Dr. Gary Small, M.D.

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Gary Small, M.D., is Chair of Psychiatry at Hackensack University Medical Center, and Physician in Chief for Behavioral Health Services at Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest, most comprehensive and integrated healthcare network. Dr. Small has often appeared on the TODAY show, Good Morning America, and CNN and is co-author (with his wife Gigi Vorgan) of 10 popular books, including New York Times bestseller, “The Memory Bible,” “The Small Guide to Anxiety,” and “The Small Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Tags: inflammation | Alzheimers | dementia | amyloid

Inflammation Attacks Brain Health

Dr. Small By Thursday, 09 April 2020 02:52 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

One reason for the lack of success in developing anti-amyloid treatments has been that even though the presence of brain amyloid partly defines Alzheimer’s, it’s not clear whether its accumulation causes the disease or is the result of another underlying abnormality.

Considerable research suggests that other age-related brain abnormalities — such as inflammation and oxidative stress — contribute to the cognitive impairments that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Although inflammation is a natural process for repairing tissue damage, as people age their brains undergo heightened inflammation that may damage normal cells.

An older brain also suffers from oxidative stress, which involves the buildup of highly reactive molecules called free radicals, which can cause wear and tear on brain cells.

I became interested in the connection between mind health and brain inflammation several years ago when I led a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that tested whether an anti-inflammatory drug benefitted age-related memory decline.

Because it’s easier to protect a healthy brain than to repair damage that has already been done, our research team focused on treating people with mild age-related memory issues, who were at risk for developing Alzheimer’s dementia in the future.

We found that the anti-inflammatory medicine celecoxib (Celebrex) offered memory benefits compared to an inactive placebo.

But unfortunately, extensive use of anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to many side effects.

In fact, other studies have indicated that anti-inflammatory drugs can actually worsen memory function in patients with the more advanced cognitive decline (dementia).

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Although inflammation is a natural process for repairing tissue damage, as people age their brains undergo heightened inflammation that may damage normal cells.
inflammation, Alzheimers, dementia, amyloid
Thursday, 09 April 2020 02:52 PM
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