Does aspirin protect against Alzheimer's dementia? A study in a Swedish population-based sample aged ≥80 years
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- Nilsson, S.E., Johansson, B., Takkinen, S. et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol (2003) 59: 313. doi:10.1007/s00228-003-0618-y
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It has been reported that aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) may protect against dementia of Alzheimer's type and/or vascular dementia. However, co-morbidity and the dose of aspirin may be critical. A major indication for low-dose aspirin is prophylaxis after stroke and transient ischaemic attacks, conditions that may obscure an anti-dementia effect by the drug. Alternatively, low-dose aspirin may be insufficient if the protective effect is due to an anti-inflammatory mechanism. The aim of this study was to assess whether high-dose or low-dose aspirin may protect against Alzheimer's dementia in subjects aged ≥80 years. For comparison, effects of (other) NSAID, paracetamol and d-propoxyphene were studied.
Global, cross-sectional, and longitudinal (1991–2000) epidemiological analyses of clinical, cognitive and drug treatment data on 702 individuals 80 years old or more (351 twin pairs of same sex), all alive at inclusion: mean age 83.9 years (80–99 years). Calculations were made with logistic regression of associations between use of various analgesics and cognitive function, after adjustment for age, gender, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.
Users of high-dose aspirin had significantly lower prevalence of Alzheimer's dementia and better-maintained cognitive function than non-users. There were numerically similar but not significant associations with use of low-dose aspirin and other NSAID. There were no such associations with use of either paracetamol or d-propoxyphene.
Aspirin might protect against Alzheimer's disease, but controlled trials are warranted.