The humble aspirin could become a major player in the fight against osteoporosis, according to the results of a new study.
Scientists at the University of Southern California's School of Dentistry in the US have uncovered the health benefits of aspirin on two fronts, saying that it appears to prevent both improper bone resorption and the death of bone-forming stem cells.
Mice given a low dose of aspirin over a long period of time saw an increase in bone mineral density. The dose administered to the mice was the same as that of a typical human aspirin regimen when adjusted for body weight differences, lead researcher Professor Songtao Shi said.
Millions of people suffer from the debilitating effects of the bone-wasting disease, with one out of every two women and one in four men over 50 having an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
The researchers hope that their work will translate into new clinical strategies for osteoporosis. "We have opened a door," Professor Shi said. "We hope other scientists can confirm what we've found and move the treatment forward."
The team's findings were published in the Public Library of Science.