St George's professor leads call for car smoking ban

St George’s pregnancy expert Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran has joined a group of the country’s top doctors to call for a ban on smoking in cars. Sir Arul and 19 leading national medics have urged the government to protect children from passive smoking by extending prohibitive legislation. They want to ban smoking in cars, as well as in public places frequented by children.

Sir Arul, who is president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and his colleagues made their plea in a letter published in The Times. Amongst Sir Arul’s fellow signatories are another 12 presidents of medical royal colleges.

St George's expert leads drive to improve children's nutrition

St George’s child nutrition expert Dr Anthony Williams is heading a new government scheme to improve the nutrition of toddlers in England. Dr Williams has been announced as the chair of an advisory panel that will review food standards in nurseries.

The panel will investigate the current provision of food and drink to children in childcare, and make recommendations to ensure they are getting nutritious, balanced diets. The announcement of the new review coincides with findings published by the School Food Trust raising concerns about the quality of food served by nurseries. The trust has warned that much of the food is high in fat, sugar and salt, and lacking in nutrients. It also said pre-school children could be eating adult portions and additives usually banned from food aimed at their age group.

Genetically engineered tobacco plant cleans up environmental toxin

Researchers find that a new strain of tobacco plant can make antibodies to toxic pond scum that affects humans, livestock and wildlife.

Tobacco might become as well known for keeping us healthy as it is for causing illness thanks to scientists from St George’s, University of London.

St George’s professor demands action on increased prescription drug abuse

The rapid global spread of prescription drug addiction must be dealt with immediately, according to the head of the International Centre for Drug Policy at St George’s, University of London. And Professor Hamid Ghodse also issued a warning about uncontrolled new drugs being used for sexual abuse.

Professor Hamid Ghodse of St George’s made his prescription drugs plea at the launch of the International Narcotics Control Board’s 2009 report in Vienna. Prof Ghodse is former president of the INCB, the United Nations’ global drugs watchdog, and is one of the report’s authors.

Student doctors to deliver vital healthcare to remote communities in South Asia

A group of trainee medics is preparing to visit Nepal to provide essential medical care to poor rural communities.The students, all from St George’s, University of London, are organising the second annual trip to Nepal as part of the student-run project Health Partnership Nepal. They will be joined by doctors and nurses from St George’s and elsewhere, when they travel to the South Asian country in April.

They will run two medical camps and three surgical camps, providing free primary care, surgery, and public health to people who otherwise could not access essential treatment. The two-week trip follows the success of last year’s inaugural HPN visit, and is run in partnership with Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital.