Elderly who take Aspirin daily could be protected against depression

Researchers at the University of Western Australia in Perth have examined the medical records of 3,700 men aged between 69 and 87 in order to establish if daily intakes of Aspirin can protect against depression.

Depression is the term given to a collection of symptoms including loss of appetite, a lack of motivation, an inability to find excitement of job in activities that were previously enjoyed. These symptoms amongst others must be present for a period of two weeks having a significant impact on day to day activities in order to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression.

In the UK around 20 percent of individuals will suffer from depression, with the likelihood increasing in older age as a result of bereavement, loneliness and chronic physical health problems.

Previously research has concluded that Aspirin can have a significant impact at lowering blood pressure and subsequently reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, the Australian researchers set out to discover whether the same effect could also be protecting older individuals against depression.

Aspirin is known to reduce levels of homocysteine , a naturally occurring amino acid found in blood plasma. The findings, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, showed men with significantly high levels of homocysteine levels in their blood were up to 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

The researchers compared the effect of taking aspirin daily to that of vitamin B suppliments which has also previously been found to reduce homocysteine levels in the body.

The researchers reported that it was only the homocysteine reducing effects of aspirin that had the protective effect against depression in older adults.

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