11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The world’s shortest man and tallest man both have struggled with being unique. (Learn more at Guinness World Records) 2. Iowa City, Iowa, is the most age-friendly small town in the United States. (Learn more at AARP) 3. Your physically accurate digital avatar can be used to get custom-tailored clothes.  (Learn more at Wired) >> 10 Foods to Avoid Before Boarding a Plane 4. Japan’s new bullet train travels up to 311 mph, about …

Daily Aspirin May Not Prevent a First Heart Attack

Is a daily low-dose aspirin losing some of its luster as a cheap, easy way to prevent a heart attack? While there’s solid evidence that aspirin can help heart attack survivors avoid a second attack, recent research has raised questions about whether routine use of low-dose aspirin by older adults can prevent a first heart attack. Now a large Japanese study of more than 14,600 adults ages 60 to 85 — none of whom had had heart problems but who …

Aspirin May Lower Risk of Skin Cancer in Women

Older women who took aspirin at least twice a week had a lower risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, a new study finds. The study, published in the journal Cancer, looked at melanoma in about 60,000 Caucasian women ages 50 to 79, reported National Public Radio (NPR). (Researchers focused on light-skinned people because they’re at the highest risk for this type of cancer.) Over a 12-year period – and after controlling for risk factors like tanning and …

Is Coated Aspirin Really Better for You?

Experts have told us for years that coated aspirin is easier on the stomach, but few have questioned whether that coating might, in fact, reduce aspirin’s heart benefits. Now, though, a new study from the University of Pennsylvania – partly funded by Bayer, a major supplier of safety-coated (also called enteric-coated) aspirin – finds that the coating may reduce or delay aspirin’s effect in the blood. The study, published last week in the journal Circulation, had been designed to discover whether some …

Aspirin Helps Some Colon Cancer Patients Live Longer

It’s one of the oldest, cheapest drugs around, which makes it even more remarkable that humble aspirin helped dramatically cut the death rate among people with a specific kind of colon cancer, compared with those who didn’t take aspirin, new research shows. Harvard researchers in a large, government-funded study found that among patients whose tumors had a PIK3CA gene mutation – the cause of about 15 to 20 percent of colorectal tumors – regularly taking aspirin cut the risk of …

Aspirin and Cancer: It May Help With Prostate, Not With Breast

Two new studies, published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, offer contrasting news about aspirin’s potential role in cancer prevention and treatment. Men who were being treated for prostate cancer and were taking aspirin for other medical conditions were less likely to die of their cancer than were men who were not taking aspirin, The New York Times reports. On the other hand, taking aspirin did not appear to protect postmenopausal women from developing breast cancer, according to Health …