Researchers are investigating whether the humble painkiller aspirin may play a role in fighting dementia, a neurodegenerative disease.
Aspirin started out as a painkiller and was then found effective in the fight against heart attacks and strokes.
The US-based National Institutes of Health has now commissioned the Monash University in Melbourne to investigate the medicine’s anti-dementia powers.
Dementia, where a person’s cognitive mind, function and memory dissolves, is now one of the biggest medical challenges for elderly people.
In a joint study with the Berman Centre for Outcomes and Clinical Research in Minneapolis, Monash has begun a 50 million dollar trial called ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE), Xinhua news agency reported.
More than 19,000 Australian patients are involved in the trial.
Aspirin’s properties revolve around its ability to stop blood platelets clumping together, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
However, the active ingredient is salicin, which also has an anti-inflammatory effect.