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Should other countries vaccinate children against chickenpox?



A child in Seattle, Washington receives a chickenpox vaccine in 2019. The US, among other countries, offers children the conventional chickenpox vaccine, unlike countries like the UK and Denmark.

Vaccines sometimes raise unfounded health concerns, but whether or not to get vaccinated against varicella is a matter of real medical debate.

This is a common childhood vaccination in some countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and about half of Europe, but there are also countries such as the UK, Denmark, France, Portugal, and several Scandinavian countries. There are concerns that while the introduction of childhood vaccination will be beneficial for those who receive it, it could be detrimental to others, such as older people at risk for shingles.

Fortunately, a growing body of evidence suggests that such harm will not materialize. What’s more, the analysis released today shows that overall, the vaccine does more good than harm. So, isn’t it time for varicella-resistant countries to come to their senses?

Chickenpox is caused by a highly contagious virus called chickenpox. In the absence of vaccination, most people become infected during childhood and usually have a mild illness, the main symptoms of which are an itchy, blistering rash.

In fact, the younger a person is when they become infected, the milder their experience. Some families even deliberately give their children away to other infected people in order to “end the disease.”

But sometimes the virus can cause severe symptoms—for example, if it causes a bacterial infection—and can even be fatal, especially in people with weak immune systems.

When the first varicella vaccine was developed three decades ago, one concern was that while it would benefit children who received it, some parents might not vaccinate their children. A routine vaccination program would mean that population-level immunity would be relatively high, so those who missed vaccinations may not be exposed to the virus until they are teenagers or older, increasing the risk of serious complications compared to childhood infection.

Another concern was the impact on the elderly. After chickenpox infection, the virus DNA remains in nerve cells and can reactivate later in life, leading to the painful and debilitating symptoms of shingles. Chickenpox in children is thought to expose adults to small doses of the virus, boosting their immunity and reducing their chances of developing shingles.

Despite concerns, the US began regularly offering the vaccine to children in 1995, with other countries later following suit. Those who persevered can now see results indicating that administering the vaccine was the right decision.

Several studies over the past few years have shown that the US and other countries no increase in cases of herpes zoster was observed. A UK study found that if adults come into contact with a child with chickenpox in their household, their risk of developing shingles is less than previously thought, with a drop of about 27% from 10 to 20 years.

Data from such studies is now included in a standard set of equations that predict the impact of vaccines on infection and disease rates. This has been used to model the consequences for 50 years if the vaccine is regularly offered to children in Denmark.

The researchers, who included scientists from Merck, the manufacturer of one of the vaccines, and Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, found that although the number of cases of shingles would rise by about 1% in the first few years after vaccination was introduced. In 50 years, the total number of cases will be 9% lower than expected if Denmark continues not to vaccinate.

They also found that the number of people of any age who die or need hospital treatment for chickenpox will drop by more than 90 percent, contradicting the idea of ​​a rise in more severe cases where unvaccinated people contract the virus at an older age. .

Vaccination programs would also help avoid some of the less obvious effects of the virus, including missing children from school and having parents take time off from work. Manjiri Pavaskar at Merck in Rahway, New Jersey. “This places a significant burden on the caregiver,” she says.

Several countries, including the UK and Denmark, are currently considering adding the varicella vaccine to their regular childhood vaccine offerings. Currently, many such countries allow people to pay for the vaccine privately, but this means that uptake is low. The UK’s vaccine advisory group, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunization, will take into account any new data, a spokesman for the UK’s Health Security Agency said.

Adults who have had mild chickenpox may be tempted not to get vaccinated against the disease. But one thing that the covid-19 pandemic has shown is that even if the disease seriously affects only a small percentage of the population, it can cause significant harm nationwide, and it is worth taking countermeasures against it.

It may be time for more countries to stop giving the varicella-zoster virus free passage.


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Poor sleep increases chance of developing asthma, study shows



Subscribe to CNN Sleep Better Newsletter row. Our seven-part guide has helpful tips on how to improve your sleep.


Poor quality and quantity of sleep may raise your risk of developing asthma, according to a new study.

Previous research has already shown that asthma tends to lead to sleep problems, but the researchers wanted to know if the link worked the other way around, meaning how someone slept affected their likelihood of developing asthma, he said. study published on Monday in BMJ Open Respiratory Research.

“We have always known that there is some association between asthma and sleep, but most of the work has been done regarding the presence of obstructive sleep apnea,” said pediatric allergist Dr. S. Amal Assaad, associate director of the Department of Allergy and Immunology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. . She did not participate in the latest study.

