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Common painkiller doubles heart attack risk

COMMON painkiller such as Ibuprofen, which is available without prescription, doubles heart attack risk if taken in high doses for a long time, a study has revealed.

Scientists from the clinical trial service unit at Oxford University, with colleagues from the University of Rome, conducted the study, which was published Thursday in the British Medical Journal.

The study has shown that two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen and diclofenac, could cause attacks when taken in high doses.

Ibuprofen is one of the most widely used remedies for headaches, period pains and discomfort caused by inflammation. It is used daily by millions of arthritis sufferers.

Colin Baigent, who directed the research for UK’s Medical Research Council, urged caution for many people taking the tablets over-the-counter for complaints like headaches, flu and aches.

The drugs have been previously noted for increasing heart attack risk, but experts say this is the biggest and most comprehensive study of its kind, which was carried out over several years and involved 138 trials covering 140,000 patients.

However, Baigent said that people should not panic at the findings, as the heart attack rate was small and related only to patients who took “about twice what the normal person would take.”

“For a person who is unable to move unless they take these drugs, they may be willing to accept that risk if (the drug) is giving them back their life,” Baigent said.

Another study reveals that a diet consisting largely of fast food could cause the waistline to bulge more than eating the same amount of fat from healthier sources.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center found that monkeys fed a diet rich in trans-fats, commonly found in fast foods, grew bigger bellies than those fed a diet rich in unsaturated fats but containing the same overall number of calories, the New Scientist magazine reported on its website.

Those fed a diet rich in trans-fats, partially hydrogenated oils, also developed signs of insulin resistance, which is an early indicator of diabetes, the researchers said in a report.

They fed one group of vervet monkeys a diet where 8 percent of their daily calories came from trans-fats and another 27 percent came from other fats, comparable to people who eat a lot of fried food.

Another group of monkeys was fed the same diet, but with the trans-fats substituted for mono-unsaturated fats, found in olive oil, for example.

Both groups ate the same total calories, which were carefully metered to be just enough for subsistence.

Six years later, the trans-fat-fed monkeys gained 7.2 percent of their body weight, compared to just 1.8 percent in the unsaturated group, the researchers said, adding CT scans also revealed that the trans-fat monkeys carried 30 percent more abdominal fat, which is a risk factor in diabetes and heart disease. The New Scientist magazine said the test had been the first study to show such a dramatic result on abdominal fat.

Another study suggests that low-intensity exercise may burn more fat than high-intensity activities when it comes to shedding pounds.

The findings were reported in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.

Courtesy: Pakistan Observer

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