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December 12, 2003

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December 12, 2003          

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December 12, 2003 - Mandatory anthrax shots stir health fears, sap morale - USA Today - "The Pentagon insists its vaccinations are safe. And for most people, they are...But they aren't risk-free. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration warned that 5% to 35% of those who get shots could experience any of 40 side effects. About 6% of reactions can cause death, hospitalization or permanent disability."

Comment: 5% to 35% is a rather large range.  Is the FDA satisfied with such an inexact figure?  Should we be satisfied with such an inexact figure?

Comment:  According to the GAO, adverse reaction rates are considerably higher than what is generally acknowledged: "The Pentagon's mandatory anthrax shots caused adverse reactions in most recipients and helped prompt many Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members to transfer to other units or leave the military between 1998 and 2000, according to a survey by Congress's General Accounting Office (GAO)...The survey indicated that 85% of troops who received an anthrax shot had an adverse reaction, a rate far higher than the 30% claimed by the manufacturer in 2000, when the survey was conducted. Sixteen percent of the survey respondents had either left the military or changed their status, at least in part because of the vaccination program."

Comment: Does the 6% that potentially have had a serious reaction (i.e., "death, hospitalization or permanent disability") apply to the 85%?  If so, that means that around 5% of those who received the vaccine had a serious reaction to it.

For more on this check out Direct Order - "Direct Order tells the story of members of the military who were ordered against their will to receive the controversial anthrax vaccine. Years later, after all the disturbing facts about the vaccine have surfaced, the US military still intends to vaccinate all our troops." - documentary narrated by Michael Douglas 

Non-vaccine from a non-VA - The Journal Online - "On Nov. 26, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.H.) introduced a Sense of the Senate resolution asking the Pentagon to reconsider its mandatory anthrax vaccine. This welcome move is long overdue.  Senate Resolution 278 restates some acknowledged problems: (including that) a startling 84 percent of personnel who had anthrax vaccine shots from 1998 to 2000 had side effects or reactions, of which 24 percent were `systemic'"

Comment:  According to Senator Bingaman's resolution, 24% were systemic.  That's 24% of 84%, or approximately 20% of those receiving the vaccine! 

Comment:  To learn more about the early history of this issue, go to

December 11, 2003 - Dearly deported - Just months after Zeferino Colunga Sr. lost his GI son in Iraq, the government arrested him and sent him back to Mexico. (requires subscription or free one day pass) - - "Now family members wonder if the deportation of Zeferino Colunga Sr. was connected to their public demand for an independent investigation into the young soldier's death."

December 11, 2003 - Never mind the facts - Channel Five's new drama about the link between MMR and autism makes great TV. But it gets the story, and the science, disastrously wrong. How did we get to such a level of confusion and hysteria about this vaccine? Ben Goldacre unravels the real MMR story - The Guardian, UK

Comment: As for "never minding the facts", it all gets down to "who do you trust"?  Do you trust the "facts" provided by the vaccine manufacturers and anyone else who benefits financially from the use of vaccines?  Do you trust parents, who may not have proof, but do have evidence implicating vaccines?  Do you trust researchers and others who are willing to chance sacrificing their careers and/or their reputations to champion an unpopular idea?  For an overview of the vaccine issue and how conflict of interest has influenced the process, click here.

December 13, 2003 - Hear the Silence - A forthcoming drama about the MMR controversy has angered many doctors. A general practitioner and two child health experts, who have all seen a preview, explain why - journal article (BMJ)

December 12, 2003 – The editor of Lancet on Hear the Silence - letter (BMJ)

December 8, 2003 - MMR uptake increases slightly - A slight increase in the number of children being given the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination has been recorded in Scotland. - BBC

December 2003 - New Hepatitis A Vaccine Efficacy May Last 21 Years - Few local side effects (requires registration) - ePediatric News - "Based upon the slow yearly rate of decline in anti-hepatitis A virus antibodies in the vaccinated children, it was calculated using standard models that the median duration of protection will be 28.1 years. An estimated 95% of children will remain protected for 21.1 years. The advantage of an aluminum-free hepatitis A vaccine over current vaccines that rely upon aluminum hydroxide as an immunopotentiating adjuvant is markedly fewer adverse effects at the injection site. The aluminum-free vaccine uses reconstituted influenza virosomes as a carrier system for hepatitis A antigen."

