Since late 2016 we have entered the age of disclosures! Fasten your mental safety belt and enjoy the ride! Heretic

Monday, July 1, 2019

Connection between immune system, microbiome and psychiatric disorders

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"He Got Schizophrenia. He Got Cancer. And Then He Got Cured." by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, NYT, Sept. 29, 2018

Quotes:

...A year later, the man’s condition worsened. He developed fatigue, fever and shortness of breath, and it turned out he had a cancer of the blood called acute myeloid leukemia. He’d need a bone-marrow transplant to survive. After the procedure came the miracle. The man’s delusions and paranoia almost completely disappeared. His schizophrenia seemingly vanished.

Years later, “he is completely off all medication and shows no psychiatric symptoms,” Dr. Miyaoka told me in an email. Somehow the transplant cured the man’s schizophrenia.

A bone-marrow transplant essentially reboots the immune system. Chemotherapy kills off your old white blood cells, and new ones sprout from the donor’s transplanted blood stem cells. It’s unwise to extrapolate too much from a single case study, and it’s possible it was the drugs the man took as part of the transplant procedure that helped him. But his recovery suggests that his immune system was somehow driving his psychiatric symptoms.

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In the late 19th century, physicians noticed that when infections tore through psychiatric wards, the resulting fevers seemed to cause an improvement in some mentally ill and even catatonic patients.

Inspired by these observations, the Austrian physician Julius Wagner-Jauregg developed a method of deliberate infection of psychiatric patients with malaria to induce fever. Some of his patients died from the treatment, but many others recovered. He won a Nobel Prize in 1927.

One much more recent case study relates how a woman’s psychotic symptoms — she had schizoaffective disorder, which combines symptoms of schizophrenia and a mood disorder such as depression — were gone after a severe infection with high fever.

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Indeed, in the past 15 years or so, a new field has emerged called autoimmune neurology. Some two dozen autoimmune diseases of the brain and nervous system have been described. The best known is probably anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis, made famous by Susannah Cahalan’s memoir “Brain on Fire.” These disorders can resemble bipolar disorder, epilepsy, even dementia — and that’s often how they’re diagnosed initially. But when promptly treated with powerful immune-suppressing therapies, what looks like dementia often reverses. Psychosis evaporates. Epilepsy stops. Patients who just a decade ago might have been institutionalized, or even died, get better and go home.

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Dr. Robert Yolken, a professor of developmental neurovirology at Johns Hopkins, estimates that about a third of schizophrenia patients show some evidence of immune disturbance. “The role of immune activation in serious psychiatric disorders is probably the most interesting new thing to know about these disorders,” he told me.

Studies on the role of genes in schizophrenia also suggest immune involvement, a finding that, for Dr. Yolken, helps to resolve an old puzzle. People with schizophrenia tend not to have many children. So how have the genes that increase the risk of schizophrenia, assuming they exist, persisted in populations over time? One possibility is that we retain genes that might increase the risk of schizophrenia because those genes helped humans fight off pathogens in the past. Some psychiatric illness may be an inadvertent consequence, in part, of having an aggressive immune system.

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Another case study from the Netherlands highlights this still-mysterious relationship. In this study, on which Dr. Yolken is a co-author, a man with leukemia received a bone-marrow transplant from a schizophrenic brother. He beat the cancer but developed schizophrenia. Once he had the same immune system, he developed similar psychiatric symptoms.

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And there may be other, softer interventions. A decade ago, Dr. Miyaoka accidentally discovered one. He treated two schizophrenia patients who were both institutionalized, and practically catatonic, with minocycline, an old antibiotic usually used for acne. Both completely normalized on the antibiotic. When Dr. Miyaoka stopped it, their psychosis returned. So he prescribed the patients a low dose on a continuing basis and discharged them.

Minocycline has since been studied by others. Larger trials suggest that it’s an effective add-on treatment for schizophrenia. Some have argued that it works because it tamps down inflammation in the brain. But it’s also possible that it affects the microbiome — the community of microbes in the human body — and thus changes how the immune system works.

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The study is preliminary, but it suggests that targeting immune function may improve mental health outcomes and that tinkering with the microbiome might be a practical, cost-effective way to do this.






3 comments :

JC said...

https://www.redpenreviews.org/reviews/the-china-study-the-most-comprehensive-study-of-nutrition-ever-conducted-and-the-startling-implications-for-diet-weight-loss-and-long-term-health/

Anonymous said...

That info in this post really is amazing. The future could be very interesting if we could get a handle on what makes these sort of things happen.

Sam said...

My apologies I thought of this after I hit enter. You might be interested in this. It appears that anti-parasite medication has the effect of killing cancer. This guys site is interesting. He lost his wife and decided to make a site on alternative cancer treatments.

In the US they discontinued this over the counter but you can get it mailed from overseas.

https://www.cancertreatmentsresearch.com/the-over-the-counter-drug-mebendazole-acts-like-chemotherapy-but-with-virtually-no-side-effects/

This next one is interesting because it's available for $12 US or so from Tractor Supply a large farm chain store. It's called Panacur C for horses. I'm thinking about trying it as a preventative measure as the side effects are low to nonexistent.

https://www.cancertreatmentsresearch.com/fenbendazole/