Yesterday, on 12 – 12 – 12 at 12 noon, the Alzheimer’s Research Forum presented a superb webinar on Neuro-inflammation.  It featured a presentation by Switzerland’s  Irene Knuesel summarizing what the organizers called “watershed research” by  Dimitrije Krstic and Irene Knuesel using a chronic inflammation/aging mouse model of late onset “sporadic” Alzheimer’s disease which debuted at last summer’s Alzheimer’s Association’s International Research Conference.


Here is one of Knuesel and Krstuc’s beautiful slides in holiday colors (go to slide show below to find out what it represents):            

The “bottom line” of the webinar agreed upon by all the presenters is that  neuro-inflammation is a key player in the initial development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology, especially for the 95% of patients who have late onset or “sporadic” disease.  Many forms of chronic inflammation, that may start in the body and spread to the brain, appear to stimulate the formation and accumulation of both problem proteins in Alzheimer’s disease, phosphoralated tau as well as A-beta.

Here is a direct quote from the organizer’s website: ” In the November 27 Nature Reviews Neurology, Dimitrije Krstic and Irene Knueselargue that age-related chronic inflammation occurs early in the disease and puts neurons under undue stress. The cells respond by accumulating misfolded tau, which in turn derails axonal transport, leading to further neuronal damage, including accumulation of Aβ. They suggest that focusing on this “inflammation hypothesis of AD” could herald new directions in AD research and therapy.  (To see this paper, go to the alzforum website link show below).

In this Webinar, Knuesel, from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, explained her concepts. John Breitner, McGill University; Michael Heneka, University of Bonn; Frank Heppner, Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin; and Terrence Town, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, joined Knuesel for a panel discussion.”

There was a very interesting discussion among panelists which also suggested anti-inflammatory agents may be very important as prevention agents but may also be trickier to use to slow or treat pathology once it has developed into full blown MCI or dementia.   In addition, researchers are gaining insights into the variable roles of different parts of the human immune system , and are finding out that it is as complex in Alzheimer’s disease as with others, and there are still many unknowns. This exciting body of research dovetails nicely with discovery of Alzheimer’s risk genes related to both parts of the immune system, the way the body/brain handles inflammation as well as the lipid transport system.

In my opinion, these research reports  add to the building evidence that indeed our brain healthy nutrition and nutrients are important for lowering risk of Alzheimer’s and protecting against cognitive decline in middle and older ages.  As my readers know,  I have long been in the “inflammation and oxidative stress play an early role” camp so this webinar lends additional important support to my hypotheses.  Previous evidence led me to propose a diet that includes both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory strategies (along with balancing blood sugar and lipids) : the Memory Preservation Nutrition program.

Here are the links you need to watch the entire webinar    or visit


And the two slide shows that presenters shared:   Irene Knuesel’s slides     Here is an example: 

Reference: Krstic D, Knuesel I. Deciphering the mechanism underlying late-onset Alzheimer disease. Nat Rev Neurol. 2012 Nov 27.

     Terrance Town’s slides           Dr. Town emphasized good types of neuroinflammation where macrophages help “eat up” the A-beta accumulations (aka B-Amyloid Plaque). His experiments suggest that this good neuro-inflammation doesn’t come at the cost of neurotoxicity as has happened with many forms of neuro-inflammation.

Other panelists: John Breitner     Michael Heneker    Frank Heppner


Anyone may join the by going to the website and signing up.  This organization is free and was formed by the Alzheimer’s Association and others to encourage the free exchange of information among researchers.   Register here


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