A look at the role of chronic inflammation in Alzheimer's disease: "Even today, Alzheimer's is still a disease that is definitively diagnosed only after death and autopsy, when it is easy to recognize the disease's cardinal features: a shrunken brain with amyloid plaques dotted among neurons laden with neurofibrillary tangles, and often with inclusions similar to those found in the brains of patients who have died of Parkinson's. These irrefutable histological markers of Alzheimer's led to the logical conclusion by most researchers that plaques are the cause of the problem. Many pharmaceutical companies have taken vigorous aim at amyloid with no clear evidence so far that ridding the brain of plaques in Alzheimer's disease results in cognitive improvement. Lacking a smoking gun that definitively singles out the plaques as the causative agent, amyloid is the scientific equivalent of a culprit assumed guilty until proven innocent. ... Mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a critical role in causing Alzheimer's disease. Over the last few decades we have gone from a situation where inflammation was generally believed to have no role in the disease to the current picture where chronic activation of IL-1 inflammation has been shown to account for many of the hallmarks of the disease. This review is a personal account of the quest to prove that inflammation plays a critical role in causing Alzheimer's disease."