Study looks at possible ways of increasing HPV vaccination uptake

A study has just been published in Paediatrics to establish perspectives about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. Whilst 82% of pediatricians responded, only 56% of family physicians (FP) did. It was found that “For 11-12 year-old girls, 60% of pediatricians and 59% of FP strongly recommend HPV vaccine”. For boys of the same age it was 52% and 41% respectively. In addition, “more than one-half reported” 25% or more parents deferred the vaccination. The study crucially found, “At the 11-12 year well visit, 84% of pediatricians and 75% of FP frequently/always discuss HPV vaccination”. However, “Those who occasionally/rarely discuss (18%) were more likely to be FP…, be male.., disagree that parents will accept HPV vaccine if discussed with other vaccines…, report that 25% to 49%.. of parents defer, and express concern about waning immunity…”. The authors concluded, “Addressing physicians’ perceptions about parental acceptance of HPV vaccine, the possible advantages of discussing HPV vaccination with other recommended vaccines, and concerns about waning immunity could lead to increased vaccination rates”. This latest study does nothing to ease our concern that parents are being given sufficient information on the risks of adverse events in order to make properly informed decisions.

South African HPV vaccine ‘health specialist’ reprimanded by expert researcher

It’s been reported that the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) will this year update their “Fact Sheet on Human Papilloma Virus Infection and Cancer” to include important research contributions by Dr Sin Hang Lee — a scientist who has done detailed research on the HPV vaccine. This positive outcome was brought about after a concerned female South African citizen questioned CANSA about the safety of the HPV vaccine. The questions led to a scientific debate, between the citizen and CANSA’s Professor Herbst, during which the professor misinterpreted the work of researcher Dr Lee to deflect the concerns of the citizen. Dr Lee himself responded to Professor Herbst, accusing him of “trying to dismiss a very important scientific issue which has affected the health of many teenagers worldwide”, and of being unqualified to do so. Dr Lee summarised saying, “To protect the health of the young children there is an urgent need for open debate of the risks versus benefits of HPV vaccination being recommended or forced onto the 12-year old school girls and boys. A simple declaration of vaccine safety made by some armchair professor like you does not serve the interest of the public”. Professor Herbst has given an undertaking to now include Dr Lee’s counter arguments and other relevant information, and to inform himself further about Dr Lee’s other key research contributions. A very different result to the ones we reported in November 2015 where Swedish authorities, alongside those in other countries, are doing their best to cover up any adverse data of HPV vaccination.

New study blocked brain immune cell build-up to halt Alzheimer’s

A new study published in the neurology journal Brain suggests that blocking the proliferation of microglia immune cells in the brain could lower inflammation and prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Using a transgenic mouse model of an Alzheimer’s-like condition, the researchers defined a (CSF1R) receptor-dependent progressive increase in microglial cell proliferation, in brain areas close to amyloid-β plaques (characteristic of the Alzheimer’s). When the receptors were blocked with a “tyrosine kinase inhibitor”, microglial proliferation was halted, resulting in an anti-inflammatory effect. The mice showed “improved performance in memory and behavioural tasks and a prevention of synaptic degeneration, although these changes were not correlated with a change in the number of amyloid-β plaques”. The lead author of the study, Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola, states, "These findings are as close to evidence as we can get to show that this particular pathway is active in the development of Alzheimer's disease. The next step is to work closely with our partners in industry to find a safe and suitable drug that can be tested to see if it works in humans." It’s disappointing to see that once again the only option put forward is the production of a new drug. ANH-Intl has reported extensively over the last 2-years on diet and lifestyle modification for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr David Perlmutter is a renowned US neurologist who has practices functional medicine and who has devoted the lion’s share of his medical career to successfully treating Alzheimer’s and Dementia with lifestyle medicine, earning him the title ‘brainchanger’. There are other less costly options with no side effects available.

