Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

Valuing our ecological futures

Most people care about their potential futures. But there’s a threat to some of these possible futures. In 2016, globally we experienced the hottest consecutive year on record since 2000, with 2017 looking to break the record again. At the current rate of warming climates, along with other environmental concerns, living on the Earth will become more difficult, if not impossible, by the end of the century.

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Diet and age-related memory loss [excerpt]

Age-related memory loss is to be expected. But can it be mitigated? There are many different steps we can take to help maintain and even improve our memories as we age. One of these steps is to make a few simple dietary changes. The following shortened excerpt from The Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory lists dietary basics that can benefit memory.

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10 facts about fungi

Fungi play an important role for a balanced life of flora, fauna, and humans alike. But are they important for us humans, and how are fungi related to animals? Nicholas P. Money, author of Fungi: A Very Short Introduction, tells us 10 things everyone should know about fungi, and the role they play in the world.

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Deep in the red

Yesterday, the second of August, was Earth Overshoot Day for 2017. This date “marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.” As of today, we carry a planetary-sized debt. We are running in the red. This most horrible of days only started in 1971. Before that, humans did not have the population size nor the technological capacity to ‘out-eat’ our larder.

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Psychology’s silent crisis

Rarely do esoteric academic debates, especially those concerning methodology, make their way into the popular press. But, for the past two years, a major controversy on the replication of psychological research has spilled into public view and shows few signs of abating. However, the debate is silent about the far more problematic conceptual crisis that challenges the core principles of scientific psychology.

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Understanding the origin of the wind from black holes

Contrary to common belief, black holes don’t swallow everything that comes nearby. In fact, they expel a good part of the gas of the centre of galaxies. This happens when a wind of ionized gas is formed in the vicinity of the black hole. In the case of supermassive black holes that occur at the centre of many galaxies, they produce a wind that can interact with the galaxy itself shaping its evolution through time.

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A research journey from jungles to genomes

One of the goals of our trip was to search for a butterfly called Heliconius tristero (or Heliconius timareta tristero as it is now more correctly known), which had been described in 1996 from just two specimens collected in this area. Almost anyone who has visited the jungles of tropical America is likely to be familiar with the ‘postman’ or Heliconius butterflies.

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Children, obesity, and the future

Recent research reflects some of this range of aetiological factors that influence childhood obesity. Global perspectives from countries of study including Brazil, Australia, England, South Africa, China, and a review of the international literature cover topics frequently reported by the media, like the food environment, unhealthy food advertising policy, weight management interventions, and associations with gender and sleep.

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The challenge of Twitter in medical research

One advantage to the clinician of the technological revolution is the rapid access to medical information. Every morning I spend ten minutes over coffee looking through the latest Twitter feeds from the major medical journals, to skim through what research might be emerging in fields other than my own niche (I still enjoy reading the paper editions of journals to cover my specialist area).

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The price of travel: is it worth it?

As I set out to unpack the challenges of happy travel, I first had to confront my assumption that travel truly is a worthwhile investment of time and money. We certainly seem to think it is. When people sit down to construct a bucket list, travel goals shoot right to the top. A quick browse through the website bucketlist.org reveals a deep longing for far-flung adventures

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Prospection, well-being, and mental health

That we remember the past is obvious. But as well as the ability to recall what has already happened to us, we are also able to imagine what might happen to us in the future. Is this capacity for prospection important? Absolutely. Being able to anticipate what might happen and take relevant steps, prioritise goals, and form plans of action for what we are going to do have been fundamental to our evolutionary success.

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Travel medicine health tips

The world is becoming more globalised, with the number of people traveling each year on the rise. US residents are taking nearly two billion leisure trips and almost 500 million business trips (2016), with UK residents making 70.8 million visits overseas last year (2016), an 8% increase to the previous year (2015). With travel visits increasing year on year on a worldwide scale, it is no wonder travel medicine is an area also growing quickly to match activity and demand.

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Let’s fly away: pioneers of aviation

The history of aviation spans over two thousand years – from the earliest kites in Ancient China to balloons in eighteenth century France, to military drones and reconnaissance. Early aviation was a dangerous past-time, with many pilots meeting untimely ends as a result of their desire to reach further and higher than ever before. We’ve taken a look at some of these early aviators and their attainments

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The first humans

The discovery in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco of human fossils with modern facial features, similar to ours, has been a wonderful surprise, even outside the world of anthropology. The discoveries have been published in the journal Nature by Jean-Jacques Hublin and collaborators. The fossils are associated with tools from the Middle Stone Age, the technique immediately preceding the Upper Pleistocene.

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The traveler’s challenge: overcoming vacation blues

After months of working 40+ hour weeks, running the kids from one activity to the next, and managing a household, the time has arrived: vacation. You’ve carefully planned a week-long getaway at a seaside resort, and can think of nothing better than basking in the sun, reading a novel, and sipping a cocktail. You arrive with eager anticipation. The beach is perfect, the resort restful and luxurious.

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How to overcome the forces that glass-ceiling health

These are divided times. In Washington, a new administration has deepened the polarization of an already gridlocked political process. In the media, our disagreements are expressed, and often amplified, by a host of competing voices. The questions they address include: how should the Constitution be interpreted? Should we embrace free trade or focus on rebuilding our industrial base?

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