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Steroids Used For Asthma Linked To Brain Decline

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Glucocorticoids are some of the most frequently prescribed anti-inflammatory medications for asthma. However, taking glucocorticoids may damage the white matter of the brain, according to a new study. This new study is particularly interesting in showing the extent to which white matter is affected by medication use, Thomas Ritz, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University. White matter is the tissue that forms connections between brain cells and the rest of the nervous system. Having less white matter can slow the brain's ability to process information, pay attention and remember. Lower levels of white matter have also been connected to psychiatric issues such as depression, anxiety and irritability. However, experts argue that this is no reason for alarm, as white matter can repair itself. If you give patients steroids, the brain does shrink, but when you take them off the steroids, it comes back, Dr. Avindra Nath, clinical director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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