Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Inflammation of Body and Brain

Many studies have linked inflammation, excessive oxidative stress, and autoimmune disorders with psychiatric and many other medical illnesses. Altered levels of inflammatory markers such as cytokines and immune cells keep cropping up in the literature.

There is increasing evidence that many illnesses categorized diagnostically in the DSM-IV and ICD-10 under “Mental and Behavioral Disorders” are actually systemic (body-wide) disorders. They are physical illnesses affecting the brain—i.e. biological disorders. This systemic effect is well-documented in autism.

Another, even more revealing study has come out about inflammation and neurobiological disorders (biological disorders, as opposed to emotional & personality problems) affecting brain function. This one, from the Netherlands, shows that inflammation of both body and brain precedes the psychiatric symptoms of bipolar disorder.

The study, nicely reported by Science News, explains that many genes involved in our immune / inflammatory responses get revved up. The study also suggests that anti-inflammatory agents could help treat these disorders. Interestingly, lithium, commonly used for bipolar disorder, which has been found to help re-grow and preserve brain neurons, brought down the activity level of these inflammatory genes.

According to the article, data show that risk of type I diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, celiac, and other inflammatory diseases may be elevated in our children.

The lead clinical immunologist of the study, Hemmo Drexhage, says of bipolar, “It’s not just a disease of the brain, it affects the entire system.” Interestingly, this is exactly what the medical community has been saying about autism.

This may help explain why so many nutritional supplements and anti-inflammatory diets help many of our children. It may explain why Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) is proving to be helpful in preventing or delaying the escalation of some brain symptoms from becoming so severe they get called “schizophrenia.”

Inflammation affecting body and brain definitely seemed involved in my younger daughter's case (See book: It's Not Mental).

To get started learning about the link between nutrition, inflammation, genes, and disease--and what to do about it, here are more links on this site and others, and some books on the topic:
Books on Nutrition and Inflammation by Jack Challem


Property of:      www.ItsNotMental.com  
Last Updated:  05 May 2012


Anonymous said...

this seems so right;

before my affective psychosis began, about 3 years prior, I developed bone pain followed by inflammatory bowel disease. I now take fish oil daily and am planning to come off my Risperdal soon. Im hoping I can go with Neurontin, or better yet just the fish oil.

Anonymous said...

I am now 60 and was diagnosed bipolar at age 40 and started taking Lithium. I had symptoms all my life of course. Since taking Lithium I have much less arthritis. When I have a bipolar incident I run a low grade fever. It always takes 2 to 3 months to pull out of it. If I really push myself when I crash, then for sure I will provoke a major arthritic attack. I found that I could major arthritis with arthritic diet and lifestyle. Taking Lithium made all that easier. I would say for sure there is a connection between my bipolar and inflammation.