The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Pages

World's Most Popular Painkiller Raises Heart Attack Risk

Feb 12, 2013
Originally published on February 14, 2013 9:35 am

The painkiller diclofenac isn't very popular in the U.S., but it's by far the most widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, in the world.

A slew of studies, though, show diclofenac — sold under the brand names Voltaren, Cambia, Cataflam and Zipsor — is just as likely to cause a heart attack as the discredited painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib), which was pulled from the U.S. market in 2004.

But evidence of the drug's cardiovascular risk hasn't translated to a reduction in use, a paper in the journal PLOS Medicine found. Diclofenac far outsells ibuprofen, naproxen, and other NSAIDs in 15 countries around the world.

"If you look at it internationally, diclofenac is the single most widely used NSAID," says study author David Henry of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto.

Henry tells Shots that diclofenac raises the risk of a cardiovascular "event" such as heart attack by about 40 percent, compared to taking no NSAID. Other NSAIDS are much safer, with naproxen being the least risky. Naproxen has a global market share of only 10 percent.

"Clearly thousands of people die as a result of using [diclofenac]," Henry says. "But these are invisible victims. And therefore, there's no advocacy lobby group on their behalf."

The bad cardiovascular risk profile of diclofenac is no secret. MedlinePlus, a U.S. government website, says people who take it "may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke" and that "these events may happen without warning and may cause death."

People with low cardiovascular risk probably can take diclofenac without much danger. If their annual risk of a heart attack is 1 in 1,000, the drug would raise it to only 1.4 per thousand.

But diclofenac would boost the risk in those with a 10 percent annual heart attack risk to 14 percent — a substantial increase, especially when multiplied over an entire population taking the popular pills for a wide range of aches and pains.

For instance, if only 1.3 percent of China's 1.3 billion people take diclofenac (a plausible assumption, since the drug is the most commonly used NSAID in Chinese hospitals), Henry and his coauthor Patricia McGettigan, of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, say it could result in 14,000 preventable deaths.

Countries where diclofenac dominates the painkiller market are largely low- and middle-income nations such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. But the list also includes England, Australia and New Zealand. And the drug is number three among Canadian NSAIDs, with more than 17 percent of the market.

Henry says there's a perception that diclofenac is a more potent painkiller than other NSAIDs. "We think that's just because it's been marketed in high doses." Higher doses also magnify the cardiovascular risk.

The study authors are petitioning the World Health Organization to remove diclofenac from the agency's list of so-called "essential medicines," which qualify in many countries for public support. Henry said it would be a gargantuan task to get diclofenac removed from the market, since drugs are regulated on a nation-by-nation basis.

Diclofenac, which dates to the 1970s, is one of the oldest NSAIDs. These drugs act by suppressing prostaglandins, small molecules that have many effects throughout the body.

"Good prostaglandins dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow," a desirable effect, Henry says. "Bad prostaglandins increase the tendency of blood to clot," which is undesirable.

He says "drugs like diclofenac and Vioxx inhibit the good prostaglandins without inhibiting the bad ones."

Another NSAID that operates in the same undesirable way is etoricoxib. Henry and McGettigan find that it's also used in many countries, but it hasn't been approved in North America.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.