Over 50s should be taking statins

The risk of a heart attack or stroke is cut by a fifth in those who have no sign of heart disease, shows research by scientists at Oxford University.

Treatment guidelines should be reviewed in light of the findings, the experts said, and the NHS should impose a blanket policy of prescribing up to 20  million people statins at a potential cost of £240 million a year.

Currently, the only people considered at high risk, those with a one-in-five chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years, are given the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

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Daily Aspirin blocks bowel cancer

A daily dose of aspirin should be given to people at high risk of bowel cancer, say scientists.

Two pills a day for two years reduced the incidence of bowel cancer by 63% in a group of 861 at-risk patients, a study reported in The Lancet said.

Newcastle University’s Prof Sir John Burn, who led the study, said the evidence “seems overwhelmingly strong”.

Other experts said the findings added to a growing body of proof that aspirin could be used in the fight on cancer.

The study was conducted on 861 patients with Lynch syndrome, which affects one in every 1,000 people.

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Walking could ward off dementia

Elderly people who get about by walking are less likely to suffer mental decline or even dementia, a study says.

Brain scans revealed that older people walking between six and nine miles a week appeared to have more brain tissue in key areas.

The Pittsburgh University study of 299 people suggested they had less “brain shrinkage”, which is linked to memory problems.

The research was reported in the journal Neurology.

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