Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

FDA Revises Recommendations for Rotavirus Vaccines

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 14, 2010

READ THE FULL RELEASE AT FDA.GOV

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today revised its recommendations for rotavirus vaccines for the prevention of the disease in infants and has determined that it is appropriate for clinicians and health care professionals to resume the use of Rotarix and to continue the use of RotaTeq.

The agency reached its decision based on a careful evaluation of information from laboratory results from the manufacturers and the FDA’s own laboratories, a thorough review of the scientific literature, and input from scientific and public health experts, including members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee that convened on May 7, 2010 to discuss these vaccines.

The FDA also considered the following in its decision:

  • Both vaccines have strong safety records, including clinical trials involving tens of thousands of patients as well as clinical experience with millions of vaccine recipients.
  • The FDA has no evidence that PCV1 or PCV2 pose a safety risk in humans, and neither is known to cause infection or illness in humans.
  • The benefits of the vaccines are substantial, and include prevention of death in some parts of the world and hospitalization for severe rotavirus disease in the United States. These benefits outweigh the risk, which is theoretical.

READ THE FULL RELEASE AT FDA.GOV

Listening to Mozart Won’t Make Your Child Smarter

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 14, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT YAHOO NEWS

FRIDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) — For years, research showing a link between listening to Mozart and increased brainpower spurred parents to expose their tots to the great composer.

But now, a new Austrian review finds there’s no evidence that listening to Mozart — however glorious the music — will do anything for anyone’s cognitive powers.

In particular, the findings debunked the myth of improved spatial task performance among Mozart listeners.

University of Vienna psychologists examined more than 40 studies and unpublished research that included more than 3,000 subjects. Their conclusion: nothing supports the idea that Mozart music improves what’s known as spatial ability.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT YAHOO NEWS

Vaccine efficacy – Rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq (RV5)

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 14, 2010

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT VACCINE CENTRAL

A new analysis, published online by The Journal of Infectious Diseases, takes a look at acute gastroenteritis hospitalization (AGE) rates among US children under 5 years old, before and after the introduction of the first Rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq (RV5) in early 2006. The objective of this analysis was to see if there was any change in gastroenteritis hospitalization rates after the vaccine was licensed for use among infants in the United States. The study I am referring to is this one:

Reduction in Acute Gastroenteritis Hospitalizations among US Children After Introduction of Rotavirus Vaccine: Analysis of Hospital Discharge Data from 18 US States

Aaron T. Curns, Claudia A. Steiner,  Marguerite Barrett,  Katherine Hunter,  Emily Wilson, and Umesh D. Parashar

The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2010;201:1617–1624 © 2010 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.

Why did they look at gastroenteritis hospitalization rates? Because that disease, commonly referred to as the “stomach flu“,  is a viral infection, and rotavirus is the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis in children, credited with causing about 50% of acute gastroenteritis hospitalizations during January-June amoung U.S. children. Logically, if rotavirus causes it, and if an effective vaccine is introduced, we ought to observe statistically significant decreases in gastroenteritis hospitalization rates, and this is what this analysis was set up to do.

Study Summary -The authors gathered approximately 100% complete  AGE hospitalization rates for children under 5 years of age, from 18 states, accounting for 49% of the U.S. under 5 children population. Median AGE hospitalization rates from the pre-vaccine years of 2000-2006 were compared with median AGE hospitalization rates from 2007, the first year after the vaccine, and 2008.

Results – Overall AGE hospitalization rates went down by 16% in 2007 and decreased by 45% in 2008. By age group, the reductions line up like this:

  • 0-2  months      – 28%
  • 3-5  months      – 42%
  • 6-23 months    –  50%
  • 24-59 months  – 45%

Prior to RV5 introduction, children in the 6-11 month age group had the highest hospitalization rates; after vaccine introduction children in the 0-2 month age group had the highest hospitalization rates, and showed the lowest decreases. Given that the first dose of the vaccine is given at 2 months of age, this result is to be expected.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT VACCINE CENTRAL