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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

How much do you know about opioids? [quiz]

PAINWeek, the largest US pain conference for frontline clinicians with an interest in pain management, takes place this year from 4th September to 8th September. The conference focuses on several different aspects of pain management, and indeed many different methods of pain management exist.

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The dilemma of ‘progress’ in science

Most practicing scientists scarcely harbor any doubts that science makes progress. For, what they see is that despite the many false alleys into which science has strayed across the centuries, despite the waxing and waning of theories and beliefs, the history of science, at least since the ‘early modern period’ (the 16th and 17th centuries) is one of steady accumulation of scientific knowledge. For most scientists this growth of knowledge is progress. Indeed, to deny either the possibility or actuality of progress in science is to deny its raison d’être. 

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How the mindful brain copes with rejection

Whether it’s being left out of happy hour plans or being broken up with by a significant other, we can all relate to the pain of social rejection. Such “social pain” is consequential, undermining our physical and mental health. But how can we effectively cope with the distressing experience of being left out or ignored? Mindfulness may be an answer.

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Animal of the month: the pride [interactive guide]

Pride is one of the most widely-recognised animal collectives in the world. We often picture lions among their family unit, whether they be standing proudly together or hunting down a doomed antelope. These famous social groups are usually formed of between three and ten adult females, two or three males, and the pride’s latest litters of cubs, and they live together (most of the time) across Africa and in the Gir Forest Sanctuary.

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The potential preventive promise of music

I became a parent around the time I started working in childhood mental health, providing music therapy to children with complex trauma histories. Through these experiences, I became aware both personally and professionally of the profound impact a child’s early environment has on their social and emotional development outcomes and later behavioral and academic ones.

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The Plastic Age

Recently, the issue of single-use plastic and its impact on the environment has come to the fore, with many companies vowing to cut back their plastic use, and increased media coverage across the globe. It isn’t difficult to see why there is a growing passion for addressing the problem of plastic—its environmental significance is truly shocking—and in 2016 the Ellen MacArthur Foundation published a report that concluded there will be as much plastic in the ocean as fish by 2020.

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World Humanitarian Day [podcast]

On this episode of The Oxford Comment, we take a look at the challenges faced by humanitarians today. Host Erin Katie Meehan sat down with Health & Social Work editorial board member Sarah Gehlert, Belinda Gurd and Alexandra Eurdolian of the UNOCHA, and esteemed psychologist Robert J. Wicks to explore important questions about humanitarianism.

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Oral disease or random object? [quiz]

How can medical professionals tell whether individuals have a disease? The simple answer is that body tissues are examined under the microscope, but the long answer involves reams of research and hours of study and intense examination.

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Can the auto industry improve spinal fusion surgery?

Systems science is the study of how component parts of a system interact with each other. It may seem counterintuitive to consider that medical care and systems science are linked, but in fact the component parts of a care cycle are infinitely complex.

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Seven myths about feigning

Defendants may feign psychiatric disorders to reduce their criminal responsibility. From its detection and prevalence, to its connections with psychopathy, this extract from Finding Truth in the Courtroom debunks seven common myths about feigning, and why people do it.  

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Animal of the month: 10 facts about lions

Lions have enchanted humans since early Antiquity, and were even represented in European cave paintings from 35,000 years ago. They are regularly the main characters in folklore and allegory, appearing everywhere from African folktales to the Bible. It is not hard to see why lions are so ubiquitously revered. Their fearsome yet stunning appearance, combined with their endearing hunting tactics and formidable roar, answers any questions as to why early societies named the lion ‘King of the Beasts’, and indeed explains why this name is still used today.

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Celebrating the NHS at 70

On the 5th of July 2018, the National Health Service (NHS) celebrated its 70th anniversary. Aneurin Bevan, the Minister for Health, founded the NHS in 1948 with the aim of bringing together hospitals, doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and opticians under a single umbrella organisation for the first time.

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Medical education and the good doctor

“Ahhhhh” moans a 16-year-old girl, her face contorted in pain as she lies on a stretcher in a busy emergency room corridor. Her distress is elicited by gentle prods to her abdomen by a young surgeon summoned by the ER staff.

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Are you a forensic psych expert?

The moment a defendant walks into a courtroom, everyone is trying to get in their head to figure out if they actually committed the crime, and what could have driven them to the act. That’s why expert testimony from mental health experts can be critical for juries, especially in high-profile cases. Do you think you […]

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