Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


What does being a doctor mean to you?

Following on from this year’s Clinical Placement Competition, asking medical students “What does being a doctor mean to you?” – we are hoping to broaden our understanding of the medical profession, and appreciate exactly what being a doctor means in practice. What stories of highlights, difficulties, and uncensored advice can current doctors pass on, and how can we help those starting out?

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Solutions to reduce racial mistrust in medicine

Black women in the United States have about a 41% higher chance of dying from breast cancer than white women. Some of that disparity can be linked to genetics, but the environment, lingering mistrust toward the health care system, and suspicion over prescribed breast cancer treatment also play roles, according to a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

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maloy photo

Emergency Departments as front line for opiate epidemic

There is no question that opioid use disorders are a serious problem in the United States. Increasing recognition of the scope of the problem has led to political and policy attention. While evidence-based treatments for opioid dependence are available, they remain difficult to access. Treatments that involve opiate replacement such as methadone are particularly stigmatized.

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BJAED Aug front matter

How do performance-enhancing drugs affect athletes?

Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are drugs that improve active performance in humans, known colloquially in sports as ‘doping’. Perhaps the most famous abuser of PEDs to date is Lance Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France champion, who in 2013 confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career, and was stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999 to 2005.

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Scientific method and back pain

Do you have back pain? Statistics show you likely do. Or you have had it in the past or will in the future. Back pain can be a million different things, and you can get it an equal number of ways. Until you’ve suffered it, you don’t realise how disruptive it can be. Trying to fix back pain is a superb way to make people understand the power of scientific method and how to use it.

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Around the world in spices and herbs

On supermarket shelves, we are given a mind-numbing array of choices to select from. Shall we have some peppercorns on our macaroni, some cinnamon for baking, or a bit of rosemary with roast pork? Five hundred years ago, however, cooking with herbs and spices was a much simpler choice.

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Brain journal

The lifelong importance of nutrition in pregnancy for brain development

The importance of a healthy diet for proper functioning of the brain is increasingly being recognized. Week in, week out studies appear recommending a high intake of certain foods in order to achieve optimal brain function and prevent brain diseases. Although it is definitely no punishment for the most of us to increase our chocolate consumption to boost brain function, the most important period during which nutrition affects our brain may already be behind us.

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Announcing the winner of the 2016 Clinical Placement Competition

This May, our 2016 Clinical Placement Competition came to a close. In partnership with Projects Abroad, we offered one lucky medical student the chance to practice their clinical skills, with £2,000 towards a clinical placement in a country of their choice. We asked entrants to send a photograph with a caption, explaining “What does being a doctor mean to you?”

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Zika, sex, and mosquitoes: Olympic mix

Zika continues its romp around the world. In its wake, controversy erupted over the Olympic Games in Brazil, with some calling to move or postpone the Games – but is that really justified? Zika has already moved outside of Brazil in a big way. To be clear, the Zika epidemic is dramatic and awful. Mosquito-borne transmission of this previously obscure and seemingly wimpy virus is ongoing in 60 countries

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Suicide and the First Amendment

What does suicide have to do with the first amendment right to free speech? As it turns out, the question comes up in many contexts: Can a state university student be disciplined for sending a text threatening suicide to another student? Can a young woman be criminally prosecuted for repeatedly texting her boyfriend to insist that he fulfill his intention to commit suicide?

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How to choose a medical school

Feeling confused? You’re not alone… Applying to medical school is like asking someone to marry you. This might seem like an exaggeration, however over your lifetime you will spend more hours working than you will spend awake with your life partner. Like marriage, being a doctor will change who you are, influence where you live, and affect what you can do.

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Measuring sun exposure in outdoor workers

Sun exposure is a key feature of summer for many people, especially in countries like Canada where pleasant weather can seem so fleeting. Unfortunately, sun exposure (in particular ultraviolet radiation) is the primary cause of skin cancer, the most common cancer in Canada. Skin cancer is also one of few cancers where diagnoses are increasing.

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British Medical Bulletin

Predicting exceptional performance at the Olympics in Rio: science or chance?

As every four years, we are now quickly approaching to the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016. The Olympics are the biggest sports event in the world, followed by the FIFA World Cup in football and the Tour de France of cycling, with as many as two billion people tuning in at some point during the event.

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Continuing to smoke after breast cancer diagnosis lowers survival rate

After being told they have breast cancer, many female smokers say “what the heck?” and continue to smoke, figuring they have nothing more to lose. A new study finds that’s not true—that quitting is advantageous even after such a dire diagnosis. The study included more than 20,600 women with breast cancer. Those who quit had a 33% lower mortality rate from breast cancer than those who kept smoking.

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How to stay both active and safe this summer

It’s no secret that summer is one of the most universally enjoyed parts of childhood. Waiting out the seemingly eternal last days of school – some have even been known to have a countdown starting in April – is a true act of patience. Then school finally ends. And it is time to ride bikes, play on sports teams and in tournaments, swim, hike, and possibly attend sports camps.

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The effects of patient suicide on general practitioners

Suicide is a major health problem. In England, around 5,000 people end their own lives annually – that is one death every two hours and at least ten times that number of attempts, according to the Office for National Statistics. Suicide is a tragedy that is life altering for those bereaved and can be an upsetting event for the community and local services involved. Our previous research demonstrated the:

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