Inflammation within the central nervous system (CNS; neuroinflammation) is a major contributor to lasting symptoms of traumatic brain injury and stroke, and likely has a casual role Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative conditions. Therapeutic modulation of the immune processes that initiate and maintain neuroinflammation is of growing scientific interest but neuroinflammatory drug development is hampered by limited reliability and availability of neuroimaging or other biomarkers in humans. Better means of establishing drug efficacy on human neuroinflammation would have great value in accelerating the development of neuroinflammatory compounds for many clinical indications. Here, we discuss the use of postoperative cognitive decline (POCD), which is hypothesised to have a neuroinflammatory basis, as an acute indication to demonstrate the efficacy of novel neuroinflammatory drugs.

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