Researchers in Australia have found no evidence that in low doses, aspirin reduces the risk of dementia or slows a decline in memory and thinking. Scientists published their findings Randomized placebo-controlled trial of the effects of aspirin on dementia and cognitive decline in the scientific journal Neurology.
The objective was to determine the effect of low-dose aspirin vs placebo on incident all-cause dementia, incident Alzheimer disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and cognitive decline in older individuals. It concluded that there was no evidence that aspirin was effective in reducing risk of dementia, MCI, or cognitive decline. Follow-up of these outcomes after initial exposure is ongoing.
Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia is the UK’s leading cause of death and finding ways to help people reduce their risk of the condition is vital. Repurposing a drug that’s already approved for use treating other health conditions would rapidly accelerate the delivery of a new dementia treatment. With no new treatment for dementia in 15 years, a breakthrough like this cannot come soon enough.
“While aspirin may be prescribed by your doctor to treat high blood pressure and prevent stroke, in this study researchers found no evidence that a low dose of aspirin helps stop a decline in memory and thinking. This was a well-conducted study running over several years, but only involved people over the age of 70 who were relatively healthy at the beginning of the research. As the diseases that cause dementia can get underway many years before symptoms start to show, potential preventative measures may need to be tested in middle age to fully understand how beneficial they are.
“In the meantime, there are things we can do to reduce our risk of dementia. Keeping mentally and physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, only drinking within recommended guidelines, eating a healthy diet, and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check can help to support brain health as we age.”