Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Occupational epidemiology: a truly global discipline

By Katherine M. Venables
Occupational epidemiology is one of those fascinating areas which spans important areas of human life: health, disease, work, law, public policy, the economy. Work is fundamental to any society and the importance society attaches to the health of its workers varies over time and between countries.

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When simple is no longer simple

By Lawla Law
Cognitive impairment is a common problem in older adults, and one which increases in prevalence with age with or without the presence of pathology. Persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have difficulties in daily functioning, especially in complex everyday tasks that rely heavily on memory and reasoning.

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Is the past a foreign country?

By Eugene Milne
My card-carrying North London media brother, Ben, describes himself on his Twitter feed as a ‘recovering Northerner’. In my case the disease is almost certainly incurable. Despite spending a good deal of last year in cosmopolitan London – beautiful, exciting and diverse as it is – I found myself on occasions near tears of joy as my feet hit the platform at King’s Cross.

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Living in the shadows of health

By Brian L. Odlaug, Samuel R. Chamberlain, and Jon E. Grant
Surprisingly, many of the common mental health conditions in the world also happen to be the least well known. While Obsessive Compulsive Disorder garners attention from international media, with celebrities talking openly about their experiences with the condition, Obsessive Compulsive Related Disorders are far less recognized and receive scant attention.

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Frailty and creativity

By Cretien van Campen
Frail older people are more oftentimes considered a burden for society, than not. They are perceived to require intensive care that can be expensive while producing nothing contributory to society. The collective image is that frail older people are ‘useless’; in my opinion, we do not endeavor to ‘use’ them or know how to release productivity in them.

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Inequalities in life satisfaction in early old age

By Claire Niedzwiedz
How satisfied are you with your life? The answer is undoubtedly shaped by many factors and one key influence is the country in which you live. Governments across the world are increasingly interested in measuring happiness and wellbeing to understand how societies are changing, as indicators such as GDP (gross domestic product) do not seem to measure what makes life meaningful.

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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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