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padgett1 - Inflammation as enemy Los Angeles Times Page 1...

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8:43 AM PDT, June 18, 2007 JOBS CARS REAL ESTATE APARTMENTS HOME MyLATimes Site Map Health Medicine Fitness Nutrition Columns Science NEWS California | Local National World Entertainment News Business Sports Politics Opinion Columnists Print Edition Calendarlive Travel West Magazine Home & Garden Health Food L.A. Wheels Books Image Obituaries Crossword, Sudoku All Sections Corrections BUY, SELL & MORE Jobs Cars Real Estate Apartments Personals Deals at Local Stores Coupons Newspaper Ads PLACE AN AD LAT Media Group latimes.com MEMBER SERVICES Sign Up Log In Health : Nutrition Print E-mail story Most e-ma Inflammation as enemy An immune reaction may contribute to diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's. Doctors are shifting focus to the common thread. April 17, 2006 The idea is as simple as it is radical: Chronic inflammation, spurred by an immune system run amok, appears to play a role in a host of medical evils — including arthritis, Alzheimer's, diabetes and heart disease. There's no grand proof of this "theory of everything." But doctors say the evidence is compelling enough that we should act as if it were true — which means eating an "anti- inflammatory diet," getting lots of physical activity and losing the fat that pumps out the chemicals that drive inflammation. Inflammation, of course, is not all bad. In fact, as part of the typical immune response, it's essential for battling germs and healing wounds. The familiar redness, heat, swelling and pain from, say, a hangnail or a splinter are signs of inflammation at work. FOR THE RECORD: Inflammation —An article on chronic inflammation in the April 17 Health section referred to cytokines as inflammatory cells. Cytokines are proteins released by some immune cells. But when the inflammation process fails to shut off after an infection or injury is over, trouble sets in. Many doctors now think persistent, low-level inflammation may pave the way for the chronic diseases of later life. Over the evolutionary eons, "we developed these important host defenses to let us get to reproductive age," said Dr. Peter Libby, chief of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "Now, the lifespan has almost doubled, and these same [immune responses] contribute to diseases in the end."
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