Older adults who take aspirin or other drugs that inhibit platelet function have an increased risk of experiencing asymptomatic cerebral microbleeds, a marker of small-vessel disease in the brain, according to findings by researchers in the Netherlands (Vernooij MW et al. Arch Neurol. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2009 .42 [published online April 13, 2009]).
The researchers conducted magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of a population-based sample of 1062 dementia-free individuals aged 60 years or older. Participants' use of anticlotting drugs, including platelet aggregation inhibitors (specifically, aspirin and carbasalate calcium, a salicylate with a lower risk of gastrointestinal tract bleeding than aspirin), was determined from pharmacy records.
Stephenson J. Aspirin and Brain Microbleeds. JAMA. 2009;301(19):1977. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.689