Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Which famous woman from STM are you?

Throughout our history, women have made varied and important contributions to the fields of science, technology, and medicine. Their pioneering work, often fought against overwhelming social prejudice, still affects our lives to this day. Women’s History Month is the ideal time to celebrate the achievements of female scientists and medics from past to present—and perhaps discover some new inspiration.

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Creating a natural health system

Public health has seen multiple revolutions over history: from the recognition of the connection between water, sanitation, and health, to breakthroughs in medicine and genetics. We are currently in the midst of a new revolution in public health where humans are recognised as social beings connected to their community and their environment.

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Romance and reality: clinical science in liver transplant for alcoholism

Many view organ transplantation as one of the miracles of modern medicine: preserving a person’s life by providing a new liver, heart, lung, kidney, or other organ where the original vital organ has failed. One sees the transplant surgeon as the proverbial knight in shining armor riding a white horse and impaling the demons of death and disease on the end of his sharp-pointed lance.

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Celebrating women in STM [timeline]

Throughout the month of March, Oxford University Press will be celebrating women in STM (science, technology, and medicine) with the objective of highlighting the outstanding contributions that women have made to these fields. Historically many of the contributions made by women have gone unsung or undervalued, and these fields have been male-dominated and inaccessible for women to enter.

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Dr. Victor Sidel: a leader for health, peace, and social justice

Victor (Vic) Sidel, M.D., who died in late January, was a national and international champion for health, peace, and social justice. Among his numerous activities, he co-edited with me six books on war, terrorism, and social injustice that were published by Oxford University Press. Vic left an extensive legacy in the residents and students whom he trained, in the organizations that he strengthened, in the scholarly books and papers that he edited and wrote, and in the policies and programs that he promoted for a healthier, more peaceful, and more equitable world.

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Excessive gambling and gaming recognised as addictive disorders

There is no doubt that excessive gambling can cause a huge mental, personal, and financial toll for the gambler and the members of their family. The nature of excessive gambling and whether it constitutes a disorder has been the subject of much research, debate, and controversy in recent years.

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In memoriam: Jimmie C. Holland, MD

Jimmie C. Holland, MD, internationally recognized as the founder of the field of Psycho-oncology, died suddenly on 24 December 2017 at the age of 89. Dr. Holland, who was affectionately known by her first name, “Jimmie,” had a profound global influence on the fields of Psycho-oncology, Psychosomatic Medicine, and Oncology.

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200 years of Parkinson’s disease

The 200th anniversary of James Parkinson’s seminal Essay on the Shaking Palsy gives cause for commemoration and reflection. Parkinson’s astute observation and careful description of only six patients led to one of the earliest and most complete clinical descriptions of Parkinson’s disease. With the concept of a syndrome still not fully realised, Parkinson was among the first writers to unify a set of seemingly unrelated symptoms into one diagnosis.

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Should public health leaders get on the genomics train?

Tier 1 genomic applications, backed by strong evidence of their clinical utility, support population screening to identify those at heightened risk for inherited cancers and cardiovascular disease. While accounting for less than 10% of the population, these individuals and families account for disproportionate morbidity and mortality and can benefit from targeted prevention efforts.

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The neurology of the Winter Olympics

The human brain is a wonder and a marvel. At the same time, it is enigma and frustration. Given all it has accomplished, it continues to perplex. This is why I became a neurologist. For me, combining the apex of all organic structures with the vast unknown of cerebral neuroscience produces a daily wonder that is worth dedicating a life’s work to. To that end, I find myself somewhere over the North Pole hurling towards PyongChang, South Korea.

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The future of precision medicine

In April 2003, researchers from the Human Genome Project published the result of their painstaking work; a complete sequencing of the human genome. This ground-breaking feat has ushered in the current “post genomic” era of medicine, whereby medical treatment is becoming increasingly personalised towards an individual’s specific lifestyle and genetic makeup.

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Can saunas help decrease risk of high blood pressure?

In Finland, sauna bathing has been practiced for centuries, either for pleasure, but more importantly also for reasons of hygiene and maintenance of health. Many curative and magical effects have been attributed to its practice and seldom has it been thought to cause any disease. The benefit of the sauna lies in its increased temperatures. Heat therapy has many benefits for human physiology.

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A new approach to experimentally lengthening sleep in short-sleeping teens

Short sleep is common in teens, particularly on school nights, with a majority obtaining less than the eight to ten hours recommended. Many factors contribute to insufficient sleep during adolescence including increased social and academic demands, bedtime autonomy, the use of electronics, and early school start times coupled with a biological and behavioral tendency to stay up later.

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What does my cancer gene mutation mean for my family?

For 15 years I have counseled patients about what it means to carry a mutation in a gene that can lead to a higher risk of developing cancer. Hundreds of times I have said, “A mutation was found.” Our patients have different mutations in different genes. They come from different parts of the world. They speak a variety of languages, and bring their cultural heritage and expectations to our sessions.

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The healthiest body mass index isn’t as simple as you think

The body mass index (BMI) is a crude but useful measure of how heavy someone is for their weight. It consists of your weight in kilograms, divided by the square of your height in metres. Guidelines suggest that a BMI between 18.5 and 25 is healthy for most people. You are classed as overweight if it is 25-30 and obese if it is more than 30.

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What are the critical brain networks for creativity?

The concept of creativity is imbued with two contradictory notions. The first notion usually considers that a creative production is the result of high-level control functions such as inhibition, mental manipulation, or planning. These functions are known to depend on the anterior part of the brain: the prefrontal cortex.

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