Well I was looking for a Friday afternoon sort of post and you know when you wait a while and two come at once?.. So firstly, some may recall that I have previously highlighted the utility of a sensitive nose in detecting a variety of things in a previous post. In a study just posted online first in the Journal of Hospital Infection, a springer spaniel was trained to detect C. difficile in the environment with a fair degree of success, especially for detecting rooms in which C. difficile was not present.The problem that I have with this small study is that the Springer seems to have been trained on C. difficile odours when the specimens were fresh and I have no idea whether spores that have been hanging around for a while would also emit a scent. Whilst I can’t see Rover becoming a routine monitoring tool for room cleanliness, the concept of scent detection remains interesting to me and I do still wonder if a less hairy, more portable electronic version of a springer’s nose could be developed.
The other paper I though was interesting was an opinion piece just appearing in Clinical Infectious Diseases on the value of surgeons operating in the buff. This paper is well worth a read as there are some good discussion points on theatre attire and how there has been considerable debate on this with conflicting guidelines from AORN and WHO. This is pretty much an evidence-free zone and I suspect that it will remain so, though the paper suggests that naked surgeons shed less organisms than clothed ones, presumably because the clothing acts as a cheese grater on the skin. Actually, I do recall a paper from Craig Mackintosh and Peter Hoffman a number of years ago suggesting that the optimum for a surgeon was that he should be naked and lightly oiled. Well I’d certainly rather my surgeon was lightly rather than well-oiled. The main risk from a naked surgeon going commando I suggest is to the surgeon himself in terms of irreparable damage to the ego.