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Study finds aspirin cuts women's risk

March 27, 2007|From the Associated Press

CHICAGO — Aspirin in low to moderate doses may lower health risks in women, particularly those who are older and prone to heart disease, a 24-year study of nearly 80,000 women suggests.

But experts cautioned that the results were not definitive and that women should not take aspirin as a preventive without talking to their doctor. The results were published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In the long-running study of nurses who were middle-aged and older, women who took aspirin had a 25% lower risk of death from various causes compared with those who never took it. Aspirin-takers had a 38% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 12% lower risk of death from cancer.

Many doctors advise people who have had heart attacks and strokes to take a daily 81-milligram baby aspirin. The new study suggests aspirin may help healthy women too. No benefit was found for high doses, defined as two or more standard 325-milligram aspirin tablets a day.

Aspirin is thought to prevent heart attacks and strokes by blocking platelets from forming clots. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also help prevent cancer.

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