This site is intended for health professionals only

‘Three-parent babies’ approved, individual surgeon performance data – and why we’re reaching for a tuna sandwich

‘Three-parent babies’ are close on the horizon, after the Government approved a new controversial IVF procedure using DNA from three people.

The mitochondrial transfer procedue could prevent the passing on of devastating genetic conditions, writes the Guardian.

The process, pioneered by Newcastle University researchers, involves taking a snippet of DNA from a healthy female donor to prevent the passing on of conditions such as muscular dystrophy, heart and liver conditions.

Around one in 6,500 people is born with faulty mitochondria, described as the tiny power unit inside our cells.

Later today, the first batch of individual performance data on English surgeons is due to be published on the NHS Choices website, reports BBC News.

Nine groups of specialisms are due to publish the information, including death rates, with vascular surgeons going first and the other groups to follow in the coming weeks.

But the BBC says that the move has been ‘overshadowed’ by surgeons refusing to take part, using data protection laws to do so. After a warning from Jeremy Hunt last week that those opting out would be publicly named only six out of nearly 500 vascular surgeons, who specialise on procedures on the arteries and veins, have opted out.

Meanwhile there is good news for parents of struggling school children after British researchers conclude that eating more fish or taking omega-3 supplements may boost their performance.

The Oxford University study found that many children with poor reading skills were deficient in omega-3, and those with the lowest levels had most difficulty concentrating and learning, the Telegraph reports.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and seafood, are required for healthy function of the brain, heart and immune system but among the children studied close to nine out of ten ate less than the recommended two portions of fish per week and one in ten never ate fish.

Dr Alex Richardson, who co-authored the study, said: ‘This study suggests that many, if not most, UK children probably aren’t getting enough of the long-chain Omega 3 we all need for a healthy brain, heart and immune system.’

‘That gives serious cause for concern - especially as we found that lower blood DHA was linked with poorer behaviour and learning in these children.’

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…