Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study links inflammation in brain to some memory decline

Date:
April 15, 2011
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
High levels of a protein associated with chronic, low-grade inflammation in the brain correlate with aspects of memory decline in otherwise cognitively normal older adults, according to a new study.

High levels of a protein associated with chronic, low-grade inflammation in the brain correlate with aspects of memory decline in otherwise cognitively normal older adults, according to a study led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco.

The study is being reported in a poster session at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting on April 13, 2011.

Inflammation is part of the body's natural immune response to tissue damage. However, chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases. In the brain, it is thought to play a role in aging and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. If further research determines that inflammation causes memory decline, anti-inflammatory drugs could prove useful in staving off the damage.

Studies in animals have shown that prolonged brain inflammation impairs function of the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in storing and generating memory. It does so by disrupting the establishment of memories, a process known as long term potentiation.

The scientists in the study hypothesized that the presence of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of chronic low grade inflammation in the brain, would be associated with poorer memory creation and smaller medial-temporal lobes, which include the hippocampus.

They examined 76 women and men (mean age 71.8) with detectible levels of CRP in their blood, and 65 people (mean age 70.8) with undetectable levels. All participants were given a 16-word list learning task to measure verbal recall, and underwent magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, to measure volumes of regions of the medial temporal lobes, specifically the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex and parahippocampal cortex.

The results showed that adults with measureable levels of C reactive protein recalled fewer words and had smaller medial temporal lobes.

Scientists don't know if the inflammation indicated by the C reactive protein is the cause of the memory loss, if it reflects a response to some other disease process or if the two factors are unrelated. But if inflammation causes the cognitive decline, relatively simple treatments could help, said Joel H. Kramer, PsyD, UCSF clinical professor of neuropsychology and the director of the neuropsychology program at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.

"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," he said.

Kramer and his colleagues plan to monitor the participants until the end of their lives and to use additional inflammatory markers -- ones that tend to be more sensitive to acute changes than CRP.

"We think such a study will give us a better idea of what's driving the processes we've observed," he said. "If baseline levels of inflammatory markers predict change over time, we'd consider a clinical trial using anti-inflammatory drugs to treat inflammation."

Inflammation is just one of several possible factors that might be driving cognitive decline in normally aging adults, said Kramer. He and his colleagues are examining the possible impact of cardiovascular and stroke risk factors, as well. "We're also just starting to look at exercise, and want to study sleep," he said.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Other co-authors of the study are Ralph Green and Joshua Miller, of UC Davis, and Reva Wilheim, Caroline Racine, Brianne Bettcher, Kristine Yaffe and Bruce Miller, of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Study links inflammation in brain to some memory decline." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110413151645.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2011, April 15). Study links inflammation in brain to some memory decline. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110413151645.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Study links inflammation in brain to some memory decline." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110413151645.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins