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environmentalentomology

Spiders: the allure and fear of our eight-legged friends

What’s your first reaction when you see this picture? Love? Fear? Repulsion? If you are like many Americans, when you come across a spider, especially a large, hairy one like this tarantula, the emotions you experience are most likely in the realm of fear or disgust. Your actions probably include screaming, trapping, swatting, or squashing of the spider.

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Pathogens and Disease journal cover

Chlamydia: a global health question?

A leading researcher in the field of immunogenetics, Servaas Morré has investigated women’s genetic susceptibilities to Chlamydia trachomatis, recently co-authoring “NOD1 in contrast to NOD2 functional polymorphism influence Chlamydia trachomatis infection and the risk of tubal factor infertility.” We sat down with Morré to discuss his findings about the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection and the impact his research will have on treatment in the years to come.

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Clinical placement in Nepal: an interview with Ruth Jones

In May last year, Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, in partnership with Projects Abroad, offered one lucky medical student the chance to practice their clinical skills abroad in an international placement. The winner was Ruth Jones from the University of Nottingham, who impressed the judging panel with her sincerity, dedication, and willingness to become the best doctor she can be.

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It’s never too late to change

Ever wanted to change a behavior or habit in your own life? Most of us have tried. And failed. Or, we made modest gains at best. Here’s my story of a small change that made a big difference. Just over two years ago, I decided, at the ripe old age of 55, that it was time to begin exercising.

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Wilk_Ray Gun

Alhazen’s problem

One of the reasons that 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light is that it marks the 1000th year since the publication of Kitāb al-Manāẓir, The Treasury of Optics, by the mathematician and physicist Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haitham, better known in Western cultural history as Alhazen. Born in Basra in present-day Iraq, he is acknowledged as the most important figure in optics between the time of Ptolemy and of Kepler, yet he is not known to most physicists and engineers.

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Citizenship and community mental health work

My eureka moment with citizenship came one morning during the mid-1990s. The New Haven mental health outreach team that I ran was meeting for rounds. Ed, a peer outreach worker, meaning a person with his own history of mental health problems who’s made progress in his recovery and his now working with others, didn’t look happy.

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Hargittai_Budapest Scientific

Beyond Budapest: how science built bridges

Fin de siècle Hungary was a progressive country. It had limited sovereignty as part of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy, but industry, trade, education, and social legislation were rapidly catching up with the Western World. The emancipation of Jews freed tremendous energies and opened the way for ambitious young people to the professions in law, health care, science, and engineering (though not politics, the military, and the judiciary). Excellent secular high schools appeared challenging the already established excellent denominational high schools.

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Preparing for the next Ebola

As Ebola recedes from the headlines, amid long awaited declines in incidence in West Africa, a long overdue commitment to developing vaccines and adequate health care infrastructure is underway. The importance of these approaches should not to be minimized.

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Bizarre elements: a timeline

The periodic table has experienced many revisions over time as new elements have been discovered and the methods of organizing them have been solidified. Sometimes when scientists tried to fill in gaps where missing elements were predicted to reside in the periodic table, or when they made even the smallest of errors in their experiments, they came up with discoveries—often fabricated or misconstrued—that are so bizarre they could have never actually found a home in our current version of the periodic table.

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The third parent

The news that Britain is set to become the first country to authorize IVF using genetic material from three people—the so-called ‘three-parent baby’—has given rise to (very predictable) divisions of opinion. On the one hand are those who celebrate a national ‘first’, just as happened when Louise Brown, the first ever ‘test-tube baby’, was born in Oldham in 1978. Just as with IVF more broadly, the possibility for people who otherwise couldn’t to be come parents of healthy children is something to be welcomed.

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Domestic violence: still a women’s issue?

In 1878, Frances Power Cobbe had published in Contemporary Review an essay entitled ‘Wife Torture in England’. That essay is noted for the its influence on the Matrimonial Causes Act 1878 that, for the first time, allowed women living in violent relationships to apply for a separation order. In the intervening 150 years, concern about violence experienced by women at the hands of their husbands, boyfriends, ex-husbands, ex-boyfriends, and other family members has reached around the world.

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Excellence in residency education

A middle-aged man was recently admitted to a Midwest hospital for “refractory congestive heart failure.” He had been followed in the hospital’s out-patient clinic for two years with that diagnosis. Yet, he continued to retain fluid and gain weight, despite optimal treatment for congestive heart failure.

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podcastlogov1

The Oxford Comment – Episode 20 – Living with the Stars

Everything is connected. Animals and asteroids, bodies and stardust, heart valves and supernovas—all of these rise from the same origin to form the expanse of the universe, the fiber of our being. So say our guests of this month’s Oxford Comment, Karel Shrijver, an astronomer who studies the magnetic fields of stars, and Iris Schrijver, a physician and pathologist. We sat down for a captivating discussion with the co-authors of Living with the Stars: How the Human Body is Connected to the Life Cycles of the Earth, the Planets, and the Stars.

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Revisiting process recordings using videos

I believe that video technology can improve how we as social work instructors provide feedback to students on their clinical skills, enhancing previous teaching methods that relied on more traditional process recordings. Over the years, there has been much debate over the use of process recordings of client interviews as a learning tool in social work education; some instructors have found the practice outdated.

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What to do with a million (billion) genomes? Share them

A Practical Genomics Revolution is rolling out, owing to the dropping cost of DNA sequencing technology, accelerated DNA research, and the benefits of applying genetic knowledge in everyday life. We now have ‘million-ome’ genome sequencing projects and talk of ‘billion-omes’ is growing audible. Given the expense – even at only $1000 a genome, a million still costs $1 billion US dollars — it is only right to ask, “What will the impact be?”

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The IOM’s effort to dislodge chronic fatigue syndrome

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released their report regarding a new name (i.e., systemic exertion intolerance disease) and case definition for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In brief, the IOM proposed that at least four symptoms needed to be present to be included in this new case definition […]

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