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Cognition may be aided by pro-inflammatory

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:57 am | Updated: 10:59 am, Thu Jan 30, 2014.

Cognition may be aided by pro-inflammatory

A small amount of a pro-inflammatory protein may actually help cognition, according to research from the University of Texas Health Center.

Although inflammation is believed to be responsible for a variety of diseases, researchers were able to show low levels of the protein interleukin-6 are important in a key kind of cognition called reversal learning. This kind of learning is diminished in many psychiatric diseases like depression, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Researchers blocked interleukin-6 in the brains of stressed-induced rats, and found this hampered their cognitive ability. But when they restored the protein to the brain, the cognitive deficit disappeared.

“We’ve replicated just one piece of a very complex disease so we can understand the biology,” senior study author David Morilak, PhD, was quoted as saying. “There’s still a lot of work to do.”

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