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Unformatted text preview: rimed rats, she discovered, were dramatically over­ expressing cytokines in response to the second hit (Journal of Neuroscience, 2011). "Their immune system is changed long­term as a result of the neonatal infection," she says. "And because the immune system impacts brain function, they are altered behaviorally." That same pattern appears in many neurodegenerative diseases in humans, she says. "A peripheral infection will suddenly make mental functions decline sharply, and you can measure concentrations of cytokines in the cerebrospinal fluid that were previously undetectable." Inflammation running wild Other animal studies have further filled in some details. Paul Patterson, PhD, a neurobiologist at the California Institute of Technology and author of the book "Infectious Behavior: Brain­Immune Connections in Autism, Schizophrenia, and Depression" (2011), explores the origins of mental illness in mice. He's infected pregnant mice with influenza virus and also stimulated their immune systems in the absence of a pathogen. "When you activate the mothe...
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