BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7423 (Published 06 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7423

People with pale skin and red hair are not just vulnerable to sun exposure. Red hair alone seems to trigger an ultraviolet independent pathway that increases the risk of melanoma (Nature 2012, doi:10.1038/nature11624). Pale skinned people who don’t tan produce the red-yellow pigment phaeomelanin (with weak ultraviolet shielding capacity) instead of the black-brown pigment eumelanin. Mice with red hair traits even in the absence of ultraviolet exposure have a high incidence of skin cancers. This effect is not seen in pigment-free albino mice, suggesting phaeomelanin itself is carcinogenic.

Hands-on defibrillation could improve cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and is safe for rescuers. Twenty anaesthetised pigs were subjected to seven minutes of ventricular fibrillation followed by either hands-on defibrillation (where rescuers wore theatre clogs and two pairs of polyethylene gloves, the contact field between rescuer and animal was dry, and the shocks were delivered while the chest compressions were being delivered) or hands-off defibrillation. CPR was equally successful in both groups, worked slightly faster in the hands-on group, and the rescuers sensed no electrical stimuli nor …

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