Aspirin may slow the decline in mental capacity among elderly patients

October 22, 2012

A daily dose of acetylsalicylic acid equivalent to a fourth of an aspirin may slow the decline in intellectual capacity among elderly individuals with high cardiovascular risk. This is shown in a study by Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, over a five year period studied how intellectual capacity changes among 681 elderly women (70 to 92 years) with heightened risk of suffering from a heart attack, vascular spasm or stroke.

Of the 681 women, 129 received a low daily dose of acetylsalicylic acid, equivalent to a fourth of an aspirin, to prevent . The Gothenburg study shows that acetylsalicylic acid also slowed decline in brain capacity among the .

In the study, published in Open, the women underwent various tests to measure their and intellectual capacity, such as language and memory tests.

"At the end of the five year examination period mental capacity had declined among all the women and the portion that suffered from dementia was equally large in the entire group. However, the decline in brain capacity was significantly less and occurred at a slower pace among the women who received acetylsalicylic acid," says Silke Kern, researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy.

The effect remained even when age, and use of anti-inflammatory drugs were taken into account.

In addition to preventing heart disease, acetylsalicylic acid has been shown to be effective against cancer according to several scientific studies. It is common practice in many countries to treat women at risk for heart disease with a small dose of acetylsalicylic acid – but not in Sweden.

Silke Kern emphasizes that the study is an observational study and that more research is necessary before any definitive conclusions can be made.

"Our results indicate that acetylsalicylic acid may protect the brain, at least among women at high risk for a heart attack or stroke. However, we do not know the long term effects of routine treatment. We certainly do not want to encourage the elderly to self-medicate with aspirin to avoid dementia," she states.

The research group in Gothenburg has now started a follow-up study that will follow the older women for an additional five years.

Explore further: Aspirin may temper brain power decline in elderly women at risk of heart disease

More information: The study Does low-dose acetylsalicylic acid prevent cognitive decline in women with high cardiovascular risk? A 5-year follow-up of a non-demented population-based cohort of Swedish elderly women was published in BJM Open on October 3, 2012. bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/5/e001288.long

Related Stories

Aspirin may temper brain power decline in elderly women at risk of heart disease

October 3, 2012
Daily low dose aspirin could slow the decline in brain power among elderly women at high risk of heart disease, indicates observational research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Cheap drugs could save thousands of lives -- in Sweden alone

September 7, 2011
A major new international study involving researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital has revealed that aspirin, statins, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors are ...

Recommended for you

Data revealed under FOI shows benefits of multiple sclerosis drug currently blocked by regulators

August 17, 2017
A drug that is blocked by the EU regulatory system has now been found to improve the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Opioids overused in migraine treatment, regardless of race, study finds

August 17, 2017
African-Americans are more likely to experience debilitating migraine headaches than whites, but a new study probing the issue found no evidence of racial disparities in treatment practices.

Finding better ways to reduce serious drug side effects

August 14, 2017
Many of the medicines we depend on to treat disease—and even to save our lives—pose potentially serious risks along with their benefits. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that about ...

Ultrasound-triggered liposomes for on-demand, local anesthesia

August 10, 2017
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found a new way to non-invasively relieve pain at local sites in the body; such systems could one day improve pain management by replacing addictive opioids and short-lasting ...

Independent pharmacies and online coupons help patients save money on drugs

August 8, 2017
Uninsured patients or those with limited prescription drug coverage can save significant money by buying their drugs at independent pharmacies instead of big box, grocery or chain drug stores and by using discount coupons, ...

New study generates more accurate estimates of state opioid and heroin fatalities

August 7, 2017
Although opioid and heroin deaths have been rising dramatically in the U.S., the magnitude of the epidemic varies from state to state, as does the relative proportion of opioid vs heroin poisonings. Further complicating the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.