Could aspirin prevent Alzheimer’s?

Could aspirin delay the onset of physical and mental illnesses in older people?

Could aspirin prevent Alzheimer’s?

A $50 million clinical trial, funded by the US-based National Institutes of Health, is being conducted in Australia to determine whether the drug aspirin can delay the onset of physical and mental illnesses in older people. The aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial is the largest clinical trial ever conducted on our shores.

The study hopes to find that the little white pill may prove to be a secret weapon against more than just headaches and hangovers. It is believed that Aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties might delay the onset of dementia and prevent certain types of cancer, as well as diseases such as deafness and blindness.

More than 2000 Australian GPs and 19,000 participants have collaborated on the randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study, which is exploring the possibility of whether aspirin can extend an older person's ‘disability-free’ years – keeping them more active and out of nursing homes for longer.

“If we can delay the onset of dementia by just five years, we'll halve the number of people in Australia with dementia”, said Head of Aged and Residential Care Services at Austin Health, Associate Professor Michael Woodward.

If the trial is successful, it could help relieve a massive financial burden on taxpayers. The annual cost of caring for the estimated 350,000 Australians living with dementia is around $7 billion dollars. This figure is expected to triple by 2050.

While there are side effects such as stomach bleeding and ulcers, the potential upside is significant. “Increasingly with the elderly, the important issue is how to keep them as healthy as can be”, said the study's chief investigator in Australia, Professor John McNeil. “This has become a priority for medicine.”

As part of the trial, participants will make yearly reports to GPs, with results expected in 2018.

Are you excited at the possibility that an inexpensive household drug could prevent the onset of physical and mental illnesses? Or are you wondering why this hasn’t been looked into prior to now? As aspirin is an affordable drug, are you sceptical that ‘Big Pharma’ could just rebrand it and sell it for considerably more? What are your thoughts?


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    26th Jan 2015
    i suppose there is always the chance that they will put up the price of aspirin but if it is proven to be good then we must except the fact that the company's have to give some expenses back to the government must say it would be very beneficial to all who that take aspirin for the rite reasons .
    26th Jan 2015
    My wife and I have been taking a daily dose of aspirin for some time now so I'll let you know how it all goes. That is if I can remember to tell you! Lol.
    26th Jan 2015
    I'm doomed! I haven't taken an aspirin in months ... or is it years ...days? Seriously, unless it's a cure, I wouldn't want my life to be dominated by an Aspirin a day just in case it gave me a percentage chance of forgetting who I am. My mother-in-law developed Alzheimer's over the last five years and she has been taking high doses of aspirin ever since her bypass op 17 years ago. Maybe it could be argued that had she not taken aspirin she might have developed the disease sooner and it could have progressed more rapidly than it has. Perhaps it becomes solely an economic issue rather than a quality of life issue. This is a tough one.
    26th Jan 2015
    And to think it all started with..."Now where did I leave My Car Keys ??"
    26th Jan 2015
    AH ! NO !! Not the "I Forgot ! " show again ?..
    Well at least after taking My Aspirin I haven't got a Headache while I'm reading it !!
    Polly Esther
    26th Jan 2015
    Yes, afraid so.
    Oh for the lava Pete.
    26th Jan 2015
    "You want a Side Dish of Cinders with that Sir ?"
    27th Jan 2015
    Or a delectable meal of rotten rice with fish heads on the side? You'd probably need something stronger than aspirin to cope with that!
    1st Feb 2015
    Aspirin prevented Me from getting Alzheimer's !! I didn't take any !!
    26th Jan 2015
    My doctor told me 6 years ago that a low dosage aspirin every day is a must for people over 60 to prevent strokes.
    Now I find out that it is good for Alzheimers so that is good to hear but I am still occasionally forgetful so perhaps it does not work for every one.
    I do remember to take them though.
    26th Jan 2015
    Take what ?
    26th Jan 2015
    If you're going to take a daily dose of analgesic in the hope that it might prevent Alzheimer's, then what happens when you need real pain relief from a headache, joint ache or other pain? Or does it have the effect of making you forget all pain? The more analgesics you take, the more you need as the pain gets worse!
    26th Jan 2015
    Good Golly Miss Molly ??.. We'll all be on Opium soon !!
    26th Jan 2015
    I have been on the trial for 18 months now and whether I am on a placebo or the real thing I don't really care. Firstly, I haven't had a migraine since I started on the trial and secondly I am not on any other medication at all so if I can help medical research in such an easy way then I am all for it.
    31st Jan 2015
    I am also on the trial, have been for three years now. Does it make any difference? I don't know, since I also don't know how I would be without taking it. I'm pretty sure I have the real thing (aspirin) because out of curiosity I chewed a tablet up one day,and it tasted strongly of aspirin. Regardless, I am more than happy to help in any way in medical research.
    26th Jan 2015
    Thanks for posting this Leon. As an older Australian I appreciate such research and recognise its importance for every age group. Keep up the good work with such stimulating articles.
    They help us all too!
    26th Jan 2015
    Olive- if you are on the "Blind test' trial how do you know if you are on the tablet or the placebo? I also am doing this trial, and have found no difference in how I feel taking the tablet. Ergo I must be on the placebo?? The McCusker foundation in WA is running the trial I wonder if it is the same one?
    26th Jan 2015
    Could be the placebo Irishwolfhound, or perhaps it just has no effect!
    26th Jan 2015
    My husband takes 100 mgs of aspirin every day as part of his regime for high blood pressure (along with other medication. He has been doing this since 1987.) he started out taking around just 3 tablets a day. Then he was injured a year later in a car crash. (Back seat passenger) the medication he took for that interfered with the ones that he took for his heart problems. He had a medical by the CMH which was ordered by what is now Centrelink.

