Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Early intervention for children with reading difficulties

By Karen L. Schiltz, Ph.D.
Getting ready to go back to school can be a challenge. It is even more of a challenge when you suspect something is not quite right with your child. As parents, we do not want our child to have problems. We deeply want our child to be o.k. in everyday life. When our child suffers, we suffer as well.

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Grammar sticklers may have OCD

By Dennis Baron
It used to be we thought that people who went around correcting other people’s grammar were just plain annoying. Now there’s evidence they are actually ill, suffering from a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder/oppositional defiant disorder (OCD/ODD). Researchers are calling it Grammatical Pedantry Syndrome, or GPS.

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Bereavement: the elephant in the room

By Christine Young and Tracy Dowling
For most of us the death of a child is unimaginable and when it happens to someone close to us, or in our community, we may have no idea of how to respond.  If you’re a grandparent or close family member you may well be dealing with your own sense of loss as well as thinking about how to support the bereaved family and it’s the latter that people typically struggle with.

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Food Addiction

By Mark S. Gold, MD and Kelly D. Brownell, PhD
In July of 2007, we hosted the first meeting of its kind, the Yale Conference on Food and Addiction. This Conference brought together 40 experts on nutrition, diabetes, obesity and addiction for two days to discuss and debate the controversies surrounding food and addiction. What emerged were the early signs of a developing field, one with experts from many disciplines, all of whom were interested in whether and how food might affect the brains in ways similar to classic substances of abuse.

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Finding and classifying autism for effective intervention

By Martin J. Lubetsky, MD
People are finding autism in their families, pediatric offices, day cares, preschools, playgrounds, and classrooms. Individuals with autism are now portrayed in movies, television shows, news reports, and documentaries. The diagnosis of autism is being hotly debated in the media, academic medical centers, universities, autism centers, and advocacy agencies. Autism, or soon-to-be-called Autism Spectrum Disorder, is a developmental neurobiological disorder, characterized by severe and pervasive impairments in reciprocal social interaction skills and communication skills (verbal and nonverbal) and by restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behavior, interests, and activities.

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Genocide and identity conflict

By I. William Zartman
Genocide doesn’t burst out unannounced. It is preceded and prepared by identity conflict that escalates from social friction to contentious politics, from politics to violence, and eventually to targeted mass killing. The United Nations in 1946 defined genocide as “a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups” and redefined it in 1948 as “acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” It can be carried out by rebel movements, but it is more frequently the work of the sovereign state.

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Public Health, Public Hypochondria

By Catherine Belling
We used to feel reassured by the possibility that medicine might soon be able to find any disease hidden inside our bodies before it could do real harm, and remove it before we even began to feel sick. “Disease awareness” and “early detection” became public health buzzwords. We have been encouraged to get screened for diseases we probably don’t have (but just might). Some began paying for full body CT scans in the hope of catching and fixing all possible anomalies and pathologies the instant they appeared. What could possibly be wrong with such diligent vigilance?

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You are essentially what you wear

By Bruce Hood
I have been known on occasion to offer an audience the opportunity to wear a second-hand cardigan that it has been cleaned for $20. After an initial “what’s the catch?” reluctance, a large proportion of the audience usually raise their hands to volunteer. At this point, I tell them that the cardigan previously belonged to a mass murderer. For US audiences, it’s Jeffrey Dahmer whereas Fred West is our psychopath of choice in the UK. At this point you probably realize that I am lying and the cardigan does not belong to either.

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The stigma of mental illness

By Norman Sartorius
When asked, many people with mental illness will say that the consequences of the stigma of mental illness are worse than the illness itself. Stigmatization affects the position that people have in their community, their employment, their housing, the size and functioning of their social network. An episode of mental illness which is well treated may leave no trace in the mental state or functional capacity of the individual. Yet the stigma related to the disease will last for the rest of a person’s life and even often have repercussions for descendants of the person who experienced a stigmatizing illness.

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What is the probability that you are dreaming right now?

By Jan Westerhoff
Most people think that even though it is possible that they are dreaming right now, the probability for this is very small, perhaps as small as winning the lottery or being struck by lightning. In fact the probability is quite high. Let’s do the maths.

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Hitting the trail while wearing red, white, and blue

By Michael Otto
This summer, nonfiction reading lists are replete with voices from the battlefield. On bestseller lists, accounts from World War II are only a few steps away from inside perspectives on today’s Seal Teams. And regardless of the theater of battle or the decade of conflict, one cannot turn the final pages of these books without a deep appreciation of the value of team for those in conflict. The fighting unit, the organizational basis by which men and women at war live their daily lives, inspires tremendous loyalty — appropriate to the life and death contingencies members of the team face together. In battle, being a strong team member can save your life as well as the lives of those around you.

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Alice in Wonderland in Psychiatry and Medicine

By Susan Bélanger and Edward Shorter
Written by Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pen name Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published on 4 July 1865. The book has remained in print ever since, becoming one of the most popular and influential works in all of literature. Alice has been translated into nearly a hundred languages, appeared in countless stage and screen adaptations, and continues to resonate throughout both academia and popular culture.

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Mindfulness is more than stress management

By Holly Rogers, M.D.
At the university counseling center where I work, the students are limp with relief when the semester finally grinds to an end and summer arrives. For college students and graduate students around the country, summer brings a much-needed break from the pressures of the academic year. However, academic pressures are not the only challenges facing emerging adults, young people between the ages of 19-29. They are typically dealing with a wide range of challenges and stressors that are related to their stage of life; they are in the midst of a developmental process that can take quite a bit of fortitude to resolve.

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The transformation of listening with the Walkman

By Amanda Krause
Not long ago, I saw an image floating around the Internet. It simply displayed two items — a cassette tape and a pencil — along with the following statement: “our children will never know the link between the two.” Upon a quick search to locate that image the other day, it looks like it was the topic of a reddit post back in 2011. But as viral things tend to do, it lingered, making its way into Facebook posts and into Internet “age tests” aimed at prompting either confusion or nostalgic reflection.

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Excluded, suspended, required to withdraw

By Maureen Duffy
When can social experiences cause as much suffering and hurt as physical pain? The answer is when they involve rejection and social exclusion. There are endless ways, both small and large, in which people can reject and exclude you and participate in making your life miserable.

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