Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Inflammation in the brainis linked to memory loss and cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory loss caused by inflammation in the brain may be treatable and reversible, a new study has found.

The study, led by Dr. Beverley Orser, Staff Anesthesiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Dr. Dian-Shi Wang, Research Associate in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto, found that memory loss could be reversed by pharmacologically targeting "memory-blocking" receptors in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that regulates learning and memory.

"Inflammation in the brain has been linked to memory loss and cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. When inflammation has occurred after an infection, injury, stroke, or even after a surgical procedure, the resulting memory loss can be profound and prolonged. Currently, there is no treatment for post-surgery memory loss," says Dr. Orser, who also works in the Department of Anesthesiology and Physiology at the University of Toronto.

Story continues below advertisement

Dr. Orser's team found that a key inflammatory factor IL-1β activates a protein she refers to as a "memory blocking" receptor, α5GABA (the gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptor, alpha 5). Increasing the activity of the memory blocking receptor causes memory deficits in mice; however, once mice were treated with a drug that inhibits the memory blocking receptor, memory loss was reversed.

The results of the study provide insights into the cause of memory loss and a possible treatment associated with inflammation, a needed event in the healing process. "Although inflammation leads to memory loss, dampening inflammation with drugs such as steroids results in poor wound healing. We sought to identify the specific downstream target in the brain that causes memory loss which accompanied inflammatory events," says Dr. Orser.

Dr. Orser hopes these findings will be applied to a clinical trial in the near future, with a study focusing on those who have experienced cognitive deficits after surgery.

The study, published online today in advance of publication in the September 2012 issue of the journal Cell Reports, was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies