New Zealand may ban semi-automatic weapons after mosque shootings.

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New Zealand may ban semi-automatic weapons after mosque shootings.

The crowd in attendance at a vigil at Auckland’s Aotea Square cheered loudly when Attorney-General David Parker said the Government would ban semi-automatic rifles.

He warned of a global rise of extremism.

“There is a dimming of enlightenment in many parts of the world,” he said.

“How can it be right for this atrocity to be filmed by the murderer using a go-pro and live-streamed across the world by social media companies?

“How can that be right? Who should be held accountable for that?”

Parker’s comments come after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s earlier remarks that New Zealand’s gun laws would change.

Speaking to media in Wellington this morning, Ardern stressed that “now was the time for change.”

Ardern said five guns were used by the primary perpetrator, including two semi-automatic weapons, and two shotguns.

“The offender was in possession of a gun licence,” Ardern said.

She said the guns were purchased in December last year.

“While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now; our gun laws will change.”

She said there had been attempts to change New Zealand’s gun laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017.

“Now is the time for change.”

Speaking to media in Wellington this morning, PM Jacinda Ardern stressed that
Speaking to media in Wellington this morning, PM Jacinda Ardern stressed that “now was the time for change” when it comes to gun laws. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Ardern reiterated that three people had been arrested in relation to the attack including one Australian citizen, who will appear in court today, charged with murder.

She said he had travelled around the world with “sporadic periods of time spent in New Zealand”.

Despite this, the man was not on any watch lists in New Zealand or Australia.

He was not a resident of Christchurch, Ardern confirmed. She said he was currently based in Dunedin.

She said inquiries were being made to assess whether the other two people arrested were directly involved in the incident.

“The fourth person who was arrested yesterday was a member of the public who was in a possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police,” Ardern said.

That person had been released, she confirmed.

Ardern said none of the arrested had a criminal history, either in New Zealand or in Australia.

She reiterated that New Zealand’s intelligence community and police were focused on extremism of every kind.

“Given global indicators around far-right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area.

“The individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community – nor the police – for extremism.”

Ardern said she had asked New Zealand’s intelligence agencies to “work swiftly” to see if there was any activity on social media or otherwise that should have triggered a response.

Ardern said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was acting as a liaison point for foreign governments.

She said consular representation for any foreign nations involved had been provided.

“At this stage I understand those involved include Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.”

Meanwhile, Ardern said she had instructed ODESC to report to Cabinet on Monday with a view to “strengthening our systems on a range of fronts” including, but not limited to, firearms, border controls, enhanced information sharing with Australia and any practical reinforcement of our watch list processes.

“I want to come now to what people can expect over the course of the day and beyond. The safety of New Zealanders is our highest priority.”

She said MFAT staff were dealing with offers of assistance, and receiving a significant number of condolence messages.

After addressing media in Wellington, Ardern headed to Christchurch on a Defence Force plane. She said other political leaders, such as National leader Simon Bridges, would be going as well.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister was not able to confirm which other ministers would be accompanying Ardern to Christchurch today.

Source: http://bit.ly/2F9UchV

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Why the poor in India don’t revolt.

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Why the poor in India don’t revolt.

Across the nation maids are talking back; who knows one day they may even demand long-handle mops to clean the floors. The rich wonder if it is all because of the employment guarantee schemes conceived by the profligate Congress government—the poor seem to have options these days. The wages, too, have soared. In any case, the middle class, at least the young and the refined, want to be nice to their servants. The conscientious sahib even exclaims on social media how cruel it is that maids are “expected to be invisible”. The madam, though as conscientious, is unlikely to say that, or let the maid use her toilet or the cutlery. Across urban homes, however, the maids are sitting on footstools, even chairs, in the presence of their employers. If there is a time-lapse video of seated maids across a stretch of 10 years, it would show them slowly soaring from floor to sofa. Also, the maids today are not the tragic malnourished women of once upon a time. And their infants are roly-poly.

A cluster of apartment blocks called Mahagun Moderne in Noida, adjacent to Delhi, where hundreds of maids worked, was not very different from the rest of the urban hives until a few days ago, when a riot broke out. A mob of maids and their men attacked the society after one of the maids, a young woman, went missing and her family thought she had been detained by a family that had earlier accused her of stealing money.

Similar scuffles have occurred in other parts of Delhi. The occurrences are rare but they may be a portent of what is to come. The master-servant equilibrium of Indian society is collapsing. The poor are becoming socially and politically more empowered than ever before.

