View Full Version : Infections altering brain chemistry and genetic expression


kilted_scotsman
03-27-15, 09:42 AM
I'd heard of this in mice but the research described in the linked article goes deeper into the mechanism of Toxoplasmosis, and links into possible behavioural effects in humans. The bit about male introversion, suspicion and rebellion and the female equivalent was interesting but when it mentioned people with RhD + toxoplasmosis being 6x more likely to be involved in car accidents I began to wonder about possible links to the ADHD symptom cluster.

http://www.salon.com/2015/03/27/the_parasite_made_me_do_it_how_a_common_infection_ could_manipulate_our_behavior_partner/

kilted

TygerSan
03-27-15, 11:48 AM
There's some evidence that toxiplasmosis infection also increases suicide risk. There is definitely a tie in with neuro/ mental health issues.

eclectic beagle
03-27-15, 03:29 PM
I vaguely remember that there is a tenuous link between strep infections and ocd.

TygerSan
03-27-15, 04:02 PM
I vaguely remember that there is a tenuous link between strep infections and ocd.


That's PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders associated with Strep). It's a bit controversial in the research world. Sue Swedo is the one who first described the syndrome. It's thought to be related to Sydenham's chorea, only causing damage in a different part of the basal ganglia. Usually, the disorder involves a very rapid development (sometimes overnight) of tics and compulsions.

Problem is, the treatment can be a prophylactic course of antibiotics when the child tests positive for strep (regardless of overt symptoms), which leads to the possibility of the development of antibiotic resistance (already a major problem).

moth2flame
03-27-15, 05:38 PM
Thank you for pointing out this article, it's a topic that interests me greatly: I am starting to suspect that my history of bacterial infections - confirmed scarlet fever at age 5 (which led to what is now called PANDAS), recurring strep throat throughout childhood, plus the newly-discovered possibility of having had cat scratch disease chronically since my teens - has a lot to do with a constellation of former and current psych issues I've been diagnosed with (sub-clinical/transient OCD, major depression, anxiety, panic attacks and ADHD).

All the reading I've done so far suggests strong links between various types of brain inflammation, and a range of psychiatric disorders:

https://bbrfoundation.org/brain-matters-discoveries/for-the-first-time-a-marker-of-neuroinflammation-is-seen-in-brain-scans-of - they only studied major depression (MDD), but relevant to the discussion

http://www.jneuroinflammation.com/content/10/1/43 - beware, very long and dense scientific paper! Discusses correlations and some of the possible autoimmune and inflammatory mechanisms involved in depression, OCD, bipolar and schizophrenia.

While neither of these articles discusses ADHD specifically, considering how much overlap there tends to be between co-morbid psych problems, I still think they're extremely relevant. I also find it interesting that at the latter link, they discuss how SSRIs and antipsychotics may work in part through an antioxidant effect: possibly lessening symptoms in some people by buffering the brain from damaging effects of oxidative stress.

My conclusion? I'm starting to suspect (hope?) that most if not all psychiatric disorders have their roots in real, measurable physiological causes. Whether trauma, infections, toxins, genetics or combinations of all four... identifying them could not only help to find better future treatments, but to de-stigmatize "mental illness" in general. A tall order, maybe, but here's hoping! :)

BellaVita
03-27-15, 05:51 PM
That's PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders associated with Strep). It's a bit controversial in the research world. Sue Swedo is the one who first described the syndrome. It's thought to be related to Sydenham's chorea, only causing damage in a different part of the basal ganglia. Usually, the disorder involves a very rapid development (sometimes overnight) of tics and compulsions.

Problem is, the treatment can be a prophylactic course of antibiotics when the child tests positive for strep (regardless of overt symptoms), which leads to the possibility of the development of antibiotic resistance (already a major problem).

I watched a documentary about that before, fascinating.

I also think Anti-NMDA Receptor Autoimmune Encephalitis is quite intriguing.

So much to learn/discover in the medical world.

moth2flame
03-27-15, 05:59 PM
I watched a documentary about that before, fascinating.

Do you happen to remember what the documentary was called? I'd be really interested in seeing it!

BellaVita
03-27-15, 06:04 PM
Do you happen to remember what the documentary was called? I'd be really interested in seeing it!

It was actually more of a documentary TV show. You can search in Youtube "Mystery Diagnosis PANDAS" lemme know if it comes up.

If not, I can find it for you.

eclectic beagle
03-27-15, 06:18 PM
That's PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders associated with Strep). It's a bit controversial in the research world. Sue Swedo is the one who first described the syndrome. It's thought to be related to Sydenham's chorea, only causing damage in a different part of the basal ganglia. Usually, the disorder involves a very rapid development (sometimes overnight) of tics and compulsions.

Problem is, the treatment can be a prophylactic course of antibiotics when the child tests positive for strep (regardless of overt symptoms), which leads to the possibility of the development of antibiotic resistance (already a major problem).

Hmm, interesting. I'm wondering if part of the controversy rests on this concept of infection causing mental illness not necessarily being accounted for by the insular paradigms within psychiatry. Of course, the controversy might be, and probably is, multi-faceted.

I sometimes wonder if the biological model proposed by psychiatry has the strange effect of re-affirming the brain as an abstract or impenetrable bundle of function or malfunction.

Unmanagable
03-27-15, 09:05 PM
Urinary tract infections used to severely affect the gentleman I used to do respite care for. He had parkinson's. Any progress he had made physically and cognitively was totally wiped away each time and they had to start over. My sis also had a UTI when she had her episode and had to be hospitalized. She's diagnosed with schizo-effective disorder.