Comment:  Given how questionable antibodies are in terms of reflecting immunity, it is hard to trust any antibody decay-rate- based extrapolation of a vaccine's duration of immunity.

Comment: Another reason to avoid aluminum in vaccines is the arguable hypothesis that aluminum may in some way be connected to Alzheimer's.

December 2003 - Two-Dose Hepatitis A, B Vaccine Combo Appears Effective - Investigational drug (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 2003 - Combined Hexavalent Vaccine Good for Preemies - DTAP-HBV-IPV/HIB vaccine (requires registration) - ePediatric News

July-August 2003 - Reemergence of Pertussis in the Highly Vaccinated Population of The Netherlands: Observations on Surveillance Data - journal article - (Emerging Infectious Diseases) via CDC

December 2003 - Prevnar ‘Herd Immunity’ Tied to Drop in Pneumococcal Disease - Results from large California study (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 2003 - Pneumococcal Vaccine Effective Despite Some Missed Doses - Data from eight CDC sites (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 2003 - Black-White Gap in Pneumococcal Disease Closing - Prevnar led to a 92% drop in the disease in black children from 1998 to 2002.  Vaccine appears to be reaching both groups (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 11, 2003 - The Meningococcal Vaccine -- Public Policy and Individual Choices (full text requires subscription the first 6 months after publication) - journal article (NEJM) - "On December 11, 2002, a 12-year-old girl from suburban Philadelphia died as a result of serogroup C meningococcal infection. Death occurred within hours after the initial manifestation of the illness. Her parents learned subsequently that a vaccine was available that might have prevented their daughter's death. They asked, 'Why didn't we know about this vaccine?'"

December 8, 2003 - General Secretary of RI Expresses Commitment in Eradicating Polio from Ethiopia - WIC

December 8, 2003 - Afghanistan launches polio campaign to vaccinate 3.4 million children - AFP via Yahoo!

December 9, 2003 - Pocket of Opposition to Vaccine Threatens Polio Eradication - (registration or subscription required) - The New York Times

December 5, 2003 - Global Progress Toward Certifying Polio Eradication And Laboratory Containment Of Wild Polioviruses - CDC via

December 9, 2003 - Vaccine protects mice from deadly Ebola virus - PA News Reporter via The Scotsman

December 8, 2003 - Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation Resumes Funding to Kenya's Immunisation Project - African Church Information Service via

December 2003 - Vaccine Could Restrain Severe Flu Season - Variant, virulent strain identified (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 5, 2003 - New Data Suggest That A Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine May Induce Immunity Against Currently Circulating Drifted A/Fujian-Like Influenza Strain - MedImmune, Inc. via PRNewswire

Comment:  It would appear that the study was paid for by MedImmune, the maker of the vaccine.

December 12, 2003 - The Shortage of Flu Vaccines (requires subscription or registration) - The New York Times

December 8, 2003 - Flu vaccine target narrows - Shortage has state focusing on most likely victims -  AP via The Daily Camera

December 8, 2003 - Minimal options available for flu - Vaccines running low during season that started early - AP via The Daily Camera

December 9, 2003 - Northern California clinics running out of flu vaccine as demand rises - AP via The Mercury News via

December 9, 2003 - News of flu shot shortages, outbreaks rouse many to get vaccinated - Macon Telegraph

December 8, 2003 - Doctors take action on flu shot shortage - AP via CNN

December 8, 2003 - CDC director: 'Doing everything we can' to distribute flu vaccine - CNN

December 8, 2003 - If You Want A Flu Shot, Better Start Looking - Demand is so high that shortages might come this winter -

December 8, 2003 - An Aetna InteliHealth/Harvard Medical School Look At The News -- Flu Crisis On The Horizon? - With the nation's supply of flu shots dropping rapidly and at least 13 states facing unusually severe flu outbreak, doctors are urging healthy people to opt for a nasal-spray version of the vaccine and save the traditional one for children and elderly. - AP via

December 6, 2003 - Race for flu shots depletes firm's reserves - The Globe and Mail

