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

In-flight Shopping Discounts for American Airlines Customers

American Airlines customers will get a head start on holiday shopping with complimentary 30 minute shopping sessions at 35,000 feet. Beginning Nov. 23 and running through Jan. 2, 2012, customers traveling on American’s Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft can enjoy 30 minutes of free access to special discounts and in-air exclusives at top retailers with the Gogo Fly & Buy Holiday Store.

Customers flying on American this season can also enjoy holiday Wi-Fi passes. Purchase a two-pass holiday pack for $14.95 and use the passes any two days until Jan. 3, or buy a three-pass holiday pack for $19.95 and use the passes on any three days through the same promotion period.

To check for Wi-Fi access onboard American, customers can visit www.aa.com/wifiwidget within 24 hours of departure. Once on the site, simply enter the flight number or select the departure airport from a drop down menu to find out if the flight is scheduled to be Wi-Fi-equipped. Customers can also look for the Wi-Fi symbol on their AA.com, mobile or airport-issued boarding pass to find out if the scheduled aircraft is Wi-Fi-equipped.

Wi-Fi is now available to customers flying within the continental United States on 260 aircraft – on all of American’s Boeing 767-200 and select MD80 and 737 aircraft. In August 2008, American became the first U.S. airline to launch inflight Internet service. Since then, customers traveling onboard American have enjoyed onboard Wi-Fi service while flying throughout the United States.

 

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