Aspirin?

Apr. 23rd, 2012 06:58 pm
marcusmarcusrc: (Default)
[personal profile] marcusmarcusrc
So, my mom has gotten hold of the forwarding bug, and in return, I have taken to consulting snopes fairly frequently in the hopes of limiting the wrongness that is being forwarded around the internet. Recently, she forwarded a document which accused aspirin of being responsible for a very large number of deaths, mainly due to the very large number of aspirin consumed, with blood thinning being the mortality factor. My google-fu failed me: while I was able to come up with a large number of websites citing the deaths (including some accusing aspirin of 1918 Spanish Flu mortality), none of them were what I considered to be reputable sources, and in contrast, I was unable to find any reputable sources which discussed the aspirin mortality claim either pro-or-con.

(the aspirin-Reyes syndrome link seems more solid, as do the benefits of aspirin for several conditions)

Any of my medically-competent friends want to weigh in here?

Date: 2012-04-24 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] puffy-wuffy.livejournal.com
Okay, I don't think aspirin used occasionally will kill someone, but it prevents blood clotting unlike other NSAIDs. Like other NSAIDs, it can cause damage to anywhere in your GI tract, usually some kind of ulceration (ulcer+blood thinning=bad bad bad). So . . . if used continuously and along with other NSAIDs, I think it could increase risk of ulceration and ulcer bleeds and maybe infection, which is bad, but these kind of conditions are treatable. I can understand the line of reasoning which could link aspirin to death, but I haven't seen a published study that I would trust which successfully links aspirin to mortality . . . yet.

Date: 2012-04-24 11:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arcanology.livejournal.com
Oh man, that must be maddening.

Date: 2012-04-25 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kirisutogomen.livejournal.com
I don't have time to follow through, but when I have questions like this I usually start with PubChem. But you're a government-employed chemist, so you already checked there.

Date: 2012-04-26 01:33 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Alas, I hang my head in shame, I did not check PubChem.

Though, having looked now, I don't see much there about mortality outside of massive suicidal overdose attempts... but absence of evidence isn't as good as evidence of absence. And what I really want is a nice, concise debunking to point to.

On the other hand, I was finally able to find a halfway respectable source for at least the 1918 flu rumor, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/health/13aspirin.html, and the original paper, http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/9/1405.full. Sounds like the community is dubious, however: http://journals.lww.com/ccmjournal/Fulltext/2010/04001/The_1918_influenza_pandemic__Lessons_for_2009_and.2.aspx cites in passing as a possible explanation for the high mortality among young adults, but says, "this possibility has not been well-studied".

(also, facebook doesn't seem to want to let me post non-anonymously)

Date: 2012-04-26 02:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kirisutogomen.livejournal.com
The problem with evidence of absence is that the sillier the claim, the less likely it is that anyone competent felt the need to debunk it. If I propose that schizophrenia is caused by radiation from turnips, you'll never be able to find any conclusive research to the contrary.

Date: 2012-04-27 01:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marcusmarcusrc.livejournal.com
Really? Turnips? I guess I better stop eating them, then...


I see what you mean, but when something has elevated itself to spam status (google "aspirin deaths"), I usually expect to be able to find a rebuttal. If I google "schizophrenia turnip" I'm not going to... oh, my.

http://m.fark.com/comments/6889670/Schizophrenia-could-be-a-profound-form-of-jetlag-in-which-turnips-central-heating-clockwasher-runs-counter-culture-to-individually-wrapped-Twinkies-creamy-centers

Apparently you are not the first to suggest the schizophrenia-turnip connection.

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