By Saleem Rana
Interview by Allen Cardoza and Dr. Melody Foxx
August 6, 2012
Neurobiologist Paul Patterson, PhD, author of a groundbreaking, research-based book on the biochemical relationship between the brain and immune system, was this week’s guest on the Answers for the Family radio show hosted by Allen Cardoza and Dr. Melody Foxx. The findings revealed in the book show how the relationship between the brain and the immune system can give us clues about the physiological basis of autism, schizophrenia, depression, and other mental illnesses.
Who Is Dr. Paul Patterson?
Dr. Patterson is a professor of biological systems sciences working at the California Institute of Technology. He’s also a research professor of neurological surgery at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.
Using mouse models, Dr. Patterson and his team study the effects of maternal infection during pregnancy, observing how infections can influence the health and mental development of the future child. Mouse models create neuropathology disorders in laboratory mice such as multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, schizophrenia, and autism.
Scientists are now uncovering a growing body of evidence to suggest that there is a strong correlation between brain-immune system communication and mental illness. Studying the interactions between the nervous and immune systems of mice can allow researchers to extrapolate on the neuropathology and behavioral abnormalities in human beings. Studying neuroimmune interactions in mice can yield information about abnormal blood cells, proteins and brain activity in human beings. The maternal inflammatory response can affect fetal brain development resulting in the birth of a child with autism or a predisposition towards schizophrenia during early adult years.
During the course of the interview, Dr. Patterson offered a description about how the brain regulates the immune system and how the prenatal origins of diseases like autism schizophrenia and depression could be found in the womb. Besides his research findings, Dr. Patterson also covered other diverse topics related to neuroimmunology like antibacterial measures taken during pregnancy, the controversy over the efficacy of vaccines, and the role of humor in reinforcing the immune system.
To hear this interview in its entirety, go to: