New guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association say healthy adults without known heart disease should no longer take an aspirin a day to prevent a heart attack. It could actually do more harm than good.
The revised guidelines come in the wake of several major studies published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that low-dose aspirin did not extend life in otherwise healthy older adults and any preventive benefits were offset by the danger of internal bleeding and other side effects in people considered to be at low or moderate risk for heart disease. Continue reading
Along with a story on aspirin and macular degeneration, my editors got a panicked note from me recently: “I struggled with the numbers on this one, and may not have gotten them right,”I wrote.
Odds are that I wasn’t the only reporter puzzling over the numbers in this study, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. That’s because some of them were made up, apparently by a journal editor.
The error added a scary statistic to research that was already generating some pretty alarming health headlines (i.e. “Aspirin Ups Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration,” courtesy of a website for doctors called Clinical Advisor.)
To make matters worse, the mistake got repeated in the press release. (Et tu, media relations team?)
Thankfully, it seems many health reporters noticed something was amiss and left the wrong numbers out of their stories. Continue reading