Clinician Article

Low-Dose Aspirin Use and Cognitive Function in Older Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

  • Veronese N
  • Stubbs B
  • Maggi S
  • Thompson T
  • Schofield P
  • Muller C, et al.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Aug;65(8):1763-1768. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14883. Epub 2017 Apr 20. (Review)
PMID: 28425093
Read abstract Read evidence summary
  • Geriatrics
    Relevance - 6/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)
    Relevance - 6/7
    Newsworthiness - 4/7
  • General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)
    Relevance - 6/7
    Newsworthiness - 4/7
  • Neurology
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 4/7
  • Public Health
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 4/7
  • Internal Medicine
    Relevance - 4/7
    Newsworthiness - 3/7


OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether low-dose aspirin (<300 mg/d) can influence the onset of cognitive impairment or dementia in observational studies and improve cognitive test scores in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in participants without dementia.

DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

SETTING: Observational and interventional studies.

PARTICIPANTS: Individuals with no dementia or cognitive impairment initially.

MEASUREMENTS: Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for the maximum number of covariates from each study, were used to summarize data on the incidence of dementia and cognitive impairment in observational studies. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) were used for cognitive test scores in RCTs.

RESULTS: Of 2,341 potentially eligible articles, eight studies were included and provided data for 36,196 participants without dementia or cognitive impairment at baseline (mean age 66, 63% female). After adjusting for a median of three potential confounders over a median follow-up period of 6 years, chronic use of low-dose aspirin was not associated with onset of dementia or cognitive impairment (5 studies, N = 26,159; OR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.55-1.22, P = .33, I2 = 67%). In three RCTs (N = 10,037; median follow-up 5 years), the use of low-dose aspirin was not associated with significantly better global cognition (SMD=0.005, 95% CI=-0.04-0.05, P = .84, I2 = 0%) in individuals without dementia. Adherence was lower in participants taking aspirin than in controls, and the incidence of adverse events was higher.

CONCLUSION: This review found no evidence that low-dose aspirin buffers against cognitive decline or dementia or improves cognitive test scores in RCTs.

Clinical Comments

Internal Medicine

It seems this has been broadly reported and in any case is less relevant to hospital focused vs primary care providers.


This review is a mix of observational and randomised studies, and the outcome measures are very different in the two types. I do not think it adds very much to what we know.

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