Article by Kathleen Fifield, AARP

“Designed to “fill in the gaps” about whether daily low-dose aspirin has benefits for healthy adults over 70 — an age group left unaddressed in existing medical guidelines, a major new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine offers a clear no on that score.

The placebo-controlled, double-blind study involving nearly 20,000 healthy adults in the U.S. and Australia with a median age of 74 found that a daily baby aspirin had no effect on preventing dementia, disability or death, as well as, in a separate finding, no effect on preventing cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke. The study tracked participants for nearly five years.

What it did find? “An increased risk of bleeding … and a slight absolute increase in the death rate, though it’s not clear whether that was statistically or scientifically significant,” said one of the study’s lead authors, Anne Murray, M.D., a geriatrician and epidemiologist at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis. She noted she was a little disappointed that such an inexpensive and accessible medication targeting inflammation didn’t turn out to be an apple-a-day equivalent for older people.”

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