Inflammation and your brain – hope for new treatments
Inflammation plays a role in many diseases. Targeting inflammation has led to breakthrough treatments in recent years, for conditions ranging from autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, to some cancers.
Now researchers are looking beyond the blood-brain barrier, once thought to be impermeable, and finding evidence that inflammation could affect our brains as well as our bodies. Professor Edward Bullmore from Cambridge University is hopeful that research into brain inflammation could one day lead to new treatments for depression, dementia and psychosis.
It is well known that depression and inflammation are linked – but researchers need to know if inflammation is actually the cause of depression. Recent experiments have shown that brain inflammation can cause changes in brain function in the areas of the brain known to be involved in depression and other disorders.
Studies reviewing previous clinical trials of anti-inflammatory medicines for conditions like arthritis have found a significant improvement in mental health scores in patients receiving anti-inflammatory drugs. New research is planned to test specifically for mental health outcomes.
Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease may also benefit, with research underway into potential treatments, including non-drug treatments focused on diet, obesity, stress, the gut microbiome and gum disease – one trial in the US is investigating whether more effective tooth brushing to minimise low-level gum inflammation could protect us against senility.
At Professional Integrative Medicine we have a lot of strategies to assess inflammatory drivers and support patients with evidence based natural anti-inflammatory approaches. We often find factors such as food sensitivities, environmental toxins and nutrient deficiencies can be drivers for stress and autoimmune disease.
Contact us to find out more.