NSAIDs and heart disease, acupuncture and pain, marijuana and cancer

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Taking NSAIDs after a heart attack will increase your risk of death from all causes and from heart disease specifically. I always thought that the Vioxx debacle would turn out to be a class effect and it looks like that might be the case. They throw around some big numbers (30% increased risk!) which I assume are relative risks, not absolute risks, which is a big difference. Cardiology studies are often like this. They have to power them with huge numbers, in this case 100,000 people, to find a statistical difference which, in absolute terms, is often quite small. The difference is this: 20% chance of heart attack to 50% is a 30% change in absolute risk. 1% chance of a heart attack to 1.3% is a 30% relative risk change. Ah, statistics.

Acupuncture works to control pain in some conditions. In other news, it feels really good when you stop banging your head against a wall. Notice that allergies and asthma are not among the conditions for which acupuncture might be effective. I’ve actually had acupuncture for back pain so I found this rather interesting.

I had an alternate tagline for this, but it was too inappropriate. Pot might increase your risk of testicular cancer.

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