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27 March 2007
Aspirin-Popping Gets Thumbs-Up

It seems that women who take low to moderate doses of aspirin have a reduced risk of death from any cause, and especially heart disease, say researchers in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The new study seems to be built on solid data. It has been running since 1980 and followed the health habits of nearly 80,000 female nurses. The women in the study were asked if they used aspirin regularly and if so, how many tablets they typically took per week. At the beginning of the study, the women had no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

The researchers found that the women who reported using aspirin had a 25 percent lower risk of death from any cause than women who never used aspirin regularly. The relationship was stronger for death from cardiovascular disease (women who used aspirin had a 38 percent lower risk) than for death from cancer (women who used aspirin had a 12 percent lower risk).

"Use of aspirin for one to five years was associated with significant reductions in cardiovascular mortality," write the researchers. "In contrast, a significant reduction in risk of cancer deaths was not observed until after 10 years of aspirin use." Interestingly, the benefit associated with aspirin was confined to low and moderate doses and was significantly greater in older participants and those with more cardiac risk factors.

The researchers speculate that aspirin therapy may influence cardiovascular disease and cancer through its effect on common pathogenic pathways such as inflammation, insulin resistance and oxidative stress. They also warn that the results do not suggest that all women should take aspirin. "Nevertheless, these data support a need for continued investigation of the use of aspirin for chronic disease prevention," the authors conclude.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine


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