Investigating the impact of acute muscle injury-induced inflammation on the brain in the elderly.
A serious complication following a fall-related injury and hospitalisation is the onset of delirium, which can also lead to dementia. This occurs when the body’s defences, including the immune system, are in decline. We have previously found a major defect in key immune cells, known as macrophages, which help explains why repair following injury is slower in the elderly. This defect is likely to have profound effects at other sites, such as the brain and may lead to declining cognitive function following acute injury. Yet, few studies have examined the combined effects of declining immune function on injury repair and impact on brain function. This project will examine changes to the brain of young versus elderly hosts following injury and immune targeting therapy. This will determine whether an ageing immune system influences brain function following acute injury and has the potential to identify new avenues for treatment in the elderly.
Dr Jackaman is a Research Fellow based at the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Western Australia.