German nurses need self-defence courses against increasing migrant violence in hospitals

20th March 2018

There is nothing wrong with being from a different “race.” The problem is when you allow an influx of a vastly different culture and expect them to have the same values your culture has spent hundreds of years building. –  TMN


Hospital personnel in Bielefeld are increasingly being threatened, abused and attacked, the Neue Westfälische reports. Especially younger nurses report of verbal abuse and physical attacks by migrants. The hospital now needs to take special security measures to protect its personnel.

If something isn’t going fast enough nurses are quickly called “sluts, bitches and incompetent” especially by “Southern” migrants, hospital employees tell the newspaper.

The hospital is now considering security steps like emergency buttons and classes in self-defence. One of the nurses reported an incident in which she needed to resuscitate a dying person and had another patient spit in front of her feet because he was tired of waiting.

Many employees have already quit their jobs due to long working hours, stress and how they are treated by patients. Male colleagues tell similar stories. One even spoke of a threat to his life and that he fears nothing will be done until it is too late.



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Should people with ‘addictions’ be euthanased?

Do you believe in Euthanasia? Is it ok for the elderly? The chronically ill? The people in depressive and emotional pain? Recently cases regarding decisions to die have been in the news as the Netherlands passed a law to allow people who are depressed and seemingly cannot recover to end their lives. What do you think of that?

What do you think when it is extended to someone who has an addiction to a substance? Is it the same? –TMN


10th March 2018

For all those who don’t think that the “slippery slope” argument is valid, just consider this. In Belgium and the Netherlands, the category of “addiction” is now valid grounds for euthanasia. And tragically, this has already started to occur.

As recently as 2016, a man named Mark Langedijk, who suffered from chronic alcoholism, was granted permission to be euthanased. This is how the heart-breaking scene of his death was described by The Independent:

On the day of his death, he “laughed, drank, smoked, ate ham and cheese sandwiches and soup with meatballs” until his doctor arrived at his parents’ home at 3.15pm.

His doctor explained the procedure, before telling Mr Landedijk to get into bed and to stay calm.

At this point, they all “started crying, my parents, everyone actually, even Mark”.

“We cried, told each other that we loved each other, that it would be all right, that we would care for each other, that we would see each other again, we held each other,” he said. “If it was not so terrible, it would have been nice.

“Mark’s eyes turned away, he sighed deeply. His last. Dr Marijke injected the third syringe. His face changed, lost color. My little brother was dead.”

Wayne Hall, Centre of Youth Substance Abuse Research, UQ, and Malcolm Parker, Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics, Faculty of Medicine, UQ, have written that cases like these are far from being exceptions. They are instead, part of an international trend in relaxing euthanasia laws. As they explain:

The range of medical conditions for which patients can request euthanasia has expanded over time. It now includes not just terminal or degenerative illnesses but any condition that, in the patient’s view, produces unrelieved, intolerable suffering. The grounds for euthanasia in these countries have been taken recently to include intractable depression, chronic forms of addiction, autism and personality disorders and people who do not claim to have any disorder but are simply ‘tired of living’ and want to die.

For their part, Hall and Parker state that their “aims in considering this case are not to argue for or against euthanasia” but to “prompt discussion of this issue within the field of addiction” and “to identify important issues that need to be considered by physicians”.

Against the popular scholarly consensus, Hall and Parker challenge the “disease model” for understanding addiction. They have to do this because, as they themselves acknowledge, “…we recognise that chronic alcohol and other drug use can produce illnesses that may reduce capacity, such as severe depression or cognitive impairment.” What they suggest is their own ‘Twelve-Step Program’, similar to hugely successful Alcoholics Anonymous. Except, rather than helping people to be free of their addictions, it is a checklist to see if it’s valid to put them out of their misery.

Richard E. Ashcroft—School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK—has published an excellent, and concise, critique to Hall and Parker’s proposal, arguing that we should be extremely slow to “accept addiction as a reason for performing euthanasia”. Ashcroft makes two insightful and important points.

First, Ashcroft argues that, “If we are not willing to do so [to view addictions as a brain disease], we cannot see them readily as objects of treatment and medical care, and thus much of the medical model of care and treatment falls away, along with some of the medical, although not all the social, arguments for harm reduction, heroin (or other drug) prescribing in addiction treatment, and so on.”





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All Teens Should Be Screened for Depression Yearly

27th Feb 2018

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines to recommend that children 12 years and older get screened annually for depression.

The screening would take the form of teens filling out a self-reported questionnaire via paper or an online device, allowing them to answer questions privately—important given that many young adolescents go to the doctor with their parents in tow and in the examination room.

It’s a huge step in not only de-stigmatizing mental health but also helping address mental illness in its earliest stages, potentially easing later symptoms. “Sometimes teens are acting out or misbehaving,” a co-author of the report told NPR.

“[I]nstead, they’re really suffering from depression.” Research cited by the guidelines indicates that only 50 percent of adolescents with depression are currently diagnosed in their teenage years.



