American researcher wins Stockholm Water Prize
American researcher Stephen R Carpenter has been named winner of the 2011 Stockholm Water Prize for his research on lake eco systems. Carpenter was cited for showing how lake ecosystems are affected by humans and the surrounding landscape, and his findings have offered 'guidance for the management of aquatic resources,' the jury said. The 59-year-old is professor of zoology and limnology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, United States. The $150,000 award is to be presented by King Carl Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on August 25 during the World Water Week. Carpenter's research has helped increase understanding about how lakes are affected by nutrient loading, fishing, and introduction of exotic species. For more info, see Stockholm International Water Institute

Swedish authorities advice against swine flu vaccine
Swedish authorities are now advising against the use of the vaccine Pandemrix (a swine flu vaccine) for children. But this recommendation is of little practical use, as the season for vaccinating is over. The reason is that a study in Finland at the beginning of the year shows that the vaccine increases the risk of narcolepsy among children. Suspicions of a connection between the vaccine and narcolepsy exist only in Finland and Sweden. Reportedly a total of 82 Swedish children have developed narcolepsy after having been vaccinated. In Finland the vaccine was put on hold already August. “Before the Finnish study, we knew that there were cases of narcolepsy, but we didn’t know there was an increased risk among those who were vaccinated,” says Tomas Salmonson, director at Läkemedelsverket (Medical Products Agency).

No more iodine pills in Sweden
The fear of radioactive fallout has led Swedes to buying more iodine pills than ever. In only two days, a three-year supply was sold out. Läkemedelsverket (Medical Products Agency), calls it “nonsense,” as they see no reasons whatsoever for Swedes to consume iodine pills. Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten (the Swedish Radiation Authority) has also been very clear in its information: No Swedes need to worry about radiation from a Japanese nuclear plant. Nobody in Sweden needs to consume iodine pills. Even so, the shelves at the pharmacies are getting emptied. At the beginning of the week, some 3 000 boxes of Kaliumjodid were sold. These pills exist to protect people who live near a nuclear plant in case of an accident. They contain stabilized iodine which is absorbed by the body, and thus protecting it from absorbing radioactive iodine from the environment. “Whether they buy for themselves or send to Japan, I don’t know,” says Anders Lönner, CEO at Medas, which markets prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and medical equipment.