What is surprising is why they do not attack more often. How does vast poverty tolerate the wealth of a few, who are vulgar just to appear so rich in plain sight. Many a time, even if you are just walking with an ice cream in hand, you feel you are taunting the poor. Why don’t the poor rise in revolt and cause end-of-days havoc? Order suits the rich. Chaos is a leveller. Do the poor overestimate the defences of the rich? Why are we safe?

There is a type of phoney Indian who would, with flared noble nostrils, say the poor will not do it because they are such wonderful folk. But just as foolish is the innate suspicion of rich India that the poor are prone to criminality and violence, and that they are kept in check by religious or other mystical forces. But the fact is India’s poor shun violence for the same reasons most human beings abhor violence. They wish to be humane.

There is something far less pleasant that guards the rich—the near absence of human rights for the poor in a police station or a prison, or in the rest of the judicial process. India is not a safe place for the rich but it is safer than it should be, or even compared to more mature economies like South Africa, because the consequences of crimes against the rich are severe in India. Mumbai’s underworld, for example, was an organized attempt by gangs to steal from the rich, but when they began to employ efficient lawyers and use the legal process to free their captured men, society responded through extrajudicial killings of criminals. What India lacks through order it often makes up through informality. The less democratic a nation, the safer it is for the rich. Street safety in China, it will not surprise us, is much better than in India.

But the most important reason why it is hard for anyone to organize India’s poor against the rich is that such a system already exists—in the form of electoral politics. As long as the poor believe that they own politics, they will find greater release in that legitimate revolution than in self-destructive rage.

Indian politics thus is largely a revenge of the poor, or at least an attempt. That is one of the reasons why demonetization did not destroy the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as the liberals had hoped. The party has won more than 10 elections since that announcement. The poor thought the rich suffered more than them.

Everything considered, the rich are great beneficiaries of poverty. It is very cheap to be rich in India. As the chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian, pointed out, the subsidies that the rich so hate are designed for the poor but are best experienced by the rich. But the benefits are not as trivial as being served by a maid who would skin hundreds of soya beans for hours and crush them into milk. In a poor nation, the social elite can pass through life without facing any substantial competition. That is why the frequent middle-class accusation of “nepotism” in the film industry is somewhat amusing—not just Bollywood dynasties, almost the entire Indian upper class owes its supremacy to the huge advantages its families have provided.

The poor also serve the rich by providing them a clear moral goal—eradicate poverty. Every learned Indian is a poverty eradication thinker. Many among the elite youth lament “inequality”, though all they have to do to reduce inequality is, instead of lamenting, refuse to go to expensive American colleges, and boycott inheritance. In the sheer absurdity of the youth even considering such a drastic sacrifice lies a more disturbing question—can the beneficiaries of inequality really end it? In their subterranean minds, do they actually wish inequality to continue?

As the nation transforms and the facile deference and the isolation of the poor dissolves, the rich are responding by paying a premium for places and experiences that will not be diminished by the other kind of Indians. When India is expensive, it is not because it has something of value to offer, it is the price one pays for keeping the riff-raff out.

Source : https://bit.ly/2U2uYIm

Exposure to infection in the womb increases risk of autism & depression study says.

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Exposure to infection in the womb increases risk of autism & depression study says.

Children born to women who had a severe infection during pregnancy, such as sepsis, flu or pneumonia, show an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder and depression, new research finds. Yet those exposed to even a relatively minor urinary tract infection in utero also experienced an increased risk of such disorders.

Women should “make sure you have your influenza vaccination in pregnancy,” said Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, co-author of the study and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
Although the flu shot is safe for pregnant women, coming down with the illness during pregnancy “can be very dangerous for your baby’s mental health and brain development,” she said.

