Low vitamin D levels linked to increased mortality

It’s winter in northern climes and sunshine is in short supply. So too is vitamin D. A recent Danish study stresses the importance of having adequate vitamin D status as low levels are associated with increased mortality. Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital looked at over 95,000 people and demonstrated that those with decreased levels of the sunshine vitamin had higher all cause mortality, cancer mortality, and other mortality, but not increased cardiovascular mortality. Prof Børge Nordestgaard, Chief Physician at Copenhagen University Hospital, commented on the study saying that it “…shows that low vitamin D levels do result in higher mortality rates, but the best way of increasing vitamin D levels in the population remains unclear. We still need to establish the amount of vitamin D to be added, as well as how and when it is most effective: Should we get vitamin D from the sun, through our diet or as vitamin supplements?” We’d definitely suggest the use of supplementary vitamin D if there’s not sufficient sunshine, as maintaining a beneficial level is essential for good health.

81% of GM crops not tested before approval 

A critical review of the relationship between genetically modified (GM) crops and health has been recently published. The study reviewed histopathology studies on rats eating approved GM crops containing any of three widely-eaten GM genes. Only 19% of the crops had published studies to support them and the review found that most of the studies were published years after approval for the crop had been given — half of them being published at least nine years after approval. It was also found that all the reviewed papers were found to be significantly inadequate or flawed. In conclusion, the review states “The evidence reviewed here demonstrates an incomplete picture regarding the toxicity (and safety) of GM products consumed by humans and animals. Therefore, each GM product should be assessed on merit, with appropriate studies performed to indicate the level of safety associated with them. Detailed guidelines should be developed which will allow for the generation of comparable and reproducible studies. This will establish a foundation for evidence-based guidelines, to better determine if GM food is safe for human and animal consumption.”

Nurses boycott tetanus vaccination

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) is calling on its nurses to boycott giving the tetanus vaccination until safety issues have been addressed. Concern has been raised by the Catholic Church who claim the tetanus jab causes infertility in women by inducing antibodies against human chorionic gonadotropin. The Ministry of Health says the vaccine is safe and has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef). However, the Secretary General of Knun, Seth Panyako, believes “The questions being raised by the Catholic Church, who is major player in the health sector, are genuine and need to be addressed.” He also added “Should the vaccine display such grave effects, the nurses can be taken to courts by affected persons. We want to avoid this by boycotting it now”. Panyako has challenged the government to come clean on the vaccine and last week doctors also joined the call to suspend the jab until the questions raised are addressed.

Earthworm threatened by glyphosate

Earthworms play a key role in maintaining soil health for crop production. So it is of significance that the results of a recent study suggest that populations “are at risk of local extinction” from herbicides such as glyphosate. The study, published this month in Springer Link, used the earthworm Eisenia Fetida as a model organism “with the object of detecting chronic, sublethal effects of the widely used herbicide glyphosate”. “Pesticides’ sublethal effects are not regularly taken into account when assessing agrochemical’s toxicity”, but the authors found that glyphosate treatments resulted in negative growth rates. “The results suggest that under these sublethal effects, non-target populations are at risk of local extinction, underscoring the importance of this type of studies in agrochemical environmental risk assessment”.

US CDC request comment on new Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System form

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published a notice requesting public comment on a proposed new version of the Vaccines Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form. The VAERS 2.0 form is intended to replace the current VAERS-1 form, which has been in use since 1990. VAERS is a “reporting system that accepts submitted reports of adverse events that occur after vaccination from healthcare providers, manufacturers, and the public. Healthcare providers and vaccine manufacturers are required to submit VAERS reports. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, section 2125 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300aa-25) authorized VAERS”. It is co-administered by CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Among other changes, the new version of the form now requires the patient to list prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements of herbal remedies being taken at the time of vaccination, and also asks about existing allergies, illnesses and health conditions. Comments are being accepted until 23rd January 2015.


ANH-Europe Homepage