The Role of Infections in Mental Symptoms

The Role of Infections in Mental Symptoms

A brief article in the January, 2013 Scientific American (“Linking Immunity and Mental Health”) discusses an immune treatment called intravenous immunoglobulin which is made of blood plasma from donors. This medical treatment apparently helps ward off infection and reduces inflammation. It is being considered as a potential treatment for some forms of symptoms known as schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which some researchers think may have autoimmune causes, such as antibodies to a Streptococcus bacteria infection crossing the blood-brain barrier.

This kind of connection between mental symptoms and infection has been known for some time, and is presented in a 2004 paper available on the CCHR STL web site. Download and read “The Role of Infections in Mental Illness” by Frank Strick here.

Note that this information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease; and that mental symptoms can be caused by many different conditions, some of which are described here.

While certain kinds of infections are known to cause mental symptoms, they are rarely considered during psychiatric examinations and diagnosis. The problem is not the lack of a well-defined medical body of knowledge, but the lack of mental health practitioners qualified to make such a diagnosis or even suspect it.

Remember, the brain is your body’s most energy–intensive organ. It represents only three percent of your body weight but uses twenty–five percent of your body’s oxygen, nutrients and circulating glucose. Therefore any significant metabolic disruptions can impact brain function first. “Mental” symptoms may improve dramatically when hidden neuroimmune infections are treated successfully and normal brain metabolism resumes.

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