Month: August 2015

Operating theatre teams should review use of background music, study suggests

SurgeryThe study, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, suggests that communication within the theatre team can be impaired when music is playing. For instance, requests from a surgeon to a nurse for instruments or supplies were often repeated and there was qualitative evidence of frustration or tension within some of the teams

Sharon-Marie Weldon, (Senior Research Officer working in Surgery) a lead author on the study said:  “Music can be helpful to staff working in operating theatres where there is often a lot of background noise, as well as other distractions – it can improve concentration. That said, we’d like to see a more considered approach, with much more discussion or negotiation over whether music is played, the type of music, and volume, within the operating teams.”

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Scientists solve mystery behind earthworm digestion

wormScientists have discovered how earthworms can digest plant material, such as fallen leaves, that would defeat most other herbivores.

Earthworms are responsible for returning the carbon locked inside dead plant material back into the ground. They drag fallen leaves and other plant material down from the surface and eat them, enriching the soil, and they do this in spite of toxic chemicals produced by plants to deter herbivores.

The scientists, led by Dr Jake Bundy (Computational Systems Medicine) and Dr Manuel Liebeke, have identified molecules in the earthworm gut that counteract the plant’s natural defences and enable digestion. Their work is published today (4 August 2015) in Nature Communications and includes support from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the University of Oxford, and Cardiff University.

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Young Scientist Success

WEFEach year, the World Economic Forum selects 40 extraordinary scientists under the age of 40 to participate alongside business and political leaders in the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China. These scientists are selected from all regions of the world and from a wide range of disciplines to bring value to the Meeting by contributing their scientific perspective and delivering the most up-to-date trends from various fields of science.

Huge congratulations go to Jia Li and Kirill Veselkov who have both been selected to join the Young Scientist programme in China this year and will attend the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, taking place on 9-11 September in Dalian, People’s Republic of China.

Lord Darzi appointed Non-Executive Director of NHS Improvement



Professor the Lord Ara Darzi has been appointed as Non-Executive Director of the new merger between Monitor and NHS TDA, now known as NHS Improvement.

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt announced the merge in a recent King’s Fund speech. He has appointed NHS England’s Deputy Chair Ed Smith as new Chair of the body and Lord Darzi as Non-Executive Director. A Chief Executive is yet to be appointed.

Read full story here.

ESSO Course on Diagnosis and Management of Pancreatic NeroEndocrine Tumours

The European Society of Surgical Oncology is currently running a course on diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.

The programme aims to give participants an overview on diagnosis and treatment of this condition to young and more senior surgeons who want to develop a specific knowledge on this topic. Adequate evidence-based information will be provided and few controversial topics will be discussed.


More information on the programme can be found here.


DNA discovery confirms new clinical biomarker in predicting breast cancer risk

CancerDr James Flanagan – Senior Lecturer in the Division of Cancer has been involved in research looking into identifying a new biomarker in the blood that could help identify more women at a high risk of breast cancer.

In a prospective study, researchers from Imperial College London and the Human Genetics Foundation (HuGeF) in Torino, Italy, have concluded that DNA methylation levels in blood cells are associated with breast cancer risk, and could be used to identify women at high risk of developing the disease.

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