© 2015 Cardiff Scientific Society

26 Nov Aspirin, Heart Disease, Stroke & Cancer: a Truly Miracle Drug
- Professor Peter Elwood DSc MD FRCP FFPHM
School of Medicine, Cardiff University
Many herbal remedies depend upon salicylates for their effect. In 1897 a chemist mixed salicylic acid, obtained from Meadowsweet, and vinegar. The powder produced – acetyl salicylic acid (aspirin) - was found to be effective against fever, headaches and pain. Around 1960 aspirin was found to reduce the ‘stickiness’ of blood platelets – a key element in thrombosis. The first clinical trial in heart disease was conducted in Wales in 1974 and since then a reduction of 20-30% in strokes and heart attacks has been confirmed in over 140 trials. More recently, evidence suggesting a reduction in cancer by aspirin has been reported from a wide variety of sources. Is aspirin a cheap common household remedy, or a truly miracle drug?