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Doctors last night said the findings "emphatically" showed there was no reason to use aspirin to prevent disease in healthy people and warned it may harm. There is good evidence that taking aspirin can help people with known cardiovascular problems, but doctors were unclear if healthier-people benefited.

"We knew there would an increased risk of bleeding with aspirin, because there has always been", said study coauthor Dr. Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Professor John McNeil, head of Monash University's Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine, said the research sought to answer a question which has been "unresolved for a number of years".

"For healthy people, 70 and older, who don't have a reason to be on aspirin, such as a previous heart attack or stroke, there was no discernible benefit".

The study involved 19,114 generally healthy volunteers (no history of cardiovascular disease, dementia or physical disability) living in Australia and the United States.

This was one finding from our seven-year study that included more than 19,000 older people from Australia and the US.

Daily aspirin not only failed to help generally healthy older individuals reduce their risk of disability-free survival and cardiovascular disease in the placebo-controlled ASPREE trial, it also appeared to raise overall mortality and particularly death from cancer.

The aspirin not only failed to have any beneficial effect on lifespan but also carried a "higher risk of major hemorrhage" in the older adults, the authors stated.

Of those taking the medicine, 5.9% died during the study compared to 5.2% of the placebo group.

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A small increase in new cancer cases was reported in the group taking aspirin, but the research team said the difference could have been due to chance.

But a new study with ties to the Twin Cities shows that a daily low-dose aspirin regimen provides no significant health benefits for healthy adults.

Other large aspirin studies have suggested that aspirin may prevent cancer over the longer term. Patients who were black or Hispanic and living in the USA were included in the study as they face a higher risk of heart disease or dementia generally. They took low-dose aspirin - 100 milligrams - or a placebo every day for a median of 4.7 years. "They may have been taking it for five to 10 years.so they should really go back and talk to their GP before they stop taking it".

Among the people assigned to take aspirin, 90.3 percent remained alive at the end of the treatment without persistent physical disability or dementia.

The researchers noted that aspirin was associated with a significantly increased risk of bleeding, primarily in the gastrointestinal tract and brain.

Rates of cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks and strokes, were similar across both groups, the study found.

Major risks of bleeding in people who consume aspirin on a daily basis overwhelm its benefits.

Major hemorrhages were found to be more common in the aspirin group (8.6 versus 6.2 per 1,000 person-years, HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.18-1.62). In addition, the study did not address aspirin's effects in people younger than age 65.


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