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Health & Wellness


Children need chickenpox jab, say doctors

All children should be vaccinated against chickenpox after new research showed the disease caused the deaths of six youngsters in one year, doctors have urged.

Parents are already worried about the number of jabs administered to children

Comment: In a follow on article in the Daily Telegraph we read this:-

Chickenpox vaccine 'will overload children'

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
Last Updated: 2:26am GMT 08/11/2007

The prospect of another vaccine for children has been criticised by campaigners who say the Government would be ''irresponsible" to add a chickenpox jab to an already congested programme of immunisation.

If it was to be added it would take the total number of diseases children are protected against from 12 to 13.

They are given in 17 different injections by the age of 18, including the new jab for the human papilloma virus vaccine - a cause of cervical cancer - which is to be introduced next year.

Campaigners say there are already too many jabs in the childhood programme and children's immune systems are being overloaded.

The concerns come after research into the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine linked it to autism and bowel conditions.
As a result thousands of worried parents decided not to vaccinate their children.

Dr Andrew Wakefield's study was later withdrawn from The Lancet and widely discredited.

He is facing an inquiry by the General Medical Council over the way the research was conducted.

Jackie Fletcher, from the campaign group Jabs, said: "We have to make sure the vaccine is safer than the disease. We need to investigate adverse events.

"There are thousands of families reporting damage to us after the MMR vaccine and some of them have received a Government payment which is a Government acknowledgement that the child's condition or death has been caused by the MMR vaccine.

"For them (the Government) to consider introducing another live vaccine into the MMR is irresponsible.

"If we have to have a vaccine against chickenpox it should be a single vaccine and offered as an option."

Campaigners said data from America suggested 79 deaths had followed vaccination with a four-in-one vaccine containing chickenpox, measles, mumps and rubella and more than 32,000 ''adverse events" had been reported.

It is not known whether these deaths and side effects were caused by the vaccine - they were simply recorded as having occurred at some point afterwards.

In the 10 years the vaccine has been used in America more than 10 million doses have been administered.

Dr David Elliman, a consultant in community child health at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said it was impossible to overload a child's immune system with vaccines and said there is no evidence to support that theory.

He said if the immune system was damaged by vaccines children would catch more infections after having jabs, but they do not.

He also said vaccination did not increase the risk of developing auto-immune diseases like asthma, diabetes, or arthritis, as some have claimed, and that studies have shown vaccinated children are not more likely to develop these conditions.

Dr Elliman added that although children are given more injections now than 20 years ago, the vaccines in total contained fewer proteins and so are less of a challenge for the immune system to deal with.

He said that because parental confidence was still returning after the MMR scare it would be best to wait a little longer before introducing chicken pox to the jab.


Hide your old pills in poop, government says

Got some leftover drugs -- the kind that someone else might want to use, such as painkillers or stimulants? Wrap them up in used kitty litter or other pet droppings, the government advises.



Safety agency issues new batch of toy recalls

More recalls of lead-tainted toys made in China were announced on Wednesday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including 380,000 toy cars sold at Dollar General stores.

Other warnings included smaller recalls of Dizzy Ducks music boxes, Winnie-the-Pooh spinning tops, "Big Red" wagons, Dragster and Funny Car toys, and Duck Family collectible wind-up toys, all because of paint with unsafe levels of lead.


Sunbathing 'slows ageing process'

Sunbathing can slow the ageing process by up to five years, according to new research.

Scientists have found that people who avoid the sun, or have inadequate vitamin D in their diet, are subject to genetic damage associated with ageing and age-related illnesses.

Red Flag

Study Connects Pill to Artery Buildups

ORLANDO, Fla. - A troubling study from Belgium hints that long-term use of oral contraceptives _ at least the high-estrogen ones sold decades ago _ might increase the chances of having artery buildups that can raise the risk of heart disease.


Hallucinogenic drug found in Christmas toy

Bindeez had been tipped as one of the must-have toys this Christmas

A popular toy has been withdrawn from shops because of fears it may contain a potentially lethal hallucinogenic drug.

Bindeez, which allows young children to make animals and other shapes from beads, were predicted to be a popular present this Christmas.

Retailers, including Woolworths and Argos, withdrew the sets after Moose Entertainment, an Australian company that designed the product, admitted that a "small number" of children in Australia needed treatment after swallowing the beads.


Anti-smoking agenda 'caused air pollution problem to be obscured'

Governments concealed the huge threat to public health caused by air pollution in the wake of the great London smog 50 years ago, and attempted to shift all the blame on to cigarette smoking, a medical historian will allege today.


Overweight people have lower death rate

About two years ago, a group of federal researchers reported that overweight people have a lower death rate than people who are normal weight, underweight or obese. Now, investigating further, they found out which diseases are more likely to lead to death in each weight group.


Beautiful Outside, Rotten Inside: Israeli Youth Addicted to Dieting

The percentage of Israeli girls who are on a diet is one of the highest in the West but not because they are overweight, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday, quoting a new study.

The study, conducted by Dr. Yossi Harel of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Bar-Ilan University, included 106,119 14-year olds from 33 countries, of which 1,500 Israeli boys and 2,000 girls.


Do Energy Drinks Jolt The Heart?

Energy drinks may boost your blood pressure and heart rate, as well as your vitality, researchers say.

In a small study, they found that drinking just two cans of a popular drink increased blood pressure and heart rate within four hours.