Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

What causes psychogenic amnesia?

The media love it. Films and novels fictionalise it. TV and newspapers want to follow a real patient around. They virtually always get it wrong (and the worst thing you can do for such a patient is put him/her on television). Psychogenic amnesia (also known as dissociative or functional amnesia) still intrigues and fascinates. In 1926, Agatha Christie, the acclaimed novelist, disappeared for 11 days.

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How private are your prescription records?

Urgent public health crises generate pressures for access to information to protect the public’s health. Identifying patients with contagious conditions and tracing their contacts may seem imperative for serious diseases such as Ebola or SARS. But pressures for information reach far more broadly than the threat of deadly contagion. Such is the situation with the opioid epidemic, at least in Utah,

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Measuring for change: the road to smoke-free prisons

One large occupational group that has been required to work within smoking-permitted environments in the United Kingdom is prison staff. Almost three-quarters of prisoners are current smokers, levels not seen amongst men in the general population since around 1960. Not surprisingly, many prison staff report experiencing high levels of smoke in some areas, such as when they enter smokers’ cells and adjacent areas

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What can the Zombie Apocalypse teach us about ourselves? [Video]

Like war stories, like disaster films, like any kind of narrative that revolts and scares yet also delights us, the Zombie Apocalypse offers a laboratory for observing human emotion and experience. Its excess opens up a multitude of responses that don’t get explored in the course of our everyday lives, although these same choices lurk underneath the surface of all our lives.

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Why a deteriorating doctor-patient relationship should worry us

If there is a single profound thing that has occurred in health care over the past couple of decades, that has neither benefitted patients or the doctors who care for them, nor the health system as a whole, it is the fairly rapid deterioration of the physician-patient relationship as the centerpiece of effective, satisfying, and high quality health care delivery.

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What can baker’s yeast tell us about drug response?

Pharmaceutical drugs are an integral part of healthcare, but a treatment regimen that works for one individual may not produce the same benefit for another. Additionally, a given drug dose may be well-tolerated by some, but produce undesired (and sometimes severe) adverse effects in others. In the United States (with similar statistics in other parts of the world), serious drug adverse reactions account for over 6% of hospitalisations

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Combatting the spread of anti-vaccination sentiment

Vaccines are one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Credited with saving millions of lives each year from diseases like smallpox, measles, diphtheria, and polio, one would expect vaccines to be enthusiastically celebrated or, at the very least, widely embraced. Why is it, then, that we are witnessing the widespread proliferation of anti-vaccination sentiment?

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Is there a right to report a disease outbreak?

Recently the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Systems and Innovation Cluster released its WHO Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance. This report was the first attempt to develop a framework to guide public health surveillance systems on the conduct of surveillance and reporting in public health emergencies. The guidelines are described as a ‘starting point for the searching, sustained discussions that public health surveillance demands’.

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Is there a place for the arts in health?

In a utopian world of abundant health budgets and minimal health challenges, it is probably fair to say that few would object to including the arts within hospitals or promoting them as a part of healthy lifestyles. Certainly, we have a long history of incorporating the arts into health (stretching back around 40,000 years), so it’s a concept many people are familiar with. But in an era of austerity, the value that the arts can bring comes under much closer scrutiny

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Bodily identity and biotypology in Brazil

What does your body shape say about you? When typing this question on any online search engine one will find dozens of examples and images of models of varying bodily classifications as well as the relationship of bodily shape with many different types of physical and mental health and even personality. Rectangle, triangle, round, hourglass, slender, pear, apple, etc, are widespread categories used to label the body

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Diet and age-related memory loss [excerpt]

Age-related memory loss is to be expected. But can it be mitigated? There are many different steps we can take to help maintain and even improve our memories as we age. One of these steps is to make a few simple dietary changes. The following shortened excerpt from The Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory lists dietary basics that can benefit memory.

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Children, obesity, and the future

Recent research reflects some of this range of aetiological factors that influence childhood obesity. Global perspectives from countries of study including Brazil, Australia, England, South Africa, China, and a review of the international literature cover topics frequently reported by the media, like the food environment, unhealthy food advertising policy, weight management interventions, and associations with gender and sleep.

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The challenge of Twitter in medical research

One advantage to the clinician of the technological revolution is the rapid access to medical information. Every morning I spend ten minutes over coffee looking through the latest Twitter feeds from the major medical journals, to skim through what research might be emerging in fields other than my own niche (I still enjoy reading the paper editions of journals to cover my specialist area).

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Travel medicine health tips

The world is becoming more globalised, with the number of people traveling each year on the rise. US residents are taking nearly two billion leisure trips and almost 500 million business trips (2016), with UK residents making 70.8 million visits overseas last year (2016), an 8% increase to the previous year (2015). With travel visits increasing year on year on a worldwide scale, it is no wonder travel medicine is an area also growing quickly to match activity and demand.

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How to overcome the forces that glass-ceiling health

These are divided times. In Washington, a new administration has deepened the polarization of an already gridlocked political process. In the media, our disagreements are expressed, and often amplified, by a host of competing voices. The questions they address include: how should the Constitution be interpreted? Should we embrace free trade or focus on rebuilding our industrial base?

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Embedded librarianship: the future of libraries

With the rise of the internet and electronic research resources, it is not uncommon for a librarian to hear that libraries are no longer necessary. “You can find anything on the internet” is an often heard phrase. What most of those people do not realize is how integrated librarians (and information scientists) are in organizing and providing information to the public.

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