BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a588 (Published 01 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a588

One week it’s oxygen in wounds to try and reduce infection, next week it could be carbon dioxide. The hypothesis is that applying carbon dioxide intraoperatively to open surgical wounds avoids the risk of wound infection by reducing airborne bacterial contamination, drying out, and heat loss, which all contribute to bacterial load, cause superficial necrosis, and impair tissue oxygenation and cellular immune functions. The theory has yet to be put to the test, but if it works in a clinical trial, the new method could be an alternative or addition to using antibiotics (Medical Hypotheses 2008;71:8-13, doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2007.12.016).

Up to a quarter of babies who have succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome have been found with their heads covered. Analysis of two separate case-control studies suggests that head covering at death was associated with older babies—which probably reflects greater motor development—and very sweaty babies. It’s likely to have been part of the causal pathway …

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