HPV testing vs conventional Pap smears

The small print (at least in the UK but probably elsewhere) in the Gardasil HPV vaccine patient information leaflet states “Vaccination is not a substitute for routine cervical screening”. In the wake of HPV vaccination programmes health authorities are changing from the traditional cytological Pap smear to a cervical HPV screening test, which tests for the presence of HPV in cervical cells but does not detect abnormal cells. If HPV is detected, further testing is carried out to look for cell changes. A new study looking at the use of HPV testing to replace pap smears, is being used to support the use and cost savings of the replacement test. However, the results showed a rate of 57% follow up colposcopies in the HPV test group, versus 30.8% in the control group. It’s worth noting that several of the study authors have ties to the very same industry pushing the HPV vaccine.

Despite new evidence of a negative effect on fertility, wider HPV vaccine roll out continues

Women given the HPV vaccine are more likely to experience difficulty when trying to conceive. Doctors at the British Medical Association's annual conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion which called for HPV vaccination to be offered to “all school age children of both sexes and administered at primary school to be more effective”. Pharma giant, Merck, is seeking approval for the HPV vaccine to be licensed for women and men aged 27-45 and have been granted a priority review (this means the agency is on an accelerated timeline: priority reviews take six months, standard reviews take ten months) by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Lawsuits against Monsanto get the green light

A US federal judge has said evidence presented back in March in over 400 lawsuits linking glyphosate to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were, “not junk science” and could be heard by a jury. He did, however, make reference to the fact that the evidence was “rather weak” and commented that lawyers faced an uphill struggle in convincing him to let the jury hear evidence linking individual cases to glyphosate.

Two babies die after MMR vaccine in Samoa

The Government of Samoa has suspended all MMR vaccinations across the country pending an investigation into the deaths of two babies just minutes after receiving their shots. Both children were vaccinated at the same hospital using the same batch of the MMR vaccine. The tragedy appears to be further complicated by the alleged administration of the MMR vaccine without parental consent by the nurse to the second baby. The mother alleges that she withdrew consent after finding out what had happened to a baby 2 hours previously. She claims that the nurse on duty went ahead with administering the MMR vaccine and within a minute her son was dead.

Dietary fibre and depression link

A recent study using data from a national US survey of 20 year olds suggests a link between dietary fibre intake and a risk of depressive symptoms. The lower the fibre intake from vegetable and fruit sources, the higher the rates of depressive symptoms. Given the link between the health of the gut microbiome and the brain, coupled with fibre being its main fuel, these findings are not surprising. But they reinforce why a wholefood, unprocessed, plant-based diet is essential to our wellbeing – and that of our microbiome.