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Rethinking how brain, immune system interact in health and disease

Narrator:       This is Science Today. How the brain and immune system interact in both health and disease is the focus of biomedical scientist Monica Carson and her lab at the University of California, Riverside. Carson explains that this interaction is very important when one is considering diseases such as Alzheimer's and even autism spectrum disorders.

Carson:          Labs like myself and others at this time point are really showing that if you don't have the brain and immune system interacting, you actually will develop certain neurological disorders.

Narrator:       But for decades, Carson says it's been thought that there was too much interaction and the approach has been to turn it off.

Carson:          Our studies have shown that normal brain function requires constant interaction between the brain and the immune system. And so, our studies are focusing on identifying which interactions keep the brain function going and which interactions are unwanted or are excessive. How can our findings help identify risk factors so that we can predict preventative factors strategies as well as therapeutics.

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