Taking Aspirin Everyday May Increase Risk of Age-related Blindness

November 14, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. degeneration (n.) [dih-jen-uh-rey-shuhn] – the gradual loss of function of body cells, tissues or organs
Example: Stress may lead to brain degeneration.

2. aggravate (v.) [ag-ruh-veyt] – to worsen a situation
Example: His stressful job aggravated his disease.
3. severe (adj.) [suh-veer] – dangerous or harmful
Example: The employee missed work for several weeks because of a severe illness.

4. cardiovascular (adj.) [kahr-dee-oh-vas-kyuh-ler] – relating to heart and blood vessels
Example: Older people are more prone to having cardiovascular diseases.

5. side effect (n.) [sahyd ih-fekt] – an undesirable effect (usually of a drug)
Example: Dizziness is one of the side effects of drugs for cancer.

Read the text below.

Aspirin, a medicine for pain and heart disease, may cause age-related blindness to seniors who take the drug on daily basis.

In the study led by Dr. Paulus de Jong of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Academic Medical Center, it was found that among the 839 people who take Aspirin every day, 36 developed the wet type of macular degeneration, a loss of vision caused by leaking blood vessels in the eye. This means 4 out of 100 aspirin users face this risk. In addition, about 2 out of 100 less frequent takers of Aspirin can develop the same type of disease.

In contrast, taking Aspirin was not associated with the dry form of macular degeneration. This type is more common and less severe but still causes loss of vision. Together with the wet type, they constitute the leading causes of blindness among adults aged over 60.

However, the finding did not conclude that Aspirin itself causes the loss of vision. It only indicates that Aspirin somehow aggravates the disease.

Since the medicine is used for cardiovascular diseases, the researchers also looked for any connection between certain cardiovascular diseases and macular degeneration. Results, however, showed that Aspirin causes macular degeneration regardless of any heart conditions.

Although Aspirin has this side effect, one must still prioritize taking it if it is for cardiovascular disease. As Dr. Paulus said, a healthy eye is useless in a dead body.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What would be its advantages and disadvantages?
·         If you were taking a medicine and you later knew of its side effects, what would you do?

Discussion B

·         What are the possible effects of not knowing the side effects of medicines?
·         Do you do some research on the medicine you are taking? Why or why not?

November 14, 2011