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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

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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How well do you know the history of physics?

Less than four centuries separate the end of the Renaissance and the theories of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton from the development of quantum physics at the turn of the 20th century. During this transformative time, royal academies of science, instrument-making workshops, and live science demonstrations exploded across the continent as learned and lay people alike absorbed the spectacles of newfound technologies, devices, and innovations.

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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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“The law is my data”: The socio-legal in environmental law

When I left practice to start my PhD, I was made to do a master’s degree in research methods as a condition of my doctoral funding. The ‘made’ in that first sentence is wholly intentional. I was quite clear, and quite vocal, that I had no interest in, and no need to study, methods. I knew exactly what form my PhD was going to take: an analysis of EU chemicals regulation using a new governance lens.

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The conceptual evolution of mass and matter [excerpt]

We learn in school science class that matter is not continuous, but discrete. As a few of the philosophers of ancient Greece once speculated nearly two-and-a-half thousand years ago, matter comes in “lumps.” If we dig around online we learn that we make paper by pressing together moist fibers derived from pulp. The pulp has an internal structure built from molecules (such as cellulose), and molecules are in turn constructed from atoms (carbon, oxygen, hydrogen).

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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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Microbiology in the city of arts and sciences

This year saw the biggest Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS) Congress to date, with over 2,700 delegates from 85 countries, including Australia, North America, and South Korea gathering in Valencia, Spain. Not only was it the biggest, it was also the most engaged; over 3,000 abstracts were submitted, over 220 delegates received FEMS Congress Grants to be able to attend, and nearly 250 speakers.

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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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Sandy Denny and Schubert

I have written elsewhere about how music, in a way that spoken language rarely does, can affect arousal, stimulate our emotions and memories, and move our bodies. It can even subtly alter our physiological state, both internally by altering heart rate, levels of hormones and so on, and externally – resulting in goose bumps, chills, tears, etc. This is the universal power of music

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The weight of the world: social workers’ experiences of social suffering

Long-standing concerns around the bureaucratic and often unhelpful nature of children and families social work were brought to a head in Prof Eileen Munro’s (2011) review of child protection. With colleagues, I recently completed a project involving social work academics and children and families social workers from neighbouring local authorities to try and facilitate such a shift in child protection cultures.

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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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9780190626341

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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