Tag Archives | Vaccines

Hydroponic gardener to raise plants that produce valuable medicines

 

Bob Shaw, St. Paul Pioneer Press writes at Duluth News Tribune:

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — For Dave Roeser, it’s not just about salad anymore.

St. Paul’s award-winning hydroponic gardener will still grow vegetables but is adding medicinal plants. He plans to raise 100,000 genetically modified plants to produce medicine for cancer, flu and — potentially — Ebola.

“This is exciting,” said Roeser, a retired controller for Hewlett-Packard.

Roeser has been operating a Maplewood greenhouse to produce vegetables for his company, Garden Fresh Farms. He will continue growing vegetables in a new location in St. Paul but has co-founded a new company — MnPharm — to convert the Maplewood greenhouse into a biological drug factory.

Scientists — and Roeser — see great potential in using plants to produce vaccines.

That’s because vaccines traditionally have been made by the cumbersome process of injecting weakened germs into chicken eggs.

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This Year’s Flu Shot Provides Weak Protection

Did you get yours?

Rachael Rettner writes at LiveScience:

This year’s flu vaccine is not very effective at preventing the flu, particularly among adults, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a study of more than 2,000 people in the United States, including both children and adults, researchers found that those who got this year’s flu shotwere just 23 percent less likely to go to the doctor for flu symptoms than people who didn’t get a shot. This level of protection is quite a bit lower than the level of protection seen in some previous seasons — for example, during the 2012 to 2013 flu season, getting a flu shot reduced people’s risk of needing a doctor’s visit for flu by 56 percent.

This year’s vaccine was most effective for children. But among people ages 18 and older, those who got a flu vaccine were just as likely to go to the doctor for flu as those who were not vaccinated, according to the new study.

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HPV Vaccine Blamed For Mystery Illness

Colombia - Bolivar - El Carmen de Bolivar.svg

Colombia – Bolivar – El Carmen de Bolivar, by Shadowxfox (CC)

The benefits versus harm of vaccines is a hot topic at the moment, especially in Los Angeles where whooping cough is making a resurgence, allegedly due to wealthy parents withholding their children from vaccinations. That’s not to say that all vaccines are good or bad; consider the events in Colombia where a town has been plagued by a mystery illness that’s been squarely blamed on the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, reported via AFP/Yahoo News:

El Carmen de Bolivar (Colombia) – A mystery illness is plaguing girls in this town in northern Colombia, and locals say a vaccine against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV, is to blame.

First their hands and feet feel cold. Then they go pale and cannot move. Some convulse and fall to the floor.

In El Carmen de Bolivar, near the port of Cartagena, dozens of teenagers have experienced similar symptoms.

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Wealthy L.A. Schools’ Vaccination Rates Are as Low as South Sudan’s

I know there are lot of pro- and anti-vaccination readers who are going to want to weigh in on this, so without comment from me either way, consider the resurgence of whooping cough in LA, where vaccination rates are, according to The Atlantic, “as low as south Sudan’s”:

When actors play doctors on TV, that does not make them actual doctors. And that does not mean they should scour some Internet boards, confront their pediatricians, and demand fewer vaccinations for their children, as some Hollywood parents in Los Angeles have apparently been doing.

The Hollywood Reporter has a great investigation for which it sought the vaccination records of elementary schools all over Los Angeles County. They found that vaccination rates in elite neighborhoods like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills have tanked, and the incidence of whooping cough there has skyrocketed…

Parents in these schools are submitting a form called a “personal belief exemption,” which states that they are not vaccinating their kids due to “a diffuse constellation of unproven anxieties, from allergies and asthma to eczema and seizures,” reporter Gary Baum writes.

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Mulling the Link Between MMR and Autism

This post originally appeared on HoneyColony.

If you’ve vaccinated your child with MMR (an immunization vaccine used against measles, mumps, and rubella), you might not like the latest whistleblower revelations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the very agency whose primary job is to keep Americans safe from health threats. According to the whistleblower, CDC has been manipulating and suppressing scientific data that links MMR and autism.

Today, one in 68 kids develops autism, a 30 percent increase from two years ago. In 2010, the figure was one in 150. The historical rate is four out of a thousand. Some studies propose that the increase in autism cases is due to new diagnostic methods and a wider interpretation of autism itself, but that may not appease all parents.

More than 5,500 cases alleging a causal relationship between vaccinations like MMR and autism have been filed under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in the U.S.… Read the rest

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“Anti-Vaxxers” Demonized

RougeoleDPAre you in favor of vaccines? Or do you think they are more dangerous than the diseases they protect against? There’s a war going on for your hearts and minds and there’s no doubt which side the Daily Beast falls on:

Measles was considered eliminated at the turn of the millennium. Now it’s back, thanks to the loons who refuse to vaccinate their children.

Of all the things to be nostalgic for, infectious diseases probably don’t make it onto many lists.

However, if you happen to pine for the good old days when measles was an active public health threat, I have good news for you. The anti-vaccine crowd is bringing it back.

There is currently an outbreak of measles in New York City.  Considered eliminated in the United States in 2000, last year saw a record number ofoutbreaks around the country. It’s only three months into 2014, and not only is the nation’s largest city seeing cases in several boroughs, but other major metropolitan areas are warning of new cases as well.

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Vaccines: Good or Bad for your Health?

310px-Poster_for_vaccination_against_smallpoxPeople tend to have extreme positions when it comes to vaccines. Some believe they are crucial life saving medicine while others think they do more harm than good and are effectively poisons. Then there are the New World Order conspiracy theorists, but we won’t go there (will we, commenters?). Amy Parker writes about her vaccine-free childhood and how she was always sick, contrasting it to her own vaccinated children who are almost never ill, at Slate:

I am the ’70s child of a health nut. I wasn’t vaccinated. I was brought up on an incredibly healthy diet: no sugar till I was 1, breastfed for over a year, organic homegrown vegetables, raw milk, no MSG, no additives, no aspartame. My mother used homeopathy, aromatherapy, osteopathy; we took daily supplements of vitamin C, echinacea, cod liver oil.

I had an outdoor lifestyle; I grew up next to a farm in England’s Lake District, walked everywhere, did sports and danced twice a week, drank plenty of water.

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Fired For Refusing Flu Vaccine

So it’s starting: mandatory vaccinations if you want to keep your job. CNN has the report, but I’m sure there must be other examples around the country – list them in the comments if you know of one.

A pregnant nurse tells CNN she was fired from her job after she refused to get a flu shot for fear of miscarrying.

“I’m a healthy person. I take care of my body. For me, the potential risk was not worth it,” Dreonna Breton told CNN Sunday. “I’m not gonna be the one percent of people that has a problem.”

Breton, 29, worked as a nurse at Horizons Healthcare Services in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when she was told that all employees were required to get a flu shot. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention advises that all health care professionals get vaccinated annually.

She told her employers that she would not get the vaccine after she explained that there were very limited studies of the effects on pregnant women.

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Anti-Vaccine Book For Kids Extols The Virtues Of Measles

Via Salon, the new hot genre of children’s books. No word on whether “vaccine vampire” young adult versions are on the way:

Measles is responsible for thousands of tragic (and preventable) deaths each year. Which is perhaps why so many reviewers are panning a new book by Stephanie Messenger, an Australian author and anti-vaccine activist. According to the author’s page, “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles” was written to:

Educate children on the benefits of having measles and how you can heal from them naturally and successfully. Often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all diseases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccine, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialized countries, these diseases are quite benign and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body.

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