HEALTH

PAD patients that use aspirin reduce risk of stroke, study finds

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO In patients with peripheral artery disease, a blocked leg blood vessel, prophylactic use of aspirin either alone or in conjunction with dipyridamole did not reduce incidence of heart disease, but did reduce the risk of a nonfatal stroke, research published May 13 in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found.

The finding comes from a meta-analysis of studies around aspirin use with PAD.

Overall, studies found a 12% reduction in all cardiovascular events among patients receiving aspirin therapy, compared with those who were not. And while that reduction was considered statistically insignificant, the incidence of nonfatal stroke was 34% lower in the aspirin-taking group.

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PATH, WaterAid America report that diarrheal disease is overlooked

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON PATH and WaterAid America released two reports Tuesday finding that the international aid community and developing-country governments are not targeting diarrheal disease, a leading killer of children under age 5 worldwide that is responsible for the deaths of nearly 1.6 million children annually.

“The global health community knows what is necessary to save the lives of children suffering from diarrheal disease,” stated John Wecker, director of the Immunization Solutions and Rotavirus Vaccine Program at PATH. “And now is the time to educate policymakers, donors and international and national leaders about the need to implement the solutions to prevent and treat the most severe causes.”

According to the reporters, there are more lifesaving prevention and treatment solutions for diarrheal disease than any other major childhood killer, including safe water; improved sanitation and hygiene; breastfeeding and optimal complementary feeding; rotavirus vaccines; zinc treatment; and oral rehydration therapy/oral rehydration solution.

The reports coincide with a World Health Organization review of data from studies of vaccines to prevent rotavirus — a common and lethal diarrheal disease — from clinical trials in Africa and Asia. The WHO will consider a global recommendation that every country introduce rotavirus vaccines into its routine immunization schedule based on this data.

“While diarrheal disease is a global killer, today the burden is greatest in developing nations in Africa and Asia where access to clean water, sanitation, and urgent medical care may be limited,” stated Nancy Bwalya-Mukumbuta, program manager at WaterAid in Zambia. “The international aid system and developing-country governments need to come together with a strong voice and respond to diarrheal disease, one of the leading causes of child mortality, in a targeted manner.”

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CDC: Swine flu outbreak caused unique increase in flu incidence for season

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The circulation of the novel H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, is responsible for a unique uptick in flu incidence for the 2008/2009 season.

According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of confirmed H1N1 cases in the United States now totals 3,009 cases with three deaths in 45 states.

But for the seasonal picture, influenza activity increased across the United States for the week ended May 2, in part because of the H1N1 virus. For the week, seven states reported widespread activity; 12 states reported regional activity; the District of Columbia and 14 states reported local influenza activity; and Puerto Rico and 17 states reported sporadic influenza activity.

On a regional level, the percentage of visits for influenza-like illnesses ranged from 0.5% to 4.1%. Four-of-the-10 surveillance regions reported an ILI percentage above their region specific baselines.

During week 17, seasonal influenza A (H1) A (H3), and B viruses co-circulated with novel influenza A (H1N1), the CDC reported.

Click here to see a larger version of the CDC flu map.

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