Autism and depression, not bipolar disorder

Adams Waldorf and her colleagues analyzed patient data from Sweden’s national health registry, specifically looking at information “for the entire population of pregnant women that were hospitalized between 1973 and 2014,” she said. “And then we had up to 41 years of follow-up on those children that stayed in Sweden.”
In total, they looked at the records of 1,791,520 children and, using hospitalization codes, identified those who’d been exposed to their mother’s infection in utero.
The study was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. The results, Adams Waldorf said, were “very surprising.”
Children born to mothers with an infection during pregnancy had a 79% increased risk of an autism diagnosis anda 24% increased risk of a depression diagnosis as adults, the researchers found. They also saw “an increased risk of suicide in those children that had been exposed to infections in utero,” Adams Waldorf said, adding that this association made the depression findings “much stronger.”
The increased risk level for autism and depression was detected regardless of whether fetal exposure was to a severe infection — such as sepsis, flu, pneumonia, meningitis or encephalitis, chorioamnionitis (an infection of the placental tissues) or pyelonephritis (a severe kidney infection) — or a urinary tract infection.
No increased risk of bipolar disorder or psychosis, including schizophrenia, was seen among those exposed to infection during fetal development, the study showed.
“We need more research into understanding the inflammation that occurs in the urinary tract infection and how it might impact the fetus,” Adams Waldorf said. More research is also needed on areas of the fetal brain that are extremely vulnerable to damage from infection and inflammation.
“The hippocampus is a very vulnerable part of the brain that is targeted by Zika virus infection but may be vulnerable to other infections as well,” she said, explaining that this brain region “plays a key role in social and emotional functioning.”

Sensitive periods in brain development

Margaret McCarthy, a neuroscientist and professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said the study is “astonishing” in terms of both the number of subjects and the length of time. “To my knowledge, this is the largest and most comprehensive study of in utero infections and the health outcomes for the offspring,” said McCarthy, who had no role in the new research.
The fact that both severe infection and urinary tract infection conferred the same level of risk “highlights that there’s something very subtle that can be very profound in brain development, and it probably has to do with sensitive periods in brain development that we don’t understand yet,” she said.
In her own research on sex differences and brain development, she found that a lot of immune system signaling “sculpts” the male brain during development. “And we have speculated that this increases their risk for neurodevelopmental or neuropsychiatric disorders like ADHD, autism, et cetera.” Yet, she added, studies have shown that both boosting inflammatory molecules (due to an illness or infection) or dampening them all the way down (by treating an illness or infection with certain medicines) may have deleterious effects on brain development.
“Brain development is really complicated, and things that we think are relatively benign sometimes aren’t, because we still don’t understand just a lot of the basic signaling molecules that are involved,” she said.
Dr. Alan S. Brown, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center, said in an email that “overall, the investigators have done a commendable job.” However, he also noted that the “findings could also be influenced by treatment-seeking behaviors.”
A previous study from Taiwan showed that treatment for infection in the third trimester was related to autism risk, explained Brown, who was not involved in the new study.
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“Starting in the 1990s, we demonstrated that prenatal exposure to several pathogens including rubella, influenza and toxoplasmosis are related to risk of schizophrenia,” he said of his own research. “In more recent work, we showed that prenatal influenza was related to bipolar disorder.”
Brown believes the new study provides more evidence for “relationships between prenatal infection and autism and opens up a potential new avenue of exploration regarding prenatal infection and depression.”
McCarthy said, “I don’t think pregnant women should panic. Try to avoid any kind of infection; avoid it if you can, and if you do have to treat it, treat it judiciously.”

Thailand is sick of tourists begging for money to get to home.

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Thailand is sick of tourists begging for money to get to home.

A Western tourist has sparked anger after begging for money from locals working at a market in a Thai holiday resort. The so-called ‘begpacker’ – calling himself Alex – was seen next to a donation box and signs pleading ‘I’m out of savings… please donate for my trip’ at Samkong Market on the island of Phuket.

There have been numerous reports of Western travellers begging in the country in the past. But many Thais do not know of the trend and demonstrate their generosity and hospitality by making donations, assuming they are in desperate need of help.

One sign said: ‘My name is Alex. I’m travelling in Asia for 15 months. Sadly, I’m out of my savings, but I stay positive.’

Last year, a series of pictures emerged showing how wealthy Western backpackers are increasingly begging across South East Asia simply to fund their trips in the region. The trend caused outrage among locals, who say the tourists are taking money from the truly needy in order to finance lifestyle choices many consider a luxury.

The Thai version translated as: ‘I’d like to ask for your kindness to fulfill my dream of travelling. Please donate for my trip. Thank you.’

Last year, German Benjamin Holst, dubbed ‘the big-legged beggar’ because he used his deformed limb to get sympathy and cash to fund partying in Thailand, was banned from the country

Kind-hearted Thais donated hundreds of pounds to help Benjamin Holst in 2014 after they saw him begging on the street and assumed he needed help. But they were left outraged when pictures later emerged appearing to show him partying with girls in Pattaya - the country's sex tourism capital

Kind-hearted Thais donated hundreds of pounds to help Benjamin Holst in 2014 after they saw him begging on the street and assumed he needed help. But they were left outraged when pictures later emerged appearing to show him partying with girls in Pattaya – the country’s sex tourism capital

Benjamin Holst, originally from Flensburg in Germany, suffers from a rare condition known as macrodystrophia lipomatosa which has left his right leg severely inflated

Benjamin Holst, originally from Flensburg in Germany, suffers from a rare condition known as macrodystrophia lipomatosa which has left his right leg severely inflated

‘Wait a minute. They do this now?’ he said, adding: ‘Is this right?’

