New Study Finds Aspirin May Preserve Brain Function in Elderly Women
Many older woman take aspirin to reduce their risk of suffering from a heart attack, but it may yield other benefits as well. A new study from researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has shown that aspirin may also help them maintain brain function. The study was published in BMJ Open.
Researchers studied approximately 700 women in their study. All women were at least 70 years old. About 600 of the women were considered to be at high risk of suffering from a heart attack. About 20% of them were taking aspirin during the course of the study, while another 100 were taking other anti-inflammatory medications.
The study found that women who were taking aspirin had better brain function. The benefits were more pronounced with women who were taking aspirin for five years or longer. Although the benefits were encouraging, the study showed some limitations to what aspirin can to protect cognitive functioning. For example, the study showed that aspirin doesn’t help prevent dementia or other serious brain diseases.
Dr. Silke Kern was the lead author of the study. He said that their research does not explain the exact relationship between brain function and aspirin. However, Kern and his team did have some theories that could explain the relationship. They said that aspirin increases blood flow to the brain, which could help ensure the brain receives adequate nutrients and oxygen.
Aspirin has also been shown to prevent strokes. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiologist in New England, said that small strokes could cause brain functioning to atrophy over time.
The researchers concluded that taking aspirin in low doses may be an effective way to promote brain functioning for women who are at risk of heart disease. Bhatt said that results are encouraging, but it is important for people to take the findings with a grain of salt. He cautioned against patients taking aspirin solely to protect brain functioning. The study would need to be replicated before medical professionals can conclude that aspirin has the capability to promote brain functioning in women.
Bhatt also said that people need to understand the risks that can arise from patients who take aspirin long-term. Aspirin can cause stomach ulcers or internal bleeding, especially among patients who take it on a regular basis. He said that patients should always consult with their doctor before deciding whether or not to take aspirin.
A representative from Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center said that the study is encouraging for people. They feel that many experts underestimate the impact of vascular health on cognition.