Tag Archives: National Institute on Aging

Can aspirin reduce dementia risks? – Study

As the old adage goes, an aspirin a day keeps the doctor away. However, new research shows that an aspirin a day will not keep dementia away.

The ASPREE study, Aspirin in Reducing Events in Elderly, evaluated the use of daily, low-dose aspirin in delaying cognitive decline for healthy older adults. Unfortunately, the study did not find that aspirin had any benefit on reducing memory and thinking problems.

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“Aspirin is a commonly used drug known to reduce inflammation.,” explained Joanne Ryan, PhD, who collaborated with her colleagues on ASPREE study. “Since inflammation is a significant factor in Alzheimer’s disease, it formed the basis of the hypothesis that aspirin could be beneficial in helping to reduce the occurrence of cognitive decline.”

The ASPREE study involved more than 19,000 participants, mostly 70 years of age and older, who did not have heart disease or a diagnosis of dementia. Half the participants received 100mg of aspirin daily and half received a placebo. All participants received a series of memory & thinking tests throughout the study.

“At the end of the five year trial, we identified that aspirin had no effect on dementia regardless of ethnicity, age, gender or an individual’s current health.” said Dr. Ryan, head of the Biological Neuropsychiatry and Dementia Unit at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine in Melbourne, Australia.

The question remains whether aspirin could be beneficial if begun in mid-life, long before Alzheimer’s disease starts to take hold in the brain. Dr. Ryan feels it is possible that the benefits of low-dose aspirin may not be seen for several more years. For that reason, the National Institute on Aging, which funded the ASPREE trial, has sponsored ongoing monitoring of cognitive function and other health measures for the trial’s participants. However, it will be some years before results are known.

“The ASPREE study provides strong evidence that low-dose aspirin will not reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Ryan. “While the results are disappointing, the findings are very relevant to older people and their physicians and indicate aspirin should not be prescribed solely on the basis of potential cognitive benefits.”

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Think declining mental sharpness ‘just comes with age’? Think again, say experts

Declining mental sharpness “just comes with age,” right? Not so fast, say geriatrics researchers and clinicians gathered at a prestigious 2018 conference hosted by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) with support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

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In a report published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS), attendees of a conference for the NIA’s Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists Transition into Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) program describe how increasing evidence shows age-related diseases–rather than age itself–may be the key cause of cognitive decline. And while old age remains a primary risk factor for cognitive impairment, researchers believe future research–and sustained funding–could illuminate more complex, nuanced connections between cognitive health, overall health, and how we approach age. Continue reading

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What are Good Exercises for Folks with Arthritis? – NIA

Full disclosure: I suffer from severe arthritis of the hands. The problem is at the base of each thumb and I get a stabbing pain when I close my hand to turn a key in a lock and button or unbutton something. So, fellow arthritis sufferers, I know your pain. I also know that I sometimes try to avoid certain actions so ‘it doesn’t hurt.’ Not a good idea. Our bodies need motion, especially when we have pains in our joints. It is a bad idea to skip exercise to avoid some pain. Our bodies are organic machines that need to move.

The National Institute on Aging suggests three types of exercise for osteoarthritis sufferers. They are Flexibility, Strengthening and Endurance.


Flexibility exercises can help keep joints moving, relieve stiffness, and give you more freedom of movement for everyday activities. Examples of flexibility exercises include upper- and lower-body stretching, yoga, and tai chi.

Strengthening exercises will help you maintain or add to your muscle strength. Strong muscles support and protect joints. Weight-bearing exercises, such as weight lifting, fall into this category. You can use bottles of water or soup cans if you don’t have weights.

Endurance exercises make the heart and arteries healthier and may lessen swelling in some joints. Try low-impact options such as swimming and biking.

“For people with osteoarthritis, regular exercise can help:
TO Maintain healthy and strong muscles
TO Preserve joint mobility
TO Maintain range of motion
TO Improve sleep
TO Reduce pain
TO Keep a positive attitude
TO Maintain a healthy body weight

As with any exercise program, always talk with a health care provider before beginning and to learn the best activities for you.

Tony

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