January 2020 – The Month of Hope


The first month of the New Year has just started, with plenty of hopes and plans. The New Year gives you the option to restart with a new beginning and aim for success. However, what does it take to succeed? What are the secrets of the most successful people?

To achieve success, you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t skip any steps! Most successful people create their own luck by working hard, staying focused, and making tough decisions that enable them to grow.

There is no substitute for hard work. Most people don’t succeed on their first try—they stay focused and continue to take chances even when their business has achieved success.

We wish you lots of success this week and during the exciting year ahead—you deserve it!

Client profile: Dr. Bausard Latrech, algologist, Brussels

Client profile: Dr. Bausard Latrech, algologist, Brussels

Only quite recently was our collaboration with Dr. Bausard Latrech set up, but we have already gone a long way together. Noticeably, Dr. Latrech spent most of his youth and early adult life in Strasbourg, where our agency has its legal address. However, he has now been working for several years in Brussels, Belgium, where many of our clients come from.

Dr. Latrech carried out his medical studies at Strasbourg University, where he also specialized in anesthesiology. Since those early years, he has gathered extensive experience in anesthesia and resuscitation in both medical and surgical settings. He also holds an interuniversity certificate in loco-regional anesthesia from Paris-Est Créteil University and another interuniversity certificate in acute and chronic pain from Paris Descartes University.

Dr. Latrech is the author and co-author of numerous scientific publications, written in either French or English, that have been published in major international high-impact factor journals. He has attended numerous conferences and symposia in relation to his main area of focus: pain assessment and treatment as well as ultrasound-guided and other innovative techniques in regional anesthesia.

Recently, in November 2019, Dr. Latrech was promoted to the role of departmental head of the Pain Clinic of Chirec Hospital, Brussels, Belgium. We wish to heartily congratulate him for this next step in his successful career.

How to write a great science paper

How to write a great science paper

In the winter of 2018, while on sabbatical at SFI, Van Savage, a theoretical biologist and ecologist, had lively weekly discussions with Pulitzer prize-winner McCarty on editing scientific papers. Both worked intensely together in tandem to condense McCarthy’s editing advice into several short statements. In the following, we share Part II with you:

  • Don’t overelaborate. Your paper is not meant to be a dialogue with the readers’ potential questions, so don’t go overboard anticipating them. Don’t say the same thing in three different ways within the same section.
  • Don’t worry too much about readers who want to find a way to argue about every tangible point.
  • In regard to grammar, spoken language, and common sense are generally better guides for a first draft than rulebooks. To begin with, it’s more relevant to be well understood by the readers than to form a grammatically perfect sentence.
  • Commas denounce a pause in speaking. The phrase “in contrast” at the beginning of a sentence needs a comma to emphasize that the sentence is distinguished from the previous one rather than to distinguish the first two words from the rest of the sentence.
  • Dashes should emphasize the clauses you consider most relevant without using bolding or italics; they are not solely for defining terms. Don’t lean on semicolons as a crutch to join loosely linked ideas. This only encourages bad writing. You can occasionally use contractions, such as don’t or it’s. Don’t be overly formal. Don’t use exclamation marks to attract the readers’ attention; you could say “surprisingly” or “intriguingly” instead.

The full text of McCarthy’s thoughts can be found at : https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02918-5

Did boxing cause Muhammad Ali’s Parkinson’s disease?

Did boxing cause Muhammad Ali’s Parkinson’s disease?

The short answer to this question is: No one knows for sure. The longer answer is: This may well have been the case. It was Ali himself who guessed what was happening to him when he had to undergo a battery of tests before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 42.

He told the doctor supervising the tests: “I have been in the boxing ring for over 30 years and taken quite a lot of punches; there is thus a possibility that something is wrong.” It is currently well-established that professional boxing triggers brain damage. Boxing is, in fact, unique in that the sport’s aim is to inflict damage to the head, with its ultimate goal being a knockout, i.e.,  loss of consciousness.

Parkinson’s disease, first recognized by general practitioner James Parkinson from London, England, some two centuries ago, occurs when neurons of the substantia nigra, a brain structure also known as the basal ganglia, become impaired and dysfunctional, and eventually die. These cells produce a vital chemical compound termed dopamine. Symptoms start to arise when about 80% of these dopamine-producing cells have been damaged. The condition’s key symptoms are tremors, slowed movements, rigidity, and difficulty with keeping balance.

One question that will always be left unanswered is: Would Muhammad Ali still be with us if he had stopped boxing soon enough?

Vincent van Gogh’s final years

Vincent van Gogh’s final years

In May 1889, during one of his periods of psycho-emotional turmoil, Vincent van Gogh checked himself into the Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Remy, southern France. The exact cause of his mental illness is still intensively debated among scientists and historians.

To date, the most widely accepted diagnosis has been bipolar disorder due to van Gogh’s periods of endless energy followed by debilitating depression. His assistant house physician, however, diagnosed him with epilepsy, but this neurological condition has been dismissed by modern experts. Another previous theory to explain his strange temperament, full of passions and dreams, was that he suffered from end-staged porphyria, though this is no longer considered correct.

On his initial stay in the Saint-Paul cloister, van Gogh was allowed to leave under supervision. At first, this resulted in a slightly improved mental state but was followed by a dramatic worsening. As such, van Gogh was then required to stay inside. Unable to be among his beloved landscapes, he was obliged to paint solely based on his memories and restricted experiences. At that time, he produced magnificent works, such as the legendary Starry Night depicting his view from the east-facing window of the asylum.