Middle Age Inflammation Biomarkers May Increase Brain Shrinkage

Middle aged individuals in their 40s and 50s who have biomarkers linked to inflammation in their blood may have more brain shrinkage years later than individuals without these biomarkers, according to a study published in an article published in an issue of the medical journal Neurology® and the American Academy of Neurology.

The study indicates that brain cell loss was found primarily in the area of the brain that is affected by Alzheimer’s disease and that people who had inflammation markers and brain shrinkage also had lower scores on average when memory was measured.

In the study, 1,633 people were tested for the levels of five different markers of inflammation in the blood in addition to white blood cell count. On average, most individuals were 53 years of age. Twenty-four years later, the participants memory and several areas of the brain were measured and compared to participants with no elevated midlife inflammatory markers. Those participants with elevations of three or more markers showed on average five percent lower volume in hippocampal and areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease compared to those with no elevated levels.

This study concludes that the findings provide evidence of what may contribute to systemic inflammation in neurodegeneration and cognitive aging.

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