Conventional wisdom has long suggested that aspirin may help stave off heart attacks or strokes. But a new study suggests that aspirin will not benefit most healthy women, and could cause side effects like bleeding ulcers and bruising.
The Dutch findings, published in the European Heart Journal, suggest many women needlessly take the drug. Researchers say 50 women will need to take the medication for 10 years for just one to be helped — and only if they are at high risk of heart attacks or strokes to begin with.
The researchers 28,000 healthy women age 45 and above who had received either aspirin or dummy pills in an earlier U.S. trial. Overall, aspirin cut the rate of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease from 2.4 percent to 2.2 percent.
The new study contradicts advice from leading medical groups like the American Heart Association. Dutch researchers did say that women over the age of 65 tend to benefit more than average from taking aspirin regularly.
Do you take aspirin regularly?
If youâ€™re one of many health-conscious women who take vitamins, you may want to pay attention to the findings of a recent University of Minnesota study. According to the 20-year study, women who take multivitamins are 6% more likely to die earlier than women who donâ€™t take them.
Yes, you read that right. Researchers explained that many of the supplements contain high amounts of specific compounds, and high doses could be potentially toxic. “If you combine several supplements, or a multivitamin with supplements, then you reach even higher potentially toxic doses,â€ the lead researchers said.
In recent years, studies have shown that vitamins such as A, C and E, which were supposed to lower risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer, didn’t provide a significant benefit. But many patients kept taking them anyway, and few doctors publicly discouraged it, since the studies didn’t show that taking vitamins did much harm either.
The 38,000 women who participated in the study, average age 62, were surveyed three times about whether they took multivitamins or 15 other types of supplements, and in what doses. Although the higher death risk was noted, researchers found that a bright spot: women in the study who took calcium had a nearly 10% lower risk of death over the study’s follow-up period, compared with those who didn’t take calcium supplements.
Do you take a multivitamin?
California became the first state to prohibit most teens from visiting tanning beds this week. The law bars those ages 14-18 from using tanning beds without an adult or legal guardianâ€™s permission. While many states regulate how minors can use tanning facilities, Californiaâ€™s restrictions go further than any other state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
More than 20 epidemiological studies found that oneâ€™s skin cancer risk increases 75% when a person starts using tanning beds before the age of 30. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified UV-emitting tanning devices as â€œcarcinogenic to humans.â€
State Senator Ted Lieu first tried to pass the legislation in 2007, but failed to prevent teens between the ages of 14 and 18 from walking into a facility and tanning. Lieu expressed concern over the marketing tactics used by tanning facilities and the emphasis on package deals.
“I know that Snooki on the ‘Jersey Shore’ has changed to spray tanning,” Lieu told CNN in an interview. “Spray tanning has no known harmful effects, and you can get tans from lotions or cream. There are safe ways to get that brown look.”
Whatâ€™s your stance on indoor tanning?
Women over the age of 65 who fracture a hip are more likely to die from other causes in the following year than they would have been had they avoided injury, a new study suggests. The study is the first to suggest a cause-and-effect relationship between hip fracture and death.
The study tracked women in four states nationwide between 1986 and 2005, as part of a larger study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers matched women from this pool of study participants with women of the same age who had not. Those who suffered a hip fracture had twice the odds of dying within one year of their injury than did their peers in the control group during the same year. Seventeen percent of the women who experienced a fracture died during the year, versus 8% in the control group.
The most common causes of death in both groups were heart disease, stroke, and sepsis. More than half the deaths in the fracture group occurred within three months of injury, and almost three-quarters happened within six months.
The youngest women in the group had the highest risk of death: For women 65 to 69, hip fracture quintupled the odds of death in one year. The study authors suggest that all postmenopausal women get enough bone-strengthening calcium and vitamin D in their diets, as well as avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
Have you experienced a hip fracture?
Another study touting the health benefits of coffee suggests that women who drink caffeinated coffee are less likely to be depressedâ€”and that the more coffee they drink, the more the risk of depression goes down.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, surveyed more than 50,000 women between the ages of 30 and 55 about their coffee-drinking and health habits. Although none of the women were diagnosed with depression at the beginning of the study, around 5% received a depression diagnosis or began taking antidepressants in the 10 years that followed.
When compared with women who drank little or no coffee, women who drank two or three cups a day were 15% less likely to develop depression. Drinking four cups daily was associated with a 20% lower risk of depression. Although researchers werenâ€™t sure of the reasons, some health experts have suggested that the antioxidants in coffee may have benefits. Others speculate that people who arenâ€™t depressed may be more drawn to a lifestyle conducive to coffee drinking.
