April 21, 2015- By Steven E. Greer, MD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, part of the Harvard University network of hospitals, has begun a rather perplexing public relations campaign. On national TV shows, such as PBS’ Frontline, they brag that their doctors discovered daily aspirin “saves lives” and direct viewers to their website where a video can be viewed of JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH reviewing the literature.
CurrentMedicine.TV has covered extensively the debate over whether daily aspirin reduces the risk or heart attack or increases the chance of deadly bleeding episodes. Several recent studies making national news have concluded that daily aspirin in the primary prevention setting (i.e. in patients with no previous heart attack) is not warranted.
In the video review by Dr. Manson, she discusses much older studies from 1989, and her own Women’s Health Study in 2005. In fact, the Women’s Health Study showed that daily aspirin did not reduce the risk of heart attack or major CVD. She data mines and spins the failed study as a positive one because the over-65 subset showed some risk reduction.
Nowhere in the eight-minute video does Dr. Manson discuss the serious bleeding risk from daily aspirin. She also fails to mention her research support from Bayer, the aspirin maker.
Why is Brigham and Women’s Hospital drawing national attention to a very debatable, at best, research conclusion? Why is Dr. Manson so misleading in her portrayal of the risks and benefits of aspirin? Is this all in response to the more recent studies that have debunked her work?