Aspirin: Exciting New Benefits阿斯匹林：令人激動的新功效
Aspirin may be the most familiar drug in the world——but its power to heal goes far beyond the usual aches and pains. Exciting new studies suggest that aspirin can help fight a wide range of serious illnesses.“It now seems to be a benefit in so many areas of health，”says Dr. Debra Judelson，medical director of the Women‘s Heart Institute in Beverly Hills，Calif.“I advise most of my patients，as long as they aren’t allergic to aspirin and don‘t have bleeding problems，to take low-dose aspirin.”
Here are some major illnesses and conditions that aspirin or aspirin-like drugs might help prevent.
Alzheimer‘s.“Research over the last five years has shown that inflammation within the brain plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease，”says Dr. Richard B. Lipton，professor of psychiatry，neurology and epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. This may explain studies showing that people who have regularly taking anti-inflammatory drugs for other reasons，such as to treat arthritis or to prevent cardiovascular disease，are less likely to develop Alzheimer‘s.
“Elderly people who take aspirin have a lower rate of cognitive loss，”says Dr. Charles H. Hennekens of the University of Miami School of Medicine.“So aspirin may have an impact not just on Alzheimer‘s but on the large number of patients who experience memory loss with age.”
Diabetes-Related Heart Disease. Researchers have found evidence that diabetics are prone to an increased production of thromboxane，a substance that encourages platelets to clump together. Due，in part，to this effect，people with diabetes are two to four times more likely than non-diabetics to die from the complications of cardiovascular disease.
Aspirin helps prevent diabetes-related heart disease，in partly by blocking the synthesis of thromboxane. The Physicians‘Health Study，a landmark clinical trial directed by Dr. Hennekens，revealed a 44-percent reduction in heart attacks in men placed on aspirin therapy，and an even greater reduction among diabetic men. The American Diabetes Association recommends using low-dose aspirin to reduce the development of cardiovascular disease in my of the more than 14 million adult diabetics in the United States.
Cancer. Over the last decade there has been keen interest in the use of aspirin to prevent cancer.“Experiments have shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs，including aspirin，inhibit tumors in a whole array of cancers，including cancers of the colon，esophagus and stomach，”says Dr. Michael Thun，vice president for epidemiology and surveillance research for the American Cancer Society. At Harvard Medical School，the long-term Nurses‘Health Studywhich involves nearly 90，000 female nurses，has revealed a 30-percent reduction in colorectal cancer among those women who used aspirin regularly for 10 to 19 years and a 44-percent reduction after 20 years of consistent aspirin use.
Heart Attack. Most of us know that the Food and Drug AdministrationFDArecommends aspirin as a way of preventing heart attacks in those known to have a heart condition，but few of us realize it can help at the onset of an attack. In 1998 the FDA advised that individuals experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack should immediately take aspirin. A worldwide study of 17，187 patients directed by Dr. Hennekens has shown that there is a 23-percent reduction in the death rate when aspirin is taken within 24 hours of experiencing heart-attack symptoms.
Cardiologist Debra Judelson has seen its benefits firsthand. On an airplane flight，a fellow passenger turned pale，began suffering chest pains and had trouble breathing. She quickly gave the man two aspirin，and in a few moments his pain abated，his lung cleared and his color returned.
When the man was taken to a hospital，doctors found that one of his coronary arteries was more than 95-percent blocked.“The doctors opened the vessel and sent him home two days later，”Dr. Judelson says. The aspirin had disrupted the formation of blood clots in the clogged artery.
“If you think you‘re having a heart attack，chew two aspirin，”advised Dr. Judelson.“Chewing leads to more rapid absorption than swallowing whole. With a heart attack，minutes mean muscle. The longer you wait，the more muscle is damaged.”