Category: Science


Inflammation Today Means Brain Shrinkage Tomorrow

As I have emphasized over the past decade, the fundamental mechanism that underlies neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other issues (think diabetes, coronary artery disease, and even cancer), is the process of inflammation. We’ve got to do everything we can in terms of our lifestyle choices to bring inflammation under control. Dietary choices like choosing to limit sugar and carbohydrates, avoiding gluten, eliminating vegetable oils (corn oil, sunflower oil), increasing intake of healthful fats (olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds), and favoring fiber-rich foods, are all fundamental building blocks of a lifestyle that helps to reduce the risk for excess inflammation.

We know that there is a higher level of the chemicals that mediate inflammation in the blood of individuals with higher blood sugar, caused by many of the poor choices outlined above. Again, higher blood sugar correlates with higher levels of inflammation.

Degree of inflammation is, to a significant degree, determined by the health and diversity of gut bacteria. So issues that threaten gut bacterial diversity, like stress, artificial sweeteners, and  acid-blocking medications, pave the way for increasing inflammation. This threatens your long-term healthy by raising your risk of virtually all those chronic degenerative conditions you don’t want to get.

It doesn’t make sense to wait until you’re having an issue with one of these diseases to begin a program designed to reduce inflammation. This notion was powerfully supported in a recent study published in the journal Neurology. In this report, researchers from multiple institutions endeavored to determine if inflammation in midlife would have any consequences for the brain later in life.

They studied a group of 1,633 participants (with an average age of 53) by looking at their blood levels for various markers of inflammation. These five inflammatory markers were compiled into what was called the “inflammatory composite score.”

After 24 years, the participants underwent a special brain scan to measure the size of various areas of the brain. The study revealed a marked correlation between midlife elevation of inflammatory markers and reduction in size of key brain areas including the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center. The relationship between these inflammatory markers and shrinkage of the brain later in life was modified by age and race in that younger participants, as well as Caucasian participants, with higher levels of inflammation markers in midlife were more likely to show reduced brain volumes during the follow-up.

The authors concluded: 

“Our prospective findings provide evidence for what may be an early contributory role of systemic inflammation in neurodegeneration and cognitive aging.” The important take-home message here is in line with John Kennedy’s statement: ‘The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining.’

That means that we should be doing everything we can to reduce inflammation TODAY, long before some chronic degenerative condition manifests. In this study there was a clear correlation between elevation of markers of inflammation and risk for shrinkage of the brain, and who wants that? This is what preventive medicine is all about. It’s about doing the right things today to pave the way for a healthier tomorrow.

  • chariot

    While this is an important article, the pressing issue here is the inflammation occurring from vaccinations. Multiple vaccination schedules followed early in life is the precursor to mid-life inflammation in the brain. It is because mercury and aluminum “settle” in areas of the brain and CNS only to keep the body searching for the source but never finding it. And even when it does, there are no specific detox protocols used to rid the body/brain of the accumulated waste/heavy metal.

    • Chris Bartlett

      Exposure to mercury and aluminium (which is not present in almost all modern vaccinations anyway) is many orders of magnitude higher from other sources such as cooking pots, anti antiperspirants and some types of fish.

      In any event, few things cause more brain inflammation than the kind of diseases you are avoiding when you get vaccinated, many of which are so serious they can cause brain damage or death in children.

      The anti vaccination lobby is not based on hard facts, in fact it is entirely refuted by hard facts. That makes it more of a cult than anything else.

      • karen


  • Barb Anderson

    I have tried to share this post and can’t -it just lets me “Like” it on facebook. How do I share it?

  • John Baikie

    I would appreciate a comment on a little private theory I have had for many years:
    I have been taking a Zyloprim tablet (Allopurinol) daily for the reduction of uric acid in joints and the prevention of gout attacks, for about 45 years, with remarkable success.Over the years I have noticed that, at age 75, I have been remarkably free from health issues usually associated with inflammation. For example I have no signs of arthritis, diabetes, or in fact any health problems whatsoever.
    So my question is whether my taking a Zyloprim tablet every day is my secret weapon against all the diseases that can be attributed to inflammation, or am I just lucky? Thank you.
    John Baikie, from Sydney downunder.

    • David Perlmutter

      Hi John, This is interesting, but the flip side is that some researchers are trying to increase uric acid as it may help slow neurodegeneration as is seen in Parkinson’s disease

  • Hanna Chang

    I am a childhood Leukemia Cancer Survivor. My whole entire life I had difficulty in digesting foods and anything. Thanks to eating healthy: non-GMO, gluten free, soy free, I feel 1,000% better. If it were not for a doctor I met at UCLA that recommended Dr. David Perlmutter and his books, I don’t know where I’d be. Thank you a million times!

  • Bessie

    I ‘accidentally’ came upon a book about water cure, showing that just drinking enough water can alleviate a lot of symptoms. http://www.watercure.com/index.html

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