Irritability, agitation and anxiety in Alzheimer’s patients caused by brain inflammation, study says

November 29, 2023- Common neuropsychiatric symptoms that doctors see in Alzheimer’s disease patients originate from brain inflammation rather than amyloid and tau proteins, report University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers in JAMA Network Open.

The finding strengthens mounting evidence for the role of neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s progression and suggests new pathways for the development of therapies targeting neurological symptoms of the disease.

Earlier this year, Pitt scientists discovered that excessive brain inflammation is critical for disease initiation and can predict whether cognitively unimpaired elderly are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Their earlier research hinted at the importance of neuroinflammation in the pathological cascade involving other key players in Alzheimer’s pathology including amyloid beta and tau.

The new findings provide the first strong evidence that brain inflammation is also a direct cause of neuropsychiatric symptoms that often accompany Alzheimer’s-associated dementias.

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