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

Drug for spinal muscular atrophy prompts ethical dilemmas, bioethicists say

December 11, 2017
When the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for people with spinal muscular atrophy a year ago, clinicians finally had hope for improving the lives of patients with the rare debilitating muscular disease. ...

FDA's program to speed up drug approval shaved nearly a year off the process

December 7, 2017
Speeding the pace at which potentially lifesaving drugs are brought to market was a rallying cry for Donald Trump as a candidate, and is a stated priority of his Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. ...

Dangers of commonly prescribed painkillers highlighted in study

December 6, 2017
Commonly prescribed painkillers need to be given for shorter periods of time to reduce the risk of obesity and sleep deprivation, a new study has revealed.

Viagra goes generic: Pfizer to launch own little white pill

December 6, 2017
The little blue pill that's helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first ...

Surgery-related opioid doses can drop dramatically without affecting patients' pain

December 6, 2017
Some surgeons might be able to prescribe a third of opioid painkiller pills that they currently give patients, and not affect their level of post-surgery pain control, a new study suggests.

Four-fold jump in deaths in opioid-driven hospitalizations

December 4, 2017
People who end up in the hospital due to an opioid-related condition are four times more likely to die now than they were in 2000, according to research led by Harvard Medical School and published in the December issue of ...

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.