Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


It’s time we talked about transport of the critically ill

Ever stopped at the scene of an accident on a dark night? Treated a heart attack on a remote island? Coordinated the transfer of a critically ill baby with a heart defect? Were you prepared? Did you have the right toolkit? You need a cool head to perform critical clinical interventions while simultaneously planning the transfer to definitive care. Almost all patients have a transport phase

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Test your general knowledge about sleep

Sleep is defined as “a periodic state of muscular relaxation, reduced metabolic rate, and suspended consciousness in which a person is largely unresponsive to events in the environment”. It comes easily to some, and much harder (sometimes impossible) to others, but we all need it in order to function day-to-day. Not only is it required to stay healthy, it also allows a space for our brains to think out problems whilst we doze.

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Medical Psychotherapy

The hygge of psychoanalytic psychotherapy

The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ has captivated the British imagination. Pronounced runner-up word of the year, it seems a fitting counterpoint to the word ‘post-truth’ in first place: an apt response to the seismic political shifts of 2016. Hygge is difficult to translate: it is not a concrete entity, but something akin to a cozy, warm, and homely feeling, a sense of familiarity, a state of mind in which all psychological needs are in balance.

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How brain scans reveal what really goes on in our minds [excerpt]

Every year in March, Brain Awareness Week champions the global campaign to celebrate and publicise the progress and benefits of brain research. Are you lying? Do you have a racial bias? Is your moral compass intact? To find out what you think or feel, we usually have to take your word for it. But questionnaires and other explicit measures to reveal what’s on your mind are imperfect: you may choose to hide your true beliefs or you may not even be aware of them.

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Reproductive rights and equality under challenge in the US

If the Trump administration and the current Congress have their way, however, state restrictions on abortion are likely to flourish and may ultimately prevail. Far less likely, however, is careful ethical consideration of what these changes may mean. Even now, many US women find abortion beyond their reach either economically or geographically. These women and their children face what may be life-limiting challenges.

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How does acupuncture work? The role of S1 remapping

Acupuncture is a medical therapy that originated in China several thousand years ago and is rooted in a complex practice ritual based on a philosophy that predates our current understanding of physiology. Despite its long history, though, the intervention itself, particularly when coupled with electrical stimulation, significantly overlaps with many conventional peripherally-focused neuromodulatory therapies.

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Social History of Medicine Journal Cover

What not to expect when you’re expecting

Writing in 1990 about her experience attending antenatal classes in the 1950s, British mother and childbirth activist Heda Borton recalled her husband squirming as he watched a film of a baby being born in their antenatal education class: “My husband came to the evening under protest, and sat blowing his nose and hiding behind his handkerchief.”

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Reducing risk of suicide in cancer patients

Cancer patients experience substantial psychological effects from facing death, financial issues, emotional problems with friends and family, and adverse medical outcomes from treatment. The psychological effects are so severe that some patients consider suicide. Depression is more common in people with cancer than in the general population, said Kelly Trevino, PhD, from the Center for Research on End-of-Life Care at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

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Eating fruits and vegetables can make you more attractive

Carotenoids are yellow, orange, and red pigments synthesized by plants and algae. They are responsible for the colours in fruits and vegetables, like the redness in tomatoes. When consumed, these pigments are used by many animals to produce brightly coloured displays. Examples range from the orange patches on guppies, the pink feathers of flamingos, the yellow-orange underside of common lizards, to the orange exterior of ladybird beetles.

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Reality check: the dangers of confirmation bias

“Confirmation bias” is the most common—and easily the most irritating—obstacle to productive conversation, and not just between experts and laypeople. The term refers to the tendency to look for information that only confirms what we believe, to accept facts that only strengthen our preferred explanations, and to dismiss data that challenge what we already accept as truth.

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British Medical Bulletin

The critical role of China in global tobacco control

Many might think that the best way to reduce the global tobacco epidemic is by health education and banning sales to minors – policies well-liked by teachers, parents, and governments. But these are ineffective means of reducing smoking prevalence. Surprisingly, it is a fiscal measure that is the critical and easily the most important means of improving public health, as by raising the price, cigarettes become less affordable, especially to the young.

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Concepts of Epidemiology

Why many wrongs make a right in the health sciences

Stories that link diseases to their possible causes are popular, and often generate humour, bemusement, and skepticism. Readers assume that today’s health hazards will be tomorrow’s health saviours. Rod Liddle’s headline in the Sunday Times is an example: “Toasties get you laid, fat prevents dementia and I’m a sex god.” Liddle starts with some fun statistics showing that those who ate cheese toasties had more enjoyable sex than those who did not.

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Dermatology on the wards

What should you know about skin diseases when you start your medical career as a Foundation Doctor or are trying to keep abreast of the work as a Core Medical Trainee? Does skin matter? Are you likely to need any dermatological knowledge? Skin does indeed matter and you are sure to come across dermatological challenges perhaps as a result of treatment such as adverse drug reactions or opportunistic skin infections

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Accelerated ageing and mental health

The accelerated ageing of the populations of developed countries is being matched in the developing world. In fact, in 2017, for the first time in history, the number of persons aged 65 and over will outstrip those aged 5 and under. This population trend is not just a temporary blip, not just due to a short-term outcome of the baby boomer generation.

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The history of global health organizations [timeline]

Established in April 1948, the World Health Organization remains the leading agency concerned with international public health. As a division of the United Nations, the WHO works closely with governments to work towards combating infectious diseases and ensuring preventative care for all nations. The events included in the timeline below, sourced from Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why?, show the development of global health organizations throughout history.

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Financing universal healthcare coverage [excerpt]

Across countries with UHC, no two versions are alike in their financing, in what they cover, or in how they are structured. Some countries with UHC rely on a public system of coverage while others mandate insurance coverage, requiring individuals to buy health coverage in a regulated private insurance market or from the government, while still others have a mix of the two approaches.

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