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Habitual Use of Aspirin May Cause Severe Bleeding

Aspirin prevents cardiovascular events, but causes severe bleeding

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Aspirin
Habitual use of aspirin causes severe bleeding. Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reveals that habitual use of aspirin causes severe bleeding. Aspirin is recommended for patients with cardiovascular issues to prevent heart attacks and strokes. But it is now found to increase the risk of serious bleeding by about 50%.

The study was published by researchers from the King’s College London and the King’s College Hospital. They were evaluating the impacts of aspirin on people who did not suffer from any cardiovascular disease. They found the medication lowered risks of heart attack and other heart problems, but it also causes severe bleeding.

Aspirin May Not Prevent Initial Occurrence of Cardiovascular Events in Patients with No History

The researchers established that aspirin prevents the reoccurence of strokes and heart attacks in patients who had suffered from these. But it is unclear if it prevents heart attack and stroke from occuring in the first place.

The researchers analyzed the conclusions reached in several studies involving over 1,000 people. None of them had a history of cardiovascular diseases and they were followed-up after 12 months. Some of the participants were treated with aspirin, some were given placebo, and yet others were not treated at all.

The results revealed that –

  • Treatment with aspirin was linked with 11% lower risk of heart attacks.
  • Aspirin does not significantly prevent initial heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death. About 250 participants were treated with the drug for 5 years before a single incident of these was averted.
  • Frequent aspirin use was linked to 43% of severe bleeding incidents.
  • Approximately one in 200 patients treated with aspirin will suffer from a major bleeding.
  • Aspirin was not seen to be effective with new cancer cases or related deaths.

Aspirin Works For Cardiovascular Patients, But Also Raises the Risks of Severe Bleeding

The study was not able to determine the benefits of aspirin on diabetic patients and those at higher risks of cardiovascular diseases. The researchers however proved that the medication could lower cardiovascular events for this class of people, but the benefit corresponds with the heightened chances of major bleeding incidents.

“There is insufficient evidence to recommend routine aspirin use in the prevention of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths in people without cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Sean Zheng, Academic Clinical Fellow in Cardiology at King’s College London and lead author of the study.

The authors of the study demand that physicians discuss the benefits and risks associated with aspirin use before recommending it. The main benefit is that it could prevent strokes and heart attacks in cardiovascular patients, but it could also induce severe bleeding when they occur.

Brad is a dedicated writer and author. He finished from college and then proceeded to university to study Nursing. He loves to take care of the sick and educate them on what ails them. When not writing or caring for the sick, Brad can be seen playing tennis with friends.

Diseases & Disorders

Eyes Reveal Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Blood capillaries in the eyes can help diagnose cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s

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Eyes Reveal Early Alzheimer’s Disease
Eye capillaries reveal early Alzheimer’s Disease. Photo Credit: Brenkee/Pixabay

Scientists can now detect Alzheimer’s disease early from the eyes. Due to reduced blood flow to capillaries at the back of the eyes, cognitive impairment can now be diagnosed early to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. People suffering from Alzheimer’s experience memory failure and then become unable to think or talk coherently and finally become completely helpless.

According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the scientists found vascular changes in the human eyes without using eye dyes or MRI scanners. The non-invasive detection only required an infrared camera.

Using OCT angiography technology, scientists can view the back of the eye to evaluate changes in the tiny blood vessels with great detail and unparalleled resolution. This makes it possible for scientists to analyze what is going on in the brain via the eyes.

Alzheimer’s Therapies Are Effective If Applied before Cognitive Decline and Brain Damage Occur

Dr. Amani Fawzi, a professor of ophthalmology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician, said their findings need to be validated. With this, it will be super easy to obtain another biomarker for people who might soon develop Alzheimer’s.

Once these people are identified, they can be subjected to new therapies to reduce onset of Alzheimer’s and prevent the dementia that is associated with the disease.

Fawzi revealed that Alzheimer’s therapies are more effective if applied before cognitive decline and brain damage occur.

Sandra Weintraub, a professor of neurology and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg, said more research and larger participants are needed to validate their finding. The research team from the Northwestern Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease recruited 32 participants for the study.

Forgetful Cognitively Impaired Patients May Go On To Develop Alzheimer’s Disease

These people had cognitive impairment that made them very forgetful. They were subjected to eye imaging with OCT angiography.

Fawzi said their retinal findings will add to other brain indicators of cognitive impairment that could progress to Alzheimer’s disease. He added that further studies will establish if dramatic changes in the eye capillaries of forgetful cognitively impaired patients are certain proof of progression to Alzheimer’s.

The research was funded with grants from Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness and National Institutes of Health.

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Global Health

Mosquitoes Use a Combination of Our Body Heat, CO2 and Body Sweat to Target Us for a Meal

Mosquitoes can only find us when our body heat, odor and emitted carbon-dioxide are present

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mosquitoes find people by their body heat, body odor and CO2
Mosquitoes find people by their body heat, body odor and CO2. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Researchers already know that mosquitoes target us by tracking our body heat and the carbon-dioxide emitted from our breath. Now they have also found out that mosquitoes locate us by detecting certain chemicals from our body sweats. A study published in the journal Current Biology states the offensive flying insects have an olfactory receptor in their antennae for detecting humans for a meal.

