Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 14 September 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:610

A little change here and there can make a huge difference. The children's ward in Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge has introduced a chef to the team. The ward cook has been cooking to order, allowing children to request food from a range of delicacies at a time that suits them. The scheme was cooked up when it became apparent that meal times clashed with children's treatments and failed to take account of the sensitivity of tastebuds and reduced appetite that can be induced by chemotherapy and radiotherapy (Health Service Journal 2006 Aug 31: 10).

Nerve endings in the skin that respond to cold temperatures and to chemicals that simulate cold, such as menthol, may offer a new avenue for treating chronic pain due to nerve injury. British researchers induced chronic pain in rats and then treated them with menthol or icilin (a similar cooling chemical). Both treatments activated the so called coolness receptor in the skin, producing an analgesic effect (Current Biology 2006;16:1591-605).

Two million years ago, the primate brain started growing in size at a disproportionate rate, outstripping the mental complexity of its simian cousins. And thanks to the growth in genomic technology, we are beginning …

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