In our heads, there exists what is known as the blood-brain barrier which is a border that separates circulating blood from the brain. This in turn also prevents molecules or infectious organisms in our blood to leak into our brain, but the problem is that as we age, scientists have discovered that this barrier gets weaker, which causes chemicals to leak into our brain resulting in inflammation that leads to brain-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and so on.

It was largely assumed that this is age related and that there was not much we could do about it, but that might not necessarily be true anymore. According to a paper published in the Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Ben-Gurion University are proposing that by reducing the brain inflammation, there is the potential to reverse issues such as dementia.

This was tested out on senile mice where when they were given a drug designed to reduce brain inflammation, they were able to learn new tasks where they were nearly as good as mice that were half their age. This also seems to prove what researchers found back in 2007, where they suggested that a blood protein known as albumin could be what causes some of those problems.

The researchers back then introduced albumin into the brain of mice, where within a week, the brains of young mice suddenly looked like the brains of old mice in terms of hyperexcitability and also their susceptibility to seizures.

According to one of the researchers, Daniela Kaufer, “We got to this through this back door; we started with questions about plasticity having to do with the blood-brain barrier, traumatic brain injury and how epilepsy develops. But after we’d learned a lot about the mechanisms, we started thinking that maybe in aging it is the same story. This is new biology, a completely new angle on why neurological function deteriorates as the brain ages.”

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