Inflammation and The Brain

There has been years of research documenting how harmful inflammation can be for the body. In recent years of psychological study, researchers are finding that inflammation also wreaks havoc on the brain. 

This research has led to some fascinating discoveries!

This 2010 article in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry where researchers found that aspirin therapy reduces symptoms of psychosis in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders.

Researchers treated 70 patients, both in and out of psychiatric hospitals, in the Netherlands. Aspirin, given in addition to antipsychotic medications, increased their cognitive function with no observed side effects. It worked especially well with patients with altered immune function. 

Then there was this 2018 study that found that there may be benefit to taking ibuprofen to prevent Alzheimer's. 

While the exact cause of Alzheimer's is still a mystery, research has been pointing more toward a protein called beta-amyloid. 

"Beta-amyloid can clump together and form 'plaques' in the brain," the article reads. "These plaques will interfere with brain cell communication, which can lead to memory loss, behavioral changes, and many other symptoms characteristic of Alzheimer's disease."

The researchers showed that high levels of beta-amyloid peptide (also called "Abeta 42") shows up in saliva, so they could use results of a saliva test to better predict Alzheimer's in patients. Abeta 42 kickstarts an inflammatory response in the brain, which can be managed with--you guessed it!--ibuprofen. 

Now, does this mean we need to all start adding aspirin or ibuprofen to our daily regimen?

Not without a doctor's approval. One downside of anti-inflammatories is that they can irritate the digestive tract or even cause inflammation.

However, if you're at risk for Alzheimer's (you're over 65 or it is in your family history) you may want to consult your doctor about guarding against inflammation in the brain. 

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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