Saturday, August 30, 2008

Flu Shot and the Elderly

Flu shot does not cut risk of death in elderly

Fri Aug 29, 12:44 pm ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – While influenza vaccination does provide protection against catching the flu, it does not have a major impact on death in the elderly, contrary to what some studies have suggested, a new study suggests.
In prior studies, an impressive 50 percent reduction in death from any cause had been noted in elderly people who got a flu shot, but some researchers were skeptical of this degree of benefit, suggesting that it may have been the result of the "healthy user effect." The new study supports this line of thinking.
The study included more than 700 elderly people, half of whom had gotten a flu shot and half of whom had not. After controlling for a variety of factors that were largely not considered or simply not available in previous studies, the researchers concluded that any death benefit "if present at all, was very small and statistically non-significant and may simply be a healthy-user artifact that they were unable to identify."
"The healthy-user effect," study chief Dr. Sumit Majumdar of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada explained in a statement, "is seen in what doctors often refer to as their 'good' patients -- patients who are well-informed about their health, who exercise regularly, do not smoke or have quit, drink only in moderation, watch what they eat, come in regularly for health maintenance visits and disease screenings, take their medications exactly as prescribed -- and quite religiously get vaccinated each year so as to stay healthy. Such attributes are almost impossible to capture in large scale studies using administrative databases."
"Over the last two decades in the United Sates, even while (flu) vaccination rates among the elderly have increased from 15 to 65 percent, there has been no commensurate decrease in hospital admissions or all-cause mortality," added co-investigator Dr. Dean T. Eurich, who is also with the University of Alberta.
"Further, only about 10 percent of winter-time deaths in the United States are attributable to influenza, thus to suggest that the vaccine can reduce 50 percent of deaths from all causes is implausible in our opinion," he added.
The study involved 352 patients given the vaccine and 352 matched control subjects. Overall, 85 percent of patients were over 64 years of age. Severe pneumonia was seen in 29 percent of patients and 12 percent of the patients died.
Flu vaccination was, in fact, associated with reduced mortality of about 50 percent (8 percent vs. 15 percent mortality in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups, respectively), and this finding did not change after accounting for age, gender, or co-existing illnesses.
However, after adjusting for other potential confounders, including functional and socioeconomic status, the mortality reduction was weakened and no longer statistically significant.
"Previous studies were likely measuring a benefit not directly attributable to the vaccine itself, but something specific to the individuals who were vaccinated -- a healthy-user benefit or frailty bias," Eurich concluded in a statement.
SOURCE: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, September 2008.
Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited.

Very interesting. I wonder why how why now a study like this is funded and highlighted in a traditional medical journal. Maybe because of the ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine last year. As continue to see, it always comes down to economics. Who funded the study, maybe insurance companies since they foot the bill? When did they begin and end the study? Was it data already in existence? Non the less, it's very telling.

The Vaccine Debate

It's no secret that I am one of the many people that believe our vaccine protocol is one of the triggers to the Autism epidemic. Not just Thimerosal, but the entire childhood protocol. People don't read every blog entry I've posted, why would they? That being said, many people will make incorrect correlations or inferences about what my stance is about many topics I post, especially vaccines.

In a nutshell, I feel that ASD, ADHD/ADD, and many other disorders and delays have multiple causative factors and triggers. This list includes genes, our food supply, our environmental pollution, electromagnetic exposure, and other byproducts of modern living. Being human will always be complicated, and I think any one person thinking they have all the answers, especially a one-size-fits all answer, can only be incorrect. I don't believe all vaccines are bad. I have never been anti-vaccine. It's just what we have here today I view as disturbing and very wrong.

I've had the opportunity to know many children on the spectrum, all walking around with their own unique blend of Autism, their unique blend of causative factors, and their unique lifestyle scenario. Regressive form, congenital, what have you.

One day this issue will be behind us. That I know for sure, we just haven't hit rock bottom. At what cost, at what irreversible cost, no one can be certain.

My friend over at shared a great resource with me, called "Key realities about autism, vaccines, vaccine-injury compensation, Thimerosal, and autism-related research" by Paul G. Kinga, PhD and Gary S. Goldmanb, PhD. I couldn't figure out how to convert a PDF into html or something I could link to, so I apologize I don't have a direct way for you to see this research. If you are interested, I'd recommend using whatever research tool you like to find it, like a PubMed.

