Flu shots may help prevent heart attacks

26 posts / 0 new
Last post
Sineed
Flu shots may help prevent heart attacks

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found an association between getting seasonal flu shots, and a reduced risk of heart attacks.

http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/rapidpdf/cmaj.091891v1?ijkey=13eae643443587de435b...

Quote:
We included 78 706 patients, of whom 16 012 were cases and 62 694 were matched controls. Influenza vaccination had been received in the previous year by 8472 cases (52.9%) and 32 081 controls (51.2%) and was associated with a 19% reduction in the rate of acute myocardial infarction...

The authors also found that earlier vaccination, between September and mid-November, was more beneficial than receiving vaccinations later in the season, finding a reduction in risk of heart attacks of 21% in people getting their shots earlier, versus 12% in people who vaccinated late.  The advantage held up even when the authors performed an analysis that corrected for pre-existing illnesses, since people with health problems are more likely to get seasonal flu shots.

It has long been known that heart attacks are more common in winter than summer.  But this study suggests that maybe influenza can be a trigger for heart attacks, rather than just the cold weather.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Flu shots may also prevent the flu.

Thanks to growing ignorance about the importance of vaccination, the current flu season is hitting Toronto hard.

Quote:
Toronto Public Health has expanded its flu-shot clinics after a surge in cases has jammed emergency rooms, forced some hospitals to postpone elective surgeries and led to outbreaks at dozens of long-term care facilities.

There have been more than 850 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in Toronto while the annual average is 100. There have also been 10 flu-related deaths and 95 hospitalizations.

However, Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health with Toronto Public Health said those numbers are likely much higher.

"For those people that were sick in bed, didn't go anywhere or maybe just went to a walk-in clinic - they're not counted in those numbers," Dubey said. "It's definitely an undercount of how flu is impacting the city."

About 20 per cent of Canadians get the flu every year.

[url=http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/article/921096--hospitals-s... Star[/url]

Meanwhile, how many people have died from the flu shot this year? 

George Victor

You should see the situation that the intellectually challenged have helped create in one long term care dementia ward.

Fidel

I've had a cough that comes and goes, cramps all around my stomach area, mild headaches, a mild ear ache two days ago, and feeling a little woozy when walking around the grocery store. I'm wondering whether it's the flu or I'm just dying. I'm doin' oj and vit C like Gifford Jones says. No vomiting or passing out or anything just not feeling right.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Sineed wrote:

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found an association between getting seasonal flu shots, and a reduced risk of heart attacks.

http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/rapidpdf/cmaj.091891v1?ijkey=13eae643443587de435b...

Quote:
We included 78 706 patients, of whom 16 012 were cases and 62 694 were matched controls. Influenza vaccination had been received in the previous year by 8472 cases (52.9%) and 32 081 controls (51.2%) and was associated with a 19% reduction in the rate of acute myocardial infarction...

The authors also found that earlier vaccination, between September and mid-November, was more beneficial than receiving vaccinations later in the season, finding a reduction in risk of heart attacks of 21% in people getting their shots earlier, versus 12% in people who vaccinated late.  The advantage held up even when the authors performed an analysis that corrected for pre-existing illnesses, since people with health problems are more likely to get seasonal flu shots.

It has long been known that heart attacks are more common in winter than summer.  But this study suggests that maybe influenza can be a trigger for heart attacks, rather than just the cold weather.

They just really will not leave any cheap marketing trick slip through their grasp. The medical authorities are clearly getting desperate in the face of increasing public distrust of medical authority. They are right to be worried.

This is just crap statistically based conjecture. We have "push polls", now we have "push research". I can think of numerous reasons why people who take flu shots might have a positive correlation in relation to heart attacks, chief among them the fact that in all probability people who are more health conscious are more likely to do things like take flu shots. People who stay in shape and follow the doctors orders, are in probability healthier persons. Guess what? The real health nuts will also go to the get their flu shot earlier in the season!

(ETA: See next post for analysis.)

Where is the causality? That is what needs to be shown in a study like this.

Researchers routinely overlook the obvious in these kinds of statistical analysis. For example, I was told once that babies who live with parents who smoke, even ones that do not smoke in the house have increases likelihood of bronchitis and other respiratory issues. No explanation of how children who are not exposed even to second hand smoke might be affected by third party smoking. Just a bland simple correlation was offered as evidence.

The explanation for that is quite simple. Subjects in surveyed medical records who smoke are lying to their doctors about smoking in their homes or around their children. They may even be lying to their spouses too.

