Aspirin and Your Health: Past, Present and Future

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 30, 2014

Aspirin, used for centuries as a pain reliever, has only been recognized as having benefits for the heart in the past several decades. In the following video, Dr. JoAnn Manson, Chief, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Division of Preventive Medicine; Co-Director, Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology; and Co-investigator, Nurses’ Health Study, Physicians’ Health Study, and Women’s Health Study, describes the discovery by BWH researchers that aspirin could prevent first heart attacks, saving lives worldwide.

Heart Attack Prevention in Men

Due to aspirin’s ability to thin the blood and prevent platelets from clumping, clinical researchers concluded, in the late 1970s, that aspirin could help prevent heart attacks in people who had suffered them previously. Several randomized trials demonstrated this benefit in high-risk individuals.

Read More »

Reducing Colon Cancer Risk – A New Use for Aspirin?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 1, 2013

New research suggests that aspirin use may lower the risk of colon cancer.

The earliest forms of aspirin were discovered centuries ago. Originally, aspirin was used as a pain reliever. In 1989, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) published the results of the Physician’s Health Study, which found that aspirin also helped prevent heart attacks. Now, nearly 25 years later, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have published new research suggesting that aspirin may have another use – lowering the risk of colon cancer.

Using data from the Women’s Health Study, a team of researchers led by Dr. Nancy Cook, BWH Division of Preventive Medicine, analyzed data collected from roughly 40,000 women aged 45 years or older. Approximately half of the women studied received low-dose (100 mg) aspirin every other day for ten years. The other half of the study participants received a placebo or inactive pill. Researchers continued to gather data from women who agreed to follow up for 18 years. At the end of the ten-year study period, there was no difference between the two groups in terms of overall cancer rates. However, at the end of the 18-year follow-up period, those women who had taken low-dose aspirin had a 21 percent lower rate of colorectal cancer versus those who had taken the placebo. The study did not find any differences in the occurrence of other cancer types or cancer deaths between the two groups.

Read More »

Clinical Research: What You Need to Know

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 30, 2013

A great deal of clinical research takes place at our Watkins Cardiovascular Clinic.

Do you ever wonder why most doctors now recommend aspirin for heart attack prevention? The answer is more straightforward than you think: clinical research.

Clinical research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital revealed the effectiveness of aspirin as a first-line defense against heart attack in people who are at risk. Once broadly proven, the treatment was adopted and has helped thousands avoid the devastating effects of heart attack.

BWH is an international leader in cardiovascular research. With over 150 cardiovascular clinical research studies being conducted at any one time, there are opportunities for patients to participate in studies that may change cardiovascular care for millions. Before making a decision on whether to participate in clinical research, it’s important to understand what’s involved.

Clinical research involves studies led by doctors and researchers who are trying to answer specific scientific questions with the goal of finding better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases, and improve health care. Trials also are conducted to collect information on the safety and effectiveness of various treatments.

Read More »