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‘After, I feel ecstatic and emotional’: could virtual reality replace therapy?

22nd Feb 2018

Leslie Channell admits he’s not a typical case for treatment. Channell, known to everybody as Chann, is a registered pilot who served 24 years in the army working on Apache helicopters. Chann also happens to be scared of heights. He doesn’t mind flying planes or sitting on the side of the Apache with the door open; he’s just terrified of going up two or three floors of a building or driving over a bridge.

Chann is nervous; his speech is fast. He says he’s sweating. We meet at a trendy startup in Oxford, where he is about to undergo virtual-reality therapy for his phobia (although the term “virtual-reality” therapy is controversial: some say the VR is just a tool for the therapy; others argue that the virtual reality is the therapy itself). Psychologists are now trialling VR for all kinds of conditions, from phobias to pain management to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

There are two other people in the room. Cognitive-behavioural therapist Polly Haselton sits behind a curved computer screen watching Chann, occasionally asking questions. Daniel Freeman, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford and one of the world’s pioneers in this field, watches Chann’s every movement. Freeman explains there are three common fears of heights: that you will fall; that what you are standing on will give way; or that you will jump, which is known as “the call of the void”. Chann’s fear is of falling.

He straps on his virtual-reality headset (also known as a head-mounted display, or HMD). Inside the headset, he will find himself fully immersed in a three-dimensional world. Today, he is going to level four of a 10-storey building in New York to rescue a kitten stranded on a branch of an indoor tree.

Chann has to use a lever to push himself on to a small platform towards the cat. He is a stocky, tough-looking man in his late 50s. But he’s not looking tough any more. His voice is rising, and he’s shaking. He edges forward along the virtual branch. In real life, his feet also move gingerly – then come to a sudden stop. His breathing becomes louder and more staccato.

“You’re doing really well,” Haselton says.

“You don’t know how difficult this is,” Chann pants. “Come here, cat.” Then he stops. “Nah, can’t get it. Aaaagh. No! Gotta come back.”

He starts again, cautiously edging forward. “Yes. Yes. Yes! No, stop Chann. Yes! Yes!” His yeses are urgent, desperate. He makes a grab for the kitten, and returns it to virtual safety.

Task complete. He takes his headset off, talking even faster. “My anxiety levels were way high. Super high.”

“We’re talking nine out of 10, 10 out of 10?” Freeman asks calmly.

“Yeah. I really didn’t want to be there. I had to think I was in a room in Oxford. ‘You’re not here, it’s all OK, do it.’”

Chann is one of a dozen people currently testing this software. (Next month, the trial is being extended to 100 people.) Already, he says, it has made a difference to his life. “Yesterday, I went on a rollercoaster with my daughter. I had never gone on one before. Not the big ones, the smaller ones, but still…” He’s spent only around 20 minutes in the virtual world today, but he is exhausted. “I was worried about coming here, and I’ve done it, and I’m buzzing. Elated.” He pauses, trying to catch his breath. “But I know in my heart of hearts, if there was a real cat on level four, I would not be going out and getting it. Polly asked me, what if it was a little baby? That would change the dynamics.”



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CDC: U.S. Fertility Rate Below Replacement for 9th Straight Year

17th Feb 2018

The total fertility rate of the United States fell below the replacement level for the ninth straight year in 2016, according to the final birth data report for that year published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The last time it was above the replacement level was 2007, according to CDC historical data published in the final birth report for 2015.

At the same time, the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook ranks the total fertility rate of the United States at 143rd in the world. That places this country behind the United Kingdom, which ranks 142nd, and Sweden, which ranks 141st.

According to the CDC’s historical data, the U.S. total fertility rate (TFR) has now been below the replacement level in 43 of the last 45 years. The only two years during which it reached slightly above the replacement level were 2006 and 2007.



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Cellphone Radiation Linked To Tumors In Male Rats, Government Study Says

3rd Feb 2018

High exposure to radiofrequency radiation — the radiation known as RFR and emitted from your cell phone — causes a rare cancer in male rats, according to draft conclusions released by the National Institutes of Health on Friday.

The two technical reports, one on mice and the other on rats, released by the NIH’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) show the exposure to the high levels of radiation resulted in tumors in the tissues surrounding nerves in the heart of male rats.

Both male and female rats that were exposed to high levels of RFR showed increased patterns of damage to their heart tissue, according to the researchers.

“The levels and duration of exposure to RFR were much greater than what people experience with even the highest level of cell phone use, and exposed the rodents’ whole bodies. So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cell phone usage,” said NTP senior scientist Dr. John Bucher in a written statement. “We note, however, that the tumors we saw in these studies are similar to tumors previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users.”

Bucher said these studies “provide the most comprehensive assessment, to date, of health effects in rats and mice from exposure to RFR.”