Anyway, that's "my story and I'm sticking to it", on my blog that is. Ashley

Friday, August 22, 2008

Strep Infection Doesn't Worsen Childhood Tics or OCD Symptoms

Oops, I forgot to post this when it came out....

Strep infection doesn't worsen childhood tics or OCD symptoms
by Will Boggs, MD

2008-06-16 13:29:56 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Streptococcal infection does not cause exacerbations of childhood tics or obsessive-compulsive symptoms, according to a report in the June issue of Pediatrics.

"This study provides further evidence against the use of chronic antibiotic or immune-suppressing therapy to treat these patients, as has been suggested," Dr. Roger Kurlan from University of Rochester School of Medicine, New York told Reuters Health.

"Patients meeting criteria for PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections) seem to do fine with standard treatments for their symptoms of tics or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)."

Dr. Kurlan and colleagues sought to determine whether there is a bona fide relationship between antecedent group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal (GABHS) infection and exacerbation of symptoms in 40 children who met the published diagnostic criteria for PANDAS, which included a temporal relationship between the course of illness and GABHS infection. These children were matched with 40 controls, who had OCD or a chronic tic.

Sixty-five clinical exacerbations occurred during the study; of these, 40 episodes occurred in 21 PANDAS children and 25 episodes were seen in 14 control children, the authors report, resulting in exacerbation rates of 0.56 per person-year for PANDAS children and 0.28 per person-year for control subjects.

PANDAS children, however, had more than three-times the GABHS infection rate than control children (0.43 versus 0.13 per person-year), the report indicates, and the higher risk of clinical exacerbation of tics or OCD for PANDAS children did not reach statistical significance.

Only 5 of the 64 total clinical exacerbations of tics and/or OCD occurred within 4 weeks of GABHS infection, and all 5 occurred in PANDAS subjects.

Based on a variety of time intervals and infection classifications, 75% to 92.5% of exacerbations in PANDAS children occurred with no observed evidence of a temporal relationship to GABHS infection, the investigators say.

"Our study results must be interpreted with caution," the researchers note, "because the number of clinical exacerbations and the number of GABHS infections observed were smaller than originally anticipated, particularly in control subjects."

"The most surprising result was that for children meeting criteria for PANDAS, so few of their exacerbations were linked to strep infection," Dr. Kurlan said.

"It remains unclear if the PANDAS hypothesis is true as presented," Dr. Kurlan concluded. In another trial the investigators "found no evidence of immune factors in association with clinical exacerbations in PANDAS cases, casting doubt on the autoimmune hypothesis."

Pediatrics 2008;121:1188-1197.

Copyright Reuters 2008.
This research is very interesting but doesn't convince me of no link. Obviously there IS a link in my own home and with the myriad of children I read about and see with my own eyes day after day in elementary classrooms. My children also do not meet the exact description of PANDAS as outlined by the Am. Academy of Pediatrics. Funny though, I thought the AAP didn't agree to a diagnostic criteria for PANDAS, referring to it only as a theory. Now in this publishing they refer to a criteria. Makes you wonder what is going on here. Bottom line is there are atypical responses to strep too numerous to ignore. Autoimmune reactions to strep, 5ths disease, Lyme, and many other illnesses is very disturbing and warrant immediate funding and attention. This is the future and it's obviously not going away.
I've written more posts on this topic. Also go to my Labels on the right and click on P.A.N.D.A.S. or strep.

Other Things I'm Pissed About

So the FDA went ahead and green lighted farmers to irradiate spinach and lettuce. Nice. Let's put a bandaide on the symptom rather than address the problem of industrialized farming. I am fuming!!!! I guess I'll be making more room in my garden for these veggies because I'm certainly not going to eat grocery store spinach no matter how many times they wash it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vaccine Refusals Fuel Measles Outbreak


Vaccine refusals fuel measles outbreak

Parents refusing to have their children vaccinated against measles have helped drive cases of the illness to their worst levels in a dozen years in the United States, health officials reported on Thursday.

In 2008 alone, 131 cases of measles have been reported, with 15 serious enough to be hospitalized, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Most of those infected were not vaccinated and there is no reason for any cases to occur when vaccines can prevent them, the CDC said in a weekly report on death and diseases.

