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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Can Aspirin Prolong a Healthy Life? University of Pittsburgh Part of National Study to Explore the Health Benefits of Aspirin

PITTSBURGH, July 7, 2010 – The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is recruiting participants for a new study that will explore whether aspirin can not only prolong life, but also help prevent physical disability and dementia in healthy older people. The Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study is the largest international trial ever sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, and includes researchers from across the United States and Australia.

Aspirin is known to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with established heart disease―benefits which clearly outweigh any associated risks, such as bleeding―but the role of aspirin in older people without a history of cardiovascular disease is less certain.

Very little information is available about the overall effects of aspirin in older adults because most trials focus on middle-aged people,” said Anne B. Newman, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Aging and Population Health at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and principal investigator of the Pittsburgh site. “ASPREE will help determine whether the potential benefits of low-dose aspirin outweigh the risks for people age 70 and over, especially important now since people are living longer than ever.”

The ASPREE study will enroll 6,500 healthy individuals age 70 and over in the U.S. and another 12,500 in Australia. Up to 800 of these participants will come from the Pittsburgh area. All eligible participants will be randomly assigned to take either low-dose aspirin or placebo daily for about 5 years. Patients will receive initial measurements on specific health markers, as well as functional and cognitive ability, and changes will be monitored throughout the study.

The study is led by Monash University in Australia, the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research in Minneapolis and the National Institute on Aging. It is being conducted in clinics and universities in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas.

Additional information about the study is available at People in the Pittsburgh-area interested in finding out whether they may be eligible should call the University of Pittsburgh at 800-872-3653.

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