The nationality of the men is not yet clear.

Last year, a German man dubbed ‘the big-legged beggar’ because he used his deformed limb to get sympathy and cash to fund partying in Thailand was banned from the country.

Benjamin Holst, originally from Flensburg in Germany, suffers from a rare condition  known as macrodystrophia lipomatosa which has left his right leg severely inflated.

Kind-hearted Thais donated hundreds of pounds to help him in 2014 after they saw him begging on the street and assumed he needed help.

But they were left outraged when pictures later emerged appearing to show him partying with girls in Pattaya – the country’s sex tourism capital.

An attempt to reach the country in September last year, however, appeared to backfire after he was barred from boarding a flight from Zurich in Switzerland amid reports he had been blacklisted by Thai immigration.

Last year, a series of pictures emerged showing how wealthy Western backpackers are increasingly begging across South East Asia simply to fund their trips in the region.

The trend caused outrage among locals, who say the tourists are taking money from the truly needy in order to finance lifestyle choices many consider a luxury.

Thailand is cracking down on “beg-packers” — shameless Western backpackers begging for travel money on the streets of Southeast Asia.

According to reports, visitors entering Thailand may be required to show immigration officials they have 20,000 baht ($748) in cash on them before being allowed into the country.

Thaivisa, an online forum for expats in Thailand, says it has learned of several instances where immigration officials at a number of border checkpoints across Thailand have been asking people entering the country on tourist visas to prove they have the funds.

Reports of this have also been surfacing increasingly on social media in Thailand expat groups.

According to Thaivisa, people trying to enter with a history of tourist visa entries appear to be the ones under the most scrutiny, but education visa holders are also subject to similar scrutiny.

School in Russia wants a return to monarchy reversing 100 years of history.

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School in Russia wants a return to monarchy reversing 100 years of history.

We are raising a new elite here,” said Zurab Chavchavadze, the dapper 74-year-old headteacher of St Basil the Great School, sitting beneath a large portrait of Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II. “The students will be morally sound, religious, intellectual and patriotic, and will have every chance of getting into power.”

A collection of grand buildings set around a new cathedral in an upmarket suburb of Moscow, the school harks back to Russia’s tsarist traditions to inculcate a sense of patriotism in its 400 students.

As the centenary approaches of Russia’s 1917 revolution, which deposed the Romanov dynasty after centuries of rule, Chavchavadze is part of a small but influential section of Russians who are looking to the tsarist past for inspiration – and even hope to restore a monarchy one day soon.

“Look at what the Russian people did with Lenin, Stalin, Putin. As soon as someone is in power for a few years, they become sacred. The Russian people strive for a monarchy; the Russian soul is monarchic,” said Chavchavadze.

At St Basil the Great school, portraits of the tsars look out at pupils from the corridors. A statue of Catherine the Great dominates a hallway, and the student ballroom features vast portraits of eight tsars. The lessons include scripture studies and Latin, and the school’s history textbooks were specially commissioned, to avoid the positive view of much of the Soviet period given by the standard Russian textbooks.

The school is the pet project of Konstantin Malofeyev, a mysterious Russian financier known as the “Orthodox oligarch”. Malofeyev, well-connected in the Kremlin, is believed to have funded rebel forces in East Ukraine, and has set up a nationalist, Orthodox Christian television channel, Tsargrad. The school, he said in an interview with the Guardian, is meant to function as “an Orthodox Eton”, which will prepare the new elite for a future Russian monarchy.

“The mission of our school is to ensure that our graduates will be Orthodox patriots who will carry the thousand-year traditions of Russia, not just those of the last 20 or 100 years,” said Malofeyev, from his central Moscow office, adorned with Orthodox icons and a large portrait of Tsar Alexander III, a 19th century ruler known for his conservatism. “For me it’s very important to restore the traditions that were broken off in 1917.”

