Nightly News   |  July 16, 2013

New studies on reducing risk of colon cancer, dementia

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found women who take low-dose aspirin every other day may reduce the risk of colon cancer among women; a different study examining the self-employed found those who worked longer before retiring had a lower risk of dementia. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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>>> we had planned to bring you a report tonight on the popularity of e cigarettes. it's completed we'll bring it to you another time. as two other health stories have intervened. our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman is here to walk-through them, first about the benefits of aspirin for women.

>> long term looking at healthy women ages 45 and over, they were followed for 18 years. women who took low dose aspirin, every other day, had a 20% decreased chance of getting cancer of the colon. and women who stayed on aspirin longer had even better results. the caveat, of course, is it can cause stomach upset in some people, for those women, doctors need to say bleeding is a possible risk. but really amazing data.

>> more positive elements for aspirin. the second subject was dementia in the news today.

>> there's a big meeting going on in boston right now, an amazing study coming out. looking at french, where they keep very good medical records . over 400,000 retired people were followed for dementia. here's what the researchers found. those who retired later in life in fact stayed sharper. it's a real reminder that our brain is plastic, continues to learn and in fact, you use it or lose it. a reminder that these arbitrary deadlines for retirement in this country, we're going to have to throw that notion away. our brains continue to learn and the more we challenge ourselves with community, younger people, the more we can head off dementia, and it costs a lot. over $200 billion it costs the united states every year.

>> nancy, thank you. because of the high interest in dementia, along these same lines, ween watted to let you know, we have a very interesting story. more of a reality check tomorrow night. how to know what kind of memory loss is cause for concern. happens to a lot of us, and what's less worrisome, when you ask yourself, why did i just walk into this room? we'll have some interesting reporting for you on this very topic tomorrow night.