Scientists Link Autism and the Immune System

Researchers from the Mount Sinai hospital in New York City have found that mothers with auto-immune deficiencies such as lupus are more likely to have a child with autism.

This finding was part of a larger study examining the correlation between mental health and physical illness- a link that many scientists have concluded to be not only prominent, but also relevant in improving treatments.

“One of the things we need to stop thinking is that mental health is just a disorder of the brain,” says researcher Georgia Hodes, of the Icahn Medical Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, who conducted the study. “There’s plenty of evidence in a number of different mental illnesses that they have components to them that relate to the entire body.”

For those diagnosed with mental illness, this may explain why certain chemical treatments do not work.

For individuals on the autism spectrum, this means that by targeting the immune system for common problems like gastrointestinal disorders and inflammation, doctors can improve the behavioral aspects of the disorder.

Inflammation is exceptionally prevalent in autistic children who are hyper-active and irritable.

Judy Van de Water, an immunologist at the MIND Institute at the University of California-Davis, says that researchers are still working out the link between autism and the immune system. The good news is, by merely exploring this new idea, neuroscientists are “casting a broader net” in terms of brainstorming and implementing new forms of treatment and therapy.

For more information regarding current treatments, read the link here: http://www.icare4autism.org/what-is-autism/treatments/

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/01/immune-inflammation-mental-health/3712121/

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