Explaining and preventing post-surgery memory loss

November, 2010

More evidence of the evils of inflammation for cognitive functioning comes from a mouse study that points to a simple remedy for the cognitive impairment that often follows major surgery.

Major surgery often produces cognitive dysfunction, usually temporary, but for some, long-lasting. It has been suggested that the problem might have to do with the immune system's inflammatory response. A new mouse study provides more evidence for this.

The study found that giving the mice a common inhibitor of the inflammatory response (anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antibody), before orthopedic surgery, decreased postoperative cognitive decline. It’s hoped human clinical testing of this approach will begin within a year.

Interestingly, the curry spice curcurmin, and catechins found in green tea, are also said to inhibit the tumor necrosis factor. Both of these have been implicated in reducing dementia and age-related cognitive impairment.

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