Aspirin could slow age-related cognitive decline in women
Recent research from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, or ASA) in small amounts may alleviate age-related cognitive decline by reducing inflammation in the brain.
Recent research from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, or ASA) in small amounts may alleviate age-related cognitive decline by reducing inflammation in the brain. Reported in the journal BMJ Open, the five-year study followed 681 women between 70 and 92 years old. High cardiovascular risk (CVD) affected 601 of patients (95 percent), with 129 of total women already taking aspirin daily in doses between 75 and 160 mg.
Patients had education backgrounds of six to seven years and were given cognitive tests before, after and throughout the study. Cognitive functioning was assessed using the mini-mental state examination (MMSE), category fluency and word naming test.
The study cites inflammation as a key component in many cases of cognitive decline, with widely-ranging previous studies finding preventative effects in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) in treating dementia.
But while aspirin may help ward off age-related cognitive decline, Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, urges patients not to self-medicate on aspirin for dementia. More than 40 participants developed dementia during the study, with no difference between those who took aspirin and those who did not. dementia was diagnosed based on DSM-III-R criterion.
According to the study, cognitive decline and CVD are the largest causes of disability and illness in the elderly population. While patients who buy Lipitor or buy Paxil may find improvements in CVD symptoms, it is far harder to pinpoint treatment options for cognitive decline.
While ASA may prove effective in the future at combating cognitive decline, further research is still needed to determine potential side-effects, the authors told the BBC.
"We don't know the long term risks of taking routine aspirin. For examples ulcers and serious bleeds may outweigh the benefits we have seen," said one author, Silke Kern, MD, PhD. "More work is needed. We will be following up the women in this study again in five years."