By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Inflammation can cause a great deal of wear and tear in your body and speed up the ageing process. Interesting research shows it can worsen dementia in people with mild cognitive decline. This finding comes from a team of scientists from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Bonn and was published in the journal Nature.
Alzheimer’s disease is an absolutely devastating condition that can ultimately lead to severe dementia. A few different diseases can cause dementia, and dementia is now the second leading cause of death in Australians. There are no effective drugs that treat Alzheimer’s disease. It is associated with an accumulation of small proteins called “Amyloid-beta” (Abeta), which cause harm to brain cells. Studies have shown that deposits of Abeta (called plaques), trigger inflammatory mechanisms by the immune system within the brain.
According to senior researcher Prof. Michael Heneka, “Deposition and spreading of Abeta pathology likely precede the appearance of clinical symptoms such as memory problems by decades. Therefore, a better understanding of these processes might be a key for novel therapeutic approaches. Such treatments would target Alzheimer’s at an early stage, before cognitive deficits manifest”.
If a person’s immune system is over-reactive and releasing a high level of inflammatory chemicals, this speeds up the damage to the brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s plaques. The thing is, the brain is largely comprised of fat. Fatty acids are delicate and easily oxidized and damaged by inflammatory chemicals. Therefore if you want to protect your brain, you need to keep levels of inflammation in your body down. Interestingly, people with autoimmune disease are at higher risk of dementia.