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Can aspirin prolong a healthy life?
Date:7/7/2010

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Wednesday, July 7, 2010 In an effort to extend the length of a disability-free life for older adults, researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are partnering with colleagues from across the US and Australia in the largest international trial ever sponsored by the US National Institute on Aging (NIA).

The Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study aims to assess whether aspirin can not only prolong life, but a life free of physical disability and/or dementia for healthy older people.

According to Jamehl Demons, M.D., an assistant professor of geriatric medicine and an ASPREE investigator from Wake Forest Baptist, "We have, through technology, been able to prolong life but not necessarily function in our seniors. This study will allow us to look at a possible mechanism for maintaining functional independence. The population of age 70+ is such a vulnerable one for functional decline; this is the perfect group to target for interventions such as aspirin."

While it is known that aspirin prevents heart attacks and strokes in people with established heart disease benefits which clearly outweigh any risks associated with aspirin, such as bleeding the role of aspirin in people without a history of cardiovascular disease is less certain.

"In the US, Australia and elsewhere, people are living longer so identifying treatments to prolong life free of physical disability and memory problems is increasingly important," said ASPREE investigator Anne Murray, M.D., MSc, an epidemiologist and geriatrician, and associate professor of medicine and geriatrics at the University of Minnesota. "Aspirin is a potentially useful drug as it is cheap and widely available."

To date, very little information is available about the overall effects of aspirin in older adults, because most trials focus on middle-aged people. The ASPREE study, for the first time, will determine whether the p
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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