Autism – does inflammation play a role?

One of my patient’s moms, a well-researched, actively engaged parent with a high-functioning autistic son, asked my opinion regarding an article recently published via Autism Speaks that outlines the discovery of a functioning lymphatic network in the brain. The data was initially published in Nature online magazine June 1st of this year and confers additional support to a growing body of evidence supporting the role of inflammation in both brain and body dysfunction.

Autism, essentially defined as a neurologic disorder manifesting in disordered communicative abilities and restricted interests, has long been thought to be due to an interplay of both genetics and environment. In my own practice, I have observed a multitude of presentations– from kids with altered parental/peer interaction that initially appeared more anxious or conduct disordered, to children presenting with classic signs – poor eye contact, little or no speech, excessive…

Ebola

A smart virus is a worthy adversary to the brightest of scientists. A virus that presents itself in classic fashion; with high fever, headache, sore throat and abdominal pain. This is how adenovirus, ebstein-barr virus, enterovirus, and the coxsackie virus can also present, as well as countless unnamed other infectious agents. They all look the same at first glance. It is only with time and progression of symptoms that the diagnosis becomes clear— a rash develops on hands and feet and hand-foot-mouth is diagnosed, blood is drawn from the ailing patient and mono is detected; vomiting, diarrhea and hemorrhaging develop and now, today, Ebola must be considered. Sometimes we never categorize an illness beyond viral, but luckily our patients almost always improve through simple supportive measures. That is really the distinguishing factor here, the mortality rate of something as debilitating and pervasive as the seasonal flu is only about 2-4%, compared…