Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dr. Theoharides on the Science & Treatment of Neuroinflammation

Dr. Theoharis Theoharides presented two lectures to NAA NY Metro audiences - on September 8, 2011 at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan and on September 9, 2011 at the Westchester ARC - targeted to both parents and professionals. He discussed his research concerning neuroinflammation, mast cells and autism, and discussed a practical treatment option. The NYC and Westchester events were well attended and appreciated by all. The Westchester site also included a Webinar which was well received. There was a long Q&A period during which parents and professionals gained a deeper understanding of Dr. Theoharides’s work and contribution to autism.

Dr. Theoharides described how children with autism often present with auto-antibodies against brain proteins, gastrointestinal problems, “allergies” and fatigue, implying a neuro-immuno-endocrine problem. His recent research has shown that mast cells (immune cells typically known for causing allergic reactions and which serve as “sensors” of environmental cell damage) can be activated by environmental, infectious and stress triggers that lead to disruption of the gut-blood-brain barriers.

He also discussed how one mast cell trigger, neurotensin, was shown to be elevated in the serum of young children with autism. Mast cell activation during pregnancy or prenatally, in response to allergic or non-immune triggers, could disrupt the gut-blood-brain barriers and permit neuro toxic molecules to enter the brain, and result in brain inflammation. Through his research, Dr. Theoharides has shown that the natural flavonoids, Quercetin and Luteolin (found in the supplement NeuroProtek) can block these processes.

With so many children on the spectrum struggling with neuroinflammation, it is helpful to understand both the science behind the causes of neuroinflammation and the treatment options.

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