Flu vaccination benefits for elderly called modest

first_imgSep 23, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Researchers who reviewed 64 studies report that influenza vaccination is only modestly beneficial for elderly people overall, with nursing home residents benefiting more than people living on their own.”Our findings show that, according to reliable evidence, the effectiveness of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines in elderly individuals is modest, irrespective of setting, outcome, population, and study design,” says the report by Tom Jefferson and four colleagues, of the Cochrane Vaccines Field, based in Alessandria, Italy. The study was published online yesterday by The Lancet.The researchers found that flu vaccines, when well matched to circulating flu strains, reduced the risk of hospitalization for flu or pneumonia by 45% for elderly (65 or older) nursing home residents. For people living at home, flu vaccines were 26% effective in preventing hospitalization for flu or pneumonia. However, vaccination didn’t significantly lower the risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza in either group.The team searched five databases for studies of the effectiveness of flu vaccine in preventing influenza, flu-like illnesses, and related hospital admissions, complications, and death. They found 64 studies from the past four decades, including five randomized trials, 49 cohort studies, and 10 case-control studies, that met their criteria.For elderly residents of nursing homes who received vaccines well matched to circulating flu strains, the vaccines yielded risk reductions of 23% for flu-like illness, 46% for pneumonia, 45% for hospitalization for flu or pneumonia, 42% for death from flu or pneumonia, and 60% for death from any cause. However, vaccination yielded no significant benefit when the match with circulating flu strains was poor or unknown.The benefits were smaller for elderly people living in the community, according to the authors’ analysis of 20 cohort studies. Vaccines didn’t significantly reduce the participants’ risk for flu, flu-like illness, or pneumonia. With well-matched vaccines, risk reductions were 26% for hospitalization for flu or pneumonia and 42% for all-cause mortality. Vaccines did not reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart disease or the risk of death from respiratory disease.However, vaccination looked somewhat more beneficial for community dwellers when the authors adjusted for confounding variables, including sex, age, smoking, and other illnesses. In that analysis, vaccines reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by 47% and lowered the risk of hospitalization by 24% for heart disease and 22% for respiratory diseases.The authors write that no firm conclusions could be drawn from the five randomized controlled trials they analyzed. However, in analyzing the two trials that had “adequate” randomization and blinding, they found that vaccines were 43% effective in preventing flu-like illness and 58% effective against flu in community-dwelling older peopleThe study’s main findings show somewhat smaller benefits than those cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Information on the CDC Web site says that for older people in nursing homes, flu immunization can be 50% to 60% effective in preventing flu-related hospitalization or pneumonia and 80% effective in preventing flu-related death. Also, the CDC says that community dwelling older people who get flu shots can lower their risk of hospitalization for pneumonia or flu by 30% to 70%.In response to the new study, the CDC issued a statement today emphasizing that vaccination remains the best way to protect older people from flu and its complications. The agency acknowledged that flu vaccines are not 100% effective and that older people and those with chronic diseases may develop less immunity than healthy young adults.The CDC said the finding that flu vaccination is more effective for nursing-home residents than for community-dwelling older people “is unexpected and not consistent with other data, including information on immune response to vaccination.”The study authors write that on the basis of their findings, “We believe efforts should be concentrated on achieving high vaccination coverage in long-term care facilities coupled with a systematic assessment of the effect of such a policy. One possible way to improve this strategy might involve the vaccination of carers [caregivers] in an effort to reduce transmission.”The federal government took steps in that direction last month, announcing that nursing homes that serve Medicare recipients would be required to offer flu shots to residents. The government also wants to increase vaccination coverage for nursing home staff members, but there are no plans to require vaccination for them.The new report was published little more than a week after the CDC urged older people and others in high-risk groups to get their flu shots soon. The agency has recommended that flu shots be reserved for the high-risk groups until Oct 24.Jefferson T, Rivetti D, Rivetti A, et al. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in elderly people: a systematic review. Lancet 2005;Sep 22 (early online pubication)See also:CDC information on efficacy and effectiveness of flu vaccinehttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/efficacy.htmlast_img read more

