Aspirin’s reputation might be getting ahead of itself. Long touted for its cardiovascular health benefits, aspirin boasts a variety of benefits: pain relief, fever reduction and lowering the risk of heart attack. Previously, some researchers held that aspirin contained the potential for slowing cognitive decline associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s. This was largely because of the connections between brain health and heart health.
Now, however, a study questions this hypothesis.
Researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, conducted a study involving nearly 20,000 people aged 65 years or older. Each participant took specialized tests to evaluate their thinking skills and memory, both at the beginning of the study and during yearly follow-up assessments. On average, the follow-up was more than four years.
Every day, half of the participants took a low-dosage aspirin, while the other half, or the control group, took a placebo.
At the study’s conclusion, 575 new cases of dementia were recorded among the participants. After their data analysis, the researchers saw no significant difference in participants’ cognitive health outcomes, regardless of whether they were taking aspirin.
There were some limitations, of course. The researchers pointed out that the majority of their participants were healthy at baseline. Also, the shortness of the study’s length, less than five years on average, may have prevented possible benefits from developing, let alone becoming visible.
In many ways, aspirin will continue to be the pharmaceutical belle of the ball. But for now, protecting against cognitive decline isn’t on her list of moves.