Flammable immune cells as a source of psychiatric disorders
By: Wiesje Kuijpers
November 6, 2012
Psychiatry looks not only in spirit, but also to the body. Perhaps an overactive immune system is the source of some psychiatric illnesses.
Frieda (61) long worked as a nurse, but has stopped doing. Ten years ago, she was told that she has bipolar disorder. This is a psychiatric illness in which extreme negative and positive moods alternate. Sometimes she is severely depressed and unsure they all. In other times she is extremely busy and she thinks she can handle the whole world.
“Then I have a sort of false self. I’ll often call people, I am active, I’m inclined to all kinds of new things. I am also suspicious. Go compulsive talking. This transition from a normal to another, euphoric, mood can escape. Others point on that. That itself is hard to see. But if I do not use drugs, I get a psychosis. ” Then touches Frieda outside reality. So she sees in a cemetery once cars are that are not there, and she is convinced that her psychiatrist who has put down.
Frieda is part of an identical twin. She and her sister Hannah have exactly the same genes. What does Frieda’s disease for Hanna? “I do not always like to have a twin. We are genetically identical. If Frieda’s gone, or something would get, I think, maybe I get that too. ” Since she knows that her twin has bipolar disorder, Hanna doubt her own mental state. She has another reason: “When I was 21, I myself admitted to a psychiatric institution. Now I think I was psychotic. I heard some voices. “
Besides psychological symptoms both sisters have problems with their thyroid, called autoimmune disease. It makes antibodies against its own tissues, in this case the thyroid, which thereby is hard work.
It seems an unfortunate coincidence that the sisters suffer from two diseases. But that’s not it. “People with bipolar disorder are two to three times as often thyroid autoimmune disease as healthy people,” says Hemmo Drexhage.” And that is not, as we previously thought, by the medication.” Drexhage is Professor of Medical Immunology at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam and studied already in the nineties.
He is convinced that the cause of major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, the immune system is. “There were already more evidence,” he says. “Cytokines are substances of the immune system. Evidenced increased presence in the blood of people with psychological problems. The active injecting this substance can even lead to severe depression. ” That was when the drug Interferon Alfa – a cytokine – was used in patients with hepatitis C. Sixty percent of these patients was severely depressed, and the symptoms disappeared when the drug was stopped.