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[Perspectives] The body politic

Last year the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for this year’s US Presidential election. “I am not a politician”, he told supporters in Baltimore, “I don’t want to be a politician. Politicians do what is politically expedient and I am going to do what is right.” For several months Carson seemed to be the main threat to the ambitions of another Republican anti-politician, the businessman Donald Trump, though his challenge has since faded. Carson’s qualifications for the presidency have been called into question, but his pedigree as a clinician is not in doubt: appointed Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in 1984 at the age of 33, he achieved prominence some 3 years later for the first successful separation (with survival) of occipital craniopagus twins, and retired in 2013 as a respected member of his profession.