The European Medicines Agency launched a review on 27 August of a putative link between GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix pandemic H1N1 vaccine and a handful of cases of narcolepsy — a rare sleeping disorder. A temporal association between vaccination and development of the disease has been reported in 15 children in Finland and six in Sweden, although that by no means proves the vaccine caused them. The review will analyse whether there is any link or not, and whether the cases represent or not an abnormal increase on the usual baseline levels that would be expected: the prevalence of narcolepsy — which has a genetic component, and can be triggered by infections — is estimated generally at around 0.045% of the population, and in Finland 6 cases in children per year.
The US Air Force has finally picked up a giant, space-bound particle detector from CERN, Europe’s particle laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is a 15 year, US$2 billion detector designed to measure cosmic rays while perched on the outside of the International Space Station. It was picked up by a completely awesome Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy, which flew it to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has a carefully manicured image as Russia’s premier macho-man: he’s often seen at the controls of a fighter jet and fly-fishing shirtless. But lately, he’s become a one-man research team.
An auditor’s report into the financial dealings of the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Rajendra Pachauri had faced numerous allegations about his relationship with the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a non-profit based in New Delhi of which he is the director general.
It’s big, it’s sterile, and it’s been dubbed ‘frankenfish’ by some. But as Chris McGreal reports in yesterday’s online Guardian, genetically modified salmon is about to start a process of approval by the US Food and Drug Administration that could make it the first engineered animal destined for consumption by humans anywhere.
While simulating what happens when two galaxies merge, an astrophysics team cooked up something unexpected: a supermassive black hole forming directly from the collapse of a dense cloud of gas. Their model, presented today in Nature, offers a new explanation of how the objects form.
In response to pressure from member states, CERN’s finance committee today recommended cuts to the budget totalling CHF343 million (US$333 million) over five years—a roughly 5% cut to the lab’s CHF 1 billion annual budget.