[Neuroscience] Re: The Neuroimmunology of Psychiatric Disorders

John H. via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by j_hasenkam At yahoo.com.au)
Wed Nov 29 03:52:28 EST 2006

Thanks Konstantin,

"The immune system boost" seems paradoxical but there are a number of
situations where adjusting the immune response generates a favourable
outcome. In relation to psychiatry and neurodegeneration, any so called
"suppressive" effect seems better. What needs to be suppressed are the
inflammatory mediators like il-1, tnfa, il-6, il-12, some chemokines
etc. What needs to be raised is tgf beta, il-4, il-10. The latter
allows for a more pronounced adaptive response (I think). So boosting
the immune response may mean a change in immune function.

A fascinating example of this is seen in depression, often associated
with excessive right side activation, which is often associated with an
increased inflammatory response. With Insight Meditation individuals
can improve their mood and this correlates with a reduction in right
and increase in left side activation, which also leads to an improved
immune response despite the drop in inflammatory mediators.

PS: Forget about the self non-self model of immunology. It is
misleading and should not be taught. Within the research community at
least, "The Danger Model" is the accepted paradigm.

A few years myself and my former collaborator did some digging around
on EMFs. We came to a similiar conclusion to yourself: something very
interesting going here, more research is needed but clearly there are
potential benefits and risks in relation to EMFs. It may simply be the
case that a little irritation induces a protective response. Eg. Cell
priming: a slight stress primes the cell to cope with a latter larger
stress. There was even a research report claiming a little radiation is
a good thing because it stimulates things like Ku70, a DNA repair

For an excellent overview of neuro - immune  -endocrine interactions
look at Sapolsky et al. I

Endocrine Reviews 21(1): 55–89

How Do Glucocorticoids Influence Stress Responses?
Integrating Permissive, Suppressive, Stimulatory, and
Preparative Actions*



konstantin kouzovnikov wrote:
> >This highly interdisciplinary
> >group seeks to bring together immunologists and
> >neuroscientists interested in exploring the intersection of
> >these two fields in periodic meetings that will include
> >discussions of basic, clinical, and translational aspects
> >of this emerging field.
> Here is an interesting spin on the topic. A few months ago I reviewed a
> messy body of evidence related to the so called Cranial Electro-Stimulation
> (CES), the term used by manufacturers of a soap-box-like device commercially
> available anywhere (the packaging is pink and it depicts attractive female
> ostentatiously euphoric while having the device attached to her ear lobes).
> Alpha-Stim (Texas) is one of the brand names. What prompted the review is a
> 2005 paper suggesting that low-frequency and low-voltage currents applied at
> the ear-lobes produce significant reduction of anxiety and aggression in
> heterogeneous group of mental health patients, including in those with
> positive symptoms and/or Dxed with schizophrenia. All the patients were
> effectively refractory to available pharmacological supports.
> It turns out, according to a Yale paper, at the beginning of the 90s the CES
> was brought to the States by Pr. Lebedev, from Pavlov Institute, St. Pet's,
> Russia who turns out to be the guy who is now managing a research and
> treatment movement which includes over 200 researchers spread all over
> eastern Europe. They call the treatment modality TES. A year ago Prof.
> Lebedev was nominated and then received some sort of medal from the Russian
> federation Academy of science, specifically for the efficacy of the
> treatments (contribution of an innovation to the national health, or
> something like that). This Yale originated and other papers suggest that
> what lebedev calls Transcranial Electro-Stimulation was the corner stone of
> the TMS technology. Anyway, my review produced an interesting data, here