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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

Behind the scenes: what it’s like to be a junior author for the OHCM

To mark the release of the much anticipated 11th edition of the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (OHCM), Oxford University Press spoke with the three new authors of this edition: Peter Hateley, a GP based in New Zealand; Dearbhla Kelly, a Critical Care Medicine fellow in Oxford; and Iain McGurgan, a Neurology Resident in Switzerland. The author team shared their experiences of writing the world’s best-selling medical handbook.

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When health care professionals unintentionally do harm

The Hippocratic Oath, which is taken by physicians and implores them to ‘first, do no harm,’ is foundational in medicine (even if the nuances of the phrase are far more complex than meets the eye). Yet what happens when doctors bring about great harm to patients without even realizing it? In this article, we define microaggressions, illustrate how they can hinder the equitable delivery of healthcare, and discuss why the consequences of microaggressions are often anything but “micro”.

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The importance of sun safety: Sun Awareness Week 2024

Sun Awareness Week (6-12 May) kicks off the British Association of Dermatologists’ (BAD) summer-long campaign dedicated to raising awareness of non-melanoma skin cancer, a very common type of cancer. The week also aims to teach the public about the importance of good sun protection habits, including ways you can check for signs of skin cancer.  

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Cover of The Art of the Bee by Robert Page

The art of the bee

The impact of bees on our world is immeasurable. Bees are responsible for the evolution of the vast array of brightly colored flowers and for engineering the niches of multitudes of plants, animals, and microbes. They’ve painted our landscapes with flowers through their pollination activities and have evolved the most complex societies to aid their exploitation of the environment.

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A chronology of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China [timeline]

In Wuhan: How the COVID-19 Outbreak in China Spiraled Out of Control, Dali L. Yang scrutinizes China’s emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, delving into the government’s handling of epidemic information and the decisions that influenced the scale and scope of the outbreak. This timeline adapted from the book walks through the day by day chronology of the initial outbreak and explores how both the virus and information spread.

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Mental disorder or something magical?

Each generation finds their own way of understanding mental distress. The ‘shell-shocked’ soldiers of World War I were understood at the time to be of weak character, although now we might diagnose them with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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A Sand County Almanac at 75: the evolution of the land ethic

A lot changes in 75 years. In 1949, when Oxford University Press published Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac with “The Land Ethic” included, there were about 2.5 billion people alive on Earth. The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was just over 310 parts per million. The average global temperature was 0.6 degrees Celsius below the average for the twentieth century.

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Is humanity a passing phase in evolution of intelligence and civilisation?

In light of the recent spectacular developments in artificial intelligence (AI), questions are now being asked about whether AI could present a danger to humanity. Can AI take over from us? Is humanity a passing phase in the evolution of intelligence and civilisation? Let’s look at these questions from the long-term evolutionary perspective.

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The hidden toll of war

During war, the news media often focus on civilian injuries and deaths due to explosive weapons. But the indirect health impacts of war among civilians occur more frequently—often out of sight and out of mind.

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Who do you think you are? Genetics and identity

Ethnicity and ethnic identity have been recently brought to the fore in the Western world. One important reason is that immigration and globalization have resulted in a variety of clashes among different groups in very different contexts. However, there is another reason: DNA ancestry testing.

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Beyond God and atheism

One of the most remarkable findings of recent science is that the fundamental constants of nature appear to be fine-tuned for the existence of life. Some think the fine-tuning of physics points to a God, who set the numbers to ensure life comes about. Others think it points to a multiverse: if there are enough universes with enough variety in their laws of nature, then it becomes statistically likely that at least one with be right for life. I think there are big problems with both these options, and we may need more radical solutions.

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Of language, brain health, and global inequities

One of the greatest public health challenges of our century lies in the growth of neurodegenerative disorders. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and frontotemporal dementia stand as major contributors to disability and mortality in affluent and under-resourced nations alike.

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