Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid is used as a painkiller, antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication. Now, it may have a role in fighting dementia.
Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities.
Australia-based Monash University has been commissioned by the U.S. based National Institutes of Health to undertake a huge clinical trial to prove or disprove it by 2018.
The local media reported that Monash University in Melbourne has begun a 50 million Australian dollar (41 million U.S. dollar) trial called ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE).
The ASPREE study, for the first time, will determine whether the potential benefits of aspirin outweigh the risks in healthy people aged 70 years and over.
ASPREE aims 16,000 enrolments from Australia and 3000 from the United States to reach a total of 19,000 enrolments in the trial.
ASPREE, led by researchers from Monash University, is a collaborative effort involving; the Menzies Institute, the University of Tasmania, the University of Melbourne, Australian National University, the University of Adelaide and the Berman Centre for Outcomes & Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota in the US.
ASPREE will study aspirin's properties such as ability to stop blood platelets clumping together, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes and its impact on neuro-cognitive functions.
The major and active ingredient in aspirin is salicin, known for its anti-inflammatory effect and is derived from willow trees, found in abundance in Australia.