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Leonard Shlain, surgeon and author, dies

SAN FRANCISCO, May 19 (UPI) -- Leonard Shlain, a pioneer of laparoscopic surgery and author of three best-selling books, has died at 71 in San Francisco of brain cancer.

Shlain had been ill for about two years, the Los Angeles Times reports. He died May 11.

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A native of Detroit, Shlain received his medical training at Wayne State University. He moved to California after service as a military surgeon and spent most of his career at California Pacific Medical Center and also taught at the University of California in San Francisco.

Shlain held several patents for instruments used in laparoscopic surgery, which involves the use of very small cameras for remote control of surgical instruments. The surgery, performed through small incisions, is less invasive.

In middle age, Shlain began taking an interest in art and anthropology, trying, he said, to fill gaps in his education. The result was three books, "Art & Physics," "The Alphabet versus the Goddess" and "Sex, Time and Power," the latter two putting forth controversial theories on sex and evolution.

His fourth book, "Leonardo's Brain," is scheduled to be published next year.

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