December 5, 2003 - Makers of flu vaccine ship last of season's shots - Shortages reported in some areas - CNN

December 5, 2003 - As the Flu Spreads Early and Quickly, Colorado Expands Its Vaccination Campaign - (registration or subscription required) - The New York Times

December 5, 2003 - Who should be vaccinated - The Seattle Times

December 6, 2003 - Events: Maxvax is canceled - Officials cite nationwide shortage of flu vaccine - Grand Forks Herald

December 11, 2003 - Advocate Says Government Should Release Flu Shot Data - - "A leading vaccine safety and informed consent advocate is calling on federal health officials and flu vaccine makers to be honest with the American people about the effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine...Transcripts from the February 20 and March 18, 2003 meetings of the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) reveal that health officials around the world knew the genetically mutated Fujian strain was associated with significant morbidity and mortality and that last year's vaccine showed little protection against it.

December 12, 2003 - Miscalculations Lead to Flu Vaccine Shortage - Fox News - "Last year, three manufacturers made 95 million doses of the flu vaccine. Eighty million doses were used, and companies were forced to eat the cost of the unused portions. The outcome was costly — with pharmaceutical giant Wyeth (search) dropping out of producing vaccines this year, and the remaining two companies — Aventis Pasteur (search) and Chiron Corp. (search) — hoping not to make the same mistake...The government does not pay for the extra doses of flu vaccine. It works with drug companies to guess yearly demand based on the previous year's use."

December 11, 2003 - Flu Mist anyone? - Does This Smell Bad? from the Health Sciences Institute newsletter via

December 11, 2003 - ID Biomedical Reports Positive Preclinical Data Against Variant Influenza Strains - Life Science News - "Results from pre-clinical experiments performed by ID Biomedical scientists and recently published in the September 2003 issue of the peer reviewed journal, Vaccine, provides evidence that nasal Proteosome(TM)- influenza subunit vaccines can protect against infection by variant strains of influenza virus that have 'drifted' from the strain present in the vaccine...ID Biomedical is a biotechnology company focused on the development of proprietary subunit vaccine products, including those based on its Proteosome(TM) platform intranasal adjuvant/delivery technology."

December 6, 2003 - UNMC To Study Timing Of Breast Cancer Vaccine - Researchers Look To Begin Enrolling Patients In January - AP via

Vaccine - Volume 22, Issue 2, Pages 145-292 (12 December 2003) - Table of Contents - Elsevier, Ltd.




December 12, 2003 - Cure Autism Now Secures Inclusion of $2.2 Million Appropriation for National Autism Awareness and Physician Education Program - Bill Will Provide $2.24 Million for Centers for Disease Control to Develop And Execute Autism Awareness and Physician Education Programs - PRNewswire

December 9, 2003 - Dog helps boy cope with autism - The Globe and Mail - "Jamil Shah threw long tantrums, and like thousands of other autistic children, could barely communicate with his parents...These days, the 12-year-old is doing better. He cuddles beside his canine companion, Sherlock, whenever he's upset, he's grown aware of his surroundings, but mostly he's more affectionate."

December 8, 2003 - Group helps to meet special needs: Parent support network offers a place to turn for information - Metro West Daily News

December 9, 2003 - Students with autism are moving to Kalamazoo - - "The number of autistic children in one West Michigan county is on the rise. Kalamazoo County has seen an increase of more than 300 percent over the last decade. One reason for that could be a special classroom at Croyden Avenue School."

Comment:  Or perhaps it is an actual rise in the number of children with autism in Kalamazoo County.

December 5, 2003 - Concern over new federal rules governing special ed - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Understanding the Biology of Autism and Related Disorders: A Guide to Biomedical Interventions - - conference alert - Saturday February 28th, 2004 in Pittsburgh, PA


"Vaccine-preventable" disease-related

December 12, 2003 - Notice to Readers: Request for Information About Acute Encephalopathy Associated with Influenza Virus Infection in U.S. Children -  CDC via MMWR - "Reports of influenza-associated encephalopathy have been uncommon in the United States (3,4). To determine if a similar pattern is occurring in the United States, CDC is requesting information on any case meeting certain criteria. The criteria include a person aged <18 years with altered mental status or personality change lasting >24 hours and occurring within 5 days of onset of an acute febrile respiratory illness, laboratory or rapid diagnostic test evidence of acute influenza virus infection associated with the respiratory illness, and diagnosis of the condition in the United States."

