Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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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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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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