Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

9780198719052

The importance of smell

The captivating scent of cakes and the compelling aroma of freshly brewed coffee attract you to a bakery in the morning. A male moth is flittering around, frenetically following the scent plume released by her female. What do these two phenomena have in common? Much more than we suspect, when we look at the molecular level. Imagine if we had a very powerful microscope enabling us to detect details

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LabMed Cover_Aug 2016

Obstacles in transgender healthcare

The last several years have seen increased visibility of transgender individuals in the media in United States. While this has served to increase attention on some issues related to the transgender population, what often gets overlooked is that the transgender population remains one of the most underserved groups in the country.

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Journal of Consumer Research

Can we encourage healthier choices by the way we display food options?

The results of our recent experiments show that displaying healthy food to the left of an unhealthy option can influence the selection and consumption volume of the healthier choice. Since managers typically have considerable flexibility in terms of how they display food items in retail outlets and restaurant menus, they can use the findings of our research to design optimal menu formats to suit their sales objectives.

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9780190232993

An egalitarian and organic history of the periodic table

Our story has to begin somewhere and why not with the Manchester schoolteacher John Dalton who revived the atomic theory of the ancient Greek philosophers? In addition to supposing that the ultimate components of all matter were atoms, Dalton set about putting this idea on a quantitative foundation. He published the first list in which he compared the weights of the atoms of all the elements that were known at the time.

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9780199688418

Around the world in 15 travel health tips

It’s time for holidays! Your suitcase is packed, you’re ready to leave, and cannot wait to get a proper tan to show on social media. Mark Twain used to say that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”, but unfortunately the health problems we may come across while travelling are far less poetic. Danger is always lurking, especially in far-flung and unexplored destinations.

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ageandageing_Page_1

Years of education may protect against dementia

Attaining a higher level of education is considered to be important in order to keep up good cognitive functioning in old age. Moreover, higher education also seems to decrease the risk to develop dementia. This is of high relevance in so far that dementia is a terminal disease characterized by a long degenerative progression with severe impairments in daily functioning. Despite a great amount of research emphasizing the relevance of education, it is not entirely clear how education protects cognitive functioning in old age and how much education is possibly ‘enough’.

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A Copernican eye-opener

Approximately 500 years ago a Polish lawyer, medical doctor, and churchman got a radical idea: that the earth was not fixed solidly in the middle of all space, but was spinning at a thousand miles per hour at its equator and was speeding around the sun at a dizzying rate. Unbelievable, critics said. If that were true, at the equator people would be spun off into space. And it would be much harder to walk west than east.

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9780199930197

Designer nature: mosquitoes first and then what?

We’re told that we can insert a gene to confer sterility and this trait would race like wildfire through Aedes aegypti. Why this species? Because it’s the vector of the Zika virus—along with the dengue and yellow fever viruses. The problem is that A. aegypti isn’t the only culprit. It’s just one of a dozen or more bloodsuckers that will also have to be wiped out. After we’ve driven these species to extinction, we’ll presumably move on to the Anopheles species that transmit malaria.

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14602156

2016: the year of Zika

Zika virus (ZIKV), an arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, was first isolated in 1947 in the Zika forest of Uganda from a sentinel monkey. It has always been considered a minor pathogen. From its discovery until 2007 only 14 sporadic cases – all from Africa and Southeast Asia – had been detected. In 2007, however, a major outbreak occurred in Yap Island, Micronesia, with 73% of residents being infected.

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9780190275013

R.J.P. Williams and the advantages of thinking like a chemist

Powell’s City of Books occupies 1.6 acres of retail floor space in downtown Portland, Oregon and is one of my favorite places in the world. My first time there, I searched out the chemistry shelves–and was slightly disappointed. I counted two cases of chemistry books sandwiched between biology and physics, which had eight cases each.

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9780198734628

Olympian pressure

Recent years have brought recognition that sportsmen and women may have mental health needs that are just as important as their ‘physical’ health – and that may need to be addressed. Athletes are people too, subject to many of the same vulnerabilities as the rest of us. In addition to our everyday anxieties, the sports world contains a whole host of different stressors.

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Journal of Public Health cover

Mental health inequalities among gay and bisexual men

Depression, substance abuse, and suicide have long been associated with homosexuality. In the decades preceding the gay liberation movement, the most common explanation for this association was that homosexuality itself is a mental illness. Much of the work of gay liberation consisted of dismantling the pathological understanding of homosexuality among mental health professionals.

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9780198715511

Some very short reflections on social psychology

What emerged from these studies was a whole area of psychology that revealed the motives and processes that drive peoples’ prejudices. Discovering that it was a basic tendency to categorize that lies at the heart of prejudice had huge implications. It meant that to tackle prejudice we have to not only address the social, the economic and the political: we also need to tackle the psychological.

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9780199675661

Why cooperate?

Birds do it. Bees do it. Microbes do it, and people do it. Throughout nature, organisms cooperate. Humans are undeniably attracted by the idea of cooperation. For thousands of years, we have been seeking explanations for its occurrence in other organisms, often imposing our own motivations and ethics in an effort to explain what we see.

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