Volunteers wanted for international aspirin study

A MASSIVE five-year study funded by the United States into the benefits of the popular drug aspirin needs more volunteers in the south-west. 

Warrnambool residents takling part in the ASPREE study, Des Free, Associate Professor Robyn Woods, Margaret Moloney and Rosemary Arnold, are hoping others will join them in the massive international research project.

Warrnambool residents takling part in the ASPREE study, Des Free, Associate Professor Robyn Woods, Margaret Moloney and Rosemary Arnold, are hoping others will join them in the massive international research project.

The landmark ASPREE study has been running for a year with more than 17,000 volunteers across both Australia and the United States, testing if a daily low dose of aspirin — discovered in 1897 — can delay the onset of old-age illnesses. 

Senior trial co-ordinator Mark Johnstone, of Monash University, is responsible for the south-west region’s 800 patients aged over 70 who are taking part. 

More than a hundred participants were briefed on the progress of the trial in Warrnambool this week. 

But given the massive scope of the study, there won’t be any results until the findings are analysed in 2018. 

“In the study overall we need another 2500, so in our area we could be looking for another hundred patients if we could get them from the region,” Mr Johnstone told The Standard. 

“It would really help a lot. We see them each year for an annual health check and we’re constantly collecting information about them.” 

Regular use of aspirin can lead to side-effects, including easier bruising and bleeding. 

Mr Johnstone said people susceptible to the symptoms were excluded from the trial. 

Researchers from Monash University believe aspirin may hold the answers to preventing heart attacks, strokes and macular degeneration. 

“If we can find something that can cure or delay a lot of those issues then they’re going to be the group with most to gain,” he said. 

“Locally the GPs are pretty interested in finding this out because every GP practice in the south-west is participating in the study.”

s.mccomish@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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