After the February revolution – named for the month it began in Russia’s then-Juilan calendar – the country embarked on a short liberal experiment, but the provisional government was deposed by Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik uprising in October of the same year. Nicholas II and his family were executed in 1918; many aristocrats fought for the White armies in the Russian civil war, or fled to western Europe or further afield.

During the Soviet period, discussion of the Whites was forbidden. Chavchavadze’s family returned to the Soviet Union in 1947 in a wave of patriotism after victory in the second world war, but his father was quickly arrested as a spy and sent to the Gulag for 25 years, while the family was exiled to Kazakhstan.

In the post-Soviet period there has been renewed interest in the history of the pro-tsarist forces. Nicholas II has been canonised by the Russian Orthodox church. While Vladimir Putin’s administration has expressed admiration for the achievements of the Soviet Union, its foundation in 1917 is regarded as a tragedy, for the bloodshed and turmoil it caused.

Malofeyev, now 42, was born near Moscow to parents who lived in a special housing reservation for Soviet scientists. As a teenager during Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika, he devoured literature about the Whites, and swiftly became a monarchist.

“When I was 14, I read two books which had a huge impact on me,” he recalled. One was the memoirs of a former tsarist officer who went on to publish an émigré newspaper in Argentina, while the other was Lord of the Rings. “The image of Aragorn returning to Gondor was my second image of monarchy. It also affected my monarchism,” he said.

Taken with the idea of monarchy, Malofeyev wrote a letter to the Paris-based Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, born in 1917 and considered the head of the imperial family after Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks and other royals died in exile.

After reading Malofeyev’s letter, the duke asked Chavchavadze, who was then working as his assistant, to deliver his reply in person. The pair have stayed in touch ever since.

Malofeyev went on to study law at Moscow State University, writing his dissertation on the constitutional mechanism by which modern Russia could reintroduce monarchy, before going into banking and rapidly becoming one of Russia’s richest men. He tapped up Chavchavadze to head his school, which moved into its new premises in 2012. Its graduates, Malofeyev hopes, will provide the backbone of the “inevitable” future tsarist order in Russia.

Malofeyev said career politicians are venal and focused on electoral success, while monarchs can rule without the dirty business of politics intervening. He does not count Putin among the list of grubby democratic politicians, as the Russian president was handpicked by Boris Yeltsin.

“He never tried to get elected; he was found and put in place, and turned out to be sent by God. Who could have guessed in 1999 that Putin would come to us and Russia would start becoming Russia again? It was an act of God,” he said.

He claimed surveys show that the number of Russians who want a monarchy has risen from 15% to 25% over the past decade, and links this to Putin’s personal popularity.

Others who have gathered around Malofeyev’s tsarist agenda include Leonid Reshetnikov, formerly a general in the KGB and Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence and until recently head of an influential foreign policy think tank. Now he runs the Double-headed Eagle Society from a Moscow office adorned with portraits of Putin and Nicholas II.

Reshetnikov said he first became a monarchist when he was a KGB agent stationed in the Balkans during the 1980s, as he noticed there were no true believers in Communism. He is equally unimpressed with democracy.

“Our liberals want to be like Europeans, but God made us different,” said Reshetnikov. “Liberal democracy is like Marxism, it was brought to us from London, Paris and New York. We need to return to the point where we took the wrong turn, in 1917.”

Reshetnikov said it was likely to be decades before Russia could seriously think about restoring the monarchy, and would require a more mature and religious society before it could be contemplated.

Malofeyev, however, said it could happen sooner than expected, and said he believes it to be quite possible that Putin could be crowned tsar: “Nobody wanted Yeltsin to carry on forever, but everyone wants Putin to carry on forever.”

Source : https://bit.ly/2VXnDeV

New Evidence Suggests Parkinson Starts in The Gut – Not The Brain.

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New Evidence Suggests Parkinson Starts in The Gut – Not The Brain.

Scientists have found more new evidence that Parkinson’s could start in the gut before spreading to the brain, observing lower rates of the disease in patients who had undergone a procedure called a truncal vagotomy.

The operation removes sections of the vagus nerve – which links the digestive tract with the brain – and over the course of a five-year study, patients who had this link completely removed were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who hadn’t.

According to a team led by Bojing Liu from the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden, that’s a significant difference, and it backs up earlier work linking the development of the brain disease to something happening inside our bellies.

If we can understand more about how this link operates, we might be better able to stop it.

“These results provide preliminary evidence that Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut,” says Liu.

“Other evidence for this hypothesis is that people with Parkinson’s disease often have gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, that can start decades before they develop the disease.”