Mosquitoes are blood-suckers, and they transmit malaria, Zika virus and dengue among other tropical diseases. Understanding how they track us for a blood-meal is essential to developing protective techniques to foil their attacks.

Mosquitoes can detect human body heat from a distance, and they zero in on the heat signature to find humans and animals for a bite. They also detect the carbon-dioxide exhaled from human nostrils and emitted via the ear to know human bloodmeals are available for consumption. Having now perfected their sense of smell to detect the lactic acid and other chemicals in human sweat, mosquitoes have now evolved into a formidable human enemy.

Mosquitoes Attack Humans When Body Sweat, Body Odor and CO2 Are Emitted From People

Mathew DeGennaro of the Florida International University in Miami said it is exciting to know that mosquitoes have a receptor for human sweat. This they use to sense human odor and converge for blood.

The olfactory receptor is called Ir8a. Scientists found that blocking the function of this receptor made it impossible for mosquitoes to detect human sweat. During lab studies, researchers asked participants to place their hands on a device called an olfactometer. Mosquitoes can detect the olfactometer and the humans around it with ease. After genetically disabling the olfactory receptor in mosquitoes, the researchers found mosquitoes lost interest in detecting human presense.

Even after putting clothing worn by people during the day into the olfactometer, mutant mosquitoes found it hard to detect the sweat on the clothes. But normal mosquitoes did. Jeff Riffell, a biologist at the University of Washington, said it might make sense to create a spray perfume that masks human odor and throw mosquitoes off our trail.

However, disabling the ability of mosquitoes to sense human body odor does not entirely incapicitate them from detecting people – since they rely on other capabilities to still find their food.

An Effective and Lasting Solution Is Required To Destroy the Abilities of Mosquitoes to Find People

Larry Zwiebel, a biologist at Vanderbilt University, said mosquitoes are human-seeking machines because they possess an overlapping sensory system that goes beyond smell. He demonstrated that the insects can only detect the lactic acid in human sweat in the presence of carbon-dioxide and emitted heat.

“So it shows that in order for this process to really work effectively, and at its highest level, the mosquito wants to sense carbon dioxide, and that information makes the lactic acid information more valuable to the mosquito — more usable,” Zwiebel said.

According to him, when mosquitoes sense the combined presence of human odor, body heat and emitted CO2, they recieve the strongest degree of impulse to zero in on people and animal targets. Until a better and effective way is developed to permanently defeat mosquitoes in our environments, a powerful repellent that confuses their human-detection system might be a temporary solution.

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Health Studies

Amazon Echo & Google Home Programmable For Use in Hospital Operating Rooms

Smart-speakers can now recommend medical devices to use to doctors in theaters

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smart-speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo for medical procedures in hospitals
Google Home and Amazon Echo can help doctors during surgeries. Photo Credit: deborabalves/Pixabay

A new study reveals that Amazon Echo and Google Home among other smart-speakers can be programmed to assist doctors in hospital operating rooms. These home and electronic appliances can now be applied to use during medical procedures in theaters.

The ability of these appliances to be used for medical support was demonstrated at the 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology.

Amazon Echo and Google Home among other related smart-speakers provide audio responses when interventional radiology (IR) doctors demand answers to certain procedures when they are garbed in sterile scrub and treating patients.

Using Voice Commands, the Smart-Speakers Can Provide Instant Information for Medical Decisions

Lead author of the study, Kevin Seals, a fellow in interventional radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), said you are not able to use the computer when you are in the middle of a medical procedure since you need to remain sterile. In that case, this latest smart-speaker technology enables physicians to decide on crucial steps to follow based on information delivered by the smart appliances.

The UCSF research team created an application that can determine the appropriate size for any device to be used in the theater room. With the digital application, physicians can ask the Google Home smart-speaker any questions and the appliance can reply with recommendations of accurate device sizes to be used during procedures.

For instance, an IR may want to know the size of sheath to use for implanting a stent inside the blood vessel of a patient. With a voice command from the IR, the appliance will instantly communicate the accurate size of sheath to be used based on the patient’s situation, helping the physician reach a conclusion instantly.

Smart-Speakers to Be Applied To Other Medical Fields in the Coming Years

Considering that hundreds of devices are manufactured into the medical industry every day, physicians have a difficult time choosing the correct devices or size of materials to use in given procedural situations.

“This technology allows physicians to concentrate more closely on the care of their patients, devoting less time and mental energy to device technicalities,” Seals said.

In the process of creating the application for the smart-speakers, the research team developed size specs for catheters, sheaths, stents, vascular plugs and others using literature reviews for 475 IR devices.

The developers used Dialogflow to implement natural human language understandable by the smart-speakers and relayable by the appliances following an input query. Python script saved in the cloud was used to develop logic and other data processing operations.

The team looks forward to improving their technology to include information on material costs and inventory databases among other applicable areas of interests. With the instant information provided by the smart-speakers to physicians, treatments will become more efficient, cost-effective and more beneficial to patients.

Researchers also plan to expand the applicability of the appliances to doctors in other areas of specialization so that they can easily access electronic health records and patient clinical data such as previous surgeries and allergies.

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