Friday, June 05, 2009

Men live longer if (not because) they marry a younger woman

Bravo! We get the most obvious explanation in paragraph 3. A change off the high-flown speculation we usually get in epidemiology

Men are likely to live longer if they marry a younger woman, new research suggests. A man's chances of dying early are cut by a fifth if their bride is between 15 and 17 years their junior. The risk of premature death is reduced by 11 per cent if they marry a woman seven to nine years younger. The study at Germany's Max Planck Institute also found that men marrying older women are more likely to die early.

The results suggest that women do not experience the same benefits of marrying a toy boy or a sugar daddy. Wives with husbands older or younger by between seven and nine years increase their chances of dying early by 20 per cent. This rises to 30 per cent if the age difference is close to 15 and 17 years.

Scientists say the figures for men may be the result of natural selection – that only the healthiest, most successful older men are able to attract younger mates. "Another theory is that a younger woman will care for a man better and therefore he will live longer," said institute spokesman Sven Drefahl.

The study examined deaths between 1990 and 2005 for the entire population of Denmark. On average in Europe, most men marry women around three years younger.


An aspirin a day 'can do more harm than good'

Healthy adults who take daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks could be doing more harm than good, warn researchers. A major study shows that although regular use can cut the rate of non-fatal heart attacks, it can also increase the risk of internal bleeding by a third. The findings cast doubt over proposals for ‘blanket prescription’ of the Polypill, a multi-drug tablet including apsirin which is being developed to combat heart problems.

A report last year suggested most healthy men over 48 and women over 57 would benefit from having aspirin prescribed. The Polypill would be a cheap and simple way of doing this.

The new study in The Lancet medical journal found that healthy people who take aspirin reduced their already small risk of heart attack or stroke by 12 per cent, while the small risk of internal bleeding increased by a third. This means there were five fewer non-fatal heart attacks for every 10,000 people treated, but this was offset by a comparable increase in bleeding - one extra stroke and three cases of stomach bleeding per 10,000 people treated.

In the secondary prevention studies - where patients were taking aspirin to prevent a repeat attack - aspirin reduced the chances of serious vascular events by about one-fifth and this benefit clearly outweighed the small risk of bleeding. In both sets of trials the reductions in risk were similar for men and women.

The study, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, was headed by Professor Colin Baigent of the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit at Oxford University. Prof Baigent said 'The latest research does not seem to justify general guidelines advocating the routine use of aspirin in all healthy individuals. 'Drug safety really matters when making recommendations for tens of millions of healthy people. 'We don't have good evidence that, for healthy people, the benefits of long-term aspirin exceed the risks by an appropriate margin.'

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said the polypill was still being tested, but it was vital to consider the potential problem of side effects in healthy people and 'proceed with caution'.

Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said 'This study on the use of aspirin in primary prevention, partly funded by the BHF, provides further confirmation that in those without existing heart disease there is limited benefit from taking aspirin due to the risk of bleeding. 'For this reason it is better for doctors to weigh up the benefit and risk of prescribing aspirin on an individual basis, rather than develop a blanket guideline suggesting everyone at risk of heart disease is routinely given aspirin. This ensures patient safety.'


No comments: