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Inflammation in the brain linked to memory decline


Narrator:       This is Science Today. High levels of a protein that's associated with chronic inflammation in the brain have been linked to certain aspects of memory decline in otherwise cognitively normal older adults. Joel Kramer, director of the neuropsychology program at the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center, led the study.

Kramer:         We were interested in several different blood borne markers of either vascular risk or inflammation just because we thought these might be important contributors to age-related cognitive decline.

Narrator:       The marker for chronic, low grade inflammation in the brain that they looked for was C-reactive protein, or CRP.

Kramer:         Both the CRP positive and CRP negative groups were recalling the same number of words. But when we assessed their memory after a few minutes, we found that the group that had measureable CRP showed a more significant drop in their recall over that delay period and performed less well than the group that had no detectible CRP in their blood.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.