Comment:  Might at least some of this be Reye's syndrome, which can be confused with encephalitis?  If so, and in those cases, might the "influenza-associated encephalopathy" be treatment related, i.e., caused by treating the flu with aspirin, rather than a direct consequence of the flu?

December 13, 2003 - Children have been neglected in flu prevention strategy - journal article (BMJ)

December 12, 2003 - Flu Illnesses Are Widespread in 24 States (requires subscription or registration) - The New York Times

December 12, 2003 - Flu in the West: Clinics Filled, Schools Empty (requires subscription or registration) - The New York Times

December 9, 2003 - Kids face scary complications from flu - AP via The Jackson Sun

December 8, 2003 - Flu doesn't stop visits to see Santa - AP via Journal Star

December 9, 2003 - CDC to monitor children's flu complications - AP via CNN - "A new concern is the rise of a common drug-resistant staph infection that is complicating efforts to treat children with the flu, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday...Dr. Tim Uyeki, epidemiologist with the influenza branch of CDC, said that some children have died from the staph infections -- a phenomenon the CDC has not seen before."

Comment:  Why would children with flu suddenly be dying from staph infections?  Has something happened to impair their immune systems and make them more vulnerable to these infections than normally would occur when they have the flu?  Or is there something about this particular flu that makes them weaker in a way that, for the first time, makes them extremely vulnerable to staph?

December 9, 2003 - Flu a serious threat to kids - This season, more are suffering from severe complications - AP via Tallahassee Democrat

December 9, 2003 - Finding the best medicine is a headache in itself - The Digital Collegian

December 5, 2003 - Parents warned as flu hits early, hard - The Seattle Times

December 6, 2003 - Some Questions and Answers About Flu - CDC via Yahoo!

December 5, 2003 - Flu likely cause of 2 more deaths - State's outbreak already tops previous 2 seasons combined - Daily Camera - "
If confirmed, it would mean at least seven flu deaths in Colorado this season, she said. All of them have been children."

December 8, 2003 - 170,000 dogs killed in southern China due to rise in rabies - USAgNet - "The number of rabies infections in Guangdong jumped from 12 cases in 1996 to 115 cases between January to August this year, the China News Service (CNS) said Monday."

December 8, 2003 - US survey probes gays' high risk for hepatitis -

December 5, 2003 - Hepatitis Backlash Hits Pa. Restaurants - AP via Sun herald

December 4, 2003 - Researchers Use Crippled Poliovirus To Attack Brain Cancer - Duke University Medical News - "In the study, the modified poliovirus rapidly killed cancer cells derived from primary brain tumors as well as cells derived from breast and colon cancer metastases -- all within a matter of four to six hours. In fact, polio is known to be one of the quickest killers of infected host cells, producing approximately a thousand additional infectious viral units per infected cell, he said."

Comment:  Does exposure to wild poliovirus have the same effect?  Given that most (95%) of those exposed to polio experience no apparent symptoms at all, and another 4-8% only mild symptoms, perhaps there is some advantage to allowing circulation of the virus while at the same time determining who those few are that get serious illness and why they are vulnerable to serious polio disease.  Perhaps there could then be a more targeted strategy.

Comment:  It is well established and widely accepted that tonsillectomy and injections (including antibiotic injection) predispose a person to either bulbar or paralytic polio.  It is unknown to what, if any, extent the decline in tonsillectomies and antibiotic injections caused or contributed to the decline in polio. Just as it is unknown to what, if any, extent the polio vaccine caused or contributed to the decline in polio.

December 8, 2003 - Post-Polio Syndrome - Ivanhoe Newswire - "Polio is a disease that many people don’t think about anymore, but for many polio survivors, the disease is something they can’t forget. Approximately 300,000 polio survivors will experience their polio symptoms again, decades after they had the disease."

