NYAS On Inflammation

A recent briefing from the New York Academy of Sciences looks at inflammation, that great contributer to age-related degeneration:

The potential for destruction caused by dysregulated inflammation is apparent all around us. For just a few examples of potentially devastating chronic inflammatory diseases, consider irritable bowel disease, the spectrum of inflammatory rheumatic diseases, asthma, periodontal disease, and uveitis. Dysregulated inflammation in a wound, which prevents healing, illustrates an initially appropriate response that never turns off and thus never progresses to the next phase. In addition to these clinically obvious phenotypes, there is the far more subtle role - recently recognized - played by subclinical chronic inflammation as the invisible first step in a growing list of pathologies that currently includes cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, and possibly depression.

Chronic inflammation is a real bugbear, and as the briefing notes, researchers don't yet know enough about metabolism to simply turn off inflammation. Inflammation itself is a process, the output of a very complex web of signals and interactions, a dynamic state in a dynamic system - you can't just block the river and hope for the best.

The model of inflammation and aging known as inflammaging is a helpful way of looking at why control of inflammation is a very desirable goal for those of us interested in healthy longevity; you might take a look at a paper on this model at the open access journal Immunity & Aging - I found it interesting reading.

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