Sometimes I feel like our field produces review articles faster than it produces good ideas. Certainly, biogerontology generates more reviews in a given week than truly significant papers, but the same might be said of any discipline.
I’ve been ambivalent about how to deal with reviews — I’ve considered ignoring them altogether, only covering the “important ones,” link-dumping a bunch of them whenever I was too lazy to write a real post, and various other hybrid strategies. Ignoring them seemed most attractive, since our main mission at Ouroboros is to review the primary literature, so reviewing reviews seemed pointless and derivative.
But a recent reader inquiry (from one of our junior colleagues who basically wanted me to do some of their homework for them; my response was basically “read a review and make up your own mind”) reminded me of the importance of review articles: They’re a great way for scientists who aren’t already expert in a field to figure out where the important questions are. The best ones also juxtapose the most current efforts in creative and interesting ways, adding value by pointing out non-obvious connections between subfields. If read closely and attentively, reviews can be the source of great inspiration.
So rather than treating the elements of the secondary literature like second-class citizens, I’m going to start a quasi-regular feature wherein I (or one of the other writers) compile a list of the most important and interesting reviews of the last couple of weeks, and link to them without much further comment (thereby avoiding the vaguely ridiculous feeling of reviewing reviews, which would make one — what? — the “tertiary literature”?). You, the reader, can do what you wish with them. This new feature of Ouroboros begins…NOW!
- How to Live Long and Prosper: Autophagy, Mitochondria, and Aging, Yen & Klionsky
CR & IGF-I:
DNA damage & gene expression:
- DNA damage and ageing: new-age ideas for an age-old problem, Garinis et al. (this is an absolute must-read if, like so many others, your head exploded when you first grappled with this story or its predecessors)
- The insulin paradox: aging, proteotoxicity and neurodegeneration, Cohen & Dillin
- Insulin and aging, Bartke
- Model of human aging: recent findings on Werner’s and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndromes, Ding & Shen
- Nature, Nurture, or Chance: Stochastic Gene Expression and Its Consequences, Raj & van Oudenaarden (this isn’t a particularly aging-focused review but it places observations like these and these within a larger context in systems biology)
- Aging: ROS or TOR, Blagosklonny (who has argued that the TOR inhibitor rapamycin might be a useful anti-aging therapeutic)
- A mother’s sacrifice: what is she keeping for herself?, Henderson & Gottschling (a very thought-provoking discussion of the ramifications of asymmetric cell division in aging, and the search for yeast “senescence factors”; this entire issue was basically ignored — by me — in a recent wide-ranging discussion of recent progress in yeast aging studies)
Like I said, I’ll do something like this every couple of weeks, or whenever the review folder gets full. That way we’ll never fall too far behind.