The Morning Briefing: Drugs and drills

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about drug research, weight control and the impact of gas drilling on human health.

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about drug research, weight control and the impact of gas drilling on human health.

1.) Study suggests daily aspirin intake offers no benefit for heart disease sufferers. A daily low-dose is considered beneficial for those who have had a heart attack or have narrowed arteries, but a recent research indicates that those with heart disease gain no benefit from this practice. Through a six year study, deaths related to cardiovascular disease occurred at essentially the same rate for people who did and did not take aspirin.

2.) A study conducted by Swiss investigators states that gastric bypass surgery results in faster and longer-lasting weight loss than gastric bands. Where bypass surgery is more effective in terms of directs results, it is considered more dangerous in the short-term than other methods of weight control. In comparison, gastric bands generally lead to long-term complications.

3.) Combining powerful medications in early stage patients with an aggressive form of breast cancer can stop its progression. The Lancet Oncology has published a new cancer study that suggests the chemotherapy medications Tykerb and Herceptin can be used to assist early-stage sufferers of HER2 positive cancer, the most aggressive form of breast cancer. An estimated 20 percent of women develop this type.

4.) Pfizer ends Alzheimer drug experiments after failure. After extensive testing of the drug Dimebon, a medicine being touted as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, it has failed in late stage clinical trials. Pfizer Inc. and Medivation Inc. have therefore ended their current collaborative efforts concerning the neurodegenerative disease. There is an estimated 5 million Americans who currently suffer from Alzheimer's, and no known cure has been discovered.

5.) Study on fracking fluids and methane gas exposure prompts calls for research on health impacts. The study, "The Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health," shows links between fracking fluids and methane gas exposure to health risks in both humans and animals. The authors call fracking "an uncontrolled heath experiment on an enormous scale."

Image credit: Andres Rueda/Flickr

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