Writing a Good Review

I was once told “writing a review is relatively straightforward way into the literature, so it’s often the kind of paper on which PhD students ‘cut their teeth’”. “Hmm…” I thought. And the more I see of reviews (as Editor of a reviews and features journal), the more I disagree that a good review is straightforward. Technically it might be straightforward for someone with a once-in-a-lifetime overview of the current literature – such as a PhD student just about to write-up her/his thesis: technically in the sense of cataloguing the relevant literature. But is that a review? Maybe, but it would be a bit boring by most standards. Read more here! ⇒

Circumcision May Help Protect Against Prostate Cancer

A new analysis led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has found that circumcision before a male’s first sexual intercourse may help protect against prostate cancer. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study suggests that circumcision can hinder infection and inflammation that may lead to this malignancy.1

Infections are known to cause cancer, and research suggests that sexually transmitted infections may contribute to the development of prostate cancer. Also, certain sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by circumcision. Therefore, it stands to reason that circumcision should protect against the development of some cases of prostate cancer. This is what lead author Jonathan L. Wright, MD, an affiliate investigator in the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, and his colleagues set out to test. Read more here! ⇒

UMass Amherst Scientists Invent Geckskin

Photo Credit: Nano Nature: Nature's Spectacular Hidden World by Richard JonesBack in 2007, researchers at the Polytechnic University of Turin postulated that, using nanotechnology, scientists would one day be able to come closer to creating a “Spiderman suit” using a system of strong invisible cables and self-adhesive smart materials.1 This month, researchers at UMass Amherst took a significant step towards that goal with the announcement of a new invention called “Geckskin,” a material that can hold up to 700 pounds on a smooth wall.

Inspired by gecko feet (which have an adhesive force roughly equivalent to carrying nine pounds up a wall), Michael Bartlett, Duncan Irschick, and their colleagues at UMass Amherst worked together to develop a material with a combination of similar properties, including high-capacity (able to bear considerable weight), reversibility (both easily applied and removed), and dry adhesion (leaving no residue behind). Their results were published in the most recent Feb 2012 issue of Advanced Materials.2 Read more here! ⇒