BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39457.551701.47 (Published 17 January 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:164

Traditional surgical hand washing using soap and water was estimated to use 931 938 litres of water a year at one institution. Alcohol based disinfectants cost no more for each wash than traditional agents. The authors suggest that surgeons could adopt a more green approach, and that they should at least be aware of the environmental impact of their profession (Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 2008;90:22-4; doi: 10.1308/003588408X242277).

Regeneration of nerve fibres in the spinal column after injury has proved difficult and hasn’t produced functional recovery. Now scientists report that neurones within intact portions of the spinal column near the lesion do rewire after injury, and these spinal neurones can relay signals from the brain to neurones below the lesion and can restore walking in injured animals (Nature Medicine 6 January 2008; doi: 10.1038/nm1682). Targeting the remodelling of relay connections may be a more promising strategy for humans with spinal cord injury, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. …

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