Monday, May 14, 2007

Aspirin for bowel cancer

Taking an aspirin a day for five years can help to prevent bowel cancer, researchers say. A study found that taking a daily dose of 300mg or more of aspirin over a prolonged period could prevent the cancer later in life. Incidence of bowel cancer was reduced by up to 74 per cent within ten to 15 years of treatment starting.

The cancer typically takes at least ten years to develop from pre-cancerous growths in the gut. Doctors generally advise against long-term aspirin use because of the risk of serious side-effects such as internal bleeding and stomach ulcers. But the authors of the study, reported today in The Lancet, say that for people with a higher-than-average risk of bowel cancer the benefits may outweigh the risks.

Each year, about 35,000 men and women in Britain have bowel cancer diagnosed and more than 16,000 die from the disease. It is the third most common type of cancer in Britain, and, if it is diagnosed early, one of the most treatable.

The research, led by Professor Peter Rothwell from Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, revisited patients from two trials conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Using aspirin for five years was found to have reduced the incidence of bowel cancer by 37 per cent overall, and 74 per cent during the ten to 15 years after the trials started. The protective effect of aspirin appeared to be consistent regardless of age, sex, race or country of origin. It was also seen in individuals who had a close family relative with bowel cancer, which normally raises the lifetime risk between two to four times.



Media summary

ASPIRIN is less effective for women than men in treating heart disease, according to a new study in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Aspirin stops blood from clotting. Overall, a low dose of aspirin reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, but some people respond better than others. Researchers randomly selected 100 patients with heart disease attending a scheduled appointment with their cardiologist. Each had taken aspirin within 48 hours of visiting the doctor. Researchers took blood samples and used a device called the VerifyNow Aspirin Assay to test how much of the blood clotted together in response to a chemical. The greater the clotting reaction, the more resistant the patient to aspirin therapy. Women were four times more likely to be resistant to aspirin, with an increased clotting reaction compared to men.

Journal abstract:

Aspirin Resistance in Patients with Stable Coronary Artery Disease with and without a History of Myocardial Infarction

Michael P Dorsch et al.

BACKGROUND: Aspirin therapy is a cornerstone in the prevention of atherothrombotic events, but recurrent vascular events are estimated to occur in 8-18% of patients taking aspirin for secondary prevention after 2 years. Estimates of biologic aspirin resistance vary from 5% to 60%, depending on the assay used. However, the relationship between biologic measurements of aspirin resistance and adverse clinical events remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether patients with documented myocardial infarction (MI) while on aspirin therapy (cases) were more likely to be aspirin resistant than were patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) who had no history of MI (controls) and to assess clinical predictors of aspirin resistance in patients with stable CAD.

METHODS: This case-control study examined aspirin responses using the VerifyNow Aspirin Assay system in 50 cases and 50 controls who had taken a dose of aspirin within 48 hours of presentation to the clinic visit. Odds ratios were estimated to determine the association between aspirin resistance and MI. Independent predictors of aspirin resistance were determined using univariate and multivariate analyses.

RESULTS: An increase in the prevalence of aspirin resistance among cases (16% vs 12% in controls) was not observed (OR 1.40; 95% CI 0.45 to 4.37; p = 0.566). In the overall CAD population, female sex was independently associated with aspirin resistance (OR 4.01; 95% CI 1.15 to 13.92; p = 0.029).

CONCLUSIONS: Additional large studies are required to understand whether biologically defined aspirin resistance is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular events, with special attention paid to sex differences.


Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


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