Research studies effect of aspirin on heart disease in black males

Amadeus Smith

Moving from cold to warm places may increase the risk for a heart attack.

The third study in a series of student-run experiments will determine aspirin’s effects on black males in the cold.

“Blacks have the highest incidence of cardiovascular disease, even more than whites,” said graduate assistant Greg Farnell of the School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport.

Blood thickens when the body is exposed to cold climates. Thus, it doesn’t flow as quickly to the body’s core, which increases flow once it thins in warm climates.

So far, the experiments have found no scientific evidence showing that going from cold to warm climate increases the risk for a heart attack more than the cold climate itself.

Students in the experiment are given aerobic fitness tests and are weighed. Once cleared, the students take an aspirin or a placebo twice a day for seven days before the cold/heat experiment.

The test is double-blind -ÿneither the student nor the administrator knows if the student is taking aspirin or the placebo.

Aspirin is a blood thinner and is used in the experiment to reduce blood thickening in cold climates.

Researchers believe the experiment will show that taking aspirin will keep the blood thinner and reduce the chance that a person would have a heart attack when they come in from the cold.

Farnell and graduate assistant Katie Pierce take an initial blood sample before each student enters the environmental chamber. The student remains in the chamber for four hours.

The chamber’s temperature is set at 10 C (50 F) for the first two hours. Westley Gaddis, a senior exercise science major involved in the study, said it was different being in a cold temperature without being active.

“Usually if I’m out in the cold, I’m playing football or something,” Gaddis said. “It felt weird because I really couldn’t move that much. I just tried to keep my mind off the cold and tried not to look at the clock.”

Pierce and Farnell take more blood during the cold two-hour block. Gaddis said it was the toughest part because the thickened blood was hard to extract.

Experimenters increase the chamber’s temperature to 25 C (77 F) for the last two hours and take a third blood sample.

Leigh Murray, a former Kent State graduate student, said the initial experiment included a low 81 mg dose and a high 650 mg dose of aspirin.

She based the aspirin dosage in the second experiment on body weight.

Murray said they multiply the male’s body weight by 1.16 milligrams of aspirin.

She also looked at fitness in the second experiment, comparing five fit students to five unfit students.

Contact School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport reporter Amadeus Smith at [email protected]