To investigate, the researchers examined data from a cohort from 2006 to 2010 of more than 450,000 people in Biobank UK, a large biomedical database and research resource that keeps track of permanent residents. The report states that the age of the people studied ranged from 38 to 73 years.

Nearly 18,000 people in the study were diagnosed with asthma over a 10-year follow-up, according to the study. An analysis of the data showed that people with a genetic predisposition and poor sleep were twice as likely to develop asthma as people at low risk.

Typically, having a genetic predisposition increases the risk of developing asthma by 25-30%, the doctor said. Juanita Mora is a Chicago allergist/immunologist and national spokesperson for the American Lung Association. She did not participate in the investigation.

The good news is that research has shown that healthy sleep is associated with a lower risk of developing asthma, regardless of genetic predisposition.

The authors added that people with high-risk genes and good sleep patterns had a slightly lower risk of developing asthma than those with low genetic risk and poor sleep patterns.

The authors of the study write that by monitoring and treating sleep conditions, healthcare professionals can also mitigate the development of asthma. According to the study, if sleep characteristics were improved, 19% of asthma cases could be prevented.

The finding also points to a greater need for doctors and nurses to talk to their asthma patients about their sleep habits to see if their behavior is making symptoms worse, Mora added.

Key to understanding this research is understanding the interaction between genetics and behavior, Assaad says.

The researchers looked at all the little changes in DNA that can increase your risk of developing asthma, she added. These markers and risk in genetics become the so-called human polygenic risk scale.

But most people don’t know their genetic estimate of how susceptible they are to developing asthma, and instead only know how severe their symptoms are, Assaad said.

People can track triggers and aggravators, one of many of which is sleep, to achieve optimal control of their asthma, Mohr says.

The results may highlight the importance of good sleep hygiene for everyone, regardless of their genetic predisposition to asthma, she added.

Inflammation may be the reason why sleep is so important in treating or preventing asthma, according to the study.

Asthma is generally considered a chronic inflammatory disease, the study says. Previous research has shown that problems with sleep duration and insomnia are linked to chronic inflammation.

Sleep disturbances are also associated with chronic activation of the stress response, part of which plays a key role in the development of asthma, the study says.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night.

For many people this doesn’t happen. one in three Americans have a sleep deficit, According to the CDC.

But not only the quantity is important, but also the quality.

“Signs of poor sleep quality include not feeling rested even after getting enough sleep, frequent waking during the night, and symptoms sleep disorders (e.g. snoring or shortness of breath),” the CDC said in a statement.

This is where good sleep (or habit) hygiene comes into play.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends going to bed and waking up at the same time, maintaining a comfortable and dark bedroom, and avoiding electronics before bed.

A comfortable room usually means cool — 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20 degrees Celsius), according to a 2021 CNN article.

The sleep-ready treatment isn’t just for kids who need a bath and a book before bed. Keeping busy is a great way to signal to the brain of any age that it’s time to take a break, baby sleep expert Ariel Williamson, a psychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told CNN earlier this year.

You should also avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bed and be active during the day to sleep better.

Experts say if none of these changes improve your sleep, it might be time to see a doctor.

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Illinois Secretary of State for Northwestern Medicine draws attention to need for lifesaving organ donation – Chicago Tribune



Northwestern Nephrologist Dr. Alexandra Gmurchik regularly sees patients with kidney failure.

She has noticed that many of those she treats would rather stay on dialysis than get a kidney transplant. Gmurczyk said she believes some patients’ concern about the medical system leaves them unsure whether a transplant can improve their health.

During a press conference Thursday morning at Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago for National Donation Month, the doctor spoke about the enormous impact of kidney donation.

But she also spoke about her personal experience as a donor.

Gmurczyk donated one of her kidneys eight weeks ago. Her motivation was the desire to change the attitude of patients to the process.

“I wanted to help someone,” Gmurczyk said. “I know that people can live healthy lives with one kidney, and I am aware of the high demand for living donor organs. I hoped that by donating my kidney I would help someone, and I also wanted to inspire others to donate.”

The doctor said the next step in the process would be to determine who would receive her kidney. In February, she began paired kidney donation, which happens when a patient has a kidney donor in mind, but the donor doesn’t match the intended recipient. In this case, two donors switch recipients, donating their kidneys to those patients who are more suitable for each other.

