Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Whooping cough vaccine is only moderately effective in adolescents and adults

Pertussis bacteria (Bordetella pertussis)

Pertussis bacteria (Bordetella pertussis) (Photo credit: Sanofi Pasteur)


From the 26 July 2013 article at Medical News Today


Researchers have found that the pertussis“booster” vaccine, also known as reduced antigen content acellular pertussis vaccine or Tdap, is only moderately effective at preventing pertussis among adolescents and adults. This is first study to assess the effectiveness of the Tdap booster in members of a new generation that has received entirely acellular vaccines appears in the current online issue of BMJ.

“The effectiveness of acellular pertussis or Tdap vaccines targeted toward adolescents and adults is not well understood, particularly among individuals who received acellular pertussis vaccines as children,” said lead author Roger Baxter, MD, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center. “We found that acellular pertussis vaccines for adolescents and adults have only moderate effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed pertussis. While they provide protection, more effective vaccines may be necessary to prevent further outbreaks.”……..






July 27, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Arithmetic of Gun Control

From the 26 July 2013 Science Daily article

Aiming to quell heated national debate about gun control with factual answers, two UC Irvine mathematicians have designed parameters to measure how to best prevent both one-on-one killings and mass shootings in the United States. Their paper appears Friday in the journal PLOS ONE.

“It’s time to bring a scientific framework to this problem,” said lead author Dominik Wodarz, a mathematical biologist who works on disease and evolutionary dynamics. His co-author and wife, Natalia Komarova, a mathematician who studies biomedical and social trends, added: “Can we design a rational way to argue about guns?”

Both were appalled not just by the December shooting deaths of 20 youngsters and eight adults in Newtown, Conn., but also by the bitterly emotional dispute over weapons that erupted anew. They decided to put their professional expertise to work.

“This debate cannot be settled satisfactorily by verbal arguments alone, since these are often driven by opinion and lack a solid scientific backing,” the authors write. “What is under debate is essentially an epidemiological problem: How do different gun control strategies affect the rate at which people become killed by attackers, and how can this rate be minimized?”

The duo reviewed available data stretching as far back as World War I, then drew up equations to compute whether policies ranging from a total firearm ban to “arm everyone” increase or decrease homicides. After running the numbers, they found that in more common domestic and one-on-one crimes, reduced legal gun availability — if properly enforced — is likelier to lower deaths. But in rare mass shootings, armed citizens might save lives if sufficiently trained to avoid accidentally shooting fleeing bystanders.

Read entire article here


July 27, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Safety, statistics | | Leave a comment


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