Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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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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How to prevent workplace cancer

By John Cherrie
Each year there are 1,800 people killed on the roads in Britain, but over the same period there are around four times as many deaths from cancers that were caused by hazardous agents at work, and many more cases of occupational cancer where the person is cured. There are similar statistics on workplace cancer from most countries; this is a global problem.

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Common questions about shared reading time

By Jamie Zibulsky, Anne Cunningham, and Chelsea Schubart
Throughout the process of reading development, it is important to read with your child frequently and to make the experience fun, whether your child is a newborn or thirteen. This may not sound like news to many parents, but the American Academy of Pediatrics is just announcing their new recommendation that parents read with their children daily from infancy on.

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The legacy of critical care

By Richard D. Griffiths
Over the last half century, critical care has made great advances towards preventing the premature deaths of many severely ill patients. The urgency, immediacy, and involved intimacy of the critical care team striving to correct acutely disturbed organ dysfunction meant that, for many years, physiological correction and ultimate patient survival alone was considered the unique measure of success.

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Celebrating Trans Bodies, Trans Selves

We kicked-off Pride Month early this year, celebrating the publication of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community in late May. Taking Our Bodies, Our Selves as its model, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is an all-encompassing resource for the transgender community and any one looking for information.

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In praise of Sir William Osler

By Arpan K. Banerjee
In May this year, the American Osler Society held a joint meeting with the London Osler Society and the Japanese Osler Society in Oxford at the Randolph Hotel. The Societies exist to perpetuate the memory of arguably one the most influential physicians of the early twentieth century, and to discuss topics related to Sir William Osler’s interests.

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Apples and carrots count as well

By David Bender
The food pyramid shows fruits and vegetables as the second most important group of foods in terms of the amount to be eaten each day: 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit. This, and the associated public health message to consume at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, is based on many years of nutritional research.

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World No Tobacco Day 2014: Raise taxes on tobacco

By Gary E. Swan
According to the WHO’s fact sheet on tobacco, chronic tobacco use caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century. If current trends continue, it may cause one billion deaths in the 21st century. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.

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Morality, science, and Belgium’s child euthanasia law

By Tony Hope
Science and morality are often seen as poles apart. Doesn’t science deal with facts, and morality with, well, opinions? Isn’t science about empirical evidence, and morality about philosophy? In my view this is wrong. Science and morality are neighbours. Both are rational enterprises. Both require a combination of conceptual analysis, and empirical evidence. Many, perhaps most moral disagreements hinge on disagreements over evidence and facts, rather than disagreements over moral principle.

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Some highlights of the BPS conference 2014 Birmingham

By David Murphy and Susan Llewelyn
Psychology must be one of the most diverse disciplines there is; it encompasses understanding language development in infants, techniques to help sports competitors improve performance, the psychology of conflicts, therapy for mental health disorders, and selection techniques for business amongst many others. The BPS Annual Conference is probably the best chance to witness the breadth of the discipline each year in the United Kingdom.

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Nursing: a life or death matter

By Mary Jo Kreitzer
Since 2005, more than 80% of Americans have rated nurses on a Gallup poll as having “high” or “very high” honesty and ethical standards. In fact, nurses have topped the list since 1999, the first year Gallup asked about them with the exception of 2001. (That year, Gallup included firefighters on a one-time basis, given their prominent role in 9/11 rescue efforts.)

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The Ebola virus and the spread of pandemics

By Peter C. Doherty
A recent New York Times editorial by author David Quammen highlighted the seriousness of the current Ebola outbreak in Guinea, but made the point that there is no great risk of any global pandemic. That’s been generally true of the viruses that, like Ebola, cause exudative diathesis, or bleeding into the tissues, and present with horrific symptoms.

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