Boy, we’re basically just stumbling around–albeit in an educated manner–when we’re researching the cures to illness. This study, conducted an an engineered mouse with an engineered molecule finds that brain inflammation may not be such a bad guy after all in Alzheimer’s patients.
Finding high levels of such markers in Alzheimer’s patients who died, led scientists to believe inflammation played a major role in causing or worsening the condition. Now, by manipulating in this engineered mouse the signaling molecule (IL-1 beta) that promotes inflammation, the researchers found increasing this signal (and thus inflammation) they dramatically reduced the number of amyloid plaques that are the hallmark of the disease. This mouse who was engineered to develop Alzheimer’s, had 50% fewer plaques than the controls.
So, even though this is a tiny experiment and it’s only on a mouse, it’s leading us down that moderation path that we see with so many other substances in the human body. Just like nitric oxide, that wonderful stuff that performs miracles in our blood vessels gets toxic if there’s too much of it, inflammation may need to be balanced as well. Is that like when our muscles become inflamed from too much work or working out in order to a) tell us to stop, and b) make us rest so we’ll heal.