More reactions from the Dec. 14 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., include commentary from autism experts; United Nations program to end polio in Pakistan suspended after shootings in Karachi; and a new seasonal flu vaccine gets approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the first intramuscular vaccine to protect against four influenza strains. Read these and more public health news stories for Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012.
Boston Globe — Link between autism and planned violence discounted by experts
Unconfirmed news reports after the Connecticut school shooting that gunman Adam Lanza had been diagnosed with a milder form of autism prompted strongly worded statements from autism advocacy groups that the developmental disorder was not associated with “planned violence.” Psychologists who treat people with autism point out that pre-meditated violence toward others isn’t one of the traits associated with the disorder in the psychiatric diagnostic manual. While some individuals may thrash out violently when feeling emotionally overwhelmed — usually those at the extreme end of the autism spectrum — there’s no evidence linking the condition to the type of forethought required to pack guns into a car, shoot through the entrance of a locked school, and methodically gun down tiny strangers in pigtails and baseball caps.
Philadelphia Inquirer — A public health response to gun violence in America
One of the fundamental challenges in the practice of public health – the work that keeps populations and communities healthy and safe – is balancing the rights of the individual with the rights of the public. We work hard to make sure that a person with active tuberculosis who refuses treatment has access to due process before they are deprived of their civil liberties and required to take medications and confined so they don’t infect others.
BBC News — Karachi polio killings: Vaccination workers shot
The fifth woman was shot and wounded in the city of Peshawar in the north-west and later died of her injuries. A UN-backed programme to eradicate polio – which is endemic in Pakistan – has been suspended in Karachi. No group has said it carried out the shootings, but the Taliban have issued threats against the polio drive. “These were pre-planned and co-ordinated attacks in various localities which took place within a span of 20 minutes,” Imran Javed, a police spokesman told the BBC of Tuesday’s attacks in Karachi.
Reuters — GlaxoSmithKline wins U.S. approval for new flu vaccine
U.S. health regulators have approved a new four-strain seasonal influenza vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the company said on Monday. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Fluarix Quadrivalent to immunize children age 3 and older and adults against flu virus subtypes A and B contained in the vaccine. It is the first intramuscular vaccine to protect against four influenza strains. Three-strain flu vaccines currently administered help protect against the two most common A virus strains and the B strain expected to be predominant in a given year, the company said.
Lifegoesstrong — Cardio beats weights as the best weight loss program
We’ve long been told that a workout for losing weight has to involve strength training—because even while resting, muscle burns energy, raising our metabolisms, right? But a new study calls that conventional wisdom into question (which I am a little too happy to hear, because I find strength training boring beyond belief . . ). Researchers at Duke University took a group of overweight or obese people and assigned them to three different groups: One group did only a weight-lifting workout, another did only aerobic training, and a third did a workout involving both aerobics and weights. The exercise sessions were supervised.