The negatives: Apparantly, being poor/uneducated, adverse psychosocial experiences in childhood, peer rejection, childhood trauma, and having experienced childhood adversity, high fat diet, all predict higher levels of inflammation. Further more, prenatal exposure to inflammation in the womb can cause brain damage in mice, and a host of negative responses in the human infant.
The good news: Having positive social support, exercise, anti-inflammatory components in nutritious food, yoga, and mind body awareness all seem to reduce these inflammatory markers. The ease with which one can take a blood test and see how the body is responding to environmental factors, lifestyle changes, and social support may open up new doors in understanding the environmental origins of many common chronic conditions, as well as being able to measure how we can create positive environments and supports that will directly reduce such inflammation. Of course, pharma is hoping we choose NSAIDs.
The research also has found that inflammation seems to be a common link between obesity, heart disease, neuroinflammation, diabetese, PTSD, liver disorders, HPA axis dysregulation, irritable bowel syndrome and mental illness. Finding ways to reduce or reverse the inflammatory process before drugs are necessary may be more easy to measure now than ever before (although we are just now at the beginnings of studying how inflammation fits into such a multi faceted process.)
We’ve been hearing for years that things like exercise, getting sun, hanging out with people and talking, and diet all put you in a better mood and contribute to health later in life—this just seems like an extension of that ideal into psychology/neurology.
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April 14, 2011, 8:08pm