality in Community Medicine (Public Health) in any country. This study evaluated the effectiveness of Community Medicine (Public Health) Resident Journal Club (CMR-JC) in Aga Khan University, Pakistan using international criteria for successful journal clubs (2 years continuous existence and more than 50% attendance) and examining resident and alumni satisfaction.
Journal club effectiveness criteria were searched using electronic search databases. Departmental records were reviewed from September1999–September 2005. Ninety percent of residents and alumni of Community Medicine Residency Programme participated voluntarily in a confidential survey.
The CMR-JC was regularly conducted. More than 95% of residents attended. (Total residents in the CMR-Programme: 32). Twenty-seven out of 29 current residents/alumni responded to the anonymous questionnaire. Acquisition of critical appraisal skills (23 respondents) and keeping up with current literature (18 respondents) were the two most important objectives achieved. Respondents recommended improved faculty participation and incorporating a structured checklist for article review.
CMR-JC fulfils criteria for effective journal clubs. Residents and alumni agree CMR-JC meets its objectives. Incorporating suggested recommendations will further improve standards. The journal club learning modality should be included in residency training programs in developing countries. Effective use of online resources to support journal clubs is demonstrated as a successful alternative to excessive expenditure for obtaining print journals. Those trying to start or improve journal clubs can benefit from our experience.
The successful practice of dentistry, including endodontics, relies on a wide spectrum of dental research. The quantity and quality of research evidence in endodontics have seldom been evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of evidence in current leading endodontic journals.
Materials and Methods
All the articles published in 2000, 2006 and 2010 in two major endodontic journals (Journal of Endodontics and International Endodontic Journal) were evaluated. These articles were classified according to the level of evidence (LOE) using Oxford Scale from 0 to 5 and type of the study.
Of the articles assessed, 3.2% were clinical trials, 47.8% were experimental, 5.6% were animal studies and 43.4% were of other types. Subdivisions according to LOE were 4.3% as level 1, 0.9 % level 2, 7.3% level 3, 0.4% level 4 and 3.5% level 5. Overall, 83.6% of the articles were classified as “non-evidence-based”. There was a marginally significant increase in the percentage of articles with high level of evidence in recent years.
There is a substantial shortage of articles with high level of evidence in clinical endodontics. However, there was a gradual increase in the number of high LOE articles published in both journals.
Clinical Trials, Dentistry, Endodontics, Evidence Based, Journal Article
This brief communication gives an overview of endocrine practice in Pakistan. It highlights the recent advances in endocrine research and training in the country. The article also lists the common endocrine morbidity encountered in clinical practice, and suggests ways of improving endocrine care and research in Pakistan and neighboring countries.
Pakistan; endocrinology; currrent trends; diabetes
This article looks at medical approaches to women’s fertility in Argentina in the 1930s and explores the ways in which eugenics encouraged the reproduction of the fit and attempted to avoid the reproduction of the unfit. The analysis concentrates on three main aspects: biotypology (the scientific classification of bodies), endocrine therapy, and sterilization. The article concludes by suggesting that a eugenically oriented obstetrical and gynecological practice encouraged both endocrine treatments (to achieve the ideal fertile woman) and sterilization, which, in spite of being legally banned, found a subtle application.
Argentinian eugenics; constitutional medicine; biotypology; female types; endocrinology; hormonotherapy; sterilization
5.3 million American couples of reproductive age (9%) are affected by infertility, among which male factors account for up to 50% of cases, which necessitates the identification of parameters defining sperm quality, including sperm count and motility. In vitro fertilization (IVF) with or without intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has become the most widely used assisted reproductive technology (ART) in modern clinical practice to overcome male infertility challenges. One of the obstacles of IVF and ICSI lies in identifying and isolating the most motile and presumably healthiest sperm from semen samples that have low sperm counts (oligozoospermia) and/or low sperm motility (oligospermaesthenia). Microfluidic systems have shown potential to sort sperm with flow systems. However, the small field of view (FOV) of conventional microscopes commonly used to image sperm motion presents challenges in tracking a large number of sperm cells simultaneously. To address this challenge, we have integrated a lensless charge-coupled device (CCD) with a microfluidic chip to enable wide FOV and automatic recording as the sperm move inside a microfluidic channel. The integrated system enables the sorting and tracking of a population of sperm that have been placed in a microfluidic channel. This channel can be monitored in both horizontal and vertical configuration similar to a swim-up column method used clinically. Sperm motilities can be quantified by tracing the shadow paths for individual sperm. Moreover, as the sperm are sorted by swimming from the inlet towards the outlet of a microfluidic channel, motile sperm that reach the outlet can be extracted from the channel at the end of the process. This technology can lead to methods to evaluate each sperm individually in terms of motility response in a wide field of view, which could prove especially useful, when working with oligozoospermic or oligospermaesthenic samples, in which the most motile sperm need to be isolated from a pool of small number of sperm.
Sperm function testing, once commonly performed for the infertile couple before employing assisted reproductive technology (ART), has fallen out of favour in many reproductive medicine centers throughout the world. Indeed, the most recent addition of the 'World Health Organisation (WHO) Laboratory Manual for the Examination and Processing of Human Semen' now groups many of these procedures into a section termed Research Procedures. In large part, this reflects the current clinical practice of bypassing the in-depth evaluation of the male partner, while assuming that if a spermatozoon can be found for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), it must be a healthy cell capable of achieving fertilization. Nevertheless, sperm function testing can provide valuable clinical insights into defects causing male infertility. Admittedly, in some cases, functional sperm deficiencies can be overcome using an ART. In other cases, couples will be empowered by the knowledge of the cause of their infertility, and for some couples, perhaps even the likelihood of ICSI success (relative to the spermatozoa). The knowledge allows them to make truly informed reproductive decisions, including (perhaps) the decision to seek donor insemination, to adopt or to remain childless. Knowledge of the cause of their infertility may provide closure for couples and a sense of confidence regarding their choice of reproductive treatment.
semen analysis; sperm function tests
Modern experimental science provides more opportunities for yet larger series of experiments. Demand for experimental results also has become more diverse, requiring results that have direct connections to systems outside the laboratory. With this has come an ability to automate many areas of experimental science, not only the experiments themselves but also the larger processes that contribute to experimentation and analysis more broadly. As automated experimentation becomes more widely used and understood, we launch this journal to provide a proper publication channel for this new breed of interdisciplinary research as well as a bridge to all significant groundwork research that would facilitate possible automated experimentation. With this in mind, we are interested in publishing all kinds of research into scientific experimentation, including research where the potential for automation is at proof or concept or early deployment stage.