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BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 29 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5423

When a person’s sense of smell is blocked, their brain activity changes but quickly reverses when smell is restored (Nature Neuroscience 2012, doi:10.1038/nn.3186). Willing participants had their nostrils completely blocked before spending a week in a low odour ward of a hospital. The findings show that while odour perception before and after olfactory deprivation was largely unchanged, participants’ brain activity changed significantly. A week later, the brain changes had reversed; this effect differs from sight deprivation, which leaves a sustained cerebral effect.

A load distributing band used for chest compression in people presenting to the emergency department with cardiac arrest improves neurologically intact survival. A Singaporean study of 1011 patients compared manual cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with mechanical CPR using the band. The mean duration from collapse to arrival was similar for both techniques, but the mechanical procedure had a significantly higher rate of survival to hospital discharge, and significantly more survivors with …

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