Pennington Biomedical Research Center Announces New Disease Prevention Study; Individuals Over 70 Years of Age Asked to Participate

For more information, contact our Media Relations Manager, Ted Griggs, 225-763-2862 or our Communications Director, Lisa Stansbury, at 225-763-2978. Our news email box is also available at

Released: Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - The Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been selected by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) to conduct a five year study to determine if aspirin taken daily can lower the risk of developing dementia and cardiovascular disease.  ASPREE: The Aspirin Study will be conducted in both the United States and Australia, and will include more than 19,000 participants at 25 sites.         

The principal investigator of ASPREE at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center will be Timothy S. Church, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Professor, Director of the Preventive Medicine Laboratory and John S. McIlhenny Endowed Chair in Health Wisdom.

According to Dr. Church, Pennington is actively seeking individuals who are over 70 years of age, and are in overall good health. "This study aims to determine if low dose aspirin will prevent age related diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and dementia in elderly people.  In addition, the study will determine if these benefits will be greater than the possible risks of taking low dose aspirin.  This is an important study and we are urging older members of the community to call Pennington to determine if they qualify," said Dr. Church.  "This new study continues a larger research program at Pennington on healthy aging, including an NIH-funded study now underway, called LIFE, which looks at how older individuals can make lifestyle changes that will help them remain independent members of their community for a longer period of time," added Dr. Church.  Pennington's other expertise in aging includes a groundbreaking study looking at the benefit of caloric restriction and an expanded dementia and Alzheimer's disease research program.

To enroll in either study, individuals should call the Clinical Research Call Center at 225-763-3000 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  According to Ami Parks, Manager of Media and Recruiting at Pennington, individuals will be asked a series of questions to determine if their health status allows them to participate. Since this is a randomized study, some of the particpants will receive aspirin and some will receive a placebo. Therefore, a participant must be willing to stop taking aspirin for the duration of the study, with their physican's approval.  Individuals cannot be on anti-coagulants, such as Coumadin, or an anti-platelet, such as Plavix, for heart conditions.

The study will require participants to attend an orientation session at Pennington or an off-campus site.  If selected after the phone interview, participants will be required to attend two screening visits, an annual visit and phone interviews at 3, 6, and 9- month intervals.  Participants will receive $20 per annual visit for taking part in the study.

Originally developed as a study by Monash University in Australia, the ASPREE study is being  conducted in partnership between Monash University, the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research in Minneapolis, MN, and the National Institute on Aging.  In conjuction with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, ASPREE is being conducted in clinics and universities located in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas.

To determine eligibility, call 225-763-3000 or email


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.