Thursday, February 8, 2018

More New Research on Chronic Inflammation and the Development of Alzheimer’s

Inflammation is a critical process for the protection against short-termed stressors, such as infection.  While it is crucial for survival, it becomes a primary mechanism driving chronic disease when it is sustained and unsuppressed.

This dual role of inflammation is perhaps best explained by Dr. Russel Tracy, Associate Director of Research, University of Vermont School of Medicine; “Aging is not simply the passage of time, it is actually something that our bodies create, a side effect of the essential inflammatory system that protects us from infectious disease.  As we fight off invaders, we inflict massive collateral damage on ourselves… We are our own worst enemy.”


At the epicenter of this understanding is the relationship between ongoing inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.  Extensive research has supported this relationship while a new study supports the strength of it.(1)  The study measured one of the more accurate inflammatory markers, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and looked at its predictive power for the subsequent development of Alzheimer’s in subjects 60 and up.  

Elevated hsCRP increased the risk of Alzheimer’s by a striking 137% in the 8 years of follow-up.  This study added considerable strength to the association between chronic inflammation and Alzheimer’s risk.  It also was important as it confirmed a measurable marker that can be used to monitor disease risk.  hsCRP also is a valuable marker that can be used to monitor the effectiveness of a comprehensive lifestyle treatment program once the disease is present.  It is a fundamental biomarker used in the Bredesen Protocol

The useful translation of how this biomarker is helpful in managing the disease relates to the diverse group of factors that cause chronic inflammation including diet, toxicity such as heavy metals, chronic infections and others.  The correction of these factors is successful in dampening chronic inflammation positively mitigating the disease process, and the effect can be monitored over time with repeat measurements of hsCRP.

The best time to be monitoring inflammation and correct it is before the disease develops.  However, it remains equally important in those with the disease as comprehensive lifestyle management reducing inflammation is proving successful in reversing the disease.

          1. Gabin et al.  The association of high sensitivity C-reactive protein and incident Alzheimer disease in patients 60 years and older: The HUNT study, Norway.  Immun Ageing. 2018 Jan 22;15:4.

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