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Comprehensive new Danish study debunks vaccine myths, again

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Comprehensive new Danish study debunks vaccine myths, again | The Thaiger
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A high-level and extensive new study from Denmark has found no association between being vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella and developing autism. The issue has become a dangerous conspiracy theory that has spread misinformation since being posted, and then shared, on the internet more than two decades ago.

The fraudulent claims originated with a 1997 study published by Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon. The article was published in The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, suggesting that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was increasing autism in British children. The paper has since been completely discredited due to serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license and the paper was retracted from The Lancet.

  • A huge new Danish study of more than 650,000 people shows no link between the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.
  • The study is far from the first of its kind: Scientists and medical professionals have been saying for years that the measles vaccine is safe.
  • Some parents still refuse to vaccinate their kids over autism fears, and measles cases are on the rise around the globe.
  • Weary researchers say we’re living in a “fact-resistant” world.

The sheer size of this study involving 657,461 Danish children born between 1999 and 2010 bolsters the argument that doctors and public health professionals still find themselves forced to make in the face of entrenched and growing resistance to vaccination in some quarters.

The work, published last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was conducted by researchers at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen. Some of the same scientists published an earlier article on this topic in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002, based on data from 537,303 Danish children born between 1991 and 1998.

Six measles outbreaks are currently ongoing in the US, with 206 cases reported in January and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That two-month total is higher than the entire year’s tally for 2017.

“If you’re an anti-vaxxer, you have ‘blood on your hands” – UK healthcare secretary

At the end of last year, Thai officials in the southern provinces announced that the measles outbreak in Yala has worsened with 859 children having been infected and the death toll standing at 10 cases.

Measles outbreaks have also been reported in a number of other countries around the world. A French family with unvaccinated children recently brought the virus to Costa Rica. An outbreak in an Orthodox Jewish community in New York City was triggered by a case that contracted the virus in Israel. The World Health Organisation’s European regional office reported there were more than 85,000 cases across the continent in 2018 and 72 measles deaths.

Washington state has spent more than $1.2 million trying to contain an outbreak there that to date has seen 71 people become infected. State Health Secretary John Wiesman is appearing Tuesday before the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to ask for more funding to help the country’s public health sector cope.

In an editorial published with the study, Dr. Saad Omer of Emory University wrote that evidence hasn’t won over the skeptics so far.

“It has been said that we now live in a ‘fact-resistant’ world where data have limited persuasive value,” he said.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Has Thailand’s suicide rate increased due to Covid-19 restrictions? – VIDEO

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Has Thailand’s suicide rate increased due to Covid-19 restrictions? – VIDEO | The Thaiger

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Before Covid, around the world every 40 seconds someone lost their life to suicide and nearly 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, according to statistics from the WHO.

In Thailand, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, after road fatalities.

Now, an apparent rise in Thailand’s suicide rate, related to the country’s current business conditions, restrictions and ongoing world pandemic, is concerning health officials.

The Mental Health Department released a report in September indicating 2,551 people in Thailand had killed themselves from January to the end of July, 2020. That is up a palpable 22% compared to the same first 6 months of last year.

Health officials are citing “personal problems, economic pressures, depression and alcohol abuse” for the rise in cases that appear to be linked to Thailand’s current economic woes.

South East Asian suicide rates are generally around 20 to 30 % higher than the global average, and Thailand’s general rate was the highest suicide rate in the South East Asian region before the pandemic.

The Thai Mental Health Department Director General Kiartipoom Wongrachit believes that both isolation and pressures generated by social media have contributed to the rise.

But he also believes that social media is becoming a valuable tool to help identify self-harm behaviour and provide intervention.

“Signs of suicide have been increasing on social media. While some social media platforms have technology that can detect video clips recording self harm or suicides… there are many other signs to look out for that the technology can’t detect.”

He linked the increase in the suicide cases this year to the outbreak of the deadly virus and described the trend as “worrisome”.

A March study by Chiang Mai University also identified 38 suicide attempts that were likely linked to stress associated with the lockdown at the time. 28 of them ended up in deaths.

The research was conducted in the middle of the local lockdowns and restrictions implemented by the Thai government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In June, Oxford University also released a study on the impact of the pandemic on suicide rates in the International Journal of Medicine.

The study found stress from Covid-19 had played a part in the suicide rates and that the problem “could linger after the outbreak ends”.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Bangkok

Bangkok running enthusiasts enjoy new pop-up track at Central World

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok running enthusiasts enjoy new pop-up track at Central World | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

As Bangkok residents enjoy the freedom of Covid restrictions being lifted, the city’s Central World mall has unveiled a pop-up running track to help people get back in shape after lockdown.

The mall’s managment team has installed a 500 metre track, which is open to the city’s runners every evening from 5 pm to 8 pm, until July 22. The track is already proving popular, with both serious runners and newbies, as well as those just along for a selfie in the unusual exercise spot.

The temporary track is part of the mall’s “Central World Sport Unlock Phase 1” campaign, aimed at getting people healthy again after Covid restrictions led to most being confined indoors, with limited exercise.

Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, from the Marketing team at Central Pattana, says the mall plans to run more fitness activities in the coming months, pointing out that it also boasts over 50 health and wellness stores, and has been the starting point for various marathons over the years.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles

Maya Taylor

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Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Christopher Williams on Unsplash

Thailand has a health problem and it appears to be an even bigger concern than the current Covid-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation says nearly one third of the Thai population is now overweight and 9% of the country is obese. Malaysia currently holds the dubious honour of having the highest obesity rate in Southeast Asia – but Thailand is now in second place.

In a report in the Chiangrai Times, leading academics and medical experts lay bare their concerns. Obesity is well-known for being a leading cause of diabetes, heart problems, arthiritis and several other debilitating conditions. And in countries with less-developed healthcare systems, this is even more of a burden.

In Thailand in particular, obesity is just as prevalent in children, with 1 in 10 children classed as overweight. 10.5% of kids under 5 are obese. That figure rises to 13.9% for those aged between 6 and 14. In adults, both men and women are getting fatter, with the highest rate of obesity being among those in the 45–59 age group, followed by the 30-44 group. This is the case with both genders.

The study also reveals that obesity rates are lower in rural areas. Central Thailand and Bangkok have higher rates, with the difference most pronounced among the male population. In particular, obesity is prevalent among Buddhist monks, with one theory being that they are regularly offered food by devout Buddhists and it is rude not to accept it.

Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles | News by The Thaiger

Photo: www.bangkokjack.com

Whereas junk food costs less in the western world and is more likely to be eaten by poorer families, it is the opposite in Thailand. The rise in obesity therefore is partly being attributed to a rise in income, combined with a more sedentary way of living for many. Thai men and women aged 45-59 tend to have more income and those who do live in urban areas. They have also been shown to have a higher obesity rate.

Now medical experts are warning the public of the risks associated with obesity, while the government has issued guidelines on the daily consumption of sugar, sodium and saturated fat. Schools are being encouraged to introduce more activities for children and to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting at desks.

Meanwhile, public health official Amporn Bejapolpitak says monks need to get more active and that the public should offer them healthier food choices. It’s believed that 50% of the nation’s monks are obese. Professor Jongiit Angkatavanich from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University expressed grave concern.

“Obesity in our monks is a ticking time bomb. Many of the monks are suffering from diseases that we know are actually preventable.”

SOURCE: Chiangrai Times

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