Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


The nature of addictive disorders

What are addictive disorders? Are they indeed disorders? The nature of problematic psychoactive substance use continues to be a matter of controversy among the public and politicians; even among health professionals there is little consensus. Some have a view that repeated use of a substance (or gambling or gaming) represents personal choice (a “free-will decision”) even when problems are occurring.

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Music Therapy Perspectives

Challenging assumptions about how music helps

When people asked me what I did for a living, some were curious and wanted to know more, while others looked at me as if I were selling snake oil. Nowadays, these conversations are slightly different. Although it is still not always well understood as a profession, more people are familiar with the term “music therapy” and open to the idea that music and other creative mediums may be used to promote health and well-being.

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Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care

Communication in cancer care

Ask anyone about their experience with their own or a loved one’s cancer, and the response will likely include a story or remark about an oncologist, surgeon, nurse, or other health care provider. These are often positive stories: the oncologist who remembered a child’s birthday, the nurse who stayed after his shift to wait with an elderly patient until her daughter arrived to pick her up, or the surgeon who attended a husband’s funeral.

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Understanding AIDS

AIDS is a fast moving epidemic and some of the data and assertions were immediately out of date. For example, the book failed to foresee the massive expansion in treatment. In 2008, there were 28.9 million people living with HIV, and a mere 770 000 were receiving anti-retroviral drugs. By 2015, there were 36.7 million people infected with HIV, but 17 million were on treatment.

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Man’s best friend: the pig

Cute and heartwarming videos of dogs fill the internet. My favourite is the bacon dog tease, but others catch my attention because they reveal extraordinary animal behaviours. For example, there are many of dogs helping other animals, like opening the back door to let in a friend. Dogs are our best animal friends, but there is a new contender. The pig might not be agile enough for Frisbees, or into making ‘guilty faces’, but like dogs, might save your life in the future.

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Reconsidering prostate cancer screening

In 2011, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its controversial draft recommendation against measuring prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in blood to screen for prostate cancer, claiming the test didn’t save lives. USPSTF is an independent panel of national experts convened by Congress to make evidence-based recommendations on preventive care.

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Oxford Textbook of Oncology

How much do you know about cancer?

One of the defining battles of modern medicine has been the ongoing fight against cancer, a disease that has no doubt affected many of you either directly or indirectly. Whilst there have been huge advances in detection and treatment, cancer remains a major global health problem, with 8.2 million people dying from the disease every year. World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer.

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Gender, medicine, and society in colonial India

The growth of hospital medicine in 19th century India created a space–albeit a very small one–for providing Western-style healthcare to female patients. Many of these changes, including the reform of reproductive healthcare and the spread of women’s medical education, benefitted a privileged minority belonging to urban, higher-caste groups. The reform in women’s healthcare in colonial India constitutes a significant chapter of the country’s social history and laid an irrevocable foundation for medicine in the post-independence period.

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Physical therapy and rehabilitation research – looking forward

The field of physical therapy encompasses not only rehabilitation after injury and surgery but also a wide range of preventive health services and vital lines of research. Dr. Alan Jette, PT, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Physical Therapy (PTJ), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association, shares his vision for PTJ and his take on opportunities and challenges for the physical therapy profession.

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Oxford Textbook of Old Age Psychiatry

Social democracy: a prescription for dementia?

In present-day Western Europe and North America, the dementia research field is in as much political turmoil as mainstream politics. And the struggling forces at play in both domains are often the same: individual activity or collective solidarity, technological solutions or community development/public health, for-profits versus nonprofits, unbridled capitalism or regulatory constraint.

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Studying invasion biology with next-generation sequencing

Deciphering the genome (the complete genetic code) of any species can lead to a wealth of knowledge. By analyzing an invasive species’ DNA, an invasion geneticist may untangle, among other things, its origin, its invasion history, and any potential hybridization with native species. These all provide vital tools when informing management efforts tackling biological invasions.

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Spiritual surgeries: a radical alternative medicine?

Why are so many people in the West, who have access to the best biomedicine, turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)? Naturopathy, homeopathy, Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, meditation, reiki, massage, yoga, all have experienced a surge in the twenty-first century.

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Frida Kahlo’s life of chronic pain

Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, is arguably one of the most well-known painters of the 20th century. Her intimate and personal self-portraits are evocative, generating a deep, almost visceral response. Through her paintings, Frida opens a door and invites the viewer to witness something that is both frightening and profound: her lifelong experience with chronic pain.

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The best medical advice from ancient Greece and Rome

As a highly revered and extensively-studied field, medicine today has certainly evolved from its origins in ancient times. However, to fully appreciate how far we’ve come since then, we’ve compiled some of the best medical advice the ancient Greeks and Romans had to offer back in the day. Disclaimer: We at Oxford University Press do not condone or encourage heeding the advice below.

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What happens if we ignore climate change?

What are the arguments for ignoring climate change? The simplest is to deny such a thing exists. President Trump’s tweets on the topic, for instance, mostly run along the lines of “It’s record cold all over the country and world – where the hell is global warming, we need some fast!” But this is plainly at odds with the evidence, given what we know now about rising temperatures and accumulation of heat in the oceans.

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Consumers, Corporations, and Public Health

What does Trump healthcare mean for consumer choice?

During his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the specifics of his replacement plan unknown, it’s clear that the ambiguity is making many in the healthcare industry very nervous. Ted Shaw, president and CEO of Texas Hospital Association, stated, “Any replacement [of the ACA] needs to ensure that patients can get the care they need and providers are fairly paid for services provided.”

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