If you’re a longtime allergy sufferer, you’re all too aware how rough springtime can be on your sinuses.
But what you may not be as aware of is how hard it is on your brain, too…
Inflammation hijacks cognition
New research has linked sinus inflammation with changes in brain activity.
This isn’t the first finding to suggest the connection, of course. Previous studies have already demonstrated that sinusitis can impact thinking, focus, and sleep.
But this is the first study to show a concrete neurobiological change with chronic sinusitis. Researchers used data from more than 1,200 adults between the ages of 22 and 35 years, which included both brain imaging and cognitive/behavioral assessments.
Scientists identified 22 people with moderate or severe sinus inflammation. And they compared them to 22 subjects with no sinus inflammation. Then, MRIs revealed some pretty major differences, including:
- Lower connectivity in executive function, attention, and problem-solving hubs
- Higher connectivity in areas of the brain activated during wakeful rest and mind wandering
- Lower connectivity in areas involved in processing external stimuli, communication, and social behavior
Not only that, but the extent of these differences in brain activity directly correlated with the degree of sinus inflammation that each subject suffered. And when you think about it, that finding makes a lot of sense.
Clearing the path to a cure
The one thing that’s slightly surprising here is that these brain changes appeared to have no bearing on the subjects’ behavioral and cognitive functioning. But then again, we’re talking about a young population.
Still, the brain scans tell a clear story. And it’s more than plausible that all that’s needed to escalate these neurobiological changes into full-blown cognitive decline is time and lack of treatment.
Plus, it offers a pretty clear-cut explanation for any unusual brain fog that this year’s allergy season has ushered in. And at least one potential path toward reversing it.
In the end, chronic sinusitis is just another example of chronic inflammation. So, unsurprisingly, reining in that inflammation is critical to your recovery.
In fact, there really isn’t a health problem out there that reining in inflammation won’t help to solve. And that’s exactly why I have some big news to share with you on Monday. Stay tuned!
“Chronic sinus inflammation appears to alter brain activity: Study findings may help explain patients’ complaints of poor concentration and other cognitive symptoms that accompany sinusitis.” Science Daily, 04/08/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210408153646.htm)