Gene Activity Reveals Why Not Everyone Benefits From Aspirin

First Posted: Jul 05, 2013 09:48 PM EDT

A new study shows that despite previous findings, not all can look to aspirin as a way to help prevent heart attack or stroke.

According to researchers at Duke University Medical Center, the study encourages the possibility of using a test to determine who would benefit from aspirin's uses and who would not.

Aspirin, a widely used medication for heart disease and stroke patients for the last 50 years, is used for its blood-thinning capabilities to help prevent heart problems. However, previous studies show that doctors have been uncertain about how aspirin works and why it doesn't help all heart patients.

This study tested the drug on various volunteers, who were given a low dose of aspirin as part of their treatment. Healthy volunteers were prescribed a 325g dose of aspirin each day for up to one month.

Researchers then examined the impact that the drug had on gene expression and the function of platelets.

Following the administration of the aspirin, the gene profiling revealed what researchers called a genetic 'aspirin response signature.' In fact, the study shows that this matched an insufficient platelet response to aspirin therapy in both the heart disease patients and healthy patients.

"We give the same dose to all patients, but maybe some patients need a larger dose of aspirin, or maybe they need a different therapy entirely," said Geoffrey Ginsburg, the director of genomic medicine at Duke's Institute for Genomic Sciences and Policy, via Med News Today. "We need better tools to monitor patients and adjust their care accordingly, and the findings from our study move us in that direction."

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More information regarding this study can be found in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology

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