BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7031.648 (Published 09 March 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:648

The body's circadian timer, which tells us when to wake and when to sleep, has become familiar from the effects of crossing time zones during air travel. It now seems that there is another internal clock (Science 1996;271:905-6), which allows humans and animals to measure shorter time intervals. But whereas the circadian clock is set by the rising and setting of the sun, the interval timer seems to function like a sandglass, with molecules of dopamine serving the function of grains of sand.

Two reports and an editorial in the “New England Journal of Medicine” (1996;334:549-60;594-5) describe transmission of hepatitis B and C viruses from infected surgeons to their patients, and the editorial concludes that the current guidelines designed to protect patients may not be adequate. Tougher guidelines and mandatory testing of surgeons might, however, make surgeons reluctant to operate on patients who are infected. The way forwards, the editorial concludes, is to make the surgical environment safer by changing instruments and techniques.

Cell free preparations of cross linked haemoglobin have been developed as an alternative to red cells for transfusion: the advantages over blood include a long storage time, freedom from infections, and …

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