What is really adding fury to the storm of discontent around the medical profession is how much of the profession is driven by profit motive, and how many researchers are paid handsomely by the pharmaceutical giants at one point or another during their career. Crap science based on statistical correlations are not helping either, since of course every couple of years, the old surveys are thrown out and as new correlations are discovered.

A good example of that is the one found here, regarding "new" wisdom on breastfeeding. All in all it just adds to the impression that medical "science" is completely unreliable as a source of good information.

One more multi-billion dollar boondoggles "pandemic" such as the H1N1 fiasco will probably stop people going to doctors at all.

At the end of the day, if the medical profession wants to regain its respect in the public eye, it is going to have to divorce itself from big business in order to clear itself of the accusation that its advice is tainted.

polly bee

 

Quote:
Ontario has reported 1,075 positive tests for the seasonal flu so far, compared with fewer than 400 at this point during a normal flu season.

By comparison, Ontario had reported 7,651 positive tests at this point last year, but that was during the H1N1 pandemic.

 

Quote:
Firm figures aren't in yet, but it appears only 24 per cent of people have received a flu shot, compared with 35 per cent in normal years and 45 per cent during last year's pandemic.

People may be "pandemic-ed out a bit," said Williams, but a lot of people say they just don't have time in their busy lives to get a flu shot.

 

So last year 45% of the province received the flu shot, yet there was still 7 times the number of flu cases?

 

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2011/01/05/ont-flu.html

Cueball Cueball's picture

Notice for example, that if we look at the three largest categories of "risk factors" listed in Table 2 on Page 4 we find the following:

Hypertension:

20.8 percent of the non-vaccinated group suffer from Hypertension, as opposed to and average of 41 percent of the vaccinated groups (calculated as a mean average over the three categories presented). 50.7 percent as many people in the control group suffer from hypertension when compared to the number in the vaccinated group.

Obesity:

20.8 percent of the non-vaccinated group are obese, as opposed to and average of 36.6 percent of the vaccinated groups (calculated as a mean average over the three categories presented). 56.8 percent as many people in the control group suffer from hypertension when compared to the number in the vaccinated group.

Smoking:

28.6 percent of the non-vaccinated group are are current smokers, as opposed to and average of 15.3 percent of the vaccinated groups (calculated as a mean average over the three categories presented). 186.9 percent as many people in the control group are current smokers when compared to the number in the vaccinated group.

The control group is heavily weighted to include smokers over other risk factors!

Conclusion: Smokers have an increased risk of heart attack. Who knew?

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Cueball wrote:

Conclusion: Smokers have an increased risk of heart attack. Who knew?

And by the same logic, the obese and the hypertensive have a reduced risk of heart attack! 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

polly bee wrote:

So last year 45% of the province received the flu shot, yet there was still 7 times the number of flu cases?

Um, yeah, among the 55% (some seven million people) who didn't get the flu shot. There was a big flu outbreak last year, remember? What's your point?

polly bee

I meant to come back to that post and forgot.  I didn't really have a point, I was wondering why the flu numbers were so high when it appeared that so many more people were vaccinated than in previous years.

So did more people catch the flu last year, or was the flu itself more severe?  Or both?  (Note the question mark...not making a point, asking a question).

And I wonder how much are these numbers affected by physicians testing now for flu (when they didn't previously), or by people actually going to the doctor to have their flu diagnosed, (when they didn't previously).   I know it was hit or miss in Alberta during the "great pandemic"...a lot of doctors were telling people to just stay home if they thought they may have the flu, others were diagnosing the flu without running any tests, and others were running tests to confirm H1N1 (or the absence of).  Everyone was taking time off of work at the first sign of a sniffle, and people who didn't get the flu were taking time off anyway because they knew that the boss wouldn't be pissed at them for not showing up.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

M. Spector wrote:

Cueball wrote:

Conclusion: Smokers have an increased risk of heart attack. Who knew?

And by the same logic, the obese and the hypertensive have a reduced risk of heart attack! 

Have it your way M. Spector. The miracle of the flu shot reduces Atherosclerosis. What do you think is the active agent? The adjuvant or the inert cells of the virus? Does it work by reducing cholesterol in the blood, or by removing the build up along the arterial walls?

Another unexplained miracle of science. Let me know when they unlock the key to walking on water.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

polly bee wrote:

I was wondering why the flu numbers were so high when it appeared that so many more people were vaccinated than in previous years.

So did more people catch the flu last year, or was the flu itself more severe?  Or both?

