Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

What are ‘political’ black churches?

Much attention has been given to white evangelical congregations and parachurch groups in studies of so-called “political churches” and politically active Christians. While studies of such white evangelical congregations have been at the forefront of scholarly attention to religious politics, the historic participation (and debate over the participation) of black churches in the civil rights era of the 1950s and 60s…

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Addressing rare, toxic downside of immunotherapy

The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network announced in mid-February their intent to issue day-to-day guidelines for physicians managing severe side effects from immune checkpoint inhibitors—a type of immunotherapy that works with a patient’s own immune system to attack cancer. They hope to release a document by the end of the year.

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FEMS Microbiology Letters

100 years of E. coli strain Nissle 1917

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a common bacteria found in the the lower intestine of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Whilst most strains are harmless, some can cause serious gastroenteritis, or food poisoning. However, one special strain, E. coli strain Nissle 1917 (EcN), is specifically used to prevent digestive disruption. Since its discovery 100 years ago, EcN is probably the most intensely investigated bacterial strain today.

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Challenges of a hometown oral history performance

One of my first oral history performance experiences was watching E. Patrick Johnson perform Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales, the readers theater version of his oral history collection, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, at Texas A&M University.

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Digging for the truth?: Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland

In the summer of 2014, reports that a ‘septic tank grave’ containing the skeletal remains of ‘800 babies’ was discovered within the grounds of a former home for ‘unmarried mothers’ in Tuam, County Galway, featured prominently as an international news ‘story.’ Interest in the issue was prompted by the tireless and tenacious work of a local amateur historian, Catherine Corless.

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Are the microbes in our gut affecting how fast we age?

The collection of microbial life in the gut, known as the microbiota, may be considered an accessory organ of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a self-contained, multi-cellular, biochemically active mass with specialized functions. Some functions are important for life such as vitamin K synthesis, an essential molecule in blood clotting. Others are responsible for training and maintaining a healthy immune system or digesting indigestible food products such as insoluble fiber.

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Earth Day 2017: reading for environmental & climate literacy

Earth Day is celebrated globally on 22 April in support of environmental protection. The theme for 2017’s Earth Day is “Environmental & Climate Literacy” – and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate knowledge of the environment and climate than with a reading list. These books, chapters, and articles can add to your understanding of Earth through topics such as climate change, natural phenomena, and what practical steps are being taken to help protect our planet.

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Reflecting on the Armenian Genocide

April 2014 marked the centenary of the initiation of mass murders of Armenians in Anatolia—events now known as the Armenian Genocide. As Robert Melson notes in the below introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies’ virtual issue on the subject, Turkish governments have consistently denied that the persecutions resulted from a policy of genocide.

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Is epigenomics the next breakthrough in precision medicine?

Epigenomics holds a lot of promise for cancer treatments, but there are still many more questions that we need to answer. How does the epigenome of a healthy person look, and how does the epigenome change as we age? How does the epigenome of a sick person differ? In the future, these important questions will be addressed by personalized epigenomics, which tries to extract information out of a comprehensive picture of a person’s epigenome.

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On the origins of “dad bod”

A few years back the phrase “dad bod” emerged to describe men, especially fathers, who have hints of lean muscle lurking beneath noticeable body fat, perhaps particularly around their bellies. There’s increasing evidence that men in industrialized countries like the United States tend to gain weight after they move in with a partner, marry, or become parents, lending some credence to the “dad” in dad bod.

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Tending the roots: a response to Daniel Kerr

As a young person, I spent several hours a week learning with a group of immigrants who did maintenance work at a local golf course in Virginia. Supposedly, I was helping them learn English. I did do some of that. A lot of what I did, though, was learn.

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JEEA cover

Ignorance as an excuse

Despite unequivocal scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change, many people are skeptical that climate change is man-made, or even real. For instance, lawmakers in North-Carolina passed a bill requiring local planning agencies’ to ignore the latest climate science to predict sea level rise in several coastal counties. They say that ignorance is bliss, but why would we not want to know useful information?

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Remains of ancient “mini planets” in Mars’s orbit

The planet Mars shares its orbit with a few small asteroids called “Trojans”. Recently, an international team of astronomers have found that most of these objects share a common composition and are likely the remains of a mini-planet that was destroyed by a collision long ago. Trojan asteroids move in orbits with the same average distance from the Sun as a planet, trapped within gravitational “safe havens” 60 degrees in front of and behind the planet.

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In search of a “good” Anthropocene? Physiology can help

While much of the rhetoric surrounding the Anthropocene has been markedly negative, there has recently been a push by many scientists for a more positive narrative. Specifically, researchers are posing the question: can the Anthropocene be good? A good Anthropocene would balance the preservation of the natural world with realistic societal needs and consumption.

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Preventing misdiagnosis of intracranial pressure disorders on diagnostic imaging

Imaging can build a stronger case for a specific diagnosis when several findings associated with that condition are present, making it important for those interpreting the images to be aware of the full scope of imaging findings in each ICP disorder. Finally, open and constructive communication between radiologists and clinical specialists is key to correct diagnosis, starting with appropriate clinical information

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Wearable health trackers: a revolution in cancer care

Activity trackers, wearable electronics that collect data passively and can be worn on the body, infiltrated the world’s fitness market in the last decade. Those devices allowed consumers to track steps and heart rate. Next, wearable devices overtook the chronic illness market, giving patients the power to track health behavior and adherence to medication, which could be easily reported back to doctors.

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