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New hope for heart attack patients

A major drug trial has brought scientists closer to making a drug that could prevent thousands of deaths from heart attacks.

From the past six years, international clinical trials have been going on a new drug, ticagrelor. The new findings have revealed that the platelet function in patients taking ticagrelor recovered much quicker after the drug is stopped, compared to the current gold standard drug, clopidogrel.

This study has also confirmed that breathlessness occurs as a side effect of ticagrelor but this is not associated with any harmful effects on lung or heart function. The findings also include a new analysis of a previous trial looking at ticagrelor.

This new examination of the Plato trial, which was completed last year, showed that ticagrelor prevents 1 in 5 deaths after a heart attack, and patients who develop the adverse effect of breathlessness with ticagrelor still benefit from a lower risk of death compared to patients treated with clopidogrel for one year following a heart attack.

A pot belly increases your risk of bowel cancer

That beer belly or a ‘muffin top’ your friends find cute is more dangerous than it appears — it can dramatically increase the risk of bowel cancer, according to a study.
A shocking study revealed that for every inch above a healthy waist measurement, the likelihood of the fatal disease rises by three per cent.

While the link between excess fat and the chances of bowel cancer is known but the new study provides the strongest evidence so far that waist size is a significant contributing factor. According to researchers, even slim people whose weight is normal are still at risk if they carry a bulge.

They say a healthy waist measurement is less than 31.5 inches for women, less than 37 inches for white and black men and under 35 inches for Asian men. Scientists have recommended that people should try to stay as slim as possible without becoming underweight. They estimate this could prevent more than 2,700 cases of bowel cancer in the UK every year.

“As well as confirming the link between body fat and bowel cancer, this study has strengthened the evidence that where we carry the fat is also important. This means that people with large waists should try to lose that flab even if they are otherwise in the normal body mass index range,” said Martin Wiseman of the World Cancer Research Fund.

Risk factors for painkiller addiction identified

Why are some people more likely to become addicted to painkillers than others? Well, a new study has started to unlock the puzzle.

Geisinger investigators have found that patients with four common risk factors have a significantly higher risk of addiction. In addition, a history of severe drug dependence and drug abuse compounds the risk.

According to the Geisinger study, common risk factors for painkiller addiction in patients
with chronic pain are: age (65 years or younger), a history of drug abuse and depression, and use of psychiatric medications.

Currently, statistics find painkiller addiction as high as one in four (26 per cent) among these patients. “These findings suggest that patients with pre-existing risk factors are more likely to become addicted to painkillers, providing the foundation for further clinical evaluation,” said Joseph Boscarino.

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