Infections worsen effects of Alzheimer’s, dementia?

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Inflammation caused by infections inhibits the brain’s ability to form spatial memories, according to new research from England.

Twenty participants underwent memory tests and PET scans before and after receiving an injection designed to induce inflammation. Researchers from Brighton and Sussex Medical School found the infection decreased glucose metabolism in the part of the brain associated with learning and memory, called the Medical Temporal Lobe. These infections are unlikely to cause long-term damage to young people, but can be very dangerous for the elderly, especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

"Our findings suggest that the brain's memory circuits are particularly sensitive to inflammation and help clarify the association between inflammation and decline in dementia," study lead Neil Harrison, MD, was quoted as saying. "If we can control levels of inflammation, we may be able to reduce the rate of decline in patients' cognition."

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