Doctors have long recommended that people who have had a heart attack or stroke take a daily low-dose aspirin to help prevent further heart problems. Now major research has tested whether aspirin can help prevent first-time heart problems. The results of three separate studies show it cannot.
One study looked at more than 12,000 patients at moderate risk of heart problems because of other health issues, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking. The results showed no benefit.
Doctor J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that is because those people already were taking other medications that lowered their risk.
“Risk that a person has changes over time, and some of that change is due to some of the things that we do, like managing their risk factors and taking care of them when they develop symptoms,” Gaziano said.
Dr. Jane Armitage of the University of Oxford led another study of more than 15,000 adults with diabetes that found the benefits of aspirin were outweighed by a greater risk of serious bleeding.
“We also saw almost a 30 percent increased risk in major bleeding,” Armitage said. “So that was bleeding bad enough to get you into hospital. Mainly from the gut, or bleeding into the eye or the brain and if it was into the eye, it was bad enough to threaten your sight.”
Based on results of the studies, disclosed over the weekend at the European Society of Cardiology, doctors say aspirin best benefits patients who already have heart disease. (VOA)
Taking a low-dose aspirin once a day does not reduce the risk of thinking and memory problems caused by mild cognitive impairment or probable Alzheimer’s disease, nor does it slow the rate of cognitive decline, say researchers.
Aspirin has anti-inflammatory properties and also thins the blood. For years, doctors have been prescribing low-dose aspirin for some people to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. However, there are also possible risks to taking aspirin, including bleeding in the brain, so guidance from a doctor is important.
Because aspirin can be beneficial to the heart, researchers have hypothesised, and smaller previous studies have suggested, that it may also be beneficial to the brain, possibly reducing the risk of dementia by reducing inflammation, minimizing small clots or by preventing the narrowing of blood vessels within the brain.
“Our large study found that a daily low-dose aspirin provided no benefit to study participants at either preventing dementia or slowing cognitive decline,” said study lead author Joanne Ryan, from Monash University in Australia.
For the findings, the study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 19,114 people who did not have dementia or heart disease. A majority of participants were age 70 or older. They took thinking and memory tests at the start of the study as well as during follow-up visits.
Half of the people were given daily 100-milligram low-dose aspirin while the other half were given a daily placebo. They were followed for an average of 4.7 years, with annual in-person examinations. According to the researchers, over the course of the study, 575 people developed dementia.
Researchers found no difference between those who took aspirin and those who took placebo in the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or probable Alzheimer’s disease. There was also no difference in the rate of cognitive change over time, they added.
“While these results are disappointing, it is possible that the length of just under five years for our study was not long enough to show possible benefits from aspirin, so we will continue to examine its potential longer-term effects by following up with study participants in the coming years,” said Ryan. (IANS)
Among adults at high risk of liver cancer, those who took low-dose aspirin were less likely to develop the disease or to die from liver-related causes, researchers have found.
“Rates of liver cancer and of mortality from liver disease are rising at an alarming pace in US and European countries. Despite this, there remain no established treatments to prevent the development of liver cancer, or to reduce the risk of liver-related death,” said the study’s lead author Tracey Simon from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
For the findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the research team examined information from Swedish registries on 50,275 adults who had chronic viral hepatitis, a type of liver infection that is caused by the hepatitis B or C virus and is the most common risk factor for liver cancer.
Over a median follow-up of nearly eight years, 4.0 per cent of patients who took low-dose aspirin (less than 163mg/day) and 8.3 per cent of nonusers of aspirin developed liver cancer.
According to the researchers, aspirin users had a 31 per cent lower relative risk of developing liver cancer. Importantly, the study showed that the longer a person took low-dose aspirin, the greater the benefit.
Compared with short-term use ( three months to one year), the risk of liver cancer was 10 per cent lower for 1-3 years of use, 34 per cent lower for 3-5 years of use, and 43 per cent lower for five or more years of use, the study said.
Also, liver-related deaths occurred in 11.0 per cent of aspirin users compared with 17.9 per cent of nonusers over 10 years, for a 27 per cent lower risk.
According to the study, the benefits were seen regardless of sex, severity of hepatitis, or type of hepatitis virus (B or C).
Women in the aspirin group also had a lower rate of perinatal mortality (stillbirth or newborn death in the first seven days of life), compared to the placebo group (45.7 per 1,000 births vs 53.6 per 1,000 births)
Daily low-dose aspirin, from as early as the sixth week of pregnancy through the 36th week, may lower the risk of preterm birth among first-time mothers, suggest the results of a clinical trial which involved women from several low and middle-income countries, including India.
The study, published in the journal The Lancet, involved more than 11,000 women.
The results showed that women taking daily low-dose aspirin were 11 per cent less likely to deliver before the 37th week of pregnancy, compared to those given a placebo.
“Our results suggest that low-dose aspirin therapy in early pregnancy could provide an inexpensive way to lower the preterm birth rate in first-time mothers,” said study author Marion Koso-Thomas of the US National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Preterm birth is the most common cause of infant death and the leading cause of long-term neurological disability in children.
According to the study authors, advances in newborn care have improved survival for preterm infants, but this care is limited or unavailable in many parts of the world.
Earlier studies have suggested that low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of preterm birth and pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening blood pressure disorder of pregnancy.
However, these studies were not large enough to statistically determine the therapy’s effectiveness in reducing preterm birth.
The researchers enrolled 11,976 women with a first-time pregnancy from seven sites in India, Pakistan, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala and Kenya.
Roughly half were assigned at random to receive 81 milligrams of aspirin daily; the other group received a daily placebo. Women were included in the study only if they maintained a pregnancy for more than 20 weeks.
Preterm birth (before 37 weeks) occurred in 11.6 per cent of the women who took aspirin and in 13.1 per cent of the women who took the placebo.
Similarly, birth before 34 weeks (early preterm delivery) occurred in 3.3 per cent of the aspirin group and 4 per cent of the placebo group (a 25 per cent reduction).
Women in the aspirin group also had a lower rate of perinatal mortality (stillbirth or newborn death in the first seven days of life), compared to the placebo group (45.7 per 1,000 births vs 53.6 per 1,000 births).
The risk of high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy at term did not differ significantly between the groups.