Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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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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A revolution in trauma patient care

By Simon Howell
Major trauma impacts on the lives of young and old alike. Most of us know or are aware of somebody who has suffered serious injury. In the United Kingdom over five-thousand people die from trauma each year. It is the most common cause of death in people under forty. Many of the fifteen-thousand people who survive major trauma suffer life-changing injuries and some will never fully recover and require life-long care.

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Microbes matter

By John Archibald
We humans have a love-hate relationship with bugs. I’m not talking about insects — although many of us cringe at the thought of them too — but rather the bugs we can’t see, the ones that make us sick. Sure, microorganisms give us beer, wine, cheese, and yoghurt; hardly a day goes by without most people consuming food or drink produced by microbial fermentation.

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Occupational epidemiology: a truly global discipline

By Katherine M. Venables
Occupational epidemiology is one of those fascinating areas which spans important areas of human life: health, disease, work, law, public policy, the economy. Work is fundamental to any society and the importance society attaches to the health of its workers varies over time and between countries.

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When simple is no longer simple

By Lawla Law
Cognitive impairment is a common problem in older adults, and one which increases in prevalence with age with or without the presence of pathology. Persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have difficulties in daily functioning, especially in complex everyday tasks that rely heavily on memory and reasoning.

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Is the past a foreign country?

By Eugene Milne
My card-carrying North London media brother, Ben, describes himself on his Twitter feed as a ‘recovering Northerner’. In my case the disease is almost certainly incurable. Despite spending a good deal of last year in cosmopolitan London – beautiful, exciting and diverse as it is – I found myself on occasions near tears of joy as my feet hit the platform at King’s Cross.

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Living in the shadows of health

By Brian L. Odlaug, Samuel R. Chamberlain, and Jon E. Grant
Surprisingly, many of the common mental health conditions in the world also happen to be the least well known. While Obsessive Compulsive Disorder garners attention from international media, with celebrities talking openly about their experiences with the condition, Obsessive Compulsive Related Disorders are far less recognized and receive scant attention.

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Frailty and creativity

By Cretien van Campen
Frail older people are more oftentimes considered a burden for society, than not. They are perceived to require intensive care that can be expensive while producing nothing contributory to society. The collective image is that frail older people are ‘useless’; in my opinion, we do not endeavor to ‘use’ them or know how to release productivity in them.

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Inequalities in life satisfaction in early old age

By Claire Niedzwiedz
How satisfied are you with your life? The answer is undoubtedly shaped by many factors and one key influence is the country in which you live. Governments across the world are increasingly interested in measuring happiness and wellbeing to understand how societies are changing, as indicators such as GDP (gross domestic product) do not seem to measure what makes life meaningful.

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You can save lives and money

By Paul Harriman
There is a truism in the world that quality costs, financially. There is a grain of truth in this statement especially if you think in a linear way. In healthcare this has become embedded thinking and any request for increasing quality is met with a counter-request for more money.

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The July effect

By Kenneth M. Ludmerer
“Don’t get sick in July.” So the old adage goes. For generations medical educators have uttered this exhortation, based on a perceived increase in the incidence of medical and surgical errors and complications occurring at this time of year, owing to the influx of new medical graduates (interns) into residency programs at teaching hospitals.

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Killing me softly: rethinking lethal injection

By Aidan O’Donnell
How hard is it to execute someone humanely? Much harder than you might think. In the US, lethal injection is the commonest method. It is considered humane because it is painless, and the obvious violence and brutality inherent in alternative methods (electrocution, hanging, firing squad) is absent. But when convicted murderer Clayton Lockett was put to death by lethal injection in the evening of 29th April 2014 by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, just about everything went wrong.

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Unravelling the enigma of chronic pain and its treatment

By Mark Johnson
The prevalence of chronic pain in the general adult population worldwide may be as high as 30 per cent. Yet pain is not seen as a major health care problem by politicians, probably because people do not die of pain, although many people die in pain. Chronic pain challenges our traditional beliefs about the process of diagnosis, treatment, and cure, with over 40 per cent of individuals reporting inadequate management of chronic pain.

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