In addition to its possible protective effects against cancer and heart disease, aspirin may have other benefits as well, including.
Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: In a study published in November 2001 New England Journal of Medicine, Dutch researchers found that people who used NSAIDs for at least two years were only one – sixth as likely to get Alzheimer’s as those who didn’t. The study found that the timing is important. It appears that the drugs must be taken for at least tow years before the onset of any Alzheimer’s symptoms. Other trials are under way to test the use of ‘super aspirins’ called COX-2 inhibitors in Alzheimer’s patients. It is believed that inflammation in the brain is an important factor in the Alzheimer’s disease process and they suspect that aspirin’s anti-inflammatory actions may play a role.
Extending Your Life: Preventing a heart attack or cancer would, by definition, extend your life. But a September 2001 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who took aspirin to reduce their risk of heart attack also lowered their risk of dying by one- third during a three year follow-up. Another study, published in March 2002, found that people who are aspirin resistant have a higher risk of dying from heart disease than others.
Preventing Headaches: A study conducted through four UK Migraine Clinics showed that mouth-dispersible tablets acted fastest in treating moderate migraine, with relief seen as early as within 30 minutes. However, there is also evidence that an aspirin – a – day seems to prevent as well as to treat headaches.
Reducing Severity to Stroke: A report in the December 2001 issue of the journal ‘Stroke found that stroke patients generally had less severe strokes if they had been taking aspirin before the attack than if they hadn’t. Aspirin’s power may stem from its anti-platelet effect, which may improve blood circulation in the brain; its antioxidant properties, which may help to reduce tissue damage during a stroke; or some other anti-inflammatory effect that protects the brain.
Preventing Obesity-Related Resistance to Insulin: People who are obese often develop an insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes. Studies in rats, published in Science and the Journal of Clinical Investigation in August 2001, suggest that by shielding cells from the damage caused by inflammation, aspirin may reduce resistance to insulin.
Aspirin is also being investigated for its ability to prevent outbreaks of herpes zoster (shingles), preeclampsia (a potentially fatal condition in pregnant women), and atherosclerosis.
Dr. Narendra Bhag, MBBS, MD
Physician, Health Aid Clinic and Hospital,
482-4, Bees Dukan,
Adarsh Nagar, Jaipur-302004