Gmurczyk’s kidney went to a Virginia patient named Ginger. Ginger’s husband, Gary, ended up donating a kidney to Northwestern Medicine patient Art Reyes. The group of four met for the first time on Thursday morning during an emotional live organ donation event. (Ginger and Gary asked not to be named.)

Ginger said she had diabetes after pregnancy. For 18 years, her health deteriorated due to high blood pressure and, later, high creatinine levels.

She started dialysis about two years ago, which she said went well for a while but became more difficult over time.

While her husband was hoping to donate his kidney, the couple found out they weren’t a match for each other. They entered the couples program together and ended up helping to save two lives.

Ginger, speaking via Zoom, told Gmurczyk, “You’re as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside.”

When Gmurczyk said, “You’ll make me cry,” Ginger said she held it back.

“But we need to be positive and move on to tell the story so that there are more stories like this,” she said.

Reyes, who received Gary’s kidney, quickly burst into tears during his first speech at the conference.

He said the transplant was an emotional journey and thanked Gary. for his lifesaving donation. Before the transplant, Reyes said he had no hope. But his life has completely changed with a new kidney.

“There really are no words to say thank you,” Reyes said. “You gave me back my life and I’m so grateful.”

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias also stressed the importance and simplicity of organ and tissue donation Thursday morning during another moving press conference held at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

According to him, one single donor can save or improve the lives of up to 25 people. While more than 7.5 million Illinois residents are registered donors, he said about 4,000 people remain on the transplant waiting list today, and 300 people die each year while waiting for a transplant in the state.

About 2,000 transplants are performed in Illinois each year, but “we can and should do better,” Giannoulias said. The Secretary of State’s office launched a public awareness campaign, he said, focusing on the critical need for organ donors, especially in communities of color, where the need for some organs is greatest.

Giannoulias mentioned Bonnie Wright’s “Just Like That”, which won the 2023 Grammy Award for Song of the Year, during a press conference. Wright wrote the song after hearing a story about a mother who met the recipient of her dead son’s heart.

Yiannoulias said the song is “extremely effective”. Part of raising public awareness relies on the support of celebrities involved in the cause, he said. According to him, the Grammy-winning song is very powerful.

Sheila Chalmers-Karrin, president of Matteson Village, said she lost her son to kidney disease. According to her, he died while waiting for a kidney transplant.

“I don’t have a son anymore, but there are so many others that could have been saved if we made a difference,” she said. “This is my statement to you – if you want to change the lives of others and improve their lives, please do it for others by becoming an organ donor.”

Kim Gossel, a three-time kidney recipient from Palatine, also encouraged the public to join the organ donor registry. After a long road to health, her latest kidney transplant fails.

However, Gossel said, “The good news is I’m here.”

“I ask that if you have any thoughts on helping a friend, family member or complete stranger get back to their normal life and to their family, consider becoming a living organ donor,” Gossel said.

To register in the state register of organ and tissue donors, follow the link LifeGoesOn.comcall 800-210-2106 or visit public office secretary. Additional information can be found at

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How to watch Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves



Dungeons & Dragons has inspired art and storytelling for decades, providing fertile ground for high fantasy epics and serving as a major inspiration for one of the biggest TV phenomena of the 21st century. Strange things. And now the hugely popular tabletop RPG has finally been adapted to the big screen. (Technically, this is actually the game’s fourth film adaptation, but the less said about the critically acclaimed early 2000s trilogy, the better.)

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves acts as a tribute to the exciting fantasy world loved by players and as an introduction for newcomers to the vast lore and various archetypes you are likely to find in a normal D&D campaign, such as bards, paladins, rogues, and barbarians. – and all this in a popcorn heist adventure.

Chris Pine plays the bard Edgin Darvis, leader of a ragtag band of misfits that also includes Michelle Rodriguez as the barbarian Holga Kilgore, Rege-Jean Page as the paladin Xenk Yendar, Justice Smith as the sorcerer’s apprentice Simon Omar, and Sophia Lillis as the tiefling. Druid Dorik.

As the film begins, we find Ejin and company. in jail after one of their jobs went awry. But escaping one of the titled dungeons is only the beginning of his worries, because his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) is also in danger. And there’s the tyrant Hugh Grant to fight…


How can I watch Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves?

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is shown exclusively in theaters. It was released internationally on March 31 and grossed over $80 million.

While we can expect the film to eventually make it to streaming, it will likely not be until two months after its cinematic run ends if the timing of other Paramount releases such as smile can be used as a roadmap, so we are looking at the end of May or the beginning of June.

Buy tickets for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Buy tickets for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Philip Ellis headshot

Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.

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