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

‘Bionic’ Woman Completes London Marathon After 16 Days

For five years, Claire Lomas hasn’t been able to walk, hasn’t been able to feel her legs. But that hasn’t stopped her.

She was once a professional horse rider, her blond hair flowing underneath her white riding cap. But in 2007, a freak accident paralyzed her from the chest down. She spent all her time in a wheelchair, at least until January. That’s when she started walking again, thanks to a $75,000 bionic suit.

Each time she steps forward, her suit hisses a sound not dissimilar to Robocop. The ReWalk and two canes support her, and the suit senses when she wants to walk and shifts her weight for her. But it’s not easy. Each day, when she started, she could take only 30 steps. Every moment was a chore, and because she couldn’t feel where she standing, she always feared falling over. But that didn’t stop her, either. Loman set out to walk 55,000 steps – or 26.2 miles. She set out to run the London Marathon.


She started, alongside 35,000 runners, 16 days ago. Today, in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, she finished — to the screams of thousands of fans who came out to support her. Thanks to all her fans, Loman raised more than $100,000 for spinal cord research.

Today is not the most important day of Lomas’ life. It’s not even the most important day since the accident. In the last three years, Claire Lomas has gotten married and given birth to a healthy baby girl. Mazie is 15 months old, and was right there as Lomas crossed the finish line. And her husband Dan was there every step of the way, helping support the suit – and her.

How has Claire Lomas’ story inspired you today? Share your learnings with us!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: MSN News