Aspirin Use May Protect Against Breast Cancer
Might an aspirin a day keep breast cancer away? A new study finds that the same pill that doctors sometimes recommend to prevent heart attacks and strokes may also reduce the risk of developing the most common type of breast cancer, according to Reuters. Researchers found that those who took daily aspirin reduced their risk of developing estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer by 16 percent. The study was published in Breast Cancer Research.
Previous research reached conflicting conclusions on whether taking aspirin, which carries a risk of side effects such as stomach bleeding, helps prevent breast cancer. Learn what prior studies have shown about painkillers' effect on the risk of developing breast cancer. And U.S. News's Deborah Kotz explains what you need to know about hormones and breast cancer, and she ticks off three ways to lower your risk of recurrence of the disease.
Tree-lined, Leafy Neighborhoods Have Lower Asthma Rates
Living on a tree-lined street may lower a child's risk of developing asthma, suggests a new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Trees may help curb asthma by improving air quality and encouraging kids to play outside more often, the authors report. The research was based on asthma rates among New York City 4- and 5-year-olds, and hospital admissions in that city for asthma in children up to age 15. Asthma's prevalence in the United States increased by 50 percent between 1980 and 2000. Poor urban areas have higher prevalence than other communities. But the authors cautioned that the findings do not mean that the amount of trees in a city has a direct relationship to asthma rates.
Seeking to Reduce Risks Inherent in LASIK Surgery
In response to a Food and Drug Administration public forum last week on LASIK vision correction surgery, where people shared their experiences with life-altering complications following the procedure, an FDA advisory panel has recommended ways to clarify the risks of the procedure, Matthew Shulman reports. The panel suggests that photos depicting what people with visual impairment actually see be made available to those considering the surgery, as well as statistics on side effects and information on conditions such as large pupils and severe nearsightedness, which would disqualify a person from the procedure.
The FDA and a number of organizations, including the National Eye Institute and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, have formed a task force to study patients' post-LASIK quality of life and figure out how to minimize problems. Experts emphasize that serious complication rates from LASIK are quite rare. About 95 percent of patients report being satisfied with the results.
Still, options for vision correction are better and more varied today than in the past, U.S. News's Michelle Andrews reports. And the U.S. News eye and vision center provides tips on caring for your eyes.
Sharing of Antibiotics, Other Pills Worries Experts
Have you ever shared a few prescription pills with a friend or family member? If so, you're not alone. A new study in the American Journal of Public Health finds that 23 percent of the 700 people surveyed said they'd shared medications with others, while 27 percent said they'd borrowed meds from other people; 16 percent admitted to having done both. Survey respondents said they'd shared pain and mood-altering pills, as well as antibiotics and allergy medications.
Experts noted that the sharing of antibiotics is a particularly worrisome finding. "Don't share antibiotics," advised study author Richard Goldsworthy in an interview with HealthDay. "You shouldn't have any leftover. You should have finished them all yourself."
Discover how to avoid dangerous drug errors and how to evaluate the safety of your medications. You should also know which drugs you're taking and the conditions the meds are prescribed for, Avery Comarow reports in his On Quality blog. And in light of the January death of actor Heath Ledger from an interaction of prescription medications, U.S. News offers tips on how not to make the same mistake.
—January W. Payne