Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Famous doctors from the ancient world

Drastic advances in science have caused past medical practices to become not only antiquated, but often shocking. Although brilliant medical insights are peppered throughout history, many dated practices are more curious than insightful. From an early take on chemical warfare to human dissections, the following shortened excerpt from A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities includes short facts and quotes on some of the most famous doctors from the Ancient World.

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Suspected ‘fake results’ in science

There is a concern that too many scientific studies are failing to be replicated as often as expected. This means that a high proportion is suspected of being invalid. The blame is often put on confusion surrounding the ‘P value’ which is used to assess the effect of chance on scientific observations. A ‘P value’ is calculated by first assuming that the ‘true result’ is disappointing

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Teaching medicine: how the great ones do it

Attending physicians, the physicians who train interns and residents on hospital wards, have always borne a heavy responsibility. They are accountable for the level of medical care received by each succeeding generation of American patients. But today, these physician-teachers confront unprecedented obstacles. How well they meet the challenge may have long-term consequences for patients and for the medical profession as a whole.

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A better way to model cancer

Later this year, the first US-based clinical trial to test whether an organoid model of prostate cancer can predict drug response will begin recruiting patients. Researchers will grow the organoids—miniorgans coaxed to develop from stem cells—from each patient’s cancer tissues and expose the organoids to the patient’s planned course of therapy. If the organoids mirror patients’ drug responses, the results would support the model’s use as a tool to help guide therapy.

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A reading list for Euroanaesthesia 2017 in Geneva

This weekend anaesthetists from across the globe are descending upon Geneva for Euroanaesthesia, Europe’s largest annual event focusing on anaesthesia, perioperative medicine, intensive care, emergency medicine, and pain treatment. We’ll be heading out there too, and the interactive bookcase below will give you a sneak peek at what we’ll have available at stand 81a!

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Gut microbiota and melanoma treatment responses

Monoclonal antibodies directed against checkpoint molecules such as CTLA-4 have recently demonstrated success in cancer immunotherapy in patients with melanoma. CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4) is a T cell receptor that functions as an immune checkpoint, downregulating immune responses. The monoclonal antibody, ipilimumab, blocks CTLA-4 by inhibiting this negative immune signal and amplifying immune responses.

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Pandemics in the age of Trump

If Donald Trump’s administration maintains its commitments to stoking nationalism, reducing foreign aid, and ignoring or denying science, the United States and the world will be increasingly vulnerable to pandemics. History is not a blueprint for future action—history, after all, never offers perfect analogies. When it comes to pandemic disease focusing on nationalist interests is exactly the wrong approach to take.

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Police violence: a risk factor for psychosis

Police victimization of US civilians has moved from the shadows to the spotlight following the widespread adaptation of smartphone technology and rapid availability of video footage through social media. The American Public Health Association recently issued a policy statement outlining the putative health and mental health costs of police violence, and declared the need to increase efforts towards understanding and preventing the effects of such victimization.

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Lactate: the forgotten cancer master regulator

In 1923 Nobel laureate Otto Warburg observed that cancer cells expressed accelerated glycolysis and excessive lactate formation even under fully oxygenated conditions. His discovery, which is expressed in about 80% of cancers, was named the “Warburg Effect” in 1972 by Efraim Racker. The Warburg Effect in cancer and its role in carcinogenesis has been neither understood nor explained for almost a century.

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Preparing clinical laboratories for future pandemics

The rapid flourishing of the Ebola outbreak in 2014 caught clinical laboratories in the United States off-guard, and exposed a general lack of preparedness to handle collection and testing of samples in patients with such a highly lethal infectious disease. While the outbreak was largely limited to West Africa, fears in the United States became heightened in September of 2014 with the first reported imported case diagnosed in Texas.

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American healthcare: are you an expert? [Quiz]

As technology and education become more broadly accessible, people are being exposed to more information than ever before. It’s easier than ever to choose convenience over reliability or accuracy—to search for symptoms on WebMD instead of asking a doctor, or consult Wikipedia for definitive answers to every question. All this newly accessible yet unreliable information has produced a wave of ill-informed and angry citizens.

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The best baby money can buy: are you sure about that?

Take a look at the back page advertisements in any college newspaper. Dotted among the classified ads, there will invariably be an invitation or two to male undergraduates to sell their sperm. It’s an easy and hardly arduous way to make money, and pretty speedy too. Masturbate, ejaculate, hand over the results and you’re on your way with a little money in your pocket.

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Exploring travel medicine with the CDC

It was a historical moment for the International Society of Travel Medicine who celebrated its 25th anniversary this year at the 15th Conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine (CISTM15) in sunny Barcelona. We asked Phyllis Kozarsky, Professor of medicine and chief medical editor for the CDC Yellow Book 2018, a few questions around the connections between travelers and antimicrobial resistance,

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The less mentioned opioid crisis

You’ve probably seen the dramatic photo of the Ohio couple slouched, overdosed, and passed out in the front seats of a car, with a little kid sitting in the back seat. Even if you haven’t seen that picture, images and words of America’s opioid overdose epidemic have captured headlines and TV news feeds for the last several years. But there’s a different image seared into my mind, a mental picture of a different little kid and two adults.

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Slaves to the rhythm

I met up with Russell Foster in 1996 when I was writing a book on the social impact of the 24 hour society. I wanted to know what effect working nights had on human biology and health. At the time Russell was Reader at Imperial College. Since then he has become professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford University; a Fellow of the Royal Society; and he has a shelf full of medals from scientific societies around the world.

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Johnny had Parkinson’s…and music helped him walk

One day we stumbled upon something that would end up helping Johnny on this twice daily haul. Given our shared history as musicians, it’ll come as no surprise that Johnny and I often talked about music. As Johnny was prepping to take the first step, we joked about singing a march so he could march his way down the hall. It was Johnny’s idea to use Sousa’s Stars and Stripes, a march he liked.

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