December 2003 - S. pneumoniae Resistance Is High, but Not Rising - Analysis of 2002-2003 respiratory season (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 5, 2003 - FdL whooping cough cases rise - Fon Du Lac Reporter - "County Health Officer Diane Cappozzo said people who are infected or live with a family member diagnosed with pertussis have been told to remain at home in isolation through a five-day course of antibiotics...While no official quarantine is in place, Cappozzo said officials are strongly recommending both children and adults stay home. An official quarantine would require legal enforcement and posting placards on peoples’ houses."

December 5, 2003 - Health officers prepare to battle whooping cough - Case in Oshkosh has Fox Cities officials planning response - The Post-Crescent

December 8, 2003 - Commonwealth Meeting Ends With Zimbabwe Row - IRIN via


Other diseases/conditions (some already in the vaccine pipeline)

December 11, 2003 - Husband's long battle to prove wife's innocence - Times Online - "After her eight-week trial last year, Mrs Cannings told an interviewer she had done “everything in my power to show the jury what I was like as a person”; a person known to family and friends as a devoted mother. Yet her performance as a witness was eclipsed by those of expert prosecution witnesses who damned her on the basis of statistics."

December 11, 2003 - Unexplained deaths fall but claim 7 lives a week - Times Online - "According to the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), 89 per cent of all cot deaths in England and Wales occur in babies aged under six months. Boys appear to be at higher risk than girls."

Comment: Boys are also at a higher risk for autism.

December 12, 2003 - Alarm as cot deaths double in Scotland - Evening Times Online - "Over the next two years experts are to review many Scots cot death cases to try to learn more about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome."

Comment:  Will the often close temporal relationship between vaccination and SIDS be one of the factors even considered?  For more on this go to Scandals: Whooping cough vs. whooping cough vaccine-associated infant deaths; Scandals: Infant Vaccine Deaths - But Who's Counting? (No news is NOT good news.); Scandals: Vaccine-related infant deaths - When is enough, enough? and A Not-So-Perfect Vaccine: The Diphtheria, Tetanus and Acellular Pertussis vaccine: An Investigation - by RFD columnist F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP in the Online Vaccine Conference at

December 2003 - SARS Appears to Be Less Virulent in Children - May be true of West Nile virus, too (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 5, 2003 - West Nile Survivor: Billings man, 92, beats the virus - Billings Gazette

December 11, 2003 - Retrospective: The Discovery of HIV as the Cause of AIDS (full text requires subscription the first 6 months after publication) - journal article (NEJM)

Comment:  There are those, on the other hand, who believe that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.

December 10, 2003 - Targeted Genetics targets AIDS: Testing under way on single-shot vaccine - The Seattle Times - "AIDS kills 300 people an hour, but in the past two decades, only one biotech company has come close to developing a preventive vaccine...But another biotech — Seattle-based Targeted Genetics — plus an academic research center and a nonprofit institution backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are announcing today they are trying another technique."

December 5, 2003 - Nigeria: Gombe to Fight HIV/Aids Scourge - Goje - Daily Trust via

December 6, 2003 - Cheap drugs give hope to Aids patients in war zone - Christmas charity appeal - Pioneering project begins in isolated Congo province - The Guardian, UK

December 9, 2003 - HIV - tailored to fit (requires registration) - BioMedNet - "New research on HIV shows that the virus mutates throughout its genome to evade each particular individual's immune system, report Australian immunologists. The results could have important implications for vaccine design, they say."

December 12, 2003 - Scientists Report Progress in Ebola Treatment (requires subscription or registration) - The New York Times

December 12, 2003 - Boom, or bust? - Hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into US biodefence research. You might expect scientists working on infectious diseases to be unequivocally delighted. But things aren't that simple, says Erika Check. (requires registration) - drug discovery @

December 8, 2003 - Health Danger Depends On Access - Doctors say the uninsured are a risk to public health - St. Petersburg Times via - "The worry: Because the uninsured are less likely to seek prompt care, they would be more likely to spread disease in an epidemic. While the chances of such an epidemic or bioterrorist attack might be remote, doctors say that ultimately, the barriers to getting uninsured people cared for could help infection spread further and faster than it otherwise would."

