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  1. Surgeon sets out head transplant plan

    Human head transplants could be performed within two years, according to an Italian surgeon.

    Sergio Canavero has set out his ideas for undertaking the procedure in a surgical journal.

    He claims a head transplant - or rather a body transplant - could help people with muscle or nervous system wasting diseases or even those with advanced cancer.

    He proposes to fuse the spinal cords together using polyethylene glycol.

    He set out his ideas in Surgical Neurology International last month.

    The procedure was performed on a monkey in 1970 in Cleveland, USA, and surgeons claimed it was a success because the hybrid animal lived for nine days.

    Speaking to the New Scientist Mr Canavero said it was possible permission would be given for the procedure somewhere in the world.

    He said: "If society doesn't want it, I won't do it. But if people don't want it, in the US or Europe, that doesn't mean it won't be done somewhere else.

    "I'm trying to go about this the right way, but before going to the moon, you want to make sure people will follow you."

    Surg Neurol Int 3 February 2015 [abstract]

  2. Most GPs want early retirement - survey

    Well over half of the UK's GPs expect to quit their jobs before the age of 60, according to a survey published today.

    Only 6% of doctors said they would definitely carry on beyond the age of 60 in the survey conducted for the BBC Inside Out programme.

    Some 1,004 doctors took part in the survey and 25% said they would definitely give up before the age of 60.

    GP Dr Krishna Kasaraneni said today: “In my own practice, two established GPs and one newly qualified GP have moved to Canada and Australia since last summer due to the unsustainable daily pressure facing GPs.

    “If this situation becomes normality it will result in an accelerating decline in the overall number of GPs, and will present a threat to patient care as there will be too few GPs for the number of patients walking through the surgery doors."

    Dr Kasaraneni, who chairs a British Medical Association training committee, said: "GP services are under unprecedented workload pressure, with practices seeing record numbers of patients - 40 million more annually than in 2008 – against a background of mounting bureaucracy and falling resources.

    “This has led to a significant drop in GP morale, and, as the BBC’s survey shows, has led to a worrying number of senior GPs choosing to retire early or work abroad, at the same time that general practice faces a serious shortfall in the number of doctors choosing to train as GPs."

  3. New dean for Imperial

    An expert in the dengue virus is to take the helm of a leading London medical school, it has been announced.

    Professor Gavin Screaton assumed the job of dean of medicine at Imperial College, London, yesterday.

    Professor Screaton joined the medical school of chair of medicine in 2004.

    He is an honorary consultant at Hammersmith Hospital, London, and leads a medical grand round there. He also holds a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award for his research into the immunology of infectious diseases.

    His predecessor Professor Dermot Kelleher is to be Dean of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

    Professor Screaton said: "The Faculty of Medicine at Imperial hosts an extraordinarily talented body of staff and students.

    "It has been a great privilege to work alongside colleagues from all disciplines at Imperial, where we combine our talents to educate scientists and clinicians of the future and use our expertise in basic and clinical science to change lives."

  4. Young ears at risk - WHO

    Nightclubs and smartphones are placing the hearing of a generation of adults at risk, according to health experts.

    The problem is world-wide, according to the World Health Organisation.

    Across middle and high income countries, nearly 50% of teenagers and young adults are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from personal audio devices, it says.

    And almost as many put their hearing at risk at clubs and other entertainment venues, it says.

    It issued its warning in advance of International Ear Care Day tomorrow.

    WHO called for governments to introduce "strict legislation" on recreational noise.

    Dr Etienne Krug, from WHO, said: “As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss.

    “They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back. Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk.”



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