Thursday, April 15, 2010

More (indirect) vindication of APCs

You wouldn't believe it. I documented just a few days ago (here. See also here) how in the old days users of the now banned and demonized APCs, which contained a lot of aspirin, used to get relief from migraines by getting APCs into themselves promptly. But what do I read now? See the latest wisdom below

People who suffer migraines should take more than the standard recommended dose of aspirin to combat a debilitating headache, a review of medical studies suggests today. Taking up to three tablets — up to 1,000mg — in one go could leave one in four (25 per cent) sufferers pain-free within two hours, researchers from the University of Oxford said.

A standard tablet contains about 300-350mg of aspirin, and adults are commonly advised not to take more than two in one go. But for more than half (52 per cent) of patients who took a higher dose of 900-1,000mg, symptoms went from “moderate to severe” to mild over the same time.

Migraine affects about 18 per cent of women and 8 per cent of men in Britain, with most sufferers aged between 30 and 50.

The latest review, published by the respected Cochrane Collaboration, analysed 13 previous studies involving 4,222 people in total. It found that aspirin also helped to prevent nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light commonly caused by migraines — but sachet formulations combining another anti-sickness drug, metoclopramide, worked best at this.

David Kernick, a spokesman on headache for the Royal College of GPs, said that most people could manage their migraines with over-the-counter medication — two paracetamol for pain, 600mg of aspirin for inflammation and another drug, 10mg of domperidone, for sickness.

But many experts recommended a higher dose of aspirin, such as that recommended by the Cochrane researchers, despite exceeding the licensed use of the drug.

He said that medication worked best if taken as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms, because stomach cramps can slow the absorption of drugs. He added: “There is a risk of internal bleeding with aspirin, but you are unlikely to get it with a single dose. The longer you leave it, the less likely it is to work.

More here

Night shift work linked with cancer

Groan! Just because the Danish government has fallen for a statistical fallacy, it doesn't mean that anyone else should. It is mostly poor people who work night shifts and they have worse health anyway

THE Cancer Council is urging people not to panic over the link between breast cancer and shift work, following a government's decision to offer compensation to victims.

It follows the Danish Government's ruling to start awarding compensation to women who have developed breast cancer after years of working on the night shift. So far, 40 women have received payouts after the Danes responded to research conducted by the World Health Organisation.

A report in 2007 placed shift work along with diesel engine exhaust fumes as a "possible human carcinogen".

But Cancer Council NSW CEO Dr Andrew Penman said the research was still inconclusive. "While on theoretical grounds some have suggested that disturbances to the sleep-wake cycle may increase cancer risk by affecting melatonin levels, in reality it is difficult to disentangle shift work from many other lifestyle factors among people with cancer," he said.

"So we are more cautious in our interpretation of the evidence used in the International Agency for Research on Cancer report. The evidence is far from compelling."

The report placed shift work one level up from category one risks such as asbestos. It is believed that shift work effects the body clock and the release of the hormone melatonin. At night, melatonin is released and helps regulate sleep patterns. It also lowers the level of the female hormone oestrogen, a development which is known to encourage the growth of certain cancers.

If a person spends too long in artificial light, such as a shift worker, researchers believe this could affect the amount of melatonin released, therefore increasing the risk of breast cancer.

While other countries, including Australia, are yet to act on the research, the Danes are offering payouts to women - even though it is believed you would need to have worked regular shift work for 20 to 30 years.

"The Cancer Council is not a compensation specialist, so I cannot comment on the Danish Government's decision to compensate women," Dr Penman said. "That is a choice they made based on their own judgment.

"The point is, these types of lifestyle factors may play a major role in causing cancer, however much more research is required in this area before we can scientifically link breast cancer to a woman's shiftwork patterns."


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