* The idea of the pre op fast is outdated and unnecessary. Although fasting times have been reduced in the past few years, they are still too long, says Bruno Simini from the anaesthesia unit at Lucca Hospital. Tradition and logistical problems at hospitals mean that changes will be slow, but anaesthetists could at least offer the patient some liquids two hours before surgery (Lancet 1999; 353: 862).
* The first urine passed by newborns can carry potentially cancer causing tobacco metabolites if the mother smoked during pregnancy, a study has found. The metabolites were found in 22 of the 31 babies of smokers in a study by the University of Minnesota (J Natl Cancer Inst, 1999; 91: 459-65).