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Infections 'could worsen dementia

Infections 'could worsen dementia
26th March 2014

A new study has found that infections could worsen the effects of dementia.

Researchers at the University of Southampton tested mice to determine what happens to the brain when an individual with dementia catches an infection.

They discovered that the brain is more likely to become inflamed under such conditions.

If a disease such as Alzheimer's is in the early stages then the immune cells in mice would attempt to block its progress.

However, when its body was forced to fight an infection at the same time, the brain became even more inflamed and the disease worsened.

The scientists involved in the study said that this was what they expected, based on situations in hospitals when dementia patients develop other problems.

Hugh Perry, professor of experimental neuropathology and leader of the study, said: "The findings mirror what we are observing in people with Alzheimer's disease in the clinic.

"We have found evidence that people with Alzheimer's who have systemic infections, such as chest or urine infections, are more likely to have faster decline in memory and thinking and more severe symptoms."

He added that they were now looking for ways that this evidence could be used to form a potential treatment for people who have such issues - although this would likely only slow down the disease.

Professor Perry said: "If this process is key to driving diseases like Alzheimer's, then keeping it in check could be a way to slow down the disease in people."

Fife

Meanwhile, Fife is currently taking steps to becoming a more dementia-friendly community, with an informal seminar taking place yesterday (March 25th), Fife Today reports.

A number of local residents and business owners gathered to discuss ways in which they could make the area a better place to live for people with the disease.

Supported by the Fife Council, the pilot scheme could later be rolled-out across other towns in the UK.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.