Encephalitis & Autism: The Correlation

neuro conceptAutism spectrum disorder is a perplexing disability when it comes to researchers because the reason for its onset has yet to be uncovered. Many studies have suggested that exposure to neurotoxic ingredients such as aluminum adjuvants and mercury, commonly found in vaccines, may be the conceivable factors for its onset as they can trigger adverse autoimmune reactions that can affect the brain. With that in mind, many scientists and researchers believe if the causal factors are identified, an effective treatment and cure could be found. However, some in the medical community may be overlooking a subsequent condition, specifically encephalitis, which affects a large majority of those with autism.

Currently, autism affects 1 in 45 children according to the latest National Health Statistics Reports and the rising prevalence is a major area of concern. The neurodevelopmental disability causes significant social and behavioral impairments that make everyday life a constant struggle. This is one of the main reasons as to why effective preventative measures, treatments and a cure need to be discovered. Well, in a published literature review titled “Relevance of Neuroinflammation and Encephalitis in Autism” by Mark Geier along with fellow researchers, may have uncovered a clue that may conceivably lead to a plausible way to treat and cure the disability.

The publication points out that autism remains under the diagnostic criteria of a purely psychiatric disorder and that labeling slows the development and research of finding a cure and treatment. The belief that autism is only a psychiatric disorder first stemmed from Leo Kanner in 1943 where he credited it to the emotional unavailability of the affected child’s mother. Fast forward to today and that erroneous psychiatric categorization has stuck despite decades of published scientific and medical research identifying its physical symptoms. This means that autism has been treated as a psychological condition with prescribed psychiatric medications when other forms of treatment to take care of the physical symptoms have taken a seat on the back burner.

With that in mind, Geier’s publication identifies numerous studies and reports where children with autism have a brain pathology that suggests ongoing neuroinflammation or encephalitis in various regions of the brain. Evidence of the consequent medical condition include microglial & astrocytic activation, a distinctive & elevated proinflammatory profile of cytokines, and abnormal expression of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells. The researchers noted a conservative estimate that 69% of individuals with autism have neuroinflammation or microglial activation.

While a great percentage of individuals with autism suffer from inflammation of the brain, it’s not typical for them to be evaluated for encephalitis since it’s a physical symptom and autism is still considered a psychiatric disorder. Essentially, treatment for encephalitis is ignored when it is very conceivable that treating this subsequent condition could benefit those with autism.

Until autism is re-categorized under broader diagnostic criteria, treating the physical symptoms will continue to be a slow moving process that delays groundbreaking research. This poses an immediate call to action for the investigation of such findings because treating the physical symptoms like encephalitis may be the key to eliminating autism.

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