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Aspirin-heart issue, cont.

Aspirin/heart issue, cont.

One day after last week's announcement by U.S. scientists that an aspirin every other day can reduce the risk of a first heart attack by 47 percent, British scientists reported that their study of 5,000 British physicians failed to find any similar benefits from daily aspirin intake. Published in the Jan. 30 BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, the second study included data from a six-year study by researchers from Oxford University's Radcliffe Infirmary, who say the US. results are overly optimistic.

Both U.S. and British scientists involved in the conflicting research projects, however, agree that the British results do not entirely negate the positive findings of the Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital study (SN: 1/30/88, p.68). Authors of the British report point out that the U.S. study, with its larger numbers (more than 22,000 test subjects and three times as many heart attacks), is more statistically sound. It is because of these statistical differences, Harvard's Meir J. Stampfer said in an interview, that the Boston group feels the British study "is not especially informative ....Where they are is where we were in 1983 or so." Charles H. Henekens chairman of the U.S. study, also participated in the British project during a year-long appointment in London and is a coauthor of the report.

Despite the British study's smaller size, Stampfer acknowledges that its outcome could alter the final conclusions drawn from the larger study. He says the actual aspirin-related decrease in heart disease risk may not be "quite as extreme" as 47 percent. Authors of the British report suggest that the decrease in risk may be closer to 30 percent.
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Author:Edwards, D.D.
Publication:Science News
Date:Feb 6, 1988
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