Estimated benefit of influenza vaccination

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A report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs) claimed that flu vaccination allowed preventing about 6.6 million influenza-associated illnesses during the 2012-2013 season. CDC experts use data from previous seasons to estimate the impact of the next flu wave. Usually, these numbers speak of about 200,000 expected hospitalizations. However, last year 79,000 hospitalizations were prevented thanks to the flu vaccine. Specifically, children from 6 months to 4 years old and adults aged at least 65 years accounted for an estimated 69% of the prevented hospitalizations.

CDC experts also reported that, had 70% of the population been vaccinated last season, as opposed to the 44.7% actual vaccine coverage, more positive results would have been obtained: indeed, another 4.4 million influenza illnesses, 1.8 million medically attended illnesses and 30,000 hospitalizations could have been prevented.

The benefits of influenza vaccination still have some difficulties to be perceived by the population: CDC estimates that, as of early November, only 40% of Americans aged at least 6 months have received a vaccine for the 2013-2014 season. A percentage not far from that of the previous year. The vaccination coverage reported by the experts for pregnant women is 41% and raises to 63% amongst healthcare professionals.

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Scientists revealed a weak spot of the Huntington’s disease

An MRI scan shows signs of atrophy in the brain of a patient with Huntington's disease.
Science Photo Library/Science Source

Researchers have found that aberrant protein aggregates responsible for Huntington’s disease have some weak spots that could be exploited to hinder the development of this pathology. The study, published on Scientific Report, has been conducted by scientists of the Centre for Complexity and Biosystems (CC&B) of the University of Milan, in collaboration with colleagues from Penn State University.