Both actually. Last year's H1N1 was in many cases severe and easily transmitted. The prospect of a major pandemic turned out to be an exaggeration, in part thanks to the media and the self-serving politicians, but there was definitely reason for concern. With 7 times the usual number of cases, the 45% who were vaccinated were wise to do so; if it had been only the "normal" 35% vaccination rate, it would have meant an extra 10% of the population were vulnerable to H1N1 and there would likely have been a lot more confirmed cases.

But with over 7 million unvaccinated, it's no surprise that over 7,600 positive tests were reported, compared with the normal 400. Also, because of the pandemic fear there was probably more lab testing going on last year than usual; only a small fraction of the 6 milion Canadians who get the flu each year actually have it identified and confirmed by way of a lab test.

This year, vaccination rates are down, so 11% more of the population is vulnerable. The result in Toronto is 8.5 times more confirmed flu cases than normal, and ten deaths so far.

 

NDPP

yes, I'm afraid you won't catch me taking any of their evil bug-juice either. Oranges, garlic, a few hot rums and a good sleep maybe.

Aristotleded24

M. Spector wrote:
Both actually. Last year's H1N1 was in many cases severe and easily transmitted. The prospect of a major pandemic turned out to be an exaggeration, in part thanks to the media and the self-serving politicians, but there was definitely reason for concern. With 7 times the usual number of cases, the 45% who were vaccinated were wise to do so; if it had been only the "normal" 35% vaccination rate, it would have meant an extra 10% of the population were vulnerable to H1N1 and there would likely have been a lot more confirmed cases.

The only reason we even knew there was an "H1N1" outbreak last year is because we specifically looked for it because of more rigourous testing post-SARS. Prior to that, it would have just been a bad flu. Others have made a valid points about whether or not sick people were specifically tested or told to stay home.

And it really was not a big deal. Yes it's not fun to have the flu, but sometimes we do get sick despite our best efforts and we have to shake it off. And it was also unfortunate that some people died from it, and we pay special attention when it kills otherwise (apparently) healthy people. But even outside of flu pandemics, seemingly healthy people die suddenly all the time. Take a look through the obituary section of your local people, it's not uncommon to see pictures of people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

"Not a big deal"?

It becomes a big deal when hospital emergency rooms are overflowing and the virus spreads to vulnerable old people in long-term care facilities.

I guess we should shrug our shoulders and accept that massive public ignorance about the importance of vaccination threatens to overwhelm the health-care sustem.

polly bee

We had the overflowing emergency rooms here too.  But it wasn't because the flu was so severe, or because people were so much sicker this time around.  The ER was full of panicky people who believed all the media hype and were flooding into the hospital at the first sign of illness.  Most of them were sent home and told to rest in bed and get plenty of liquids, which is what they would have done in the first place if they hadn't been fed the pandemic line 24/7.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Nothing quells panic quite so much as knowing you've had the flu shot. 

Aristotleded24

polly bee wrote:
We had the overflowing emergency rooms here too.  But it wasn't because the flu was so severe, or because people were so much sicker this time around.  The ER was full of panicky people who believed all the media hype and were flooding into the hospital at the first sign of illness.  Most of them were sent home and told to rest in bed and get plenty of liquids, which is what they would have done in the first place if they hadn't been fed the pandemic line 24/7.

Not only that, but the flu would not have so easily spread to those with compromised immune systems if many with the flu had just stayed home in the first place. Additionally, emergency room resources are so badly allocated that emergency rooms can easily be over capacity when there is or isn't a flu outbreak.

That's why I love services like [url=http://www.rha-central.mb.ca/healthlinks.php]Healthlinks[/url]

polly bee

M. Spector wrote:

Nothing quells panic quite so much as knowing you've had the flu shot.

 

Ha.  You must not have been in Alberta during the vaccination roll out.  Trust me, there were plenty of people who wanted to have the shot, but it wasn't that easy.  Unless you were a hockey player, or from Calgary or Edmonton.

Cueball Cueball's picture

M. Spector wrote:

It becomes a big deal when hospital emergency rooms are overflowing and the virus spreads to vulnerable old people in long-term care facilities.

I guess we should shrug our shoulders and accept that massive public ignorance about the importance of vaccination threatens to overwhelm the health-care sustem (sic).

Now we are getting somewhere. I am increasingly becoming convinced that the urge to vaccinate is directly related to reducing health care cost in primary and secondary care. Indeed most deaths related to flu have little to do with the flu per se, but are related to complications that arise. At the end of the day, it seems to me that the neo-liberal cost/benefit analysis comes down on the side of immunizing the population, in order to reduce government social service costs relating to mild ailments, in favour of a big pay-off to the pharmaceuticals industry.

