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D. Keeping Inflammation In Check

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new study has found our bodies have a finely tuned, active process which controls inflammation. If not kept in check, inflammation can lead to chronic inflammatory disease, such as arthritis, asthma and colitis. Holly Strausbaugh, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, says in this disease state, the very cells that are helping us get rid of infectious organisms can actually begin destroying our own tissues.

Strausbaugh: That's kind of the central feature of chronic inflammatory diseases and surprisingly, with that knowledge, we know so little about how inflammation is controlled and people kind of thought before that it was just sort of a passive process. That once the organism was gone, then the response kind of went down on its own.

Narrator: But Strausbaugh found pain nerve fibers have an active role in controlling inflammation.

Strausbaugh: Basically what's happening is that inflammation is controlling itself because pain is part of inflammation. So, as inflammation builds up and pain increases, then pain can feedback basically on itself and lessen the inflammatory response.

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