Aspirin effects on elderly: landmark study extended

In a five-year extension of the landmark ASPREE trial of the effectsof daily lowdose aspirinon the healthof older people, researchers will track the health of more than 15,000 participants in Australia and the US to investigatethe longterm effects.

In the world-first ASPREE-XT study, researchers at Monash University and the US-based Berman Centre for Outcomes and Clinical Research, part of the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute, will assess health impacts following an average period of almost five years on daily low dose aspirin or a placebo tablet in the ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) trial.

The study will assess the impacts after prolonged aspirin use on cancer, dementia, cardiovascular health, physical disability, depression and other aspects of ageing, including frailty.

ASPREE-XT is also aimed at identifying the impact that medical conditions, lifestyle, the environment and genetics have on health and ageing, providing an unprecedented window into an ageing population.

The study’s principal investigator in Australia, Professor John McNeil of Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, says ASPREE-XT will contribute high quality research to gain understanding of factors that affect quality of life and independence for older people.

“ASPREE-XT builds on many millions of individual items of health data collected in the ASPREE study, providing a rare opportunity to investigate the effects of aspirin and other factors on the health of older people,” he said.

“Importantly, ASPREE-XT will also help identify factors that contribute to onset of disease in older people and explain why some people become frail and disabled while others do not.”

Professor McNeil says ASPREE-XT will be one of the largest observational studies conducted in Australia with the help of more than 2,000 GPs across south-eastern Australia.

“Life expectancy has increased globally and ASPREE-XT will continue to answer questions of daily relevance for GPs caring for their older patients,” he said.

ASPREE-XT is funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

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