    The problems that were found as a result of that examination caused Centrelink to immediately put him on an invalid pension. Later a disability support pension. After numerous tests he was just given Panamax plus the original heart medication. he still has constant pain at L5/S1 he is still able to live life. No sign of Alzheimer's. The GP has told me that he suffers selective hearing.
    26th Jan 2015
    "The GP has told me that he suffers selective hearing."

    As do all men over the age of 14! Seems normal to me Ruby ;-)
    26th Jan 2015
    Been on Aspirin for heart problems since 2004.
    During that time my memory has deteriorated to the point where I had to give up work at age 58, and I think it's still getting worse but I can't really remember.

    (Sorry for the tiny bit of a memory joke, but it is obligatory.)
    26th Jan 2015
    Good onya !! At least You remembered You are not allowed on here unless You forgot something ??
    26th Jan 2015
    PS.. And I have No Idea what I just said ??
    27th Jan 2015
    26th Jan 2015
    Any alternative for the thousands of people with bleeding disorders and can't take aspirin??.
    30th Jan 2015
    Good question Blossom. My husband started taking 1 small aspirin tablet per day and after about 2 months, he had a very nasty bleed on the outside of his brain resulting in a craniectomy and months of rehabilitation. Doctors cannot explain why he suddenly started bleeding. Also, they could not operate straight away because, as the neurosurgeon explained, the aspirin would still be affecting his blood for 5 days.
    26th Jan 2015
    its something , BUT diagnosis is still a problem for those possibly already affected. doctors need educating about it all
    26th Jan 2015
    So far the medical info about alzheimers tells us that it is a plaque in the brains' nerve caused by certain proteins. Aspirin is anti-inflammatory. So how could those two be in tangent to produce such claims? Just another hype ??????
    26th Jan 2015
    Aspirin is an analgesic not anti-inflammatory. People have been using it for thousands of years. It is derived from certain types of tree bark. How many Antients have you heard of who had Alzheimer's
    26th Jan 2015
    Willow Bark !! "WOOF !!"
    27th Jan 2015
    It‘s a real low cost miracle drug. I take it heart/stroke prevention. I don‘t think they can put the price up as there is no patent on it.
    27th Jan 2015
    no asprin for me thanks, just another harmful drug as far as I can make out
    27th Jan 2015
    Aspirin is not an option when you are taking Warfarin. Where do we go from here.
    Young Simmo
    28th Jan 2015
    Well my doctor put me onto 100 Mgs of Aspirin per day back in 2000. That was for my High Blood Pressure and Angina etc. I have been on them ever since, and recent publicity would indicate that there are other benefits. Apart from changing from being a non bleeder to a bleeder every time I bump into something, there isn't a problem with them and I would agree with the recommendation for everybody over 60 to take them

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