is an anti-inflammatory
drug that is widely used and prescribed as a painkiller.
Aspirin is also an anticoagulant,
meaning that it has the ability to inhibit the aggregation
which are involved in coagulation and blood clotting. In healthy
adults, mean bleeding time may double after a dose of aspirin.
The effects of aspirin on bleeding reach their maximum within
12 hours and persist about 36 hours after the last dose of
aspirin. Long-term aspirin use can lead to intestinal bleeding
and stomach ulcers.
Because it works against the formation of
blood clots, aspirin is sometimes proscribed for patients
who have had or are at risk for having strokes.
There is currently some evidence suggesting that patients
who have been prescribed aspirin as an anticoagulant have
a slightly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's
disease. However, it is not known whether taking aspirin
alone reduces the risk of the disease; some studies have suggested
that aspirin use in healthy individuals does not affect chance
of subsequently developing Alzheimer's. Given the risks of
long-term anticoagulant use, most doctors do not recommend
that otherwise healthy patients take aspirin to reduce risk
of Alzheimer's disease.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain