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Inflammation May Negatively Impact Ability to Stay Alert

Inflammation May Negatively Impact Ability to Stay Alert

Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli, and usually lasts a few days. A new study suggests that acute inflammation may have a negative effect on the brain’s ability to reach and maintain an alert state.

Twenty young males participated in the study. In the first phase of the study, they were given a salmonella typhoid vaccine that causes temporary inflammation. In the second phase, they were given a placebo injection. Six hours after the injections, the participants were administered cognitive tests that measured alerting, orienting, and executive control. Brain activity was measured while they completed the tests.

 The researchers found that inflammation had a negative effect on brain activity related to maintaining alertness. Inflammation did not affect orienteering or executive control. They believe their results may help explain the mental sluggishness often felt during times of illness.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Birmingham and the University of Amsterdam. It was published on November 15, 2019 in the journal Neurolmage.

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