You are viewing AANS Neurosurgeon Volume 25, Number 4, 2016. View our current issue, Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 25, Number 4, 2016

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Inflammation in Middle Age May Be Tied to Brain Shrinkage Decades Later

People who have biomarkers tied to inflammation in their blood in their 40s and 50s may have more brain shrinkage decades later than people without the biomarkers. The brain cell loss was found especially in areas of the brain that are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

“These results suggest that inflammation in mid-life may be an early contributor to the brain changes that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” said study author Keenan Walker, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. “Because the processes that lead to brain cell loss begin decades before people start showing any symptoms, it is vital that we figure out how these processes that happen in middle age affect people many years later.”

People with the inflammation markers and brain shrinkage also had lower scores on average on a memory test.

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