How are inflammation and excitotoxicity linked to aging? As we age, our brains become increasingly more inflamed because the aging process primes the microglia.
This is like pushing on the gas pedal in your car while pushing the brake at the same time. As long as you keep your foot on the brake, everything is fine. But, if you step off the brake, the car takes off.
When primed microglia are stimulated by anything else (such as mercury, aluminum, injury), it triggers a very intense immunoexcitotoxicity response.
Inflammation is like the gas in your car — it drives the process and as in this analogy. But if you cut off the gas, the engine dies. This is why stopping the inflammation seems to work so well.
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