Thailand to vaccinate 400,000 against HPV

Thailand plans on vaccinating around 400,000 11-year-old girls with the HPV vaccine in 2017. The drug will be given out for free after it was put on the national drug list. The Disease Control Development chief, Dr Amnuay Gajeena said that, “National Vaccine Institute's subcommittee on immunity promotion had recommended the HPV vaccine for use in a national-level immunity promotion as the results of a 2014 pilot project in Ayutthaya province showed no side effects from the vaccine.” This is a worrying development. For more information on the risks associated with HPV vaccination, visit ANH-Intl’s campaign page.

New drug may increase social interaction in autism patients

A recent mouse study published in the Journal Biological Psychiatry has identified a missing gene in the brain that has been linked to social avoidance in people with autism. It has been proposed that using drugs to treat it may help improve the symptoms of the disorder.

Male mice with social approach problems were treated with a medication called d-cycloserine, which binds to the glycine binding site on the NMDA receptor (important for memory and conduction of nerve impulses) and boosts glutamate signaling at these receptors. Authors said, “By enhancing NMDA-receptor signaling, the mice went from social avoidance to more typical social approach behavior.” The drug has also been used in small clinical human studies and has been shown to significantly improve social interactions. The researchers hope that these data can significantly improve understanding of the causes and brain changes in autism and could lead to new treatment approaches for the harder-to-treat social aspects of ASD.

A fluoride free Bedford

The Mayor of Bedford has announced that Bedford Borough will not be fluoridated again, following a unanimous vote by councilors in July to end the mass fluoridation campaign. This is a significant victory for Fluoride Free Bedford, who have been campaigning for such a decision for the last 19 years. However, there is still a way to go before the decision is made permanent and the group are responding with “cautious optimism”.

Latest Government data shows a reduction in sugar intake from soft drinks

The most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) shows a 13% reduction in consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks by children aged 4-10 between 2008/09-2009/10 and 2012/13-2013/14 who participated in the survey. The British Soft Drinks Association are pleased with the reduction saying soft drinks companies have taken significant action to help consumers reduce their sugar intake over the last 2 years. However, the question as to what children are replacing these drinks with has to be asked given the harm artificial sweeteners can cause. Additionally, whilst reduction in sugary soft drinks is a positive step, this has to be seen within the entirety of a child’s diet and lifestyle habits to assess any long-term health benefits.

FluMist vaccine only 3% effective in preventing Flu

With the flu season around the corner we will undoubtedly begin to see calls for the elderly and others to book in for their flu shots. In a report from the US last week on the death of an 8-year-old child related to this vaccine, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said that the FluMist vaccine has only been 3% percent effective compared to the flu shot. Because of this the FluMist vaccine is not being recommended for use by the CDC. The CDC has used only the best figures in their report, claiming that the standard flu shot is 50-60% effective in reducing the incidence of flu. They do say that this varies from season to season and is related to how good a match the vaccine is to the flu strains circulating that year and who is being vaccinated. Although we, and many others, would contest these figures. The Lancet Infectious Diseases confirm that there is no evidence of efficacy in ages below 18 or above 65 years, but this is rarely communicated publicly. As with all vaccines, it is important that you make an informed decision on whether or not to be vaccinated and understand the benefits weighed against associated risks, particularly if you are in an at risk group.

Magazine sentenced for defamation in Séralini court case

A French news magazine, Marianne and Jaillette, was recently sentenced for defamation for, “Denigrating Prof Séralini and his 2012 research study showing that Roundup and GMO maize caused ill health effects in rats, including liver and kidney damage and hormonal disturbances”. The company, who have previously been known to work for the tobacco industry, have been ordered to pay a €24,000 Euro fine.