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

Things You Should Know About Dreams

Why do some people have nightmares while others really spend their nights in bliss? Like sleep, dreams are mysterious phenomena. Here’s some of what we know about what goes on in dreamland.

1. Violent dreams can be a warning sign

Violent dreams may be an early sign of brain disorders down the line, including Parkinson’s disease and dementia, according to research published online July 28, 2010, in the journal Neurology. The results suggest the incipient stages of these neurodegenerative disorders might begin decades before a person, or doctor, knows it.

2. Night owls have more nightmares

Research published in 2011 in the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms, revealed that night owls are more likely than their early-bird counterparts to experience nightmares. Among their ideas is the stress hormone cortisol, which peaks in the morning right before we wake up, a time when people are more prone to be in REM, or dream, sleep. If you’re still sleeping at that time, the cortisol rise could trigger vivid dreams or nightmares, the researchers speculate.


3. Men dream about sex

As in their wake hours, men also dream about sex more than women do. And comparing notes in the morning may not be a turn-on for either guys or gals, as women are more likely to have experienced nightmares, suggests doctoral research reported in 2009 by psychologist Jennie Parker of the University of the West of England.

4. You can control your dreams

If you’re interested in lucid dreaming, you may want to take up video gaming. The link? Both represent alternate realities, said Jayne Gackenbach, a psychologist at Grant MacEwan University in Canada. ”Gamers are used to controlling their game environments, so that can translate into dreams.” That level of control may also help gamers turn a bloodcurdling nightmare into a carefree dream, she found in a 2008 study.

5. Why we dream

Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett suggests that our slumbering hours may help us solve puzzles that have plagued us during daylight hours. The visual and often illogical aspects of dreams make them perfect for the out-of-the-box thinking that is necessary to solve some problems, she speculates.

Do you often dream of solutions to problems that you’ve mulled over during the day? Share your dreams with us!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Orfa’s Virtual Journal