Study: An aspirin a day adds to risk of age-related macular degeneration
SAN FRANCISCO — A large European study released Tuesday found that daily aspirin use is linked to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that can damage the central vision that is essential for reading and driving. The study was published in the January issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The study found that people aged 65 years and older who took aspirin daily had double the risk of developing "wet" AMD, compared with those who took it less frequently. Wet AMD, an advanced form of the disease, is a major cause of blindness in older people in the United States, Europe and other regions. The damage occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow and bleed or leak fluid into the macula, the center of eye’s retina. The study also found a somewhat elevated risk of early-stage AMD in daily aspirin users.
No higher risk was found for advanced "dry" AMD. Although dry AMD is the most common form of the disease, only a minority of patients develop the advanced stage. In those who do, vision loss occurs gradually as the macula develops abnormal deposits called drusen and eventually becomes too thin and eroded to function.
In this study, the 839 participants who reported taking aspirin every day had higher rates of cardiovascular disease, were less likely to be smokers and were older than participants who took aspirin less often. Since cardiovascular disease itself is a risk factor for AMD, the researchers carefully analyzed whether participants’ heart health had impacted the study’s outcomes. But even when cardiovascular status was factored in, the results showed higher risk for wet AMD in daily aspirin users, researchers noted.
The researchers said they think medical professionals should stick with their current advice on aspirin for older cardiovascular disease patients until other studies confirm the link between daily aspirin use and wet AMD risk.
"If future studies support our results, then recommendations on aspirin may need to be modified for patients with age-related macular degeneration," stated Paulus de Jong of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Academic Medicine, who led the research team. "It’s possible that increased AMD risk may outweigh aspirin’s potential protective benefits for some patients, but we need to know more about the impacts of dose, length of use and other factors before we can say for certain or make specific recommendations."
De Jong’s research was part of the European Eye Study that examined and surveyed more than 4,600 Europeans between 2000 and 2003. The study’s main goals were to estimate AMD prevalence and to investigate the impacts of sun exposure and antioxidant vitamin use on disease development.
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Ed, Thank you for your response and I apologize for taking so long to get back to you — I needed to access the full study before I could reply. The researchers did not capture the actual strength of the aspirin in their poll. Of the 4,691 participants, when asked about their aspirin use, 2,760 replied never; 766 reported monthly or less; 326 at least once weekly; and 839 daily. From the Discussion portion of the research: There are no data regarding the amount of aspirin the participants used. In a meta-analysis of 31 trials including nearly 200,000 patients, however, daily aspirin intake of less than 100 mg was associated with bleeding, without mention of ocular hemorrhages, but with a lower risk than aspirin intake of 100 mg or more. In a study of AMD patients whose average aspirin intake was 100 mg/day, the [odds ratio] for severe subretinal hemorrhage was 7.99; so, one could extrapolate that our findings may even be explained by these low doses. I hope this helps! All the best! Mike
What asprin dosage was tested?? Huge missing data was 81mg baby asprin tested?? or 325mg ?? or WHAT ? Please advise firstname.lastname@example.org
Rite Aid offers weight-loss tips
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Americans make hundreds of millions of New Year’s resolutions every year, following some to the letter and ignoring others. Health-related resolutions are among the most common, giving pharmacy retailers a way to pitch in and help.
Rite Aid announced Wednesday that it would offer customers free expert advice on weight loss in printed guides, online resources and conversations with pharmacists during the month of January. According to the retailer, 50% of Americans will make resolutions this year, but consumer polls showed that more than 75% of respondents don’t make it three months into their weight-loss resolutions, while one-third don’t last 30 days, often due to the failure to create steps for achieving their goals.
Rite Aid’s program will include a 12-page guide to weight management, with information about the childhood obesity epidemic, meal planning, calorie guides and tips to losing weight; online resources at the retailer’s website, such as a body mass index calculator and recipes; and pharmacists who will share their knowledge on such topics as drug therapies, dieting myths, diabetes and basic lifestyle tips.
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Panasonic Group launches hearing aid line featuring wireless connectivity, longer battery life
SECAUCUS, N.J. — Panasonic Healthcare Group on Tuesday announced the introduction of the R1-W digital hearing instrument, a line of hearing products that appeals to a broader user base of people with mild to severe hearing loss.
One of the features includes a battery that can last up to 300 hours with an easy-care battery tool that helps protect battery drainage while the unit is in a hearing aid dehumidifier. And an accessory available with the R1-W line of hearing aids called the Hearing Hub allows users to wirelessly connect the hearing instrument to Bluetooth-compatible mobile phones. The Hearing Hub also enables a voice memo recording option with Bluetooth Interface and microphone input that patients can use to record reminders, such as doctor’s appointments.
Other R1-W Series accessories include an audio transmitter, which plugs directly into a television’s audio-output port to transmit sound wirelessly into the R1-W Series through the Hearing Hub.
"As a new player in the U.S. hearing market, and with our brand strength, we are finding that professionals are embracing our vision to deliver meaningful solutions to a broad segment of people who want to hear better," stated Delain Wright, director of sales, Panasonic Healthcare Group. "The R1-W series will propel us into the next phase of Panasonic’s plan for the hearing care business and allow us to better promote our products and Panasonic brand, which have been well received by people seeking hearing help."
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