Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior, has been linked to inflammation of the brain at an early age, according to a recent study. In order to investigate the theory, scientists caused brain inflammation in unborn laboratory mice. According to researchers, an infection induced during pregnancy resulted in enough neurological changes to cause memory issues down the road.
"It seems likely that chronic inflammation due to infection could be an early event in the development of Alzheimer’s disease," study leader Dr Irene Knuesel explained. The research was published in the Journal of Neuro-inflammation.
Genetically engineered mice, which were bred to contain the Alzheimer’s-associated brain protein amyloid-beta, were hit the hardest by these infections. Scientists associated with the study hope that this discovery could increase the role of anti-inflammatory drugs in Alzheimer's treatment. However, according to Dr Marie Janson of Alzheimer’s Research UK, these drugs have not proven successful in clinical trials.
The cause of Alzheimer's disease is currently unclear. However, those with a history of AD in their family are thought to be at a higher risk than others. The first signs of the disease, particularly in persons 60 years or older, is forgetfulness. Other symptoms include difficulty with emotional behavior, language, memory, and cognitive skills. Getting lost on familiar routes, trouble naming and/or recognizing common objects, personality changes, and a sudden loss of interest in hobbies are often early signs of the disease.