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Health & Medicine Archives | OUPblog

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Parkinson’s disease: the flip side of the coin

The human brain might be perceived as an organ with two main strategic tasks: goal-directed motor behavior, and mental functioning in order to work out that goal. These two main functions have two prototypical diseases: Alzheimer disease, in case of mental function, and Parkinson’s disease, with motor function. Following its inception as an entity, Parkinson’s disease (PD) was long perceived to be a purely motor disorder with unimpaired mental functions.

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The missing emotion

Wrath, people say, is not an emotion but a sin; and a deadly sin at that. Yet anger is just as much an emotion as anxiety or misery. Like them, it is an inescapable part of life; like them, it can be necessary and useful; and like them, an excess can wreck lives. Mental health language, however, has not elevated the extreme into a syndrome comparable to depression or anxiety states.

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Traumatic brain injury in the military

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has often been called the “signature wound” of the recent conflicts in the Middle East. While some tend to discuss TBI as an overarching diagnostic category, there is a plethora of evidence indicating that severity of TBI makes a large difference in the anticipated outcome.

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The genetics of consciousness

Nipple of a cat. Nose of a pig. Hair of a poodle. Eyes of a baboon. Brain of a chimpanzee. If this sounds like a list of ingredients for a witches’ cauldron, think again, for it’s merely a reminder of how many general characteristics we share with other mammals. This similarity in basic body parts has a genetic basis. So humans and chimps share 99 percent DNA similarity in our protein–coding genes and even the tiny mouse is 85 percent similar to us in this respect.

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Edward Jenner: soloist or member of a trio? Part 2

In 1805 a Dorset farmer, Benjamin Jesty arrived in London on an invitation from the Original Vaccine Pock Institute to describe his cowpox vaccination procedure on his own family which included a real time inoculation of his son Robert with smallpox. This new institute was formed by the anti-Jenner physician George Pearson in an attempt to shift the credit for vaccination discovery away from Jenner.

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Where was Christopher Columbus really from?

Of the many controversies surrounding the life and legacy of Christopher Columbus, who died on this day 510 years ago, one of the most intriguing but least discussed questions is his true country of origin. For reasons lost in time, Columbus has been identified with unquestioned consistency as an Italian of humble beginnings from the Republic of Genoa. Yet in over 536 existing pages of his letters and documents, not once does the famous explorer claim to have come from Genoa.

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Female service members in the long war

We are still in the longest war in our nation’s history. 2.7 million service members have served since 9/11 in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands have been killed, tens of thousands wounded, and approximately 20 to 30% have post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury.

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The Antibody Molecule

Edward Jenner: soloist or member of a trio? Part 1

This month marks 266 years since the birth of one of the most celebrated names in medical discovery. Edward Jenner, credited with the discovery of the smallpox vaccination, was born on 17 May 1749 (6 May by the Julian calendar, still in use in England by a quirk of anti-papal authoritarianism until 1752) in the village of Berkeley in Gloucestershire, England.

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DSM-5: two years since publication

It is now two years since the publication of DSM-5. As one might expect when a widely used manual is revised, some mental health clinicians were worried they would have to learn diagnosis from scratch.

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What puts veterans at risk for homelessness?

There has been an ongoing battle to end homelessness in the United States, particularly among veterans. Over the past three decades, considerable research has been conducted to identify risk factors for veteran homelessness, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has funded much of that research. In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its commitment to end veteran homelessness in five years. As we near the end of that five years, it’s important to reflect on what we have learned and what we now know about veteran homelessness.

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Wenk Blog

How does food affect your mood?

Considerable evidence has linked an unhealthy diet to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cancer. We now understand how chronic obesity ages us and then underlies the foundation of our death. Furthermore, obesity leads to body-wide chronic inflammation that predisposes us to depression and dementia. However, these are all the long-term consequences of our diet upon our body and brain.

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Sex, cars, and the power of testosterone

A red open car blasts past you, exhaust and radio blaring, going at least 10 miles faster than the speed limit. Want to take a bet on the driver? Well, you won’t get odds. Everyone knows the answer. All that exhibitionism shouts out the commonplace, if not always welcome, features of young males. Just rampant testosterone, you might say. And that’s right. It is testosterone. The young man may be driving the car but testosterone is what’s driving him.

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The history of the nursing profession

Throughout history, nurses have been the unsung heroes of the medical profession. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, for instance, refused to proclaim a “Nurses’ Day” at the request of Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953. More than two decades later, however, the International Council of Nurses (ICN), succeeded in establishing International Nurses Day on the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, a 19th century wartime nurse considered the founder of modern nursing.

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Stonewall Jackson’s “Pleuro-Pneumonia”

On this day in 1863, General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, one of the wiliest military commanders this country ever produced, died eight days after being shot by his own men. He had lost a massive amount of blood before having his left arm amputated by Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire, arguably the most celebrated Civil War surgeon of either side.

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