Statins are proven effective in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease, but some studies suggests that after age 75, the risks outweigh the benefits. Now new research puts that idea into question.

The retrospective study, published in the European Heart Journal, included 120,173 people who turned 75 while taking statins. Compared with those who continued their medication, those who stopped had a 46% increased risk for a coronary problem like heart attack or heart failure, and a 26% increased risk for stroke.

The senior author, Dr. Joël Coste, an epidemiologist at the Hôpital Cochin, said a randomized trial is now going on, but the results will not be available until 2020 or later.

NSAIDs for arthritis tied to heart risk

Osteoarthritis has been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and a new study suggests that a large part of the risk comes from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, or NSAIDs. Such drugs include ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), as well as prescription NSAIDs.

Researchers used Canadian health databases to match 7,743 osteoarthritis patients with 23,229 healthy controls who rarely or never used NSAIDs. The study is in Arthritis & Rheumatology. Confirming trends, they found that compared with healthy people, those with osteoarthritis had a 42% increased risk for congestive heart failure, a 17% increased risk for coronary heart disease, and a 14% increased risk for stroke.

After controlling for socioeconomic status, body mass index, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and other health factors, they calculated that 41% of the increased risk for any cardiovascular event was attributable to the use of NSAIDs. The researchers acknowledge that the study is observational.

Fewer med students picking primary care

Despite hospital systems and health officials calling for more primary care doctors, U.S. medical schools graduates are becoming less likely to choose one of those fields.

A record of primary care positions was offered in the 2019 National Resident Matching Program — known as “the Match.” It determines where a medical student will study in their specialty after graduation. But the percentage of primary care positions filled by fourth-year medical students was the lowest on record.

“I think part of it has to do with income,” said Mona Signer, the CEO of the Match. “Primary care specialties are not the highest paying.” She suggested where a student gets a degree was also a factor. “Many medical schools are part of academic medical centers,” she said. The three key primary care fields are internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics.