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"Aspirin may help prevent asthma in adults"


Source: CTV.CA

Published: 15 Jan 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (3 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Aspirin is known to prevent heart attacks but now researchers think it may also help adults ward off developing asthma.
In a large, placebo-controlled study of 22,071 healthy males, researchers found that taking a low dose of aspirin every other day lowered the risk of receiving an asthma diagnosis by 22 per cent.
Researchers at the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Massachusetts studied male doctors aged 40 to 84 over a period of almost five years. Among the 11,037 individuals who took aspirin, 113 new cases of asthma were diagnosed, as contrasted to 145 in the placebo group....

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 6 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

While this story provides a relatively good overview of the study (on the use of aspirin to prevent adult on-set asthma), it is yet another example of coverage of preliminary research findings. The claim in the lead that aspirin may "help adults ward off developing asthma" is later put into perspective when the study's principal investigator notes "it's too early to recommend aspirin for treatment to prevent late onset asthma."

With that said, the article is particularly good at highlighting potential harms, although these are not quantified. Another strong point of the story is its reference to the article, as this allows interested readers to go straight to the source for more details.

Large longitudinal RCTs are a significant contribution to the literature. No clinical implications can be determined, however, without a detailed review of the adverse events (which are common with aspirin). Also, only a sub-group of the population was studied (older men) and this limitation was not clearly identified.

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