Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Combatting the spread of anti-vaccination sentiment

Vaccines are one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Credited with saving millions of lives each year from diseases like smallpox, measles, diphtheria, and polio, one would expect vaccines to be enthusiastically celebrated or, at the very least, widely embraced. Why is it, then, that we are witnessing the widespread proliferation of anti-vaccination sentiment?

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Is there a right to report a disease outbreak?

Recently the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Systems and Innovation Cluster released its WHO Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance. This report was the first attempt to develop a framework to guide public health surveillance systems on the conduct of surveillance and reporting in public health emergencies. The guidelines are described as a ‘starting point for the searching, sustained discussions that public health surveillance demands’.

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Is there a place for the arts in health?

In a utopian world of abundant health budgets and minimal health challenges, it is probably fair to say that few would object to including the arts within hospitals or promoting them as a part of healthy lifestyles. Certainly, we have a long history of incorporating the arts into health (stretching back around 40,000 years), so it’s a concept many people are familiar with. But in an era of austerity, the value that the arts can bring comes under much closer scrutiny

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Bodily identity and biotypology in Brazil

What does your body shape say about you? When typing this question on any online search engine one will find dozens of examples and images of models of varying bodily classifications as well as the relationship of bodily shape with many different types of physical and mental health and even personality. Rectangle, triangle, round, hourglass, slender, pear, apple, etc, are widespread categories used to label the body

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Diet and age-related memory loss [excerpt]

Age-related memory loss is to be expected. But can it be mitigated? There are many different steps we can take to help maintain and even improve our memories as we age. One of these steps is to make a few simple dietary changes. The following shortened excerpt from The Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory lists dietary basics that can benefit memory.

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Children, obesity, and the future

Recent research reflects some of this range of aetiological factors that influence childhood obesity. Global perspectives from countries of study including Brazil, Australia, England, South Africa, China, and a review of the international literature cover topics frequently reported by the media, like the food environment, unhealthy food advertising policy, weight management interventions, and associations with gender and sleep.

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The challenge of Twitter in medical research

One advantage to the clinician of the technological revolution is the rapid access to medical information. Every morning I spend ten minutes over coffee looking through the latest Twitter feeds from the major medical journals, to skim through what research might be emerging in fields other than my own niche (I still enjoy reading the paper editions of journals to cover my specialist area).

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Travel medicine health tips

The world is becoming more globalised, with the number of people traveling each year on the rise. US residents are taking nearly two billion leisure trips and almost 500 million business trips (2016), with UK residents making 70.8 million visits overseas last year (2016), an 8% increase to the previous year (2015). With travel visits increasing year on year on a worldwide scale, it is no wonder travel medicine is an area also growing quickly to match activity and demand.

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How to overcome the forces that glass-ceiling health

These are divided times. In Washington, a new administration has deepened the polarization of an already gridlocked political process. In the media, our disagreements are expressed, and often amplified, by a host of competing voices. The questions they address include: how should the Constitution be interpreted? Should we embrace free trade or focus on rebuilding our industrial base?

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Embedded librarianship: the future of libraries

With the rise of the internet and electronic research resources, it is not uncommon for a librarian to hear that libraries are no longer necessary. “You can find anything on the internet” is an often heard phrase. What most of those people do not realize is how integrated librarians (and information scientists) are in organizing and providing information to the public.

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Could you survive a snake bite?

With increased numbers of people travelling to exotic places, there is also an increasing awareness of tropical diseases. However, there are a number of tropical diseases, such as snake bite, which are often overlooked as major issues. Snake bite is an on-going global problem, and is often neglected as an important public health concern. Many are unprepared and uninformed when it comes to snake bites, which can have fatal consequences for humans.

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Does pregnancy affect how food tastes?

Thus, we set out to review the existing studies of human pregnancy and taste to catalog the trends occurring across pregnancy, to see how we may leverage what we are beginning to understand about taste modulation from human and non-human research. This may help to generate hypotheses for future investigations to ultimately question the long held assumption that these changes in taste are solely driven by hormone fluctuations.

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The human microbiome and endangered bacteria

Each and every part of us harbours its own microbial ecosystem. This ecosystem carries some 100 billion cells, known as the microbiota. They started inhabiting our bodies 200,000 years ago, and since then we have evolved side by side to configure a balanced system in which microbes can survive in perfect harmony, provided no perturbations occur.

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Why ‘tropical disease’ is a global problem

In 2015, the United Nations agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals which set seventeen ambitious targets for the next two decades focusing on tackling poverty, reducing disease, protecting the environment, and driving forward an international community based on sustained commitments to – and improvements in – education, health, human rights, and equity.

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Embracing tension, space, and the unknown in music therapy research

Every three years, the international music therapy community gathers at the World Congress of Music Therapy. This meeting of students, clinicians, educators, and scholars offers opportunities to examine culturally embedded assumptions about the nature of “music” and “health”; to learn how the relationship between music and health differs across cultures; and to directly connect with colleagues from across the globe.

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Women’s healthcare and the concept of mind-body interaction

Throughout history, and across many different cultures, the human being has been considered to consist of a mind with body (and sometimes a soul). Despite this, across much of modern medicine there has been a tendency to conceive of these aspects as distinctly separate entities, whether in disease generation or in its management. The problem of such an approach is that it engenders a sort of Cartesian confusion.

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