Genetic Alterations to Inflammatory Protein Linked to Symptom Development

A new study appearing in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity offers new insight into why trivial head injuries, or even injuries to other parts of the body, may be accompanied by incapacitating post-concussion like syndromes that include headaches, dizziness, cognitive impairment and other neuropsychiatric symptoms such as irritability, anxiety and insomnia. The common key, according to the research team based a McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, may not be concussion, but what the researchers term post-inflammatory brain syndrome or PIBS.

The study found that people who have a very subtle genetic change in a certain inflammatory protein have poorer recovery after brain injury. The findings suggest that in the absence of obviously visible brain injury, treatment of concussion like symptoms may best be accomplished by targeting inflammatory mediators. Social factors may also play a role, as it is known that the immune system can be modulated by preexisting stressors, depression, or anxiety. Read a news story about the findings here.

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