The vagus nerve helps control various unconscious processes like heart rate and digestion, and resecting parts of it in a vagotomy is usually done to remove an ulcer if the stomach is producing a dangerous level of acid.

For this study, the researchers looked at 40 years of data from Swedish national registers, to compare 9,430 people who had a vagotomy against 377,200 people from the general population who hadn’t.

The likelihood of people in these two groups to develop Parkinson’s was statistically similar at first – until the researchers looked at the type of vagotomy that had been carried out on the smaller group.

In total, 19 people (just 0.78 percent of the sample) developed Parkinson’s more than five years after a truncal (complete) vagotomy, compared to 60 people (1.08 percent) who had a selective vagotomy.

Compare that to the 3,932 (1.15 percent) of people who had no surgery and developed Parkinson’s after being monitored for at least five years, and it seems clear that the vagus nerve is playing some kind of role here.

So what’s going on here? One hypothesis the scientists put forward is that gut proteins start folding in the wrong way, and that genetic ‘mistake’ gets carried up to the brain somehow, with the mistake being spread from cell to cell.

Parkinson’s develops as neurons in the brain get killed off, leading to tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with movement – but scientists aren’t sure how it’s caused in the first place. The new study gives them a helpful tip about where to look.

The latest research isn’t alone in its conclusions. Last year, tests on miceshowed links between certain mixes of gut bacteria and a greater likelihood of developing Parkinson’s.

What’s more, earlier this year a study in the US identified differences between the gut bacteria of those with Parkinson’s compared with those who didn’t have the condition.

All of this is useful for scientists looking to prevent Parkinson’s, because if we know where it starts, we can block off the source.

But we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves – as the researchers behind the new study point out, Parkinson’s is complex condition, and they weren’t able to include controls for all potential factors, including caffeine intake and smoking.

It’s also worth noting that Parkinson’s is classed as a syndrome: a collection of different but related symptoms that may have multiple causes.

“Much more research is needed to test this theory and to help us understand the role this may play in the development of Parkinson’s,” says Lui.

The research has been published in Neurology.

Source : https://bit.ly/2DjS7jN

France wants mandatory vaccinations as it is ‘unacceptable children are still dying of measles’

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France wants mandatory vaccinations as it is ‘unacceptable children are still dying of measles’

Parents in France will be legally obliged to vaccinate their children from 2018, the government has announced.

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said it was “unacceptable” that children are “still dying of measles” in the country where some of the earliest vaccines were pioneered.

Three childhood vaccines, for diphtheria, tetanus and polio, are currently mandatory in France. Others, including those against hepatitis and whooping cough, are simply recommended.

Announcing the policy, Mr Philippe evoked the name of Louis Pasteur, the French biologist who made breakthroughs in disease research and developed the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax in the 19th century.

He said all the vaccines which are universally recommended by health authorities – 11 in total – would be compulsory.

The move follows a similar initiative in Italy, which recently banned non-vaccinated children from attending state schools.

The World Health Organisation has warned of major measles outbreaks spreading across Europe despite the availability of a safe, effective vaccine.

Anti-vaccine movements, whose followers are known as anti-vaxxers, are believed to have contributed to low rates of immunisation against the highly contagious disease in a number of countries.

A recent survey found more than three out of 10 French people don’t trust vaccines, with just 52 per cent of participants saying the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

There were 79 cases of measles reported in France in the first two months of 2017, mostly due to an outbreak of 50 cases in the north-eastern Lorraine region, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2016, more than 24,000 cases of measles were declared in France, official figures show. Of these, around 1,500 had serious complications and there were 10 deaths.

Vaccination is not mandatory in Britain, and around 24,000 children a year in England are not immunised against measles, mumps and rubella.

Fear surrounding the combined inoculation for the three infectious diseases, known as the MMR vaccine, stems in part from a discredited study claiming to show a link between the jab and autism.

The paper, published in medical journal The Lancet nearly 20 years ago by disgraced former doctor Andrew Wakefield, led to a heavy fall in uptake among parents at the time, but exhaustive scientific research has now disproved the theory.

Two children in the UK have died of measles since 2006, and in 2013 a young man from Wales died of the disease – all a “waste of life,”  Dr Farah Jameel told doctors at the British Medical Association (BMA) annual meeting last month.

The BMA is calling for evidence to be submitted to the UK Government on “the potential advantages and disadvantages of childhood immunisation made mandatory under the law”.

Source : https://ind.pn/2sBs6Gu