Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Of microbes and Madagascar

Microbes are everywhere. On door knobs, in your mouth, covering the New York City Subway, and festering on the kitchen sponge. The world is teeming with microbes—bustling communities of invisible organisms, including bacteria and fungi. Scientists are hard at work cataloging the microbial communities of people, buildings, and entire ecosystems. Many discoveries have shed light on how culture and behavior shape these communities.

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Connecting clinical presence and clinical knowledge in music therapy

In all clinical practices, students must learn to make meaning of clinical information such as, “What does it mean that the client said this or did that? What is the client’s body saying when it does or does not do this?” For music therapy students, there is the additional consideration of music, namely “What does it mean when the client plays music like this? What does it mean when the client hears this music like that?”

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Will 2018 be a turning point for tuberculosis control?

Although tuberculosis (TB) has plagued mankind for over 20,000 years and was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the early 1990s, political attention and funding for TB has remained low. This looks set to change for the first time. On 17 November 2017, 75 national ministers agreed to take urgent action to end TB by 2030.

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Communities can prevent violence

Every day the news is flooded with stories of different types of violence. On what seems like a daily basis, we’re bombarded with relentless reports of violence in this country. Our register of national tragedies keeps growing: hate crimes, mass shootings, and #Metoo headlines are only the most recent outbreaks of an epidemic of violence in our homes, public spaces, and communities.

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Defining moments in cardiology

In 1967, Christiaan Barnard carried out the first ever human-to-human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The patient and recipient of a new heart was 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky, and the success of the operation took centre-stage in the world’s media as hourly bulletins followed his recovery.

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Pain relief and palliative care around the world

Around the world access to pain relief and to palliative care services is emerging as a growing public health issue. In many countries getting appropriate pain relieving drugs for those with advanced disease is constrained by overly-zealous laws and procedures. Likewise the provision of palliative care education, research and delivery, although making some headway and achieving policy recognition in places, is still extremely limited, often where the need is greatest.

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Illustrating Streptococcus pneumoniae

According to the WHO, Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as pneumococcus) is the fourth most frequent microbial cause of fatal infection. These bacteria commonly colonize the upper respiratory tract and are the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis. Although much is known about pneumococcal biology and the diseases it causes, there are still many questions about the molecular biology and cellular processes of the bacterium.

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Major medical incidents [timeline]

Major incidents are defined as any incident ‘that requires the mobilisation and use of extraordinary resources’; with the NHS further expanding the definition of such events as ‘any incident where the location, number, severity, or type of live casualties requires extraordinary resources’. There have been many major incidents throughout history that have required an ‘extraordinary’ response by emergency services, medical personnel, and government bodies.

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A brief history of HIV [excerpt]

The first of December is World AIDS Day: a day to show support for those living with HIV, to commemorate those we have lost, and ultimately unite in the fight against HIV. To combat this pandemic though, we need to understand how the virus – and the wider virus group – reacts with the human body. In the following excerpt from Virus Hunt, Dorothy H. Crawford discusses the discovery and history of HIV and the retrovirus family.

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Holding a duality: ambiguity and parenting a child with special needs

In a 2013 interview on NPR celebrating the publication of her memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World, author Emily Rapp made two surprisingly different statements. In her book and on-the-air, Rapp said that she treasured every moment she’d had with her son Ronin, whose short life with Tay-Sachs Disease was the subject of her memoir. Indeed, her telling of Ronin’s story is vibrant, and her joy in sharing that story shines through her work.

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Curcumin: common dietary supplement turned anti-cancer compound?

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive malignancies in the world. It is currently the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths as early as 2030. Although recent advancements in cancer treatments have improved the overall outcome […]

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In memoriam: Ray Guillery

The seventh of April 2017 brought with it the sad passing of Ray Guillery FRS, celebrated neurophysiologist and neuroanatomist, world leader in thalamo-cortical communication, and Dr Lee’s professor of anatomy and fellow of Hertford College, Oxford, from 1984 to 1996. Dr Lizzie Burns kindly shares her memories of working with Ray on his final book, The Brain as a Tool, for which she was the illustrator.

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Multiple choice questions for the MRCP Part 1 [quiz]

The MRCP (UK) Part 1 exam set by the Royal College of Physicians is designed to test doctors on a wide range of topics to determine if they have the required level of knowledge to begin their postgraduate training as physician. The exam, which is sat over one day and features 200 multiple-choice (best of five) questions, can first seem very daunting; that’s why we’ve created this quiz to fit easily into your revision schedule.

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Are you the favorite child? The science of favoritism

We are frequently asked why we spend our professional careers studying favoritism, after all, parents don’t really have favorites. Or do they? A woman recently approached us after a lecture we gave and told us about caring for her aging mother. Her story captures the importance of this issue. She visited her mother daily in the final year of her mother’s life to feed, bathe, and care for her.

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What can we all do to tackle antibiotic resistance?

Welcome to the Oxford Journals guide to antibiotic resistance. 13th – 19th November marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week, an annual international campaign set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat the spread of antibiotic resistance, and raise awareness of the potential consequences. Even better, it’s not just scientists, politicians, and medical professionals who can work towards a solution

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The history of medical ethics

On the 20th of August 1947, 16 German physicians were found guilty of heinous crimes against humanity. They had been willing participants in one of the largest examples of ethnic cleansing in modern history. During the Second World War, these Nazi doctors had conducted pseudoscientific medical experiments upon concentration camp prisoners and the stories that unfolded during their trial

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