Doctors have long promoted the use of low-dose aspirin to those at risk of cardiovascular disease to help minimize that risk. A new study out of Sweden has found that it may actually have benefits to maintaining mental health in elderly women at high risk of cardiovascular disease as well.
The study followed 681 women with a mean age of 75 in 2000. A total of 95% of those women were at a high risk of cardiovascular disease, and only 19% were previously taking a low-dose aspirin.
The researchers conducted a cognition test known as a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) with the women to develop a baseline, and then prescribed half of the group a low-dose aspirin regimen. Tests were then completed after five years of half the group being on the aspirin regimen and the other half not, and the results were very encouraging. They showed that the women on the aspirin regimen showed a very minimal decline in their MMSE score (average of -0.05) when compared to those that didn’t take the aspiring (average of -0.95).
The exact reason that aspirin has this effect on the brain is still uncertain, though they believe it to be linked to either increased blood flow to the brain, or an increased production of neuroprotective molecules known as docasanoids.
The researchers still have some fine-tuning to do with the study, but initial results are very encouraging for reducing one’s risk of the always-feared mental decline associated with age. We look forward to seeing future results from the study, and encourage anyone that feels they are at risk of cardiovascular disease to consult their doctors before beginning a low-dose aspirin regimen.