Minister of Health and Social Services Paula Risikko told YLE that the team has been working for some time already and is well advanced in its study. Researchers are focusing on examining cases of children who began showing signs of narcolepsy after receiving vaccinations against swine flu. The team includes experts from THL and other research institutes. Their work may be completed by the end of the year.
The parents of several of the children with narcolepsy interviewed by YLE said that they were unaware of the research project. Risikko expressed surprise and said that she would take the issue up immediately with the National Institute for Health and Welfare.
Parents say that according to the information they have received, 37 children in Finland came down with narcolepsy soon after being injected with the vaccine.
Some of the children have sustained serious brain damage that has made it impossible for them to attend school. They suffer from symptoms including hallucinations, personality changes and cataplexy, which is a severe muscle weakness that can lead to a complete collapse up to 20 -30 times a day.