I am surprised that an old Marxist like you is lining up with those who advocate slash and burn economics that have led to the erosion of health care services to the point where the the net result seems to be that people are being killed because off because their are inadequate facilities to deal with minor aliments that occasionally become more serious.

Quote:
Statistics Canada says the number of deaths from pneumonia and influenza has increased from approximately 4200 in 1979 to 8030 in 1997. Of the latter, 6618 cases involved people older than 75, compared with 2965 in 1979. Despite the increase in the absolute number of deaths, says Tam, mortality rates have actually gone down in every age group. "Canada now ranks number 1 in the world for influenza [vaccine] doses per capita," says Tam. "It's almost 1 in 3."

Estimates of flu-related deaths rise with new statistical models

Flu related deaths doubled between 1979 and 1997, yet Canada is no. 1 in influenza vaccinations. Far be it from anyone to put forward the thesis that the increase in flu related deaths is not the result of more virulent and widespread diseases, or lack of a proper vaccination program, or an irrational population that is anti-vaccination, but the result of government cut backs in health care and social services to the poor.

Aristotleded24

Cueball wrote:
Flu related deaths doubled between 1979 and 1997, yet Canada is no. 1 in influenza vaccinations. Far be it from anyone to put forward the thesis that the increase in flu related deaths is not the result of more virulent and widespread diseases, or lack of a proper vaccination program, or an irrational population that is anti-vaccination, but the result of government cut backs in health care and social services to the poor.

Gee, could it be that the cutbacks in services to the poor also meant that the poor did not have as much access to the flu shot as the general population?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Could it be that they are suffering from malnutrition and are more suceptible to the disease and less able to fight it off, while they struggle alone in their ghetto rooming houses, alone and unattended, until it is already to late for emergency room treatment to save the day?

However, and too your point, on page 6 of the summary of the report in the OP, we find this statement about the methodolgy of the report:

Quote:
To reduce confounding from "healthy user," "indication" or "treatment" biases, we adjusted for many known confounders, including vaccination target groups and cardiovascular risk groups, treatments and general practitioner consultation rate, of which the latter is thought to be related to functional and economic status.

Which means I guess they had to adjust their statistical analysis method to eliminate (i.e. ignore) statistical bias related to the fact that disabled people, mentally challenged people and poor people are less likely to have regular access to primary care providers.

Sineed

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Cueball wrote:
Flu related deaths doubled between 1979 and 1997, yet Canada is no. 1 in influenza vaccinations. Far be it from anyone to put forward the thesis that the increase in flu related deaths is not the result of more virulent and widespread diseases, or lack of a proper vaccination program, or an irrational population that is anti-vaccination, but the result of government cut backs in health care and social services to the poor.

Gee, could it be that the cutbacks in services to the poor also meant that the poor did not have as much access to the flu shot as the general population?

Actually, the increase in influenza deaths may be related to advances in medicine such that sicker people are living longer.  So we have a larger population of frail individuals who may then succumb to influenza.  For example, elderly people are now surviving bouts of bacterial pneumonia now compared with 30 years ago because we have more and better antibiotics.  But influenza is viral, and our drugs to treat it aren't very effective.  And that's why the focus is on prevention.

polly bee

 

 http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2012404820110120

 

 

Quote:
An FDA spokeswoman said 36 of the cases reported to its vaccine adverse event reporting system were in babies and toddlers aged 6 months to 2 years, with 10 serious cases. She said 38 of the febrile seizures occurred within a day of getting Fluzone.

Experts stress that just because something happens soon after receiving a vaccine, it does not necessarily mean the vaccine was the cause.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quote:
Having a fever can cause a seizure in some children. About 4 percent of young children will have at least one febrile seizure in their lifetimes, the FDA said.

"In the cases reported, all children recovered and no lasting effects have been seen," the FDA said.

[url=http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2012404820110120]Reuters[/url]

Sineed

Flu shot halves risk of heart attack, stroke for heart disease patients: study

http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/flu-shot-halves-risk-of-heart-attack-stroke-for-heart-disease-patients-study-1.1508409#ixzz2iWubh0t5

Quote:

A new Canadian study suggests that patients with a history of heart disease who get the flu shot could reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke by more than half.

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that patients with acute coronary syndrome -- which means they recently had a heart attack or had unstable angina -- had a 36 per cent lower risk of a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, within a year of receiving a seasonal flu vaccine.

Those who specifically suffered a heart attack recently, they had a 55 per cent lower risk of a major cardiac event after receiving the vaccine.

It may not be influenza specifically, but the inflammation associated with infection that increases cardiac risk. 

This study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, is available for free! 

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1758749