Yet another aspirin myth busted: Science review finds NO protection against cognitive decline or dementia
07/19/2018 // Earl Garcia // Views

Contrary to popular belief, aspirin may not contain protective properties against cognitive decline or dementia, a recent analysis showed. As part of the research, health experts from Brazil, Taiwan, and four U.K.-based institutions -- Anglia Ruskin University, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, and the University of Greenwich -- analyzed data from eight studies with a total cohort population of 36,196 participants. These participants had a mean age of 65 years old, and did not exhibit cognitive decline at baseline.

An analysis of five studies revealed that chronic low-dose aspirin treatment was not correlated to the cognitive decline or dementia onset in participants after a follow-up period of six years. However, data from three controlled trials revealed that low-dose aspirin did not show efficacy in improving global cognition in participants without dementia. The research team also found that drug adherence was lower in participants who took aspirin compared with the controls. The analysis also showed that more adverse side effects were observed in the aspirin group than those in the control group.

The findings demonstrate that low-dose aspirin therapy does not offer protection against dementia or cognitive decline, the research team said. The experts also noted that the treatment may not result in better cognitive test scores.

"Additional studies are needed to test the possibility that low-dose aspirin has beneficial effects when taken over a longer period and at an earlier age," said lead author Dr Nicola Veronese, as reported in

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

More studies disprove aspirin's efficacy against cognitive decline

Previous studies have already showed that aspirin treatment may not improve the overall cognitive health in patients. In a study published in 2008, researchers examined more than 3,000 middle-aged men and women who received either low-dose aspirin or placebo. The participants were then subjected to a series of tests -- such as memory, executive function and non-verbal reasoning as well as mental flexibility and information processing tests -- to analyze the participants' cognitive scores.

The research team found that baseline vocabulary scores were similar in both the aspirin group and the placebo group during a follow-up period of five years. The study also showed that both groups did not show a significant difference in the proportion of participants that achieved higher general factor cognitive scores. In addition, the researchers did not observe a statistically significant difference between the groups' individual cognitive test scores. Furthermore, the experts did not observe critical changes in the cognitive ability of patients who underwent detailed cognitive testing. The findings were published in British Medical Journal.

Another study revealed that aspirin treatment did not show protective properties against cognitive decline in patients. To carry out the study, researchers examined more than 6,000 women aged 65 years or older who were given either low-dose aspiring or placebo. The participants were then subjected to three telephone-based cognitive tests at two-year intervals. During the follow-up period, cognitive performance scores were similar for both low-dose aspirin and placebo groups. The research team also found that average declines in global cognitive scores were the same for both groups.

In addition, the study revealed that patients who had low-dose treatment exhibited substantial decline risk that was comparable with those who took a placebo. Furthermore, both the aspirin and placebo groups attained verbal memory scores. However, patients in the aspirin group had a 20 percent reduced risk of fluency decline compared with those in the placebo group, the research team reported. The results demonstrate that long-term aspirin use may not offer cognitive benefits in otherwise health women, the experts wrote in the British Medical Journal.

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