Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Seven reasons to get your memory evaluated

A question that I am often asked by family members, friends, and even by other physicians and nurses that I work with, is “Should I get my memory evaluated?” Partly, the question is asked because they have noticed memory problems, and are struggling to sort out whether theses lapses are an inevitable part of normal aging versus the start of something more ominous, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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A Q&A with oncologist Pamela Goodwin

Like many oncologists, Dr. Pamela Goodwin first developed an interest in oncology following seeing a family member affected by cancer. Today, she leads JNCI Cancer Spectrum as Editor-in-Chief, publishing cancer research in an array of topics. Recently, we interviewed Dr. Goodwin, who shared her thoughts about the journal, the field of oncology, and her visions for the future.

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Healthcare during Harvey

As an emergency room doctor, I was boots on the ground! I work at several companies and have several different hospitals I go to, Houston and Beaumont. Just after the storm hit Beaumont, record floods swamped the area. And I drove in to work. Through two feet of water. But after arrival, I manned my post and an extraordinary thing happened. Most of us in my neighborhood are pilots with small planes and it’s a great life.

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How a failed suicide affects the brain

The numerous factors that induce someone to think about suicide, the “ideators,” are often different from those who actually attempt suicide, the “attempters.” For example, the traditional risk factors for suicide, such as depression, hopelessness, many psychiatric disorders, and impulsivity, strongly predict suicide ideation but weakly predict suicide attempts among ideators.

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Discussing family medicine: Q&A with Jeffrey Scherrer

Family medicine plays a large role in day-to-day healthcare. To further our knowledge of the primary care landscape, we’re thrilled to welcome Jeffrey Scherrer, PhD, as the new Editor-in-Chief of Family Practice, a journal that takes an international approach of the problems and preoccupations in the field. Jeffrey sat down with us recently to discuss his vision for the journal’s future and his work in research and mentorship.

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Can narcolepsy research help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the 20th century?

In late 1916, while the world was entrenched in the Great War, two physicians on opposing sides of the conflict started to encounter patients who presented with bizarre neurological signs. Most notably, the patients experienced profound lethargy, and would sleep for abnormally long periods of time. One of the physicians, Constantin von Economo, was at the Psychiatric-Neurological Clinic at the University of Vienna.

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How long should children fast for clear fluids before general anaesthesia?

Anyone who has had a general anaesthetic will be well aware of the need to fast beforehand. ‘Nil by mouth’ (NBM) or ‘NPO’ (nil per os, os being the Latin for mouth) instructions are part of everyday life on pre-operative wards. This withholding of food and liquids before a general anaesthetic is necessary is because of the risk of the full stomach emptying all or parts of its contents into the patient’s lungs.

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Top tips for a healthy heart

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common cause of death in the UK, and is also a major killer worldwide. CHD is caused by fatty deposits building up in a person’s coronary arteries and can lead to symptoms including heart attacks, angina and heart failure. The chances are that you’re already aware of many of the key contributing lifestyle factors which cause people to develop CHD

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Organ Donation Week: A reading list

In light of Organ Donation Week (4-11th September 2017), we have drawn together a collection of articles around the same theme. Our reading list includes articles and chapters which inform, showcase, and discuss the latest research, key issues, and cases of interest in organ donation. The collection offers a sample of the breadth of content available on this topic

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What hearing voices reveals about hallucination and speech perception

Hearing things that other people do not – in other words, an auditory hallucination – is something that approximately 5-15% of the population experience at some point in their lives. For people with a psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia, the experience of auditory hallucinations can often be bewildering and upsetting. However, for some people unusual sensory experiences can be an important and meaningful part of their lives.

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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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