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Schizophrenia and the immune system

Paul E. King paulk at garfield.cs.mun.ca
Wed Feb 3 22:40:50 EST 1993

rowe at pender.ee.upenn.edu (Mickey Rowe) writes:

>In article <1993Feb2.191608.3171 at midway.uchicago.edu>
>    jm68 at midway.uchicago.edu writes:

>>My off-the-wall two cents worth: Might the brain be isolated from the immune
>>system because something akin to the immune machinery is involved in normal
>>brain function; for instance, antibody selection and clonal establishment are
>>analogous to learning and memory, no?  Kick it around.  

>Intriguing thought, but I'd guess that the brain's isolation from the
>immune system is an "inadvertant" off-shoot of the brain's isolation
>from everything else.  After all, aren't the microglia sort of like
>the central nervous system's private immune system?  Is there anybody
>who knows enough about microglia that they'd be willing to comment on
>some of the similarities and differences between them and any
>counterparts they have in the immune system proper?

I am not a neuroscientist, but I am willing to offer what I have read
in a popular nutrition book which confused me on the topic of 
schizophrenia, since nothing I've read seems to conform to this.
I do not know about schizophrenia, and my knowledge of the CNS is at best
cursory, but I wish to propose the following question.

I have researched quite a bit for a senior year biochemistry course
on the nutritional significance of the effects
of dietary omega-3 fatty acids (for brevity, I'll assume you know what
these are) on autoimmune diseases. It seems that omega-3 restores the 
balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in our cell membranes.
This balance is typically grossly in favour of omega-6 in the North 
American diet. The result of this lack of dietary omega-3, has been, 
among other things, an abnormally high incidence of autoimmune diseases,
running the gamut from asthma to psoriasis to arthritis.

Now for the book: it's called "The Omega-3 Phenomenon", and it claims 
that omega-3 seems to result in calmness as well, especially in 
schizophrenics. If this is true, this may be a piece added to the puzzle
linking schizophrenia and the immune system. It's a million-to-one shot,
but what the hey--? However, in my research, I have never read any 
reference to schizoprenia when I had read about omega-3.

paulk at odie.cs.mun.ca

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