Aspirin keeps stomach cancer at bay

Aspirin (Photo credit: tomazstolfa)

Taking aspirin a few times each week, or regularly for years decreases the risk of stomach cancer.

The ancient Greeks were well aware of the power of willow bark powder to relieve headaches, pain and fever. But not even Hippocrates, widely considered the father of Western medicine and whose records speak of the use of willow bark in ancient times, would have been aware of aspirin’s cancer-fighting properties.

In recent years, aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to reduce death rate from multiple types of cancer by around 20 per cent. Studies have found that aspirin decreases the risk of developing cancers of the breast, skin, colon and oesophagus – the muscular tube that delivers food from the mouth into the stomach. Continue reading “Aspirin keeps stomach cancer at bay”

Animal research – are the results too good to be true?

Analysis of neurological studies on animals reveals widespread bias.

The road to market for a promising new therapy can be notoriously long and treacherous. Before the first small-scale clinical trials in humans can even be contemplated, a new therapy (such as a drug or surgical procedure) must first pass muster in preclinical animal studies.

A study published in PLoS Biology has uncovered considerable bias in the reporting of results from animal studies into neurological diseases. The result is that some treatments could be progressing to human clinical trials on the back of flimsy preclinical evidence. The discovery could also help to explain why promising results in animals often fail to translate into promising results in humans.

Although logistically simpler than human clinical trials, animal studies are not without their limitations. For ethical and financial reasons, studies aim to keep animal numbers to a minimum. The problem with limiting animal numbers is that studies can end up with ambiguous results. A new drug might have improved outcomes for some of the animals, but the difference between the animals taking the drug and those taking the placebo could be too close to make a confident call.

Continue reading “Animal research – are the results too good to be true?”