Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


Uterus transplants: challenges and potential

The birth of a healthy child in Sweden in October, 2014 after a uterus transplant from a living donor marked the advent of a new technique to help women with absent or non-functional uteruses to bear genetic offspring. The Cleveland Clinic has now led American doctors into this space, performing the first US uterine transplant in February, 2016

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Exam preparation: More than just studying?

Do you know of a colleague who is extremely good at their job, yet cannot pass the professional exams required to ascend the career ladder? Or an exceptionally bright friend – who seems to fall apart during exam periods? Or do you yourself struggle when it comes to final assessments? I’m sure most of us are familiar with situations like this, as they are a very common occurrence.

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Potential dangers of glyphosate weed killers

What do Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Brazil, and India have in common? They have banned the use of Roundup—the most heavily applied herbicide in the United States. Why have these nations acted against what is the most heavily used herbicide in the world today? This is because of growing reports of serious illness to farmworkers and their families.

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The History of Radiology

11 films all aspiring medics need to see

Think the life of a doctor is dull? Think again! In a previous post, I recommended ten books by medical men which all doctors should read. Today, it’s the turn of medical movies. By focusing on the extremes of human life – birth, death, suffering, illness, and health – such films provide insight into the human condition and the part that we as doctors play in this never-ending theatre.

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A conversation with a widow’s nervous system

My late husband Gene Cohen is known as one of the founders of both geriatric psychiatry and the creative aging movement. He was always talking, writing, and educating about brain plasticity and the changes that took place as we age into our wisdom and creative potential.

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Annonc 2016 cover

Immunogenic mutations: Cancer’s Achilles heel

In the 1890s, a surgical oncologist named William Coley first attempted to harness the immune system to fight cancer. He injected a mixture of bacterial strains into patient tumors, and occasionally, the tumors disappeared. The treatment was termed “Coley’s Toxins,” and although treatments only rarely resolved cancer cases, it launched a long investigation into anti-tumor immunity.

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Brain waves, impulse control, and free will

In a delightful passage of his book Elbow Room, the philosopher Dan Dennett writes “The first day I was ever in London, I found myself looking for the nearest Underground station. I noticed a stairway in the sidewalk labeled ‘SUBWAY’, which in Boston is our word for the Underground, so I confidently descended the stairs and marched forth looking for the trains.”

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Why we need female brains in CTE research

US soccer player Brandi Chastain became a household name through her outstanding play in the 1999 Women’s World Cup. She scored the championship-winning goal in the unforgettable final shoot-out in front of the world and 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

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How filling the Supreme Court vacancy will affect public health

Who is selected to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court will profoundly affect key public health issues, including gun control, access to reproductive health services, and climate change. In recent years, the Court has ruled, usually by 5-to-4 decisions, on these issues and will likely continue to do so by narrow margins.

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Leap day, giant viruses, and gene-editing

2016 is a leap year. A leap year, or intercalary year, is a year with an extra day inserted to keep pace with the seasons. In the Gregorian calendar this falls every four years on Feb 29th. On Leap Day this year a wonderful piece of science was published about an equally rare part of nature – giant viruses.

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Saladin’s Islamic State

Aleppo, Mosul, Tikrit, Acre… Until just a few years ago, these names meant little to the average American. Now they are all too familiar, as are the atrocities being committed there in the name of religion. Eight hundred years ago the situation in that region was much the same, except then, Christians were committing acts of cruelty no less numerous or shocking than Muslims.

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FEMS Microbiology Letters

Towards a global approach to combat antibiotic resistance

The eradication of infectious diseases in the 20th century is arguably one of the most important achievements in modern medicine. The treatment of such illnesses as tuberculosis, leprosy, syphilis, cholera, pertussis, or diphtheria with antibiotics have reduced suffering, increased hygiene, enormously improved lifestyle, and skyrocketed life expectancy around the globe – particularly in developed countries.

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The true meaning of cell life and death

Two hundred years ago, William Lawrence blew the roof off the Hunter Lecture Series at the Royal College of Surgeons by adding the word “biology” to the English language to discuss living physiology, behavior, and diversity as a matter of gunky chemistry and physics, sans super-added forces.

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E-cigarettes may lead to youth tobacco use

This past summer, the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, Georgia, banned use of e-cigarettes and vapor pens in public parks. Officials enacted the restriction not because of rampant use of the devices in the city but, as mayor Jere Wood said, to “get ahead of the curve. Smokeless device use is soaring. To fulfill demand, vapor shops are popping up all over.

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Cancer is no moonshot

A tired old elephant hunched in the room as President Obama announced the launch of a new moonshot against cancer during his State of the Union address a month ago. We’ve heard that promise before. On 23 December 1971, when President Nixon first declared a national war on cancer, he also based his conviction on the successfully completed moonwalk.

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