In terms of the brain and body, the noun inflammation describes a localized protective response to injury or destruction of tissues. This can be due to physical, chemical, and biologic agents, such as mechanical trauma, exposure to excessive amounts of sunlight, x-rays and radioactive materials, corrosive chemicals, and extremes of heat (e.g., sunburn) and cold.(e.g., frostbite), Injury is by no means the only trigger, however. Infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogenic microorganisms or germs can trigger inflammation. While these infectious agents can produce inflammation, remember that infection and inflammation are not synonymous. The inflammation process is designed to destroy, dilute, or wall off both the injurious agent and the injured tissue. At its best, inflammation can help the body heal. At its worst, inflammation can inflict its own type of damage. More tomorrow.