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The Takeaway: Aspirin Cuts Bowel Cancer Risk; GPS Shoes For Patients With Dementia

More Than A Pain Reliever: Taking two humble little aspirin pills per day could reduce your chances of getting bowel cancer-aka colorectal or colon cancer-quite a bit. That's the word from a rigorous study that spanned more than a decade, published today in  The Lancet medical journal. In the study, led by UK genetics professor John Burn (and funded by aspirin company Bayer AG and the European Union, among others), patients who took 600 mg of aspirin daily for two years were 63 percent less likely to get colorectal cancer than those who took a placebo. The patients taking the aspirin were also less likely to develop endometrial or uterine cancers.

"This adds to the growing body of evidence showing the importance of aspirin and aspirin-like drugs in the fight against cancer," said Chris Paraskeva, a professor of experimental oncology at the University of Bristol in England.

All of the study participants were carriers of Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition that increases the likelihood of developing certain cancers-though doctors add that taking aspirin preventively makes sense for people without Lynch syndrome, too. Aspirin has previously been shown to reduce stroke,  heart attack and prostate cancer risk. But Tim Bishop, one of the authors of the study and a professor of epidemiology, cautions people to "weigh the tradeoffs. With larger doses of aspirin comes the increased danger of ulcers and vascular bleeds."

Big Shoes To Fill:  A GPS system for sneakers? That's right- walking shoes with global positioning satellite systems built into the heels are hitting the American market soon. The shoes, which are set to retail at $300, were designed mainly with Alzheimer's and dementia patients in mind. The in-shoe GPS system could help family members or police track these patients if they wander away and get lost, which is fairly common. Andrew Carle, a professor in George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services, noted that dementia patients are often resistant to monitoring, which is why these shoes (with the GPS system hidden) could be useful.

"Paranoia is a manifestation of the disease," Carle said. "If you put something on someone with Alzheimer's that they don't recognize, they remove it. If it's a wristwatch and it's not their wristwatch, they will take it off. So you have to hide it."

Some might call that an invasion of the patients' privacy; some might say it's for the patients own good. What do you think? Would you buy GPS shoes for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease?

See Also:  Techno-solutions aimed at helping Alzheimer's and dementia patients. >>

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