A team of researchers from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia has explored the benefits of aspirin for preventing disorders related to cognitive decline including dementia in a new study.
More precisely, the focus of the study was on testing the hypothesis that states that aspirin can potentially help in delaying dementia since it is also beneficial for the protection of the health of the heart.
Research from the past has indicated strong associations between the brain and the heart. Usually, the health of each affects one and another and specific drugs can be used for both as well.
However, the hypothesis has not yet been tested or proven. Additionally, recent studies have also suggested that aspirin may not work for everyone in safeguarding the health of the heart.
Although doctors to this day prescribe aspirin especially in older adults, the drug may not have the same effects on every person.
In fact, personalized plans are changing the way doctors prescribe medication, and drugs are given specifically in accordance with a patient’s overall health and needs.
Therefore, the position on aspirin is unclear although it is considered a safe drug for people with a number of different health conditions.
Now, in the new study, whose findings appear in the journal Neurology, the researchers test the hypothesis on cognitive decline and taking aspirin.
In order to do so, the researchers analyzed data of over nineteen thousand people who were also the participants of Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study, which was a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial looking at the impact of taking aspirin on the health.
None of the participants had a diagnosis of heart-related conditions or any form of dementia and were aged sixty-five or over. T
hey were required to take tests based on memory and thinking skills at the beginning of the study as well as during the follow-up periods which were four years and seven months on average.
The participants were also divided into two groups, one of which took one hundred milligrams of aspirin on a daily basis while the other took a placebo.
At the end of the study period, around three hundred and seventy-five participants were diagnosed with dementia. Upon analyzing the brain health and cognition, the researchers found no significant difference in both of the groups.
Hence, taking aspirin did not impact the risk of developing dementia or mild cognitive impairment and also did not delay the process of cognitive decline.
While the findings of the study so far prove that aspirin does not help in the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia, the researchers stated that the effects might be different in a longer study period.
Joanne Ryan, who is the co-author of the study, states “While these results are disappointing, it is possible that the length of just under 5 years for our study was not long enough to show possible benefits from aspirin, so we will continue to examine its potential longer-term effects by following up with study participants in the coming years,”
In addition, the researchers agreed that their study had limitations. For instance, the ASPREE study only included adults who were healthy and did not have a higher chance of having cognitive decline or dementia.
The results of taking aspirin can possibly be different in people who have a high risk of cognitive impairment rather than those who do not have the chance in the first place.