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Hospitalization may speed cognitive decline in seniors
March 21st, 2012
05:04 PM ET

Hospitalization may speed cognitive decline in seniors

People 65 years of age and older experience cognitive decline an average of 2.4 times faster if they have been hospitalized, compared to people of the same age who haven't, according to a new study.

For the study, published in Neurology, Robert S. Wilson, PhD. and colleagues reviewed the cognitive decline of more than 1,800 patients aged 65 and older who lived in Chicago. The patients were given a baseline cognitive test and then followed for an average of nine years with the same cognitive test repeated at least three times at intervals of three years.

They found that the natural cognitive decline people begin to experience as they age was sped up after a person had been hospitalized, regardless of the reason or how long the hospitalization lasted.

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March 21st, 2012
04:18 PM ET

Red flag found for imminent heart attack

Most heart attacks hit without warning – when a blister plaque on the blood vessel wall ruptures. The resulting clot starves the heart of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, causing a heart attack and possibly death.

Traditional diagnostic tools like treadmill stress tests only pick up major blockages in the blood vessels, but they don’t alert doctors to this type of impending catastrophe. That’s because the vast majority of heart attacks occur in people whose blood vessels are narrowed only slightly by cholesterol-laden plaque.

“We can’t detect these mild narrowings, which are almost exclusively responsible for heart attacks,” says Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California.

But Topol and a team of researchers now think they’ve found a way to determine which patients are only days or weeks away from a heart attack.
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Can an aspirin a day keep cancer away?
March 21st, 2012
06:32 AM ET

Can an aspirin a day keep cancer away?

Aspirin is recognized for its effects in heart-attack prevention. And several studies “have provided evidence that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, may hold promise in helping to prevent cancer,” according to the National Cancer Institute. 

There’s a long history of research on aspirin and cancer, starting in the early 1990s. But can an aspirin a day keep cancer away?

It’s not quite that simple, although two studies published in the Lancet and one in Lancet Oncology suggest that aspirin could have some protective effects against cancer.
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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