Inflammation of brain 'may cause memory loss'

Posted on 14 April 2011

Scientists have associated low-grade brain inflammation with some aspects of memory loss in older adults, which could be key in the treatment of many people paying for care.

Brain inflammation is linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, but the new study demonstrated an association between minor inflammation and memory loss in otherwise healthy adults.

Researchers tested participants for inflammation marker C-reactive protein and asked them to recall words from a list in the study, presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.

It was found that people with a higher level of the protein had more difficulty remembering the words in addition to having smaller medial temporal lobes.

Joel H Kramer, of the University of California San Francisco, said: "Anti-inflammatory drugs available today could be used to treat low grade infections in the brain, and could be used more aggressively following surgery, which prompts a large inflammatory response."

Meanwhile, research from the University of California found that cardiovascular risk factors are linked to increase risk for some types of cognitive decline, including verbal fluency and the ability to ignore irrelevant information.

Posted by Nigel Murphy

 

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