Aspirin, Saffron, and Other Fake Cures We Might Fall For
A few years ago there were questions about age-related macular degeneration and aspirin use. There were people who stopped using aspirin because someone had suggested it might be a factor in speeding progression to the more advanced stages of the disease.
No correlation between aspirin and advanced AMD
Recently there was an article in the journal "Ophthalmology" saying this is not the case. They are saying there is no correlation between aspirin use and advanced forms of age-related macular degeneration. 1,2
Cures and claims
By the time we get to the end of this journey, I suspect we will be told a dozen different factors are guilty in progressing our condition to the advanced stages. Or conversely, we will be told about a dozen different substances that will “cure” us.
The magnificient "curing" potential of saffron
A little while ago a friend pushed an article on saffron onto my hand. It was a piece in response to a letter from a reader complaining that the medical folks writing the column had somehow failed to tell people about the magnificent “curing” potential of saffron. I told my friend I had already looked into it and it was not what she thought it was. But, nooo, I was wrong and needed to look into it again.
Why don’t people believe me when I say I looked into something and there is nothing there? Why don’t they think I would jump on something that looked like it had validity? Do they think I am just being stubborn or stupid or resigned somehow to a life of low vision? Inquiring minds want to know but perhaps that is a topic for another page.
The shortcomings of the saffron studies
Anyway, I looked it up... again. The studies quoted each have a very small n – n being the number of people tested.3 That means they are not very robust and very preliminary. Also, the subject popular was all people in the early stages of the disease. Honey, I stopped being in the early stages of this disease a very long time ago. You want to see advanced age-related macular degeneration aka geographic atrophy? Here she is. There are craters in these retinas that saffron won’t fill.
Let's not fall for everything
Ok, maybe a bit reactive and harsh, but let’s get realistic. We can’t fall for everything. Well, ok, maybe we can but it is not good for our blood pressure or our pocketbooks to be out there buying the aspirin alternatives or the saffron or whatever craziness comes down the pike next. It is not good for us to be blindly grasping at straws.
Navigating the journey wisely
Fear is a great motivator and a lousy navigator. Engage your brain before latching on to everything suggested. Do you know the difference between anecdotal statements and study data? Do you have an idea what constitutes a robust study? What is pretty much conclusive, what is preliminary data and what is just plain trash? If you don’t, find out. And if finding out is above your abilities right now, ask. I know several of us here are able to evaluate a study finding. I, for one, would be happy to do it for you... it would give me a topic for a page! 😊
So, back to using aspirin. Anyone beyond early stages, it might be a good idea to nix the saffron. Let’s navigate this journey wisely.
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