Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Climate change poses risks to your health

When heads of state and other leaders of 195 nations reached a landmark accord at the recent United Nations COP21 conference on climate change in Paris, they focused primarily on sea level rise, droughts, loss of biodiversity, and ways to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce these consequences. But arguably the most serious and widespread impacts of climate change are those that are hazardous to the health of people.

Read More
Oxford Medicine Online

Christmas calamities

It’s that time of year again: chestnuts are roasting on an open fire, halls are decked with boughs of holly, and everyone’s rockin’ around the Christmas tree…. As idyllic as this sounds, sometimes the holiday season just doesn’t live up to its expectations of joy, peace, and goodwill.

Read More

Finding a new perspective on psychedelics

Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, took an acid trip in late 1950s that reportedly allowed him to revisit the mental and spiritual condition that had inspired him to swear off booze in the first place. Although AA has no religious affiliation, the numerous references to God throughout the twelve steps make its emphasis on interior discovery and redemption an indispensable part of the program.

Read More

Debating the brain drain: an excerpt on emigration

While there has been considerable normative theo­rizing on the topic of immigration, most analyses have focused on the relation between the migrant or prospective migrant and the society she will join—issues of admission, accommodation, integration, and so forth.

Read More

Talk is cheap: diverse dignities at the centre of mental disorder

It may be fairly easy to say that the dignity of a person in the domain of psychiatry should be respected. Justification is easy to find. For example, the South African Constitution proclaims ‘everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.’

Read More

Focus on concussions: why now?

Lately, not a day goes by when we don’t hear about which professional athlete has been sidelined or benched due to a concussion. Formerly the province of boxers, concussions, once called “the invisible injury,” are no longer invisible, as network TV and the movie industry have unveiled their presence across sports, whether football, ice hockey, soccer, rugby, NASCAR, and beyond.

Read More

Will we ever know for certain what killed Simón Bolívar?

When Simón Bolívar died on this day 185 years ago, tuberculosis was thought to have been the disease that killed him. An autopsy showing tubercles of different sizes in his lungs seemed to confirm the diagnosis, though neither microscopic examination nor bacterial cultures of his tissues were performed.

Read More

Let’s refocus on cancer prevention

There are so many reports of agents that may cause cancer, that there is a temptation to dismiss them all. Tabloid newspapers have listed everything from babies, belts, biscuits, and bras, to skiing, shaving, soup, and space travel. It is also tempting to be drawn into debates about more esoteric candidates for causative agents like hair dyes, underarm deodorants, or pesticides.

Read More

Migrants and medicine in modern Britain

In the late 1960s, an ugly little rhyme circulated in Britain’s declining industrial towns. At the time, seemingly unstoppable mass migration from Britain’s former colonies had triggered a succession of new laws aimed at restricting entry to Britain, followed by a new political emphasis on ‘race relations’ intended to quell international dismay and reduce internal racial tensions.

Read More
Public Health Ethics

Most powerful lesson from Ebola: We do not learn our lessons

‘Ebola is a wake-up call.’ This is a common sentiment expressed by those who have reflected on the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It is a reaction to the nearly 30,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths that have occurred since the first cases of the outbreak were reported in March 2014.

Read More

Cautious optimism on “No Exceptions” with important caveats

As pleased and excited as I am, by Ash Carter’s announcement, that women will be allowed in all military occupational specialties, I am also concerned that we do it right. Otherwise we may have public failures that cause people to question the decision.

Read More

The Little Sisters, the Supreme Court and the HSA/HRA alternative

The Little Sisters of the Poor, an international congregation of Roman Catholic women, are unlikely litigants in the US Supreme Court. Consistent with their strong adherence to traditional Catholic doctrines, the Little Sisters oppose birth control. They are now in the Supreme Court because of that opposition.

Read More

Rethinking the “accidents will happen” mentality

Canadians have a vast lexicon of phrases they use to diminish accidents and their negative consequences. We acknowledge that “accidents will happen,” and remind ourselves that there’s “no use crying over spilled milk.” In fact, we’ve become so good at minimizing these seemingly random, unpredictable incidents that they now seem commonplace: we tend to view accidents as normal, everyday occurrences that everyone will inevitably experience at some point.

Read More

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”

In 1933 in the midst of Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his first inaugural address, wisely stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That wisdom has as much relevance today as it did during the Depression.

Read More

Willem Kolff’s remarkable achievement

Willem Kolff is famously the man who first put the developing theory of therapeutic dialysis into successful practice in the most unlikely circumstances: Kampen, in the occupied Netherlands during World War II. Influenced by a patient he had seen die in 1938, and in a remote hospital to avoid Nazi sympathisers put in charge in Groningen, he undertook experiments with cellulose tubing and chemicals and then went straight on to make a machine to treat patients from 1943.

Read More