Aspects to take into account when the brain becomes inflamed.
Scientists have known that brain inflammation contributes to long-term neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Lately, evidence has been emerging that inflammation can affect the brain more directly and acutely and could be the basis for a broader range of problems, from impaired cognition during infections to depression and even schizophrenia.
“We are still trying to figure out the underlying mechanisms,” says Robert M. Buchanan, a researcher at the University of Maryland, who is the creator of a clinical trial of anti-inflammatory drugs for schizophrenia.
Inflammation and cognition
People usually do not feel “100 percent” cognitively when they have a cold or flu infection. That common observation has long implied that inflammation is an integral part of the body’s response to these types of conditions and that it could play a role in reducing short-term cognition.
Mood disorders and psychosis
As expected, given the effects of inflammation on brain regions related to cognition, it has also been found that rash appears to modify mood states.
For example, in an experiment reported in 2001, the researchers injected human volunteers with small doses of a Salmonella toxin, enough to cause a barely perceptible (0.5 degrees Celsius) increase in body temperature but with no apparent effect on blood pressure or pulse.
However, pro-inflammatory proteins such as TNF-α and IL-6 were significantly elevated in the bloodstream. The researchers noted: “Subjects showed a significant transient increase in anxiety and depressed mood levels, and their memory functions and nonverbal abilities were significantly reduced. “
Are you reducing brain inflammation to elevate mood?
This has led scientists to seek anti-inflammatory therapies to complement the possible treatments for depression. This condition often does not respond to first-line drugs that increase serotonin and norepinephrine.
For example, in a study conducted in 2006, German researchers found that patients who took the anti-inflammatory drug Celecoxib to treat depression improved significantly more than patients who took only mood-enhancing drugs.
A cross-sectional study using medical records in 2012 has hinted that even aspirin could significantly impact the prevention of depression.