Home > Medical issues, Medication, Prevention > Aspirin — The Wonder Drug

Aspirin — The Wonder Drug

I’m one of those people who takes a baby aspirin every morning.  (Or, at least I did before my recent surgery.)  My doctor told me that this was good for my heart, and I’ve heard that from enough “experts” that I believe him.  And aspirin is used for a myriad of other reasons as well.  First of all, there’s pain relief, although in this day and age we have so many different options for pain relief that we tend to forget about good old-fashioned aspirin.  Another common use is as a blood thinner, still another is for the prevention of strokes and cancer.  I’m sure there are other  indications for it’s use, but my mind is drawing a blank right now.

I did read an interesting report today, confirming the theory that taking an aspirin every day can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  Researchers looked at over 100 senior citizens, all with a similar risk of developing heart disease, for five years.  They discovered that women who took 75 to 150 mg of aspirin daily scored better on standardized tests of memory and other cognitive functions than those who didn’t take aspirin.

In part due to the increase of evidence, in recent studies, of the relationship between the development of dementia and the inflammatory process, another study undertook to determine whether taking a low dosage of aspirin could serve to protect older persons at high risk for cardiovascular disease from the development of cognitive problems.  605 people with no signs of dementia, aged 70 to 92 years, completed a questionnaire concerning their overall health and medical history, as well as their medications.  They also underwent a battery of physical and psychological examinations, including the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), a brief test of cognitive skills and memory often used in the diagnosis of dementia.  107 of these subjects were taking 75 to 150 mg of aspirin daily.

After five years, study participants were tested again, and those who were taking the daily aspirin were found to have dropped on the average of one-half a point on the 30-point MMSE, whereas those who did not take the aspirin had declined on an average of one whole point.  However, when results were broken down further, according to sex, researchers found that women in the aspirin group actually increased about one-quarter of a point, whereas women in the no-aspirin group declined one to two points.  Men did not show any significant differences of this type.

It should be noted that these findings are considered preliminary, and researchers have speculated that there may be some other factor that explains the above-stated results.  A cautionary statement was made that we should not all rush out and start taking a baby aspirin every day just because we think it may help to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.  But it does show that those of us who are already taking it for other reasons may be pleasantly surprised to discover that it may prove to have other benefits, down the road and after the completion of further research.  As with any new medication, we should have a thorough talk with our doctors before adding anything to our daily regimen.

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  1. Shirley Sigmund
    November 3, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Hi Jami,
    I am following your posts and enjoying your comments and observations. I am wondering if you could cite the articles you are reading? What websites do you review and what are the names of the journals to which you subscribe?

    • November 3, 2012 at 8:15 PM

      Thanks for the kind words. I haven’t been good at regularly citing where I get my information, and I will have to try to change that. Actually, I got this information from an article on Yahoo’s home page, and again on webmd.com.

  2. Jasmine
    April 17, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    Just at the hospital today. I think the Doctor reads this page and has an interest in dementia. I am going back for a skull x-ray. Not to keen on all the ques. evaul and so on that was done. I thought this Dr. was only for x-ray. So I was not so receptive. lI am tired of talking about Alzheimer’s disease. I would like to just get on with my life and come to the site to share. My main fear is being put in an institution! I was in the medical world & there are some aspects that are not so pleasant about being in an institution. I can take care of myself for now. My daughter takes care of the finances. I never did take keen care of $. it was just there for use.

    • April 17, 2013 at 5:30 AM

      Jasmine, you are certainly welcome to come to this site and comment on anything you read here. You may already be aware that Alzheimer’s disease cannot be diagnosed with an x-ray. Actually, there is no one test that can precisely determine its presence or absence. The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, for now, is more one of exclusion — meaning that doctors mainly have to rule out that the symptoms are due to something else. An x-ray could rule out a skull fracture or some other kind of injury that could be at fault. There will need to be other tests done as well, both medical and psychological. And you may be asked to participate in a cognitive evaluation with an occupational or speech therapist.

      I understand your reservations about long-term care facilities. I have worked in them myself for the past several years, and there are good and bad ones out there. But there is a big trend out there to make them more home-like, and also to keep people at home longer. Be sure to have a good conversation with your doctor about his feelings regarding the cause for your symptoms, and follow through with any other consultations he recommends. Do let us know what comes, and know that you can discuss your feelings and concerns here.

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