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Multiple Sclerosis Development in Two Teens After HPV Vaccination

3rd Feb 2018

Researchers from the University of Miami presented 2 cases of multiple sclerosis (MS) developing in teens after receiving Gardasil, a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Live, attenuated vaccines are not recommended for people with MS. Gardasil (quadrivalent human HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18) is an inactivated recombinant vaccine approved in 2006 for the prevention of HPV infections and related cancers. Since then, several reports of central nervous system demyelinating disease (eg, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, neuromyelitis optica, clinically isolated syndrome, MS) have been reported after administration of the vaccine.

At the 2018 ACTRIMS Forum in San Diego, California, study author Ye Hu reported on 2 teens who experienced MS symptoms 1 to 2 weeks after receiving the vaccination.

A 14-year-old male started to experience left retro-orbital pain and blurred vision in the left eye 2 weeks after receiving his third dose of Gardasil. He was diagnosed with left optic neuritis and reported a second occurrence 2 months after his initial symptoms.

A 17-year-old female started to experience blurred vision in the right eye 2 weeks after receiving her first dose of Gardasil. A right frontal enhancing lesion was seen on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). She was diagnosed with right optic neuritis and did not receive further doses of Gardasil. One week after discharge, she experienced intermittent numbness and weakness in her lower extremities in addition to blurred vision in her right eye. A repeat brain MRI revealed a new left parieto-occipital enhancing lesion.

Oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid were detected for both patients, and white matter lesions with periventricular and corpus collosal involvement were seen in brain MRIs. “[The] rest of [the] workup was unremarkable including [neuromyelitis optica] antibody,” noted Hu.

Both patients received intravenous steroids for relapse and were started on interferon β-1a for relapsing-remitting MS after the second occurrence. Follow-up was 2 years.

A Scandinavian study published in JAMA2 found no increased risk for MS or demyelinating disease among 4 million females, of whom 800,000 received the HPV vaccination. These reported cases of MS point to a “temporal association” between HPV vaccination and MS onset, the authors concluded. It is still unknown whether Gardasil increases the risk for the first demyelinating event in at-risk patients or whether it triggers the onset of MS through an immune response.

For more coverage of ACTRIMS Forum 2018, click here


  1. Hu Y, Tornes L, Lopez-Alberola R. Two cases of pediatric multiple sclerosis after human papillomavirus vaccination. Presented at: ACTRIMS Forum 2018; February 1-3, 2018; San Diego, CA. Abstract #P088
  2. Scheller NM, Svanström H, Pasternak B, et al. Quadrivalent HPV vaccination and risk of multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. JAMA. 2015;313(1):54-61.



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Hackney councillor slammed for saying HPV vaccine is ‘21st century Thalidomide’

3rd Feb 2018

Cllr Harvey Odze was responding to a question from Labour’s Cllr Jessica Webb (Hackney Wick) about the possibility of extending the vaccination to boys.

After health chief Cllr Jonathan McShane responded saying reviews on the programme were carried out regularly, Cllr Odze (Springfield) left almost everyone gobsmacked with his take.

“Given the considerable body of medical evidence that HPV does not cause cervical cancer, and that the vaccine is on its way to becoming the 21st century’s Thalidomide, can you assure me all parents are given full information about the dangers of the vaccine?”

Thalidomide was used in the late 1950s and early 1960s to tackle morning sickness, but led to children being born without limbs.

Cllr McShane called his suggestion “incredibly unhelpful” and accused him of “spouting nonsense”, saying the vaccine was scientifically sound.

The Gardasil vaccine has proven to be 99 per cent effective against four of the worst strands of the virus.

The Health and Social Executive has repeatedly said there is no credible research linking Gardasil to chronic negative side effects.

Cllr Odze’s claims followed his pro-Trump rant at a meeting in October, when he also declared global warming was a “Chinese hoax” and said there was no such thing as human-influenced climate change.




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Adenovirus: the vaccine is for military only

30th Jan 2018

he massive flu outbreak gripping the U.S. could let a lesser-known infection to slip through the cracks. And even if more doctors checked for the flu-like bug known as adenovirus, the vaccine to prevent it remains licensed for military use only.

That’s according to a new report published this week by the Centers for Disease Control in its journal, Emerging Infectious Diseaseswhich suggests the military’s exclusive vaccine be considered for civilian use.

Adenovirus can feel like the flu: Symptoms include fever, sore throat and diarrhea, the CDC notes.

But the lack of effective surveillance to asses its prevalence makes determining the toll of adenovirus difficult, the report says, and the lack of a vaccine could leave civilians living in cramped quarters needlessly vulnerable.

The study, lead-authored by Adriana Kajon of the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in New Mexico, concluded that the “vaccine currently licensed for military use should be considered a potentially valuable resource to prevent disease in susceptible populations living in closed communities, such as college settings, summer camps, and long-term care facilities.”

A non-stop surge in military training camps of adenovirus-related outbreaks prompted the Department of Defense to reinstate the vaccine in 2011 after some years away, the study found, “dramatically reducing” cases of adenovirus.

The study concludes that adenovirus type 4, discovered amid military outbreaks in the 1950s, may act as an underestimated cause of acute respiratory disease among civilian adults…




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