Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

9780199689361_450

Psychotherapy now and in the future

The 20th century has been called ‘the century of psychiatry’, and in many ways one could read that as ‘the century of psychotherapy’. A hundred years ago, at the onset of World War I, psychotherapy had touched the lives of only a tiny number of people, and most of the population had simply never heard of it. Since then it has reached into almost every aspect of our lives—how we treat the mentally ill, how we understand our relationships, our appreciation of art and artists, and even how we manage our schools, prisons, and workplaces.

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Chinese New Year and psychology [infographic]

With China’s continued emergence as an economic and political superpower, there is a growing need for those in the West to understand the distinct way in which the Chinese people view the mind and its study. Although Chinese philosophy is steeped in considerations of the nature of the mind, psychology as it is understood in the West was not a discipline practiced in China until its introduction in the 19th Century.

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Why are some residency programs better than others?

Considerable variation in quality exists among residency programs in the United States, even among those in the same specialty, such as surgery, pediatrics, or internal medicine. Some are nationally and internationally renowned, others are known regionally, and still others are known only locally.

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Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything, and cosmology

Renowned English cosmologist Stephen Hawking has made his name through his work in theoretical physics as a bestselling author. His life – his pioneering research, his troubled relationship with his wife, and the challenges imposed by his disability – is the subject of a poignant biopic, The Theory of Everything. Directed by James Marsh, the film stars Eddie Redmayne, who has garnered widespread critical acclaim for his moving portrayal.

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Choquet-Bruhat_Introduction to General Relativity, Black Holes, and Cosmology

That’s relativity

A couple of days after seeing Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, I bumped into Sir Roger Penrose. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want spoilers, I’m sorry but you’d better stop reading now.
Still with me? Excellent. Some of you may know that Sir Roger developed much of modern black hole theory with his collaborator, Stephen Hawking, and at the heart of Interstellar lies a very unusual black hole. Straightaway, I asked Sir Roger if he’d seen the film. What’s unusual about Gargantua, the black hole in Interstellar, is that it’s scientifically accurate.

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How disease names can stigmatize

On 10 February 2015, the long awaited report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) was released regarding a new name — Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease — and case definition for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Because I was quoted regarding this report in a New York Times article, in part due to having worked on these issues for many years, hundreds of patients contacted me over the next few days.

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February is Heart Month

February is Heart Month in both the United States and the United Kingdom. It is a time to raise awareness of heart and circulatory diseases. Heart Month highlights all forms of heart disease, from certain life-threatening heart conditions that individuals are born with, to heart attacks and heart failure in later life.

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Aha!

A toast to your unconscious mind

We like to think that we can control the contents of our mind, but if we watch ourselves think, we will quickly realize that this isn’t so.If you don’t believe me, try this experiment. Sit in a quiet room for five minutes, during which time you stare at a blank wall and try to empty your mind of thoughts.

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Antibody cancer therapy: a new age?

In 1998 the biotech company Genentech launched Herceptin for the treatment of certain types of breast cancer. Herceptin was an example of a ‘therapeutic antibody’ and was the first of its type for cancer treatment. Antibodies are proteins in our immune system that can target abnormal cells (or bacteria, toxins, viruses, etc.) in the body, and on arriving at the target can set in motion a whole set of biological events that in principle can remove or degrade to a non-dangerous state the abnormal cells.

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Can love really be addictive?

If evidence for love addiction was purely based on the lyrics of pop songs (Robert Palmer, Roxy Music), there would be little doubt that love addiction exists. For those in the academic community who believe in the concept of ‘love addiction’ unsurprisingly define it as the condition in which people become addicted to the feelings of being in love.

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The King’s genes

On 25 March 2015, 530 years after his death, King Richard III of England will be interred in Leicester Cathedral. This remarkable ceremony is only taking place because of the success of DNA analysis in identifying his skeletal remains. So what sort of genes might a king be expected to have? Or, more prosaically, how do you identify a long dead corpse from its DNA?

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9780199361410

Darwin’s dice [infographic]

Charles Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection changed the way scientists understand our evolutionary past, and is a concept with which most people are quite familiar. One often overlooked element of Natural Selection, however, is the role chance plays in guiding this process.

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What’s love got to do with it?

The time of year approaches that has gaggles of teenage girls quivering anxiously in school corridors: outwardly bemoaning the late arrival of the postman; while inwardly breathing a huge sigh of relief.

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9780199687756_450

Did you say millions of genomes?

Watching the field of genomics evolve over the past 20 years, it is intriguing to notice the word “genome” cozying up to the word ‘million’. Genomics is moving beyond 1k, 10k and 100k genome projects. A new courtship is blossoming. The Obama Administration has just announced a Million Genomes Project – and it’s not even the first. Now both Craig Venter and Francis Collins, leads of the private and public versions of the Human Genome Project, are working on their million-omes.

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