Can aspirin do that, too?

In light of its success in reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke, researchers are investigating whether aspirin may offer protection against cancer. In March 2010, Harvard researchers reported results suggesting that if aspirin does possess cancer-fighting properties, they might be most evident among cancer survivors. Their study included about 4,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study who had been diagnosed with breast cancer over a 26-year period and who had supplied researchers with information about their use of aspirin. The Harvard researchers found that the breast cancer survivors who had taken aspirin regularly after being diagnosed with the disease were 70% less likely to have died from the breast cancer. Regular use was defined as taking aspirin two to five days a week. (Locked) More »

When nerves get damaged

People with peripheral neuropathy may experience pain, numbness, tingling, and other unpleasant sensations. Often the cause cannot be determined, so the condition must be managed by attempting to treat the symptoms, especially if one of them is pain. Unfortunately, conventional painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin may not be very effective. The alternatives are off-label prescriptions of antiseizure medications and tricyclic antidepressants. The antiseizure drug gabapentin (Neurontin) does seem to be effective for some people  and physicians prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), and nortriptyline (Pamelor). The side effects can be a serious drawback but they may be a reasonable trade-off if there's relief for troubling symptoms, especially pain. Many people with peripheral neuropathy say yoga, acupuncture, and other somewhat unconventional treatments have done wonders. Supporting data are scarce, but these alternative approaches might be worth a try as long as there's little risk of harm. (Locked) More »

Elevating your HDL game

Taking niacin is an effective way to boost HDL cholesterol, but there are side effects to consider. Niacin can increase blood sugar levels and lead to liver damage. But the most common side effect is flushing, a sensation of prickly heat in the skin that usually affects the head, face, and neck. People also turn red, and a few get itchy and suffer nausea.  (Locked) More »