U.K. World Cyclists Killed In Thailand

U.K. World Cyclists Killed In ThailandA British couple’s round-the-world cycling odyssey ended in  when both of them were killed in a road accident in Thailand. Peter Root and Mary Thompson, who had been chronicling their journey in a blog, died Wednesday when they were hit by a pickup truck in a province east of Bangkok, Thai police said Monday.

‘Both experienced cyclists’

The couple, both 34 and from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, left Britain in July 2011 and had cycled through Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the couple, who met in art school and spent six years saving money and planning their journey, Peter’s father Jerry Root told the Associated Press in an interview. He said they were both experienced cyclists who knew the rigors and risks of extended bicycle travel.

The couple had been posting photos and details of their trip on the website Two on Four Wheels. They also had many followers on Twitter and Facebook who were tracing their journey and vicariously enjoying their adventure, which included a trip through remote parts of Central Asia. The couple look tanned, joyous and relaxed — if a bit windblown — in the footage. It is apparent life on the road agreed with them.


‘Dangerous driving’

Thai Police Lt. Col. Supachai Luangsukcharoen said Monday that investigators found their bodies, their bicycles and their belongings scattered along a roadside, along with a pickup truck that crashed between some trees.

Supachai said the truck driver, 25-year-old Worapong Sangkhawat, was seriously injured in the crash. He told police his truck hit the cyclists as he was reaching down to pick up a cap from the vehicle’s floor, Supachai said. The driver has been released on bail and faces charges of causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

Would you have been able to take the same risky cycling journey that this couple took? Tell us about the most dangerous trip you’ve ever had.

Source: Gregory Katz, Yahoo News

Image: In 2 East Africa

GSK Swine Flu Shot Linked With Narcolepsy In Europe

GSK Swine Flu Shot Lined With Narcolepsy In EuropeEmelie is plagued by hallucinations and nightmares. When she wakes up, she’s often paralyzed, unable to breathe properly or call for help. During the day she can barely stay awake, and often misses school or having fun with friends. She is only 14, but at times she has wondered if her life is worth living.

‘Incurable sleep disorder’

Emelie is one of around 800 children in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe who developed narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, after being immunized with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine made by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in 2009. Finland, Norway, Ireland and France have seen spikes in narcolepsy cases, too, and people familiar with the results of a soon-to-be-published study in Britain have told Reuters it will show a similar pattern in children there.

Europe’s drugs regulator has ruled Pandemrix should no longer be used in people aged under 20. The chief medical officer at GSK’s vaccines division, Norman Begg, says his firm views the issue extremely seriously and is “absolutely committed to getting to the bottom of this”, but adds there is not yet enough data or evidence to suggest a causal link.


’30 million people’

In total, the GSK shot was given to more than 30 million people in 47 countries during the 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. Because it contains an adjuvant, or booster, it was not used in the United States because drug regulators there are wary of adjuvanted vaccines.

As well as the life-limiting bouts of daytime sleepiness, narcolepsy brings nightmares, hallucinations, sleep paralysis and episodes of cataplexy – when strong emotions trigger a sudden and dramatic loss of muscle strength. Narcolepsy is estimated to affect between 200 and 500 people per million and is a lifelong condition. It has no known cure and scientists don’t really know what causes it. But they do know patients have a deficit of a brain neurotransmitter called orexin, also known as hypocretin, which regulates wakefulness.

Have you been immunized with GSK’s Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine, too? What should the pharmaceutical and health authorities do about the alarming cases of narcolepsy linked with Pandemrix?

Source: Kate Kelland, Reuters, Yahoo Health

Image: The Telegraph