Neurology

Alzheimer’s disease and inflammatory processes: what is the correlation?

April 18, 2018

The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is increasing. Increased life expectancy and average age will mean that the number of people living with this disease is expected to rise to 14 million by 2050. New research aims to find out more about the causes that would lead some people to develop the disease. We talk about this issue with Professor Alberto Albanese, neurologist at Humanitas.

 

The study published in Neurology

Using blood tests to detect inflammation, the researchers examined more than 1,633 people with an average age of 53 years. After 24 years, participants underwent a memory test and underwent brain scans to measure brain volume in several key areas. Research has shown an association between the detected inflammation and the type of brain “atrophy” that is related to Alzheimer’s.

Research therefore suggests that young people with a higher level of systemic inflammation 25 years later may show more brain atrophy and more memory problems.

 

What causes systemic or chronic inflammation?

Systemic or chronic inflammation can result from conditions such as osteoarthritis, autoimmune disorders or other factors such as obesity and smoking. The results of the study also showed that young subjects with higher levels of chronic inflammation not only had more brain atrophy, but also had greater difficulty performing memory tests. The study does not yet provide certainty that these brain changes are the result of inflammation, but opens the door to new avenues of research for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

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