Health Highlights: Feb. 9, 2008

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Aspirin Use Effective in Preventing Colon Cancer in Men, Latest Study Confirms

If you're a man and take at least two standard 325 milligram (mg) aspirin tablets weekly, you may be able to reduce your chances of getting colon cancer by more than 20 percent, the New York Times reports.

Reporting on a study in the January 2008 issue of the journal Gastroenterology, the newspaper said that the latest study, led by Harvard assistant professor of medicine Dr,. Howard T. Chan, confirmed earlier randomized studies indicating that prolonged aspirin use can act as a deterrent to colorectal cancer.

    • Aspirin Use Effective in Preventing Colon Cancer in Men, Latest Study Confirms
    • Not 'Buckling Up' More Prevalent Among the Very Obese
    • Sad Shoppers Often Regret Purchases
    • Trek Recalls Girls' Bicycles
    • Merck to Pay More Than $650 Million to Settle Drug Pricing Fraud Charges
    • Expanded Recall of New Era Canned Vegetables

Men who took between 6 and 14 standard aspirin pills weekly decreased their colon cancer risk by 28 percent, and those who took more than 14 pills a week had a 70 percent decline in risk, the Times reported.

However, two cautions are important, the newspaper added. First, aspirin can be very difficult on some stomachs and can even cause intestinal bleeding. Second, the results were measured on a test group of 47,000 men over a very long time -- 18 years. The effectiveness of aspirin use occurs only after continuous use for five years or more, the Times reported.

"The results provide additional proof that a simple drug like aspirin can help prevent colon cancer," Chan told the newspaper.


Not 'Buckling Up' More Prevalent Among the Very Obese

The more a person weighs, the less likely he or she is to wear a car seat belt, increasing the possibility of injury or death, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Led by Vanderbilt University psychologist David Schlundt, researchers from Meharry Medical College in Nashville studied 2002 information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found a direct relationship between obesity and not buckling up when getting into the car.

"They really have a hard time getting that belt buckle over them," Schlundt told the wire service. "They have to stretch it out and then over and then some can't see the buckle."

According to the A.P., deciding not to wear a seat belt because of being overweight is more than a lifestyle decision. Schlundt's group found that only 70 percent of the very obese reported always wearing a seat belt, compared to 83 percent of those who fell into normal-weight categories.

And the latest U.S. government statistic show that more than half the people killed in automobile accidents weren't wearing their seat belts, the A.P. reports.

The research was recently published in the journal Obesity.


Sad Shoppers Often Regret Purchases

Sad and self-focused people who attempt to increase their self-esteem by shopping tend to spend more for the same item than other people and often end up regretting their purchases, according to a U.S. study released Friday at the annual meeting of the Society for Social and Personality Psychology.

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