Today in medicine: Newlyweds get cold feet, too

Problems with painkillers
Topic of Study: Heart attack survivors at risk from pain meds
Study subjects: Denmark
Location of study: 100,000 people older than 30 who had had a heart attack
Results: A study published in the American Heart Association’s “Circulation” journal states
that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which includes ibuprofen and prescription drugs like Celebrex, put patients who survive a heart attack at risk for subsequent heart attacks even several years after a heart attack. Forty-four percent of the patients in the study filled at least one NSAID prescription, and their risk of death from any cause was 59 percent higher one year after their heart attack, and 63 percent higher after five years. Also, their risk of having another heart attack or dying from coronary artery disease was 30 percent higher after one year and 41 percent higher after five.  
Significance: Researchers conclude that NSAIDs are not safe for heart attack patients, even several years after their episode.

Topic of Study: Painkillers cause ear damage in women
Study subjects: 62,261 women aged 31-48
Location of study: U.S.
Results: Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women taking ibuprofen (like Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (like Tylenol) two or more days a week were at a greater of hearing loss. Dosage frequency increased the risk and the hearing loss tended to be greater in younger women. The researchers also tested aspirin use for hearing loss and found no risk.
Significance: “NSAIDs [like ibuprofen] may reduce blood flow to the cochlea — the hearing organ — and impair its function,” said study author Sharon G. Curhan, MD. “Acetaminophen may deplete factors that protect the cochlea from damage.”

Topic of Study: Wedding blues a warning?
Study subjects: 464 newlyweds
Location of study: U.S.
Results: According to Researchers at the University of California, couples that get cold feet could be acting on sound intuition that the marriage is not meant to be. The study found that women who had doubts about their upcoming weddings but who ignored their fears were 2.5 times more likely to divorce than women who had no such fears. The study, published on Journal of Family Psychology’s website, found that though around 10 percent more men than women had initial doubts, it was the women’s fears that better predicted divorce.
Significance: “If you see something unusual on your skin, should you ignore it and go to the beach, or see a doctor? Be smart and don’t ignore it — and don’t ignore your doubts either,” UCLA researcher Thomas Bradbury said in a statement. “Have a conversation and see how it goes.”
 
Topic of Study: Pill-popping at an all-time high
Study subjects: Various data
Location of study: U.S.
Results: Prescription drug use in America increased from 3.99 billion prescriptions in 2010 to 4.02 billion in 2011, according to the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and anti-psychotics were among the top 10 prescribed drugs. Since 2010, ADHD medication showed an increase of 17 percent and multiple sclerosis medications increased by 22.5 percent.  
Significance: Quoting a jump in profits from $308.6 billion in 2010 to $319.9 billion in 2011, the report shows an increasingly strong market for the drug manufacturing industry.


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