Study: Aspirin may be effective for reducing cancer deaths
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Recent data suggests that aspirin may be effective for reducing cancer deaths in addition to preventing heart attacks, raising the question whether the combined health benefits outweigh the risks of gastrointestinal bleeding and stroke for middle-aged men, researchers announced Wednesday.
While aspirin has been shown to be effective in preventing heart attacks in men, it also increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and possibly stroke, even at low doses. As such, national guidelines suggest that aspirin be used for prevention only in men at higher risk for cardiovascular events, so that the benefits of aspirin are greater than its adverse effects.
A research team, including University of North Carolina scientists, reported that including the positive effects of aspirin on cancer mortality influences the threshold for prescribing aspirin for primary prevention in men. The benefit of aspirin for cancer mortality prevention would help offset the risks, and thus lower the age and increase the number of men for whom aspirin is recommended.
Their results were published in the June issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
“We found that including a risk reduction for cancer deaths had a substantial impact on the overall benefits of aspirin, especially for early middle-aged men from 45 to 55 years of age," noted Michael Pignone, lead author and professor of medicine and chief of the division of general internal medicine. "Based on this effect, several million men who were not previously good candidates for aspirin prevention would now become eligible."
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, of which Pignone is a recently appointed member, recommends aspirin for primary prevention in men “when the potential benefit of a reduction in myocardial infarctions outweighs the potential harm of an increase in gastrointestinal hemorrhage.” This recommendation was issued in 2009, before the potential benefits for cancer reduction were recognized, researchers noted.
Study: Fish oil supplements may protect heart in stressful situations
HOUGHTON, Mich. — Fish oil supplements may protect the heart in stressful situations, according to a study published in the May edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology.
Jason Carter, a researcher at Michigan Technological University, conducted the study with 67 healthy volunteer test participants in their 20s. Over a 2-month period, they were either given 9 g of fish oil pills or 9 g of olive oil as a placebo. The test subjects were screened for heart rate, blood pressure and other related metrics. At the end of the test period, both groups took a mental arithmetic test that involved adding and subtracting numbers in their head. Their stress response was measured at that time.
“Those in the fish oil group showed blunted heart rate reactivity while they were stressed compared to those who took olive oil," Carter said. "Similarly, the total [muscle sympathetic nerve activity] reactivity to mental stress was also blunted in the fish oil group.”
There was not much difference between the two groups at rest, however.
Gamification and Type 1 diabetes management? There’s now an app for that
SAN FRANCISCO — MySugr Companion, one of Europe’s leading and award-winning diabetes apps for iPhone, is now available for download in the U.S. App Store, the app developer announced Thursday.
Consumer technology has shown a new trend of monitoring fitness and well-being data in products like the Nike+ and Fitbit. "But Type 1 diabetics are the true champions of the quantified self-movement," commented mySugr advisory board member Tim Ferriss.
"Currently, 371 million people around the world live with diabetes. Frequent blood-sugar monitoring and pattern analysis are key to optimal diabetes control, but the day-in-day-out monotony can lead even the most responsible patients to ‘diabetes burnout,’" stated mySugr co-founder Fredrik Debong. "MySugr Companion transforms a manual chore into a fun, interactive game. As a team including several people with Type 1 diabetes, we’re excited to be able to share our award-winning app with over 12 million Americans who manage their diabetes with insulin."
MySugr Companion is an FDA-approved diabetes management app that helps people with insulin-treated diabetes take control of their therapy through play. Taking a cue from the popularity of games among smartphone users of all ages, mySugr aims to make diabetes self-care less of a hassle and feel more like a game.
MySugr developed the app to provide motivation and positive feedback as users track their vital statistics. By turning diabetes self-management into a game, mySugr Companion helps people with diabetes to manage their therapy and stick with their program, while building up a data set to better understand how their body responds to specific foods, moods and activities. A recent study by researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and INSEAD Healthcare Management showed high and consistent retention among European mySugr Companion users, better than any other app in the health category.
"Anything that helps people with diabetes stay engaged with their self-management and reach their health goals is a step in the right direction. MySugr is a giant leap forward," noted Howard Zisser, director of clinical research and diabetes technology at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Since its launch outside the U.S. in 2012, mySugr Companion has become the top diabetes management app in the Medical category of the App Store in 6 countries, including Germany, France and Italy, the company reported.
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