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 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

Sidney Crosby Goes Incognito As Street Hockey Goalie

Sidney Crosby Goes Incognito As Street Hockey GoalieIt’s a Friday night at a Pittsburgh area dek hockey rink. You have the ball on your stick, racing towards your opponents’ goal crease. You’re watching the goaltender’s eyes, trying to anticipate his next move. Then you realize the goalie you’re trying to out-think looks remarkably like Sidney Crosby.

‘Unannounced and completely anonymous’

Such was the scene at Dek Star last weekend, as the most famous hockey player on Earth strapped on the goalie gear and played for a ball hockey team in a 26-and-over league — unannounced and completely anonymous to his foes until his identity was revealed later in the game.

Like the rest of his NHL peers, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain has been locked out since mid-September. Many of them have left for ice rinks in Europe; Crosby, meanwhile, opted to local for near-daily practices with his Penguins teammates on the ice — and the occasional goaltending foray onto a hard plastic dek hockey rink, apparently.


‘Flyers Suck’

From the Post-Gazette:

“My buddy plays in the league there. I talked to him about playing,” Crosby said. “I played a lot of goalie in street hockey growing up and stuff. Just asked if he needed a goalie. He said sure and I came out. It was cool.”

For the record, the team he played against was nicknamed “Flyers Suck.” You just can’t make this stuff up…

According to Joseph Heaney, a ref at Dek Star, Crosby ”pitched a 4-0 shutout” in the game. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, mind you: Crosby frequently tends goal during road hockey games in the offseason in Canada, and has strapped on the pads during Pittsburgh Penguins practice before. He also played street hockey during his day with the Stanley Cup.

Are you a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins? What can you say about Sidney Crosby going incognito as a goalie?

Source: Greg Wyshynski, Yahoo Sports

Image: Los Angeles Times