California gas leak a ‘mini-Chernobyl’

SoCalGas has agreed to install equipment that will capture some of the methane currently leaking from a broken pipe in Porter Ranch, Los Angeles. The LA county supervisor, Mike Antonovich, has compared the situation to Chernobyl, as authorities have been so slow to respond to the problem or warn locals of potential health risks. Methane is classed as a super-pollutant and there are also concerns about the carcinogenic effects of the chemicals used to give gas a smell so that it can be more easily detected. Thousands of residents have reported becoming ill after the leak, and now many fear for their long-term health once they return after evacuation. Gabriel Khanlian, one of over 2,800 Porter Ranch households to have evacuated the area, said, “I actually want them to shut the facility down completely. It is hazardous to the community. My suggestion is turning the whole field into solar panels or wind mills”. State senators announced this week that new legislation would be put in place to provide better safeguards on gas storage sites to prevent a similar situation elsewhere. The amount of methane released is equivalent to 1,411,851 extra cars on the road.

Nepal vaccination equality law

Nepal’s parliament has passed a vaccination bill mandating the government to organise, regulate and make all health centres responsible and accountable for vaccination issues. If members of the public are victimised due to administration of an inappropriate vaccine the bill provides a plan to listen to complaints and assure the provision of compensation. As of now, if an institution (government or private) is found to be giving vaccinations without permission they will be fined over £3,000. Currently the Nepalese government is reliant on donations and grants for 60% of vaccines and funding is often tight because they provide eleven vaccine types free of charge.

Wi-fi shut down over health risk

After reading of the possible harm caused by wi-fi in schools one Italian mayor has called for schools in the town to return to cable-connected internet. Borgofranco d’Ivrea in Piedmont will no longer allow wi-fi in it’s two schools despite the fact that the World Health Organization is hesitating over a final conclusion regarding the potential for health problems caused by electromagnetic radiation through wi-fi. Mayor Livio Tola said, “we cannot say with certainty if these electromagnetic waves are dangerous for children or not…Who knows? In 20 years' time some people might thank us for it”. The decision has not been popular with councilors or parents – with many claiming that if wi-fi is harmful the measures do not go far enough (e.g. exposure at home) and could hamper education by banning handheld devices.

Turmeric as a possible cancer treatment

It has long been known that some opportunistic yeast strains are a cause of cancer and have pro-tumour effects, but new research suggests turmeric may offer a viable treatment. The study from the European Journal of Pharmacology has shown that curcumin, the primary polyphenol in turmeric, may help to control these yeast-linked cancers. As conventional therapies often target only the cancerous cells rather than the underlying microenvironment that triggered their formation, and often include side effects ranging from immune system damage to collateral damage to non-target organs and tissues, interest in alternatives is assured. Curcumin has been shown to combat fungal infections and address multiple cancer targets. The authors suggest, “A clinical trials stage is necessary to unlock the potential of curcumin nanoformulations as a therapeutic strategy for treating cancer”. Curcumin is being researched as a treatment to counter numerous dysfunctions and illnesses, with over 750 potential therapeutic uses.

Populated areas in Africa at most risk of groundwater pollution

Regions in Africa that draw water from shallow groundwater reserves could be the most vulnerable to pollution. Some of the most populated regions are threatened, in particular the Gulf of Guinea in east Africa and areas of central Africa. In the Sahara, water reserves lie deep underground, reducing the risk of contaminants getting into the water supply. The lead author, Issoufou Ouedraogo, has said it is now up to national governments to carry out specific research to determine which populations are most at risk. Often the areas at risk are in agricultural basins where nitrate pollution may occur if environmental farming practices are not followed.

Is black pudding the new superfood?

Black pudding or blood sausage, considered a delicacy in certain parts of the UK, is being hailed as a new superfood in 2016 – thanks to high levels of protein, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium. Black pudding was included in a list of 16 foods drawn up in the Daily Mail as trends to watch in 2016. Darren Beale from Muscle Food said, “2015 saw healthy eating reach a new level and this year we predict this trend is only going to get bigger …it’s great to have this new research available to find out the hidden qualities in food”. However, the new label is not carte blanche to eat as many fried breakfasts as possible. Rather black pudding can be eaten as part of salads or as a healthier alternative to sausages, if you can get past the notion of eating a sausage made largely of blood and oatmeal!