OBJECTIVES: To examine the relations between the use of nonaspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin and age-related change in multiple domains of cognitive function in community-dwelling individuals without dementia.
DESIGN: Longitudinal, with measures obtained on one to 18 occasions over up to 45 years.
SETTING: General community.
PARTICIPANTS: A volunteer sample of up to 2,300 participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging free of diagnosed dementia.
MEASUREMENTS: At each visit, reported NSAID or aspirin use (yes/no) and tests of verbal and visual memory, attention, perceptuo-motor speed, confrontation naming, executive function, and mental status.
RESULTS: Mixed-effects regression models revealed that NSAID use was associated with less prospective decline on the Blessed Information-Memory-Concentration (I-M-C) Test, a mental status test weighted for memory and concentration (P<.001), and Part B of the Trail Making Test, a test of perceptuo-motor speed and mental flexibility (P<.05). In contrast, aspirin use was related to greater prospective decline on the Blessed I-M-C Test (P<.05) and the Benton Visual Retention Test, a test of visual memory (P<.001).
CONCLUSION: Consistent with studies of incident dementia, NSAID users without dementia displayed less prospective decline in cognitive function, but on only two cognitive measures. In contrast, aspirin use was associated with greater prospective cognitive decline on select measures, potentially reflecting its common use for vascular disease prophylaxis. Effect sizes were small, calling into question clinical significance, although overall public health significance may be meaningful.