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The researchers did not state whether healthy older people who have been taking aspirin should stop.

Many heart-healthy older people take a daily baby aspirin out of a belief that it will help prevent a heart attack or stroke.

The study involved over 19,000 people, of which 9,525 received aspirin and 9,589 recruited in placebo group.

Other research has demonstrated that people with a history of heart attack or stroke do benefit from taking a daily aspirin because of aspirin's anti-clotting effects. Researchers at Monash University in Australia recruited almost 20,000 people in that country and the United States, with a median age of 74.

Over the next four years, almost 20,000 people mostly over the age of 70 in both Australia and the United States were recruited for the trial.

Can popping low dose aspirin really lower your risk of heart disease, dementia, cancer and stroke in the elderly?

Roughly half of participants were given 100 mg of low-dose aspirin, while the rest were given a placebo.

In addition, those who took aspirin had a slightly higher likelihood of dying over the course of the study (5.9 percent) than those who took the placebo (5.2 percent).

Elderly people in good health should not take an aspirin a day, according to a major Australian study. "Aspirin is the most widely used of all preventive drugs and an answer to this question is long overdue".

ASPREE has provided this answer, Professor McNeil said.

Aspirin has always been used as a preventative measure to help reduce the risk of blood clots in patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke.

"Analysis of all the cancer-related data from the trial is under way and until we have additional data, these findings should be interpreted with caution", said Leslie Ford, associate director for clinical research at the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Prevention.

ASPREE was a 19,114-person study of low-dose aspirin conducted in Australia and the U.S. There's also a possibility that any colorectal cancer benefit wasn't seen because the subjects had only been followed for about five years.

Significant bleeding - a known risk of regular aspirin use - was also measured. The rationale is that there is little point for elderly people to be taking a preventive medication unless it preserves good health and unless benefits of the medication outweigh any adverse effects. Prescribing aspirin to healthy people to prevent the onset of heart disease is controversial although it happens.

The participants weren't told whether they were taking aspirin or not. But it had been unclear whether healthy people older than 70 would derive the same benefit. "So, this is a welcomed study, but everybody who is now taking aspirin should obviously see their GP before making changes to their regime", he told Sky News.

Experts and current guidelines recommended a daily aspirin is most beneficial for adults in their 50s who are at risk of heart disease.

And what about people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol who might be taking other medicines to mitigate a higher risk of heart attack or stroke?

Researchers also found the use of low-dose aspirin did not substantially lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy older adults, and instead significantly increased their risk of major haemorrhage (bleeding that can lead to a stroke).