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Breakthrough study finds age-related cognitive decline may be reversible

By | Rich Haridy |

A breakthrough study from a team of neurologists at Stanford University claims to have discovered one way immune cells become dysfunctional as we age, leading to the inflammatory hyperdrive that plays a role in most age-related disease from cancer to cognitive decline. Preliminary study suggests this immune dysfunction can be reversed, pointing to compelling future anti-aging therapies.

As we age, our immune system slowly grows increasingly dysfunctional. For some that means the immune system can be slower to respond to infection, and for others it means defective immune cells begin to consistently attack healthy cells, causing chronic low-grade inflammation. Some researchers hypothesize this chronic inflammation plays a major role in many age-related diseases, particularly in the brain.

So this new research started out with some general questions. What could be causing this age-related immune dysfunction? Does this chronic inflammatory activity play a role in age-related cognitive decline? And, perhaps most importantly, can this mechanism be either slowed, or reversed?

The specific focus of the new study, published in the journalĀ Nature, was a hormone called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Levels of this particular hormone have previously been found to rise with aging. PGE2 is also known to promote inflammatory activity in immune cells.

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