Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780199676866_450

Cancer immunology and immunotherapy

My career began in the 1970s in the field of cancer immunology, a subject, which nowadays is at the forefront of cancer research, holding the promise of delivering new therapies for treating patients suffering from a wide range of cancers. Many scientists working in the field are not readily aware that the very first research papers documenting immunity against cancer were published in 1955 in the British Journal of Cancer by Robert (Bob) Baldwin, working in Nottingham, England.

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Ethical issues in managing the current Ebola crisis

Until the current epidemic, Ebola was largely regarded as not a Western problem. Although fearsome, Ebola seemed contained to remote corners of Africa, far from major international airports. We are now learning the hard way that Ebola is not—and indeed was never—just someone else’s problem.

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The health benefits of cheese

Lipids (fats and oils) have historically been thought to elevate weight and blood cholesterol and have therefore been considered to have a negative influence on the body. Foods such as full-fat milk and cheese have been avoided by many consumers for this reason. This attitude has been changing in recent years.

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How medical publishing can drive research and care

By Béla Büki
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a very frequent cause of harmless but unpleasant vertigo and dizziness complaints. It is caused by dislodged otoconia floating into the semicircular canals, which measure angular accelerations of the head and initiate corrective eye movements during fast head movements. Otoconia are calcium-carbonate crystals functioning as weights in the miniature acceleration sensors in the inner ear, informing us about gravity and linear accelerations.

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Why are sex differences frequently overlooked in biomedical research?

By Katie L. Flanagan
Despite the huge body of evidence that males and females have very different immune systems and responses, few biomedical studies consider sex in their analyses. Sex refers to the intrinsic characteristics that distinguish males from females, whereas gender refers to the socially determined behaviour, roles, or activities that males and females adopt.

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How threatened are we by Ebola virus?

By Peter C. Doherty
The Ebola outbreak affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and now Liberia is the worst since this disease was first discovered more than 30 years back. Between 1976 and 2013 there were less than 1,000 known infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), March to 23 July 2014 saw 1201 likely cases and 672 deaths.

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A Q&A with Professor Stefan Agewall

As the European Society of Cardiology gets ready to welcome a new journal to its prestigious family, we meet the Editor-in-Chief, Professor Stefan Agewall, to find out how he came to specialise in this field and what he has in store for the European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy.

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Limiting the possibility of a dangerous pandemic

While pandemics are by their nature unpredictable, there are some things worth considering when it comes to the issue of personal safety and responsibility. The first point is to be a safe international traveler so that you don’t bring some nasty infection home with you. Protect yourself and you protect others. Though taking the available vaccines won’t prevent infection with some novel pathogen, it will contribute toward ensuring that you enjoy a successful vacation or business trip, and it should also put you in a “think bugs” mind-set.

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Independence, supervision, and patient safety in residency training

By Kenneth M. Ludmerer
Since the late nineteenth century, medical educators have believed that there is one best way to produce outstanding physicians: put interns, residents, and specialty fellows to work in learning their fields. After an appropriate scientific preparation during medical school, house officers (the generic term for interns, residents, and specialty fellows) need to jump into the clinical setting and begin caring for patients themselves.

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Colostrum, performance, and sports doping

By Martin Luck
A recent edition of BBC Radio 4′s On Your Farm programme spoke to a dairy farmer who supplies colostrum to athletes as a food supplement. Colostrum is the first milk secreted by a mother. Cow colostrum is quite different from normal cow’s milk: it has about four times as much protein, twice as much fat and half as much lactose (sugar).

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Pseudoscience surplus

By Sergio Della Sala
We are besieged by misinformation on all sides; when this misinformation masquerades as science, we call it pseudoscience. The scientific tradition has methods which offer a way to get accurate evidence, and decrease the chance of misinformation persisting for long.

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What are the costs and impacts of telecare for people who need social care?

By Catherine Henderson
In these times of budgetary constraints and demographic change, we need to find new ways of supporting people to live longer in their own homes. Telecare has been suggested as a useful way forward. Some examples of this technology, such as pull-cord or pendant alarms, have been around for years, but these ‘first-generation’ products have given way to more extensive and sophisticated systems.

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World Hepatitis Day: reason to celebrate

By Paul Sax
After years of intense basic and clinical research, hepatitis C is now curable for the vast majority of the millions of people who have it. The major barrier is access (diagnosis, getting care, and paying for it), because the scientific problem has been solved.

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Does pain have a history?

It’s easy to assume that we know what pain is. We’ve all experienced pain, from scraped knees and toothaches to migraines and heart attacks. When people suffer around us, or we witness a loved one in pain, we can also begin to ‘feel’ with them. But is this the end of the story?

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