Common painkillers increase risk of heart attack

An observational study published in the British Medical Journal last month reported that use of NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatories) is associated with a 19% increase in the risk of hospital admissions for heart failure (used within previous 19 days) compared with past use of NSAIDs (past >183 days). Risk was increased with the use of seven commonly used NSAIDs, although it does vary between the individual NSAIDs and is dose dependent.

Maryland US – unvaccinated students banned from school

In Maryland US, thousands of students have been banned from schools as their parents are unable to prove compliance with government mandated vaccine schedules. Under Maryland law parents are required to prove, in writing that their child has received the required vaccinations within 20 days of the start of the new school year. Where proof was not provided within required timescales children were banned from school until they receive the required vaccinations. Maryland does allow exemptions for medical or religious reasons, but public health officials find such non-compliance very difficult and are constantly looking for ways to prevent it. A recent study in the journal Vaccine explored the possibility that exposing people to reports of vaccine side effects would reassure them of the safety of vaccine. However, this appears to have increased people’s distrust.

Swedish Court throws out vitamin upper limits

A sales ban imposed on Vitamin B6 supplements that "exceed the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommended limit" in Sweden has been lifted. The Court ruled that because Maximum Permitted Levels (MPLs) have not been mandated by the EU Parliament yet, a recommendation by the EFSA is not binding. The ban on supplements containing more than 25mg of B6 per day was put in place in 2013 by a Swedish local authority and affected the manufacturer Great Earth. The Court ruled that the local authority's decision "has no basis in law" and that the EFSA report has no legal basis in Sweden

Chemo kills patients not cancer

A study published in the Lancet last month concluded that the 30 day mortality risk (risk of dying within 30 days of starting treatment) following systemic cancer treatment increases with age. The researchers looked at 23,228 breast and lung cancer patients. Thirty day mortality increased (8.4% for breast cancer, 2.4% lung cancer) with age for all patients starting chemotherapy treatment, indicating the treatment rather than the cancer was the cause of death.

Student finds way to combat bacterial infection without antibiotics

A 25 year old student has published a study in Nature Microbiology journal showing that multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria can be combated with structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers. Research is still in its early stages, but all tests to date on six different superbugs, have shown that the star shaped polymer developed by Shu Lam is extremely effective. It targets bacteria and kills them by 'ripping' their cells walls apart. The polymers appear to have no effect on healthy cells as they are too large to enter the cells. Whilst human application is a long way off researchers are looking at alternatives to antibiotics. However, it is of some concern that they are looking to manufactured, patented solutions when immune system modulation with diet and lifestyle factors is one of the most powerful, cheap and effective solutions against multi antibiotic resistance.

New Study warns of the dangers of multiple vaccinations in infants

Published recently in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons a paper entitled Combining Childhood Vaccines at One Visit Is Not Safe reported that the higher the number of vaccines a child receives at the same time the more likely it was they would suffer from an adverse event. The author, Neil Miller, took data from the US Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which records adverse reactions to vaccines. Miller looked at 38,801 VAERS reports in which infants suffered adverse events after receiving one or more vaccine doses. The researchers concluded that, "Infants who receive several vaccines concurrently, as recommended by CDC (The Centers for Disease Control), are significantly more likely to be hospitalized or die when compared with infants who receive fewer vaccines simultaneously. It also showed that reported adverse effects were more likely to lead to hospitalization or death in younger infants". Miller also indicated that adverse events are very under reported and those acknowledged by the authorities are likely to be a fraction of the actual cases.