And now an international study aims to find out if aspirin can help older people live a better and longer life.
The "Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly," or ASPREE, study hopes to determine if taking a low-dose-aspirin-a-day can reduce disability and dementia.
Researchers know aspirin can help people with cardiovascular problems. No one knows exactly how it works, but researches think it can block platelets in the blood stream from clotting.
But is it effective and safe as a "just in case" medication?
Rush University Medical Center is looking for healthy individuals 70 and older to help answer that question.
"Older adults will always tell me that it's not just how long I live, but it's the quality of life I have with everyday I live," said Rush geriatrician Dr. Raj Shah. "If I'm going to live longer, I want to make sure I have my memory abilities and my walking abilities. And we are trying to see if this readily available, commonly used medication can have benefits in maintaining disability-free longevity."
Doctors warn people should not start taking aspirin as a preventative on their own, because it can have potential dangerous side effects, such as increasing the risk of bleeding. They are hoping this National Institute on Aging study will determine if the benefits outweigh the risks.
To learn more about this research study or to determine if you are eligible to participate, please contact the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at (312) 942-6596 or email RADC_Clinical_Trials@rush.edu.
ASPREE is being conducted in clinics and universities located in select cities in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas. More information can be found at www.ASPREE.org.