This isnâ€™t the first study to link caffeine consumption to a boost in happiness. A study published last year conducted on men in Finland found that caffeine consumption led to a lower risk of depression and suicide.
Tell us – how does coffee impact your mood?
Gentle yoga classes may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, according to a small study of middle-aged and older adults. Study participants lost several pounds and kept blood sugar levels steady during the three-month study.
Among the 60 study participants who took yoga classes several times a week, the average BMI — a measure of weight in relation to height — declined from 25.9 to 25.4. A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight.
The study also tracked how levels of oxidative stress declined in the yoga group. Oxidative stress occurs when levels of reactive oxygen species rise above the bodyâ€™s ability to neutralize them. Long-term oxidative stress can contribute to disease and other negative health outcomes.
Vigorous exercise is still more effective in helping people with diabetes shed pounds. The study findings do not suggest that yoga should replace regular exercise for people with type 2 diabetes.
Popping daily multivitamins during pregnancy could lower the risk of women going into labor prematurely or having a smaller-than-normal baby, according to a new study. The study contradicts some current health guidelines: U.S. health officials advise women who are expecting against taking regular vitamins, which could harm the baby. Instead, they recommend that pregnant women supplement their diet with folic acid.
The new study examined multivitamin use around the time of conceptionâ€”four weeks before and eight weeks after a womanâ€™s last period. Among women who said they had taken a multivitamin at least 8 out of the 12 weeks, there were 4.3 percent preterm births. Among those who didnâ€™t take supplements, that number increased to 5.3 percent.
The study is one of only a few to look at the effect of vitamins on babiesâ€™ health, so researchers stop short of urging women to take multivitamins while trying to get pregnant. One possible explanation for the finding could be that the women taking supplements tended to be healthier overall, leading to healthier pregnancies.
Would you take a multivitamin while pregnant?
Prenatal vitamins taken three months before conception and in the first month of pregnancy may help ward off autism, according to a new report in the July issue of Epidemiology.
Taking vitamins during this period may reduce the risk of a child developing autism or autism spectral disorders by up to 40 percent. The researchers enrolled 288 children with autism and 144 with autism spectrum disorders and compared them to 278 children who were developing normally. Mothers of the children were surveyed about their consumption of vitamins before and during pregnancy, and blood was drawn for genomic analysis. The mothers of the children with autism were less likely than those of the typically developing children to report having taken prenatal vitamins during the three months before conception and the first month of pregnancy.
In mothers and children with gene variants that affect folate metabolism, not taking prenatal vitamins before conception was associated with an up to sevenfold increase in the risk of autism, the researchers found. Prenatal vitamins are rich in folate.
According to a recent study, women taking 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 400 IU of vitamin E – much higher doses than in most prenatal multivitamins – were no less likely to develop the potentially deadly pregnancy complication known as preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure, protein and the urine, and swelling. The complications of this condition can be severe and even fatal for both mother and child.
The study found that women taking higher doses of these vitamins had a higher risk of developing other pregnancy complications. Past studies have suggested that women taking those taking very high doses of vitamins C and E were 10 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy than volunteers taking placebo pills.
Researchers reviewed nine studies including nearly 20,000 women to suggest that women concerned about their risk of preeclampsia not take vitamin E and vitamin C. Some past studies have found a connection between vitamin C deficiency and an elevated risk of preterm birth, including those caused by what’s known as premature rupture of membranes — where a woman’s “water breaks” before the pregnancy has reached full-term and labor has begun. The current study found that found that 9.6 percent of women overall developed preeclampsia, regardless of whether they received extra doses of C and E or a placebo drug.
Should expectant mothers stay off depression medications during pregnancy? Several popular medications have recently been linked to potential risks for the baby, including Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac. Taking these drugs in the third trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension, a condition that impacts the babyâ€™s blood circulation.
Between 14 percent and 23 percent of women experience symptoms of depression during pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Around 8 percent choose to continue taking antidepressants during pregnancy. Many medications designed to treat depression have not been linked to birth defects, suggesting that some women may be putting themselves at risk for post-partum depression for no reason. However, taking Paxil in the first trimester of pregnancy has been found to increase the risk of certain heart defects in babies by 1 percent above the natural risk.
Researching current studies about depression drugs may help expectant mothers make the right choice. Older antidepressants, in particular, have been linked to language and IQ problems. Expectant mothers should discuss a range of medication options and alternative therapies with their doctors before coming to a decision.
Have you or a loved one taken an antidepressant while pregnant?