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Brain Inflammation and Steroids: Two Double-Edged Swords

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Bowman Gray School of Medicine
Winston-Salem, N. C.

Ann Intern Med. 1969;70(1):221-222. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-70-1-221
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Inflammation, whatever its cause, is a double-edged sword that can be a help or a hindrance to the tissue in which it occurs (1). In the central nervous system, for example, beneficial and harmful effects are hard to separate because certain elements of inflammation can cause disaster—edema often results in death, and adhesions may interfere with the secretion, circulation, and resorption of cerebrospinal fluid. Patients with bacterial meningitis, even when treated early with appropriate antibiotics, frequently die or are permanently crippled by these secondary effects (2). In efforts to reduce these undesirable elements and sequels of central nervous system inflammation,


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