Consider skipping the aspirin
Most people take a couple of aspirin when they get a cold. But a study suggests they'd be better off if they didn't. Nor will it help to take Tylenol or ibuprofen. Australian doctors asked 56 college students with colds to take either aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen or a placebo up to eight times a day for a week. Those taking aspirin and Tylenol actually ended up with stuffier noses and a lower immune response than those on the placebo. Ibuprofen proved to be no better or worse than the placebo. Remember, these drugs are basically pain medications. Colds aren't painful, they're just uncomfortable. So the next time you have a cold, skip the painkillers and concentrate on getting some rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Cough syrups, throat lozenges and chicken soup can make a cold easier to endure.
All blood not equal
In this sophisticated age of medicine, it's surprising that it took so long to find that all blood is not created equal. The first researchers to show racial differences in blood were doctors at the University of Southern California Medical Center in a new study. They took blood samples from more than 2,100 healthy white, black, Asian and Hispanic hospital workers. A comparison showed that blacks had fewer red and white blood cells, Asians more red blood cells and Hispanics more white blood cells than whites. Lab standards for most blood tests are based on white people. Considering how often doctors rely on blood tests to make decisions, it's surprising that non-white patients aren't routinely misdiagnosed -- though the researchers didn't speculate on the chances of this happening. High levels of white blood cells, for instance, can signal infection, which means that doctors might mistakenly prescribe antibiotics for Hispanic patients. The differences aren't as dramatic in other races, but clearly we would all benefit by updating our blood tests.