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The Dose

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Tuesday, February 8, 2005; Page HE02

ASPIRIN: PLEASE, DON'T STOP The risk of having a second stroke is tripled within a month if aspirin therapy is discontinued, Swiss researchers reported last week.

Patrik Michel of Lausanne University and colleagues collected data on patients who had been admitted to their institution with either a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (also known as a mini-stroke). They focused on more than 600 people who had been prescribed long-term aspirin therapy for preventing another stroke or heart attack. Seventeen had subsequent strokes. Of those, 13 had stopped taking aspirin in the month before their new stroke, while four had continued their aspirin therapy.

_____The Heart_____
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The risk of stroke was highest during the eight to 10 days following discontinuation of therapy. Patients undergoing surgery are usually instructed to discontinue aspirin one week prior to the operation. "It may be safer to have the procedure without aspirin discontinuation," Michel said. "We need to weigh the risks and benefits."

BALANCED DRINKING A British study published last week in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases showed that women who were moderate alcohol drinkers had slightly better bone density than their minimally drinking peers. The researchers said it was "unlikely that the benefits to [bone mineral density] would be offset by an increased risk of falls at this moderate level of alcohol consumption."

BUT TRY NOT TO WORRY New research suggests that those who are prone to worry or feeling stressed may be more likely to get Alzheimer's disease.

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