(HealthDay News) – Daily low-dose aspirin treatment may reduce global cognitive decline in older women at high risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online Oct 3 in BMJ Open.

Silke Kern, MD, PhD, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues analyzed data from 681 women aged 70–92 years, of whom 95.4% had a high cardiovascular risk. A five-year follow-up was completed by 489 women. The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), word fluency, naming ability, and memory word tests were used to measure cognition.

The researchers found that women on regular low-dose acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) declined less on MMSE at follow-up than those not on ASA. The difference in cognition was significantly more pronounced in those who had ASA at both examinations (compared with never users). The same trend was seen with the other cognitive tests. For short-term dementia risk, there were no differences between the groups.

“Our study suggests a neuroprotective effect of ASA, at least for elderly women at high cardiovascular risk,” the authors write. “Longer follow-ups are needed to evaluate the long-term effect of ASA on cognitive function and dementia.”

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