Edward Bullmore, author of the excellent The Inflamed Mind writing in The Guardian
From depression to dementia, inflammation is medicine’s new frontier
“Unlikely as it may seem, #inflammation has become a hashtag. It seems to be everywhere suddenly, up to all sorts of tricks. Rather than simply being on our side, fighting infections and healing wounds, it turns out to have a dark side as well: the role it plays in causing us harm…
The brain is rapidly emerging as one of the new frontiers for inflammation. Doctors like myself, who went to medical school in the 20th century, were taught to think that there was an impermeable barrier between the brain and the immune system. In the 21st century, however, it has become clear that they are deeply interconnected and talk to each other all the time. Medical minds are now opening up to the idea that inflammation could be as widely and deeply implicated in brain and mind disorders as it is in bodily disorders…
Currently, physical and mental health services are sharply segregated, reflecting a philosophical prejudice against viewing the mind and body as deeply intertwined. The links that many patients recognise in their own experience of illness tend to be somewhat discounted by the standard NHS provision of mental or physical healthcare services. In contrast, the new science of inflammation and the brain is clearly aligned with arguments for breaking down these barriers in clinical practice. More than that, though, it has the potential to transform our thinking about illness more broadly. The barrier between mind and body, for so long a dogmatic conviction, appears to be crumbling.”
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