New research suggests that a single daily aspirin could avoid brain decline in elderly women, especially those who are susceptible to heart disease.
The research, reported by BioPortfolio, was carried out in Sweden (University of Gothenburg), studied 681 female patients over a five-year period. The patients were aged between 70 and 92. The majority had been identified as being at risk of having a stroke or of developing heart disease.
According to the British Medical Journal, half of the women took one aspirin each day and the other half did not. Of the women who took one aspirin every single day, this group were found to have significantly better-functioning brains on the basis of a pair of mental capacity assessments. These assessments were carried out throughout the study.
The assessments were what are called Mini Mental State Examinations. These are tests which focus on recall speed and verbal fluency. Although both groups of women saw a general decline over time, the rate of decline was far less for the group of women who took the daily aspirin dose.
This means that the results of this study are ambiguous. On one hand, the results suggest that a daily low-dose of aspirin may be protective in terms of changes in cognitive functioning among older women. However, the results also suggest that aspirin does not protect against dementia.
The reason for the possible beneficial effect of aspirin may relate to the anti-clotting properties, ensuring there's still a healthy flood of blood to the brain.
It is important that aspirin is not taken on the basis of this study and medical advice should always be sought. It is, in addition, unknown if the same effect would be experienced by men.
The Swedish daily aspirin study has been published by the BMJ Open journal.