A pill that contains four different medicines and is designed to be taken daily could dramatically reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes, a new study has found. The polypill – which is the generic term used to describe a medication that contains multiple active pharmaceutical ingredients – contains aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering statin and two drugs to reduce blood pressure. For the study, researchers from Iran and the UK studied around 6,800 people from more than 100 villages in Iran. Half were given the polypill and advice on how to improve their health through lifestyle changes and the other half were just given the lifestyle changes advice. After five years, the group taking the polypill had experienced 202 cardiovascular events, while the group that had just been given the advice had experienced 301 cardiovascular events. In other words, the group taking the polypill had experienced around a third less cardiovascular events. The researchers say the pill costs just pennies a day, but could have a huge impact, especially in poorer countries where doctors have fewer options available to them. Stroke and coronary heart disease are the top two causes of death worldwide, killing more than 15 million people each year. Obesity, smoking and doing little exercise are all risk factors associated with an unhealthy heart. Based on the findings of the study, if 35 people were all given the polypill daily, it would prevent one of them developing a major heart problem within 5 years. “Given the polypill's affordability, there is considerable potential to improve cardiovascular health and to prevent the world's leading cause of death,” said Dr Nizal Sarrafzadegan, of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran. The findings of the research are published in The Lancet.
A new large-scale study has found that using aspirin long-term could slash the chances of developing gastrointestinal cancer. Of all the gastrointestinal cancers, which include pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, oesophageal cancer, stomach (or gastric) cancer and small intestine cancer, colorectal cancer is the most common in the western world. While there are a number of lifestyle changes people can make to reduce their risk of developing cancer, including avoiding tobacco, limiting their alcohol consumption, eating healthier and exercising more, an increasing number of studies suggest the use of aspiring could also help. For this latest study, Prof. Kelvin Tsoi, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and his team set out to investigate the effect of aspirin use on gastrointestinal cancers. Over a 10-year period, the team of scientists examined over 600,000 participants and analysed how aspirin use affected their chances of developing gastrointestinal cancer. They found that aspirin users were 47% less likely to have liver and oesophageal cancer, 38% less likely to have stomach cancer, 34% less likely to have pancreatic cancer and 24% less likely to have colorectal cancer. In addition, aspirin use also significantly reduced the risk of leukaemia, lung cancer and prostate cancer.
A new study suggests that taking aspirin immediately following a mini-stroke significantly reduces a person's chances of suffering a major stroke. Using data from around 56,000 individuals, the study researchers found that if aspirin is taken after a mini-stroke - also called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA - the risk of experiencing a disabling or fatal stroke over the coming days and weeks is reduced, in some cases, by as much as 80 percent. Immediately following a mini-stroke, a person's risk of a major stroke is 1,000 times higher than that of the general population, the researchers noted. Lead researcher Peter Rothwell, a professor and stroke expert at the University of Oxford in England, said: "Our findings confirm the effectiveness of urgent treatment after TIA and minor stroke, and show that aspirin is the most important component. Immediate treatment with aspirin can substantially reduce the risk and severity of early recurrent stroke." He added that the findings have implications for doctors, who should give aspirin whenever a TIA or minor stroke is suspected. Mini-strokes and major strokes often exhibit similar symptoms, which include: Numbness or muscle weakness that usually affects one side of the body Difficulty speaking or understanding speech Dizziness or loss of balance Double vision or difficulty seeing in one or both eyes The study was published on May 18 in The Lancet.
GREEN LASER Green Laser vaporisation of prostate adenoma is a way to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy. It is performed under anaesthetic using keyhole surgery (without opening and along the channel ) with ultrasound guidance. This intervention aims to improve urination (power and quality of the urinary stream) by removing the obstruction caused by the prostate). The consequences of this treatment are: urgent needs, blood in the urine, some mictional pain during the healing phase (which can last up to 2-3 months) and a permanent loss of ejaculation but no erectile disorder and pleasure being unchanged. The limitations of this technique are: imperfect and incomplete results when the prostate is large (>60g) suboptimal indication (insufficient obstruction and predominant irritative complaint) urgent, frequent needs… absence of histopathologic analysis of the vaporised tissue The advantage of this laser treatment is to reduce bleeding, simplify and reduce postoperative recoveries when compared with other techniques and to allow ultrasound monitoring to check the optimal nature of the intervention. It also allows to use saline serum to reduce the risks associated with the use of other irrigation fluids. This technique also allows the maintenance of some anti-platelet drugs (Aspirin…) but require VKA anticoagulant to possibly be stopped.
A low dose of aspirin on a daily basis can halt the growth of breast cancer tumours and even prevent deadly relapses, according to a new study. Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid as it’s otherwise known, produces conditions in the human body which inhibit the reproduction of cancer stem cells. In the past, research has shown that aspirin can be used to effectively stop the spread of prostate, gastrointestinal and colon cancer, as well as other types. Dr Sushanta Banerjee, research director of the Cancer Research Unit at Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Centre, said: "In cancer, when you treat the patient, initially the tumour will hopefully shrink. The problem comes five to 10 years down the road when the disease relapses." He added: “These cells have already survived chemotherapy or other cancer treatment and they go dormant until conditions in the body are more favourable for them to again reproduce. “When they reappear they can be very aggressive, nasty tumours.” The research team exposed incubated breast cancer cells to differing levels of acetylsalicylic acid and recorded the results. They found that exposure to aspirin dramatically increased the rate of cell death. Furthermore, the cells that didn’t die were left in a state which meant they were unable to grow. The full findings of the research will be published in next month’s issue of Laboratory Investigation. Photo credit: Irish Examiner