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Aspirin 'could slow brain decline'

Published on 04 October 2012 11:30 AM

Older women at high risk of a heart attack or stroke could potentially slow their rate of brain decline by taking an aspirin a day, according to research.



About 500 women aged between 70 and 92 and at risk were monitored for 5 years. At both the start and end of the study, the women's mental capacity was tested.

The test scores of those who took aspirin for the whole period fell by a far lesser extent than those who had not taken the drug.

A mini mental state exam was used to test the women's intellectual capacity.

Orientation questions included: 'what is today's date?' and 'where are we today?', while visual-spatial tests asked the women to draw two interlinking pentagons.

No change in speed of onset

Despite finding that aspirin may slow cognitive ability changes in women who were at high risk of cardiovascular disease, the drug made no difference to the rate at which the women developed dementia.

The study, based in Sweden, is published in the journal BMJ Open.

Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: 'The results provide interesting insight into the importance of cardiovascular health on cognition, but we would urge people not to self-medicate with aspirin to try to stave off dementia.

'The study reports no benefit from aspirin on overall dementia rates in the group, and previous trials investigating the potential of drugs like aspirin for dementia have been negative.'

Dr Silke Kern, one of paper's authors, said researchers do not know the long-term risks of taking routine aspirin.

He said the women who took part in the study will be looked at again in five years.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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