A new study has shown that frequent or repeated mild to moderate microbial infections during one's lifetime is associated with the greater cognitive decline with age. The study found a connection between the long-lasting effects of the common cold or flu and the increased risk of dementia with ageing. It also pointed out that there might be a need for more aggressive treatments for microbial infections, especially for the ageing population who might be at higher risk of cognitive decline.
The study was however conducted on mice and as per the study authors, the results cannot be generalized at this point. Generally, people having a cold or flu are advised to rest and increased fluid intake. However, the study has raised a flag about the long-lasting effects of the inflammation caused by these infections.
What did the study find?
The study published in the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity used middle-aged mice as its subject. They were administered a bacterial toxin lipopolysaccharide to these mice who showed a cognitive decline with repeated exposure. The study found that after the administration of this toxin, there were changes in the plasticity of neurons in brain regions associated with learning and memory. The study suggests that frequent inflammation caused by these microbial infections much like many other factors can contribute to brain ageing. Elderly people who are more susceptible to reduced cognitive function might be at a higher risk.
The study in fact showed that a single dose of the toxin had a long-lasting impact on the mice. The results cannot be generalized as the experiment was not conducted on humans. However, keeping the fact in mind that immune systems do show some mirroring between mice and humans, the researchers are optimistic that the results show how common microbial infections can cause long-lasting changes in the body and whether adequate rest and increased fluid intake enough to combat the condition especially in the elderly.
How to get rid of the flu fast?
Prevention is always better than cure. So, the first attempt must be to avoid exposure to microbial infections. Staying inside the house and resting can ensure that others are not infected. There are a few other things that you can do-
Drinking plenty of fluids
Avoiding smoking or drinking alcohol
Taking warm water bath
Applying vapour rub on the chest
Taking steam for bad congestion
Taking a saltwater gargle
Trying supplements such as vitamin C or probiotics.