December 8, 2003 - Holyrood accused of toeing Westminster line on hepatitis C infection - The Scotsman - "Although the Executive has suggested payouts to those infected, patients say the amounts are derisory and far below those recommended by an expert committee chaired by Lord Ross...They have accused the health committee of letting them down by deciding to stop considering their cause, which includes demands for an independent inquiry. They are also angry the decision was taken in private."

December 9, 2003 - Breakthroughs lead to better understanding in prevention of transfusion-transmitted infection - American Society of Hematology via Science Daily

December 6, 2003 - Tiny Bubbles - Vesicles that cells spit out are implicated in cancer and AIDS - Science News

December 5, 2003 - Auckland Asthma Achievers Celebrated - Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand via - "
Six Aucklanders are being celebrated today in recognition of their individual achievements in meeting and overcoming the extra challenges they face because of a respiratory condition."

December 5, 2003 - Post-tamoxifen Use of Femara(R) in Postmenopausal Women With Early Breast Cancer Reduced Risk of Recurrence By Nearly Half (43%) and Significantly Improved Disease-Free Survival, According to Data Presented at Major Medical Meeting - Extended adjuvant data presented at San Antoino Breast Cancer Symposium supported by new data on quality of life with Femara vs. placebo from same clinical trial - PR Newswire-First Call via Yahoo!

December 5, 2003 - Red Cross hopes to start testing blood supply for Chagas disease - AP via Tallahassee Democrat

December 5, 2003 - Appleton joins Valley effort to combat disease outbreaks - Cities to share  resources in face of bioterrorism, other illnesses -  The Post-Crescent

December 6, 2003 - Mortality Rates Drop With Tech Advances - AP via Yahoo!

December 8, 2003 - Breathing new life into natural killers (requires registration) - BioMedNet - "A novel approach to the treatment of immunological disorders, which harnesses the activity of so-called natural killer T cells, could make an important contribution to the treatment of a range of diseases including diabetes, report US immunologists."

December 12, 2003 - Microbes chill out (requires registration) - BioMedNet - "There's something lurking in the corner of the kitchen - it's square and white and produces an ominous buzzing noise ... is it dangerous? A new hypothesis from French gastroenterologists suggests that the seemingly harmless refrigerator could habor bacteria that are implicated in Crohn's disease."


Big pharma, research conduct, medical conduct, conflict of interest, ethics, FDA, oversight, approval process, warnings

December 8, 2003 - For hospitals, dirty hands still a danger - Infections: Although the importance of washing was discovered more than 100 years ago, busy health care workers often forget to scrub.-

Comment:  There is simply no excuse for this. Is it laziness?  Is it misplaced faith in, and an over-reliance on, drugs to solve the problems caused by their own bad behavior?  If so, have they not noticed that another "bad behavior", i.e.,  over- and incorrect use of antibiotics, has severely limited antibiotic usefulness and may have even destroyed the "miracle"?

December 11, 2003 - Medical expert faces inquiry - Times Online - "SIR ROY MEADOW, the expert whose evidence helped to convict at least three mothers of murdering their children, first came to prominence in the late Seventies...He claimed that many parents deliberately harmed their babies in order to draw attention to themselves, the condition known as Münchausen syndrome by proxy."

Comment:  Isn't it about time we began seriously questioning the "experts"?  Isn't it about time we re-examined the power we have given them over our lives? How many lives have been ruined because of our blind faith in them?  How many families have been ripped apart?  (For more on the question of possible false imprisonment due to shaken baby syndrome, go to the Online SBS Conference at

December 8, 2003 - Cost of developing a new drug increases to about $1.7 billion - Wall Street Journal (requires subscription )

December 9, 2003 - Insulin Among Several Drugs on Error List - AP via Yahoo!

December 10, 2003 - Group Seeks Toss of Patient Privacy Rules - The Washington Post - "A group of doctors and patient advocates asked a federal judge Wednesday to throw out new health care privacy rules, claiming they're inadequate...The federal regulations, which took effect in April, were designed to tighten patient privacy protections. But the group said they instead leave patients powerless to stop disclosures of sensitive information."

