Inflammation in young age linked to midlife cognitive decline | The Express Tribune

Inflammation in young age linked to midlife cognitive decline | The Express Tribune

A new study has found that higher inflammation in young adulthood is associated with reduced cognitive function in midlife. Researchers discovered that inflammation caused by factors such as obesity and smoking can negatively impact memory and processing speed.

Previously noted in older adults, this link now extends to early adulthood, suggesting long-term effects on brain health. The findings indicate that reducing inflammation through lifestyle changes may help prevent cognitive decline.

The study tracked approximately 2,364 adults over 18 years, measuring both inflammation and cognitive skills. Researchers observed that higher inflammation in young adulthood was linked to lower performance in cognitive skill tests in midlife.

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“Young adults who have higher levels of inflammation, which is associated with obesity, physical inactivity, chronic illness, stress, and smoking, may experience reduced cognitive function in midlife,” said Amber Bahorik, PhD, of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences.

The study is one of the first to connect early adulthood inflammation with lower cognitive abilities in midlife, expanding on previous research that linked higher inflammation in older adults to dementia.

“We know from long-term studies that brain changes leading to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias may take decades to develop,” Bahorik said.

Following the study, scholars urge people to increase physical activity and quit smoking to decrease body inflammation and potentially improve long-term brain health.

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