Wednesday April 25, 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

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Prolonged paracetamol use in pregnancy may up autism, ADHD risk

While there is also a 20 percent increase in relative risk for ASD, compared to those who did not take the medications

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Long-term use of paracetamol during pregnancy is associated with the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), a study has found.

Previous studies showed that long-term administration of low doses of paracetamol also known as acetaminophen may affect the development of the fetal nervous system. This effect is often seen years after exposure during childhood.

Protein responsible for postpartum depression in pregnancy found
Paracetamol can harm infants. IANS

The new study, appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that prolonged exposure to acetaminophen found in the commonly used drug for the treatment of pain and fever, during pregnancy is associated with a 30 per cent increase in relative risk for ADHD.

While there is also a 20 per cent increase in relative risk for ASD, compared to those who did not take the medications. “The findings suggest an association between prolonged acetaminophen use and an increase in the risk of autism and ADHD,” said Ilan Matok, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

Also Read: 5 Healthy Ways To Get Back In Shape After Pregnancy

For the new research, the team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis 1,32,738 mother and child pairs with a follow-up period of three to 11 years.

The researchers believe that it is important to understand that pain and fever during pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on the developing foetus, but acetaminophen is still considered a safe drug for use during pregnancy.

Paracetamol can cause ADHD in children. Pixabay

Therefore, if a pregnant woman has fever and/or pain, acetaminophen can be taken for a short period, and if the fever or pain continues beyond that, she should consult her physician regarding further treatment.

“While the unnecessary use of any medication should be avoided in pregnancy, we believe our findings should not alter current practice and women should not avoid the use of short-term acetaminophen when clinically needed,” Matok said. IANS