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Sat, 25 Jan 2020
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Biohazard

New oral polio vaccine to BYPASS key clinical trials as vaccine caused outbreaks overtake wild polio

polio oralno cjepivo
To stem a growing polio crisis, health officials are accelerating the development of a new oral vaccine with plans for emergency approval and deployment in regions with active polio transmission as early as June 2020. The new vaccine, called nOPV2, might conclusively end the outbreaks, caused by the live virus in the vaccine reverting to a virulent form. But expedited approval means skipping the real-world testing of large clinical trials.

Instead, key questions about the vaccine's effectiveness will be answered in the field.


Comment: And the children who suffer the consequences be damned?


"The nOPV strains have been tested in a small number of volunteers and we do not see reversion to neurovirulence," says Vincent Racaniello, a virologist at Columbia University, "but when they are used for mass immunization of millions of individuals, rare events can become evident."

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Biohazard

Indonesia the latest country hit by African Swine Fever outbreak

pig dead

Millions of pigs have been culled across Asia in a bid to curb the spread of the disease
Indonesia is the latest country to confirm African swine fever. The disease was detected in the North Sumatra (far northwest part of the multi-island nation) province, however, an official announcement was not unexpected as reports of increased pig mortality have been coming in from that region since late September.

The United Nation's Food and Ag Organization is coordinating with the country's Livestock and Animal Health Services on containment and control of the virus.

The majority of Indonesians practice Islam, but more than 80 percent of the people living on the tourist island of Bali identify as Hindu and do consume pork.

Comment: This outbreak is showing no signs of slowing and the impact on the food supply is beginning to be felt, and could ultimately be disastrous:


Bulb

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for social anxiety may have a protective effect on cells

anxiety
© CC0
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for patients with social anxiety not only helps to reduce anxiety levels but also seems to protect against accelerated cellular ageing, a study involving researchers at Karolinska Institutet published in the journal Translational Psychiatry reports.

"This is the first step towards better understanding the link between cellular ageing and the treatment of psychiatric issues," says lead author Kristoffer Månsson, researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Individuals affected by mental illness are at greater risk of developing somatic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, earlier in life than unaffected individuals. While the reasons for this are unclear, one possible contributory factor is that mental health disorders are associated with shorter telomeres and accelerated cellular ageing.

Telomeres are short sequences of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes and protect cells, not unlike the hard tips of shoelaces. The length of the telomeres decreases with every cell division, meaning that they grow shorter with age. The telomeres are in turn protected by the enzymes telomerase (the job of which is to rebuild them) and glutathione peroxidase (which protects the cells against oxidative stress).

Comment: See also,


Briefcase

Still want a flu shot? Since 1980s this US government agency has paid over $4 Billion for vaccine-related injuries and death

vaccination
Many Americans are not aware that there is a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for those who have been injured by flu shots and other vaccinations. This is why Donald Trump and many others are opposed to mandatory vaccinations, especially for "The Flu" which isn't usually fatal.


Marijuana

FDA cracks down on CBD oil

CBD oil
© HERB
The popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) — one of the nonpsychoactive components of cannabis and hemp — has exploded in recent years. As noted in a May 14, 2019, New York Times article:1,2
"... cannabidiol is everywhere. We are bombarded by a dizzying variety of CBD-infused products: beers, gummies, chocolates and marshmallows; lotions to rub on aching joints; oils to swallow; vaginal suppositories ... CVS and Walgreens each recently announced plans to sell CBD products in certain states."
This mass emergence of CBD products came on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's downgrading of CBD products from cannabis that contain no more than 0.1% tetrahydrocannabinols (THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis) from Schedule 1 to Schedule 5 at the end of 2018.3 Schedule 5 drugs are considered to have a lower potential for abuse than other controlled drugs.4

However, a vast majority of these CBD products are marketed illegally, as the FDA still does not recognize CBD as a nutritional supplement. Recent reports also warn that the FDA is now starting to crack down on CBD makers and sellers for illegal product claims.

Comment: See also:


Microscope 1

Asthma severity linked to microbiome of upper airway

asthma
A new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests there is a link between bacteria that live in the upper airway and the severity of asthma symptoms among children with mild to moderate asthma.

The study raises the possibility that the airway's microbiome could have a causal role in the severity of asthma symptoms. The research paves the way for future studies to discover whether altering the types of bacteria that live in the upper airway could help patients with asthma.

The findings appear Dec. 16 in the journal Nature Communications.

Comment: See also:


People 2

Boys born underweight 'more likely to have infertility problems'

drooling baby
© Tognopop via Wikimedia Commons
Baby boys born small for their gestational age have a greater chance of infertility as adults than those born at an average weight, research suggests.

About one in seven heterosexual couples in the UK experience infertility, meaning a year or more of trying for a baby without conceiving, figures show.

But while the focus is often on women's reproductive health, men's fertility problems are a problem of equal proportion, with both accounting for about a third of known causes of difficulties conceiving. The remaining third are down to unclear causes.

Comment: Interestingly, the risk of low birth weight increases as mothers are exposed to air and chemical pollutants, stress, and anxiety. See the articles below for more information.


Cloud Grey

Air pollution interventions can rapidly improve public health

air pollution
Air pollution takes a toll on the whole body, contributing not only to physical risks but also mental health problems. Worldwide, it's responsible for more than 4 million deaths per year, contributing to stroke, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer and more. But according to a new analysis published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, there is a silver lining: improving air quality can quickly provide significant health benefits.

Researchers found that as early as two weeks after a pollution source is removed, hospital visits are reduced and respiratory symptoms experienced by residents improve. As early as two months after the source of pollution is removed, mortality rates may drop as well.

Comment:


Arrow Down

Ex-NHS psychologists warn children are being over-diagnosed, over-medicated for gender dysphoria, staff fear being branded 'transphobic'

gender dysphoria
The NHS is "over-diagnosing" children having medical treatment for gender dysphoria, with psychologists unable to properly assess patients over fears they will be branded "transphobic", former staff have warned.

Thirty five psychologists have resigned from the children's gender-identity service in London in the last three years, Sky News research suggests.

Six of those have now raised concerns about hormone treatment being given to children with gender dysphoria, a condition where a person experiences distress due to a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity.


Comment: As doctors and psychologists forget the maxim of 'first do no harm' in favor of their careers and financial rewards, children are being led to make choices that will have permanent and in many cases deleterious effects on their physical and emotional well-being. At some point there will be a reckoning and the legal profession will have a field day.


Books

The benefits of reading books compared to reading from screens

reading
In the age of information we are being bombarded left, right and center with quick facts, fake news, censored information, video images and so much more. This is greatly affecting the span of our attention. To many the idea of picking up a book, when we could just as easily listen to it, or read segments on our phones is completely absurd. However, there are many benefits that come along with reading books that just might make it worth it to you.

Consider just the very act of reading a book in itself, holding it, turning the pages, seeing your progress in the development of the story, it's almost as if you are a part of it.

Comment: Boosting your brain: Why reading and writing on paper beats digital screens