Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

More Data Show Positive Effects of Aspirin on Brain Matter

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

More Data Show Positive Effects of Aspirin on Brain Matter

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Aspirin, even at low doses, appears to prevent age-related declines in gray and white matter integrity in brain regions that typically show the earliest neuropathological changes associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to Lee Ryan, Ph.D., who is with the departments of psychology and neuroscience of the University of Arizona at Tucson.

Dr. Ryan presented her findings on the impact of aspiring on brain function at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

These results, which were generated with the use of diffusion-weighted MRI, provide visual evidence that aspirin has a neuroprotective effect on the normal brain.

In addition, the results support previous epidemiologic evidence showing that long-term use of NSAIDs, including aspirin, decreases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Study participants included 23 cognitively healthy older (over 60 years) adults who were taking aspirin as a health precaution against vascular accidents, hypertension, or mild arthritic symptoms.

Most of the people in this group took the equivalent of one baby aspirin a day (81 mg) for up to 15 years. The control group consisted of 25 age-matched subjects not taking any NSAIDs.

Diffusion-weighted (DW) MRI scans were carried out on a 3-T scanner using a radial fast spin-echo method.

DW-MRI is thought to be "exquisitely" sensitive to the presence of inflammation and other neuropathologic processes in white and gray matter, Dr. Ryan said.

The investigator analyzed four brain regions of interest: the medial temporal lobe and adjacent hippocampal white matter and the posterior cingulate and adjacent white matter in the splenium. …

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