Dutch giant PMT to divest holdings in ‘expensive’ hedge funds

first_imgThe pension fund reported combined returns for alternatives, including private equity and infrastructure, of 2.8% over the first six months of 2014.At the same time, the metal scheme announced that it would invest €1bn in Dutch residential mortgages, through the Dutch Mortgage Funding Company (DMFCO), established last year.Inge van den Doel, PMT’s director of asset management, said: “This investment will generate a decent return against an acceptable and verifiable risk.“Investment through the DMCFO offers pension funds the option to solely invest in the type of mortgages that suit their specific policy requirements.“Because several pension funds have joined the initiative and combined their requirements, the DMFCO can offer a full mortgage product.”Meanwhile, PGB, the €16bn pension fund for the printing industry, today announced that it would also invest €500m in Dutch residential mortgages through the DMFCO. PGB trustee Rob Heerkens, responsible for investments, said: “Dutch mortgages are an attractive investment, as they carry a limited risk whilst offering better returns than, for example, Dutch government bonds.”PGB said the €6.7bn pension fund of steelworks Hoogovens had also committed itself to a substantial investment to DMFCO.By committing to the Dutch Mortgage Funding Company, the pension funds have effectively foregone investing in Dutch residential mortgage bonds, soon to be launched by the National Mortgage Institution (NHI).Annemieke Biesheuvel, spokeswoman for PMT, said: “By investing through the DMFCO, pension funds can follow their intended risk/return profile precisely, and won’t be dependent on what the NHI would offer.”The NHI had indicated it would aim at issuing €50bn worth of mortgage bonds for institutional investors. PMT, the €55bn pension fund for Dutch metal workers, has said it will fully divest its €1bn hedge fund allocation in favour of investments in local residential mortgages.Following an extensive analysis of its hedge fund holdings, the pension fund concluded that an active management style in “markets with many players” no longer matched its investment beliefs.It also cited the fact the management cost for its hedge fund portfolio accounted for no less than 32% of its entire asset management costs of 0.54% of assets.PMT said its chief purpose in having a hedge fund allocation – to spread investment risk – no longer carried sufficient weight, particularly in light of the “slightly positive” returns it generated.last_img read more

Barca face La Liga expulsion if Catalonia splits

first_imgBarcelona would not be allowed to play in La Liga if Catalonia broke away from Spain, the country’s football league chief Javier Tebas said as tensions mounted in the region over the possibility of an independence referendum next month.Politics have been interwoven with the football club almost since it was formed and is summed up by the team’s motto: ‘more than a club’.Barca’s role in pushing the Catalan nationalist cause varies depending on the board in power, but it always plays a central role in cultural life.The present board, first under president Sandro Rosell and now Josep Maria Bartomeu, have taken a back-seat role in the heated debate currently taking place in the region about whether to hold an independence referendum on November 9.Catalan independence would clearly impact on the future of Barca, who, along with Real Madrid, are the major powerhouses of the Spanish game with support throughout the country.In the event that Barca did leave La Liga then it would severely weaken the image of the competition at home and abroad. Similarly it would be hard to imagine Barca and local rivals Espanyol competing in a Catalan league, which would have many semi-professional teams.”If Catalonia became independent, taking into consideration the Sports Law that would be enforced by the rest of Spain, Barcelona wouldn’t be allowed to play,” Tebas, the president of the LFP, told a sports conference in Barcelona.”There would have to be a change in the law made in the Spanish Parliament.”Clearly if it happened then it would be detrimental for Spanish football to lose Barca who are an historic club.”I can’t imagine the LFP without Barca. In the same way as I can’t imagine Catalonia without Spain, I can’t see La Liga without Barca. Also if it did happen what would you call the league: the Spanish League or the Iberian League?” Barca supporters aligned with former-president Joan Laporta are calling on the club to be more vocal in support of the referendum.Laporta, who was president from 2003 to 2010, wanted the club to be at the forefront of Catalan nationalist politics, which angered many fans, particularly those from other parts of Spain who felt alienated.The present board though are less committal.”It is a sensitive subject and the club won’t get involved but the president is considering making a statement in the coming days,” said a Barca spokesman.Xavi and Gerard Pique, however, are among the Barca players who have come out in support of a referendum, following a September rally in Barcelona in favour of the vote, attended by 1.8 million people according to the police. “We have all the right in the world to vote. We need to vote, we need the people to show their opinions and I am in favour of the referendum obviously,” Xavi told a news conference.Both he and Pique were or currently are Spain internationals and the latter says that he still gives his all when playing for La Roja.”I am Catalan and I wanted to take part in the rally. I went with friends to have a good time with the other 1.8 million that were there,” Pique told a news conference.”There is no need to doubt me. I have played for the national team for 11 years and it is something different to be in favour of a referendum which is democratic. People should have the right to vote and this has nothing to do with the other.”last_img read more

Check out this hilariously awesome Vespainspired electric monowheel

first_imgSource: Charge Forward I think it’s fair to say that Vespa has defined the classic scooter style that has lasted in one form or another for over half a century. Interestingly though, that design hasn’t only been limited to scooters. A Barcelona-based company has borrowed those classic looks for a totally new type of vehicle: an electric monowheel.And before you laugh, check out the specs. You might be more interested in this thing than you’d think… more…The post Check out this hilariously awesome Vespa-inspired electric monowheel appeared first on Electrek.last_img read more