Tag Archives: Aspirin

Fresh: Facts, and Opinions, this week

An actor performs during William Shakespeare's theatre play "Hamlet" at the Jerusalem Centre for the Performing Arts in this file photograph dated December 11, 2008. REUTERS/ Eliana Aponte/files

Scan of Shakespeare’s Grave Suggests Skull Missing, reports Reuters. Above, an actor performs during William Shakespeare’s theatre play “Hamlet” at the Jerusalem Centre for the Performing Arts in this file photograph dated December 11, 2008. REUTERS/ Eliana Aponte/files

 

A still image taken from security camera footage shows people running for safety as shots are fired at the beach resort in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Etoile du Sud Hotel via Reuters TV ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.

People running for safety as shots are fired at the beach resort in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Etoile du Sud Hotel via Reuters TV 

The West’s racist response to terrorism, by Tom Regan. Column

It was a horrible attack. The terrorist gunmen walked up and down the beach, slaughtering men, women and children with each step they took. In one case, a small child begged for his life only to be murdered by the gunmen. A deaf child in the water, who others tried to warn of the danger, was also gunned down.  In the end at least 20 people lay dead, including two soldiers from a group who had arrived to confront the al-Qaeda terrorists. But I’m guessing you don’t know about this attack. That’s because it happened in the Cote d’Ivoire.

 

“Feeling the Bern”,  by Rod Mickleburgh  Column

The 74-year old, white-haired politician advanced to the podium, and the roof nearly came off the Hudson’s Bay High School gymnasium. No wonder. For nearly four hours, thousands of us had been standing in line, braving a cold, miserable rain, without even knowing whether we would be among the 5,000 or so lucky enough to make it inside. As the cheers continued to cascade down from the packed, rickety benches of the high school gym, Bernie Sanders leaned forward and shouted in his hoarse, Brooklynese. “All I can say is: WHOA!”

Party dissent in China as time for a new mandate for Xi nears, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs  Column

China’s leader Xi Jinping is facing serious criticism from within the ruling Communist Party as the time approaches when he must be reconfirmed as party boss and the country’s president. Since being selected by the party at the end of 2012 for China’s two top posts, Xi has raised hackles by using an anti-corruption drive to remove his political rivals, fostering an unseemly cult of personality, ramping up censorship and suppressing of dissent, and grasping more personal power than any leader since Mao Zedong.

Reuters

Reuters

UN Court Finds  Karadžić Guilty in Bosnia Genocide Trial. By Thomas Escritt and Toby Sterling  Report

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the most senior political figure to be convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, was sentenced to 40 years in jail by U.N judges who found him guilty of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and of nine other war crimes charges.

How aspirin does more than kill pain. By Emma Young   Report

Inflammation in our bodies is being linked with more diseases. Can a simple anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin really help keep us healthier?

Scan of Shakespeare’s Grave Suggests Skull Missing. By Reuters Arts report

Shakespeare’s skull is likely missing from his grave, an archaeologist has concluded, confirming rumors which have swirled for years about grave-robbers and adding to the mystery surrounding the Bard’s remains.

Brussels Attacks: 30 Killed, Islamic State Claims Responsibility. By Philip Blenkinsop and Francesco Guarascio

Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital March 22, 2016, which killed at least 30 people, with police hunting a suspect who fled the air terminal.

Brussels Attacks: Deadly Circles of Terror. By Sebastian Rotella

Over the past several months, Belgian counterterror officials told me they were working nonstop to prevent an attack and that the danger had never been so high. Today, March 22, 2016, their worst fears came true when coordinated bombings struck the airport and a subway stop in Brussels.

In Case You Missed It, stories earlier this month:

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How aspirin does more than kill pain

Inflammation in our bodies is being linked with more diseases. Can a simple anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin really help keep us healthier?

By Emma Young, Mosaic
March 2016

Aspirin. Photo:  Sauligno via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Aspirin tablets, uncoated. Photo: Sauligno via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

“I think aspirin is the best anticancer drug today. I think everyone over 50 should take aspirin. It’s the cheapest thing on the planet and very effective… I take one pill of 25 mg a day.” So said Professor Mel Greaves of the Institute of Cancer Research in London at a recent conference where he was presenting a paper on the complexities of cancer.

Aspirin — one popular brand of acetylsalicylic acid — is a classic anti-inflammatory drug. It inhibits the production of an enzyme involved in driving inflammation. (It also inhibits the action of a closely related enzyme, potentially causing the side-effect of gastric bleeding.)

There is research in animals and people suggesting that long-term consumption of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing various cancers, or of certain cancers coming back. Whether or not it should be taken routinely as a prophylactic is hotly debated, partly because of the side-effects. But, in October 2015, a new trial got underway in the UK: it is the world’s biggest clinical trial to date to investigate whether aspirin really can prevent bowel, breast, prostate, stomach and oesophageal cancer returning in people who have been successfully treated. If successful, it will determine whether for this group, at least, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Exactly how aspirin may reduce cancer risk isn’t clear. But, says Young Kim, who researches in the division of cancer prevention at the US National Cancer Institute, “chronic – not acute – inflammation plays a critical role in accelerating cancer development”. Research suggests that chronic inflammation plays a key role in colon, prostate, pancreas, breast and lung cancers, she says.

The main mechanism is the inflammatory process itself, she explains: inflammatory chemicals cause cells in the membranes of these organs to become unstable and susceptible to the kinds of changes that can ultimately lead to cancer. Aspirin can reduce the production of some of these chemicals. But so, Kim argues, can certain foods, and foods generally don’t carry side-effects. “Vegetables and fruits are great sources of natural anti-inflammatory components that maintain health and prevent serious diseases like cancer,” she says.

In a review of research into whether certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, might modify chronic inflammation and so influence cancer risk, Kim and her colleagues concluded that more work is needed but “the societal benefits of using foods and their components to prevent chronic inflammation and associated complications, including cancer, are enormous”.

A huge range of other diseases are also now being linked to chronic inflammation, including brain-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Still, it’s not clear to what extent inflammation actually drives these diseases, argues Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. With depression, for example, in work that he was involved with, “the data points in the direction that [a low-inflammation] diet does help to reduce the risk of depression, but I don’t think it’s definitive”. With Alzheimer’s, meanwhile, although there’s research suggesting ibuprofen might help, he says there’s also research finding that another type of anti-inflammatory can make symptoms worse.

Given that, it’s not clear how a daily aspirin would affect the overall long-term health of someone at no particularly raised risk of such diseases. But as more large clinical trials produce results, we will start to learn who could really benefit.

Creative Commons

This story is part of the Eat to Treat series by the UK’s Mosaic project.
Author: Emma Young; Editor: Michael Regnier; Fact checker: Francine Almash; Copyeditor: Tom Freeman

Links:

Wikipedia page for Aspirin

You might also wish to read:

Cancer: Where Are The Low-Cost Treatments?, By Jake Bernstein,  ProPublica,  April 24, 2014

Big Pharma’s focus on blockbuster cancer drugs squeezes out research into potential treatments that are more affordable. Says one researcher: “What is scientific and sexy is driven by what can be monetized.”

The animals that sniff out TB, cancer and landmines, By Emma Young, Mosaic, Feb. 2016

Rats can smell tuberculosis. Dogs can smell cancer. Now they’re being trained to save your life.

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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