Inflammation is Associated with Lower Intelligence and Premature Death
Stockholm, 6 September, 2010 - Inflammation is associated with lower intelligence and premature death, according to Swedish scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. “Those with low-grade inflammation performed more poorly on standardised intelligence tests, even after excluding those with signs of current illness. Inflammation also predicted an increased risk of premature death,” said lead researcher Dr Hakan Karlsson.
The research, recently published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity (August,24:868–873), used large population-based registers containing data collected over several decades. Inflammation and intelligence were measured at 18-20 years of age in nearly 50,000 young men, and deaths over the following 35 years were recorded.
“Although we knew that inflammation associated with infection or cardiovascular disease could impair brain function, this is the first time that similar associations have been shown in healthy young people,” said Dr Karlsson. “This suggests that even low levels of inflammation can have detrimental consequences for health and brain function,” he added.
“Since low-grade inflammation appears to be hazardous, it is also important to determine its causes,” affirmed Dr Karlsson. “One interesting possibility is the role of environmental factors during childhood,” he added. In the current study, childhood socio-economic status predicted the level of inflammation seen in young adulthood. For example, children of farmers had higher levels of inflammation than those whose fathers were non-manual workers. “It’s possible that these boys were exposed to more toxins, allergens or infectious agents in childhood, leading to greater inflammation and its negative effects later in life,” he remarked.
“This is an important finding because it is the largest study to date to show that low-grade inflammation in young adulthood is associated with intelligence and mortality,” said Dr Michelle Luciano, from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. “An interesting question now is whether the effects of a less healthy childhood environment on inflammation persist into middle age and beyond,” she commented.
The research was funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA, the Swedish Research Council, and the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.
# # #
About Brain, Behavior and Immunity
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, founded in 1987, is the official journal of the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society (PNIRS; www.pnirs.org). This innovative journal publishes peer-reviewed basic, experimental, and clinical studies dealing with behavioral, neural, endocrine, and immune system interactions in humans and animals. It is an international, interdisciplinary journal devoted to investigation of the physiological systems that integrate behavioral and immunological responses.
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.elsevier.com
+ 44 1865 843654