"Measles can be a severe, life-threatening illness" the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat said in a statement. "These cases resulted primarily from failure to vaccinate, many because of philosophical or religious belief."

Only 13 percent of the cases were imported, the CDC said, naming Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, India, Israel, China, Germany, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Russia. "This is the lowest percentage of imported measles cases since 1996," the CDC report reads.

At least 15 patients, including four children younger than 15, were hospitalized, although no one has died, the CDC said.

"In the decade before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3 to 4 million persons in the United States were infected each year. Of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis."

Encephalitis is a life-threatening inflammation of the brain that can be caused by viral infections such as measles.

More than 90 percent of the patients were not vaccinated, the CDC said, had no evidence of having been vaccinated, or were babies too young to have been vaccinated.

"Of the 95 patients eligible for vaccination, 63 were unvaccinated because of their or their parents' philosophical or religious beliefs," the CDC said.

Some religious groups refuse vaccination but many parents have fears that vaccines are unsafe or may cause conditions such as autism -- fears the CDC says are unfounded.

"Increases in the proportion of the population declining vaccination for themselves or their children might lead to large-scale outbreaks in the United States," the CDC said.

Outbreaks of measles are being reported now in Israel, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Britain among people who are declining the vaccine.

British health officials said in June that measles had again become endemic for the first time since the mid-1990s due to parents declining to get their children vaccinated.

The last serious U.S. outbreak was in 1989-1991, when 55,000 people got measles and 123 died. The CDC said 55 cases of measles were reported in 2006.

Measles kills about 250,000 people a year globally, mostly children in poor nations. The disease causes fever, coughing, irritation of the eyes and a rash. Serious complications include encephalitis and pneumonia that can be fatal.

"Measles knows no borders, but can be prevented for less than one dollar per child in a developing country. We must be steadfast in our efforts to reduce measles cases globally," the Measles Initiative, which includes the American Red Cross, CDC and United Nations agencies, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Michael Kahn)

Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited.

I am just LOVING this. Really! And not because I want everyone to get measles. Things may finally be coming to a head. Apparently having 1 in 150 kids pop up on the spectrum isn't enough. Human nature, things have to get worse for them to get better. And it always comes down to money. Maybe lots and lots of measles will force change within the child vaccine protocol.

Friday, August 15, 2008

FDA to hold meeting on baby bottle chemical (BPA)

FDA to hold meeting on baby bottle chemical

Fri Aug 15, 3:15 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it will hold a public meeting next month about the safety of a chemical found in baby bottles and many other products.
Environmental groups say the chemical, bisphenol A, can hurt children and animals. But the FDA and European regulators, as well as the plastics industry, say it is safe.
The National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health, has issued a draft report expressing concern that bisphenol A could cause neural and behavioral problems in fetuses, infants and children.
The FDA said its meeting would focus on this.
The chemical, commonly known as BPA, is used in polycarbonate bottles, including water bottles and baby bottles, as well as the lining of cans including infant formula cans.
Environmental and consumer safety groups have pointed to studies that show the chemical can interfere with how the body absorbs the hormone estrogen, which is key to the development of young bodies.
The meeting, set for September 16, will welcome public input, the FDA said.
The agency has posted a draft assessment that says further study of the chemical's safety is badly needed, as there is not enough information now to judge whether people are taking in unsafe levels -- and what those unsafe levels might be.
Democratic U.S. senators in April introduced a bill to ban BPA in children's products. Canada is also moving to ban it.
U.S. states including California, Maryland, Minnesota and Michigan are considering bills to ban or restrict BPA in children's products.
But a scientific panel of the European Food Safety Authority said last month it had looked into how people metabolize BPA and concluded that the tiny amounts of the chemical to which humans are exposed leave the body quickly enough to cause no harm.
Some retailers and manufacturers have said they will stop using the chemical in some products.
(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Xavier Briand)
Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited.

In case you hadn't seen this earlier this year....As always, one of the last lines in an FDA related story is the most telling. Yeah, maybe we should look into how people metabolize BPA. Or perhaps NOT metabolize it as with our ASD children and 1 in 6 children today with developmental delays or disorders. Yeah, maybe we SHOULD look into if it's "leaving the body quickly enough to cause no harm." Hmm...well you have these bottles, then you got your chemicals in food, and the toxins we breathe in and touch. Hmm...will one day they realize how big this really is?