A daily dose of acetylsalicylic acid equivalent to a fourth of an aspirin may slow the decline in intellectual capacity among elderly individuals with high cardiovascular risk.
This is shown in a study by Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, over a five year period studied how intellectual capacity changes among 681 elderly women (70 to 92 years) with heightened risk of suffering from a heart attack, vascular spasm or stroke.
Of the 681 women, 129 received a low daily dose of acetylsalicylic acid, equivalent to a fourth of an aspirin, to prevent heart disease. The Gothenburg study shows that acetylsalicylic acid also slowed decline in brain capacity among the elderly women.
In the study, published in British Medical Journal Open, the women underwent various tests to measure their physical health and intellectual capacity, such as language and memory tests.
"At the end of the five year examination period mental capacity had declined among all the women and the portion that suffered from dementia was equally large in the entire group. However, the decline in brain capacity was significantly less and occurred at a slower pace among the women who received acetylsalicylic acid," says Silke Kern, researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy.
The effect remained even when age, genetic factors and use of anti-inflammatory drugs were taken into account.