Friday January 19, 2018

Find out how our Immune System is related to Brain Functioning

The scientists found that immune system signalling can directly affect, and even change, social behaviour in mice and other model animals.

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Connection between Brain and Immune System. Image Source: www.deccanchronicle.com
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  • The researchers developed and employed a novel systems-biology approach to investigate the complex dialogue between immune signalling and brain function in health and disease
  • The researchers predicted an unexpected role for interferon gamma (IFN-?), an important substance secreted by immune cells, in promoting social brain functions
  • Restoring of IFN-?-signalling in the brain normalised brain activity and social behaviour

A new research suggests that neurological diseases such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia can be caused by malfunctioning of immune system

Autism: A Neurological Disease. Image Source: www.americanhealthreview.com
Autism: A Neurological Disease. Image Source: www.americanhealthreview.com

“Our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of social dysfunction in neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and may open new avenues for therapeutic approaches,” said Vladimir Litvak, Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the US.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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The researchers developed and employed a novel systems-biology approach to investigate the complex dialogue between immune signalling and brain function in health and disease.

Immune defence. Image Source: www.huffingtonpost.ca
Immune defence. Image Source: www.huffingtonpost.ca

Using this approach, the scientists found that immune system signalling can directly affect, and even change, social behaviour in mice and other model animals.

The researchers predicated an unexpected role for interferon gamma (IFN-?), an important substance secreted by immune cells, in promoting social brain functions.

In the course of the research, they found that blocking IFN-? in mice made mouse brains become hyperactive and caused atypical social behaviour.

Tridimensional structure of human interferon gamma. Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Tridimensional structure of human interferon gamma. Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

Restoring of IFN-?-signalling in the brain normalised brain activity and social behaviour.

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“The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as a sign of pathology,” said Jonathan Kipnis from the University of Virginia.

“And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behaviour traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens,” Kipnis explained. (IANS)

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    If the immune system is affected, it affects the whole body because it has a lot to do with our mental health

Next Story

How sexual violence in neighbourhood affects your health

Researchers conducted interviews with nearly 350 adults in nine neighbourhoods in a major American city with high rates of poverty, unemployment and crime

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Sexual violence in neighborhood can affect the mental health of women. Pexels
Sexual violence in neighborhood can affect the mental health of women. Pexels
  • Sexual violence in the neighbourhood can harm your health.
  • Neighbourhood plays a vital role in human behaviour.
  • Men can be more aware of what makes women feel insecure.

A study finds sexual violence in the neighbourhood can harm the physical and mental health of women. Neighbourhoods play a key role in the behaviour and development of people, previous studies show and some conditions — such as crime, segregation, poverty and disorder — can have harmful effects on health.

Researchers conducted interviews with nearly 350 adults in nine neighbourhoods in a major American city with high rates of poverty, unemployment and crime.

“Feeling unsafe, especially in and around your home, can erode physical and mental health,” said Dana M. Prince, co-author of the study and assistant professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.

Researchers say men can be more aware of what makes women feel insecure. Pexels
Researchers say men can be more aware of what makes women feel insecure. Pexels

According to the researchers, feelings about the frequency of rape or other forms of sexual assault in a neighbourhood are significantly tied to women’s perceptions of its safety.

“Our results could mean men are less aware of sexual violence, or perhaps they do not feel comfortable reporting that it makes them feel less safe — perhaps both — while women tend to be socialised early on to be aware of the possibility of sexual attack,” Prince added.

Participants were asked how often particular crimes occurred in their neighbourhood in the past six months.

“Our results indicate that men can become more aware of how women feel about what contributes to and threaten their safety,” the researcher said.

The study was published in the Journal of Community Psychology. (IANS)