Health headlines: Aspirin at bedtime; concussion damage; eat nuts to live longer

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A daily dose of aspirin has become a common treatment for people at high risk for heart attacks or strokes, because it thins the blood and prevents clots from forming.

A new study suggests that people who take aspirin at bedtime might get more protection against heart attacks or strokes.

Half the patients took 100 milligrams of aspirin after they woke up in the morning while the other half took the same dose at bedtime.

It’s been know that cardiovascular events happen more often in the morning hours because of a peak period of activity for platelets, which are clotting factors in the blood.

Aspirin reduces the activity of platelets, and thus reduces the chance that those platelets will clot in the bloodstream and cause a heart attack or stroke.

Aspirin has a long-lasting effort on platelets, helping thin the blood for days after it is taken.

In fact prior to surgery, patients are often told to hold off on aspirin for five to seven days as it continues to thin the blood, even when you miss a dose.

Concussion damage to brain may linger

Months after concussion symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and memory loss fade, the brain continues to show signs of injury.

Researchers found that the brains of those who suffered a concussion showed abnormalities four months later. This happened despite the fact that their symptoms had already improved.

A mild traumatic brain injury that occurs from a sudden blow to the head or body can cause headache, blurry vision, difficulty sleeping and the inability to think clearly. Most concussions occur without losing consciousness.

Concussion symptoms were reduced by up to 27 percent four months after injury. Although, brain showed abnormalities in the frontal cortex area of both sides of the brain.

The recommendation that athletes suffering concussions should refrain from play for one to two weeks may not be sufficient.

In one or two weeks, most people typically report feeling better. But it makes sense that the brain needs more time to heal.

Physical changes within the brain after a concussion are separate from the mental symptoms.

Everyone seen at four months should be followed for another four to six months, and then re-scanned.

Eat nuts, live longer?

If you like nuts and it doesn’t matter what kind is your favorite, you might be cutting your risk of early death by eating a handful every day.

New research found that people who ate a one-ounce serving of nuts each day showed a 20 percent reduced risk of dying.

Studies suggest health benefits that include a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and lower cholesterol, according to the findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Nuts are nutrient-dense foods which contain unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The study included more than 76,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers found a 7 percent reduced risk of dying from any cause during the 30-year study. Those who had nuts once a week had an 11 percent lower risk of death, those who had two to four servings of nuts a week had a lower risk by 13 percent.. Those who consumed at least seven 1-ounce servings of nuts weekly, reduced their overall death risk by 20 percent.

A one-ounce serving was equal to about 16 to 24 almonds, 16 to 18 cashews and 30 to 35 peanuts.

People who ate nuts tended to be healthier overall.They w ere leaner, had lower obesity, lower cholesterol, better controlled sugar, smaller waist, ate more fruits and vegetables, and exercised more.

Nuts are part of a healthful diet, especially if people are choosing to eat nuts, instead of chips or candy. Nuts provide quality protein, fiber, good fats and B vitamins. Nuts aren’t a magic bullet. They’re just one part of the diet. The best thing is to substitute nuts for other foods that may be crunchy or sweet.

Dr. Art Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to