You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Style

Be Well

Painkillers linked to increased risk of irregular heartbeat

Painkillers linked to increased risk of irregular heartbeat

A common class of painkillers known as NSAIDs may increase the risk of a type of irregular heartbeat in older adults, a condition that could lead to stroke and heart failure, according to a study in the Netherlands.

The researchers conducted an electrocardiogram on 8,400 people living in Rotterdam who were an average age of 68 to see whether they had irregular heartbeats. They also checked their medical history to see what types of drugs they had been prescribed.

Continue reading below

Over a 13-year period, the researchers found that 857 people developed atrial fibrillation. Of those, 554 had taken NSAIDs in the past, while 42 were currently on the medications.

Those who were currently taking NSAIDs had a 76 percent increased risk of having atrial fibrillation compared with participants who never took the medication. Those who took the NSAIDs within the past 30 days had an 84 percent increased risk for atrial fibrillation.

BOTTOM LINE: A common class of painkillers known as NSAIDs may increase the risk of a type of irregular heartbeat in older adults.

CAUTIONS: The study does not prove that taking NSAIDs causes atrial fibrillation.

WHERE TO FIND IT: BMJ Open,
April 9

Fussy babies
may watch more TV,
study finds

Fussy babies and toddlers who have difficulty soothing themselves are more likely than other young children to watch more than two hours of television a day, a new study found.

Researchers looked at data for 7,450 children born in 2001, which included information reported by parents when the children were 9 months and 2 years old. On average, the children watched about 2 hours of television daily by age 2. However, children whose parents described them as extremely fussy and unable to self-regulate watched about 9 minutes more television a day at that age than kids whose parents said they were not as fussy.

The researchers could not tell whether the children were exposed to more media as a result of their fussiness, or whether the increased TV watching contributed to their inability to self-regulate.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against any screen time for children younger than age 2. The authors wrote that 40 percent of toddlers are watching more TV than they should by age 2, and that problematic media habits are established at an early age.

BOTTOM LINE: Fussy babies and toddlers who have difficulty soothing themselves are more likely to watch TV than other young children.

CAUTIONS: The study relied on parents’ reports of their child’s ability to self-regulate so the findings may not be entirely accurate. The study cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship between media exposure and fussiness.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Pediatrics,
April 14

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week