December 2003 - FDA Issues Advisory on Suicide, Antidepressants - Expert panel meeting next year (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 2003 - FDA Panel Backs Silicone Breast Implants - 9-6 vote for recommending approval (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 12, 2003 - Mentor Asks FDA to Approve Silicone Breast Implants - Reuters

December 12, 2003 - Paediatric Clinical Trials: Redressing the Imbalance  (requires registration) - journal article (Nature Reviews Drug Discovery) via

December 12, 2003 - 'New' FDA delivers in 2003 (requires registration) - journal article (Nature Reviews Drug Discovery) via

December 8, 2003 - Even giants like Merck struggling with hard times - AP via Buffalo News - "The problems besetting pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. also plague most of its competitors: falling profits, patent expirations, generic competition, the lack of new blockbuster drugs and pressures to make medicines more affordable...But the contrast to the heady days and double-digit profit growth of the 1990s is particularly striking at Merck, which has fallen in just a few years from the world's biggest drugmaker to No. 3 as competitors merged and leapfrogged ahead...'Size is not important in this industry. (Revenue) growth is'...."

December 5, 2003 - Clinical Trials Update: -

December 5, 2003 - Hospital faces another abuse claim -  CP via - "Another case of alleged abuse at a long-term care facility came to light Friday after a patient complained about poor treatment that included being bedridden and deprived of liquids."

December 5, 2003 - We should give a monkey's - The government is backing research on non-human primates for economic reasons, to the detriment of public health - The Guardian, UK - "Experimenting on monkeys in the hope of unlocking the secrets of the human brain is an exercise in futility. The most dramatic differences between humans and other primates are in the brain. Our brain is four times larger than that of a chimpanzee, which is four times larger than that of a macaque. Biochemical pathways in the human brain are unique. Gene expression in our brain is dramatically different from that of the chimpanzee...Yet at British universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and London, macaques and marmosets are still used as models of human brain function. This is despite the fact that human brains can now be studied non-invasively using high-tech scanners."

December 12, 2003 - Merck Strategy in Place to Deliver Long-Term Shareholder Value -

December 12, 2003 - Draft Federal Advisory Warns Some Groups to Limit Tuna (requires subscription or registration) - The New York Times

December 12, 2003 - Antidepressant use in children questioned - Recent warnings of suicide risk associated with antidepressant use in children have highlighted the lack of understanding of paediatric depression (requires registration) - drug discovery @



December 2003 - Educate Moms on Breast-Feeding Preterm Infants - Promotional strategies (requires registration) - ePediatric News

December 12, 2003 - Second-hand smoke may harm pets - Many refuse to accept findings/Pet fur traps smoke particles - The New York Times via The Toronto Star

December 12, 2003 - Peanut allergies more common: Studies - Reuters via The Toronto Star

December 12, 2003 - Period peace - A new pill going on sale in the US gives women just four periods a year. But is it safe to staunch the flow, asks Jennifer Fried - The Guardian, UK

December 8, 2003 - Too big for our belts - Here in the land of plenty, talking about obesity - whether in grownups, kids or pets - has become a national obsession. -  St. Petersburg Times

December 6, 2003 - One of the N crowd - So, you've won a Nobel Prize and all that's left is to revel in fame and funding? Not quite. Some scientists thrive, but many find the going gets tougher. - An edited extract from the book The Road to Stockholm - The Sydney Morning Herald

December 5, 2003 - Eat Less, Live Longer? - Some Hope Cutting Calories Will Add Years to Their Lives -

December 6, 2003 - `A total disaster': Mold drives family from home - Boston Herald

December 12, 2003 - Welcome Back, Docs - Wall Street Journal (requires subscription) - "If you're thinking of having a baby in Texas, you now have a better chance of finding an obstetrician. That's because tort reform is beginning to lower costs for doctors who want to practice medicine in the Lone Star State."

December 13, 2003 - BMJ Table of Contents -


Breaking News Archives - from December 1, 2003 (check here for breaking news you might have missed)

More News - all the news most recently posted on this website

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*Note:  Starting December 10, 2003 news will be posted in the "daily news" pages based on when it was posted on this website, not by publication date.    

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DISCLAIMER:    All information, data, and material contained, presented, or provided here is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed as reflecting the knowledge or opinions of the publisher, and is not to be construed or intended as providing medical or legal advice.  The decision whether or not to vaccinate is an important and complex issue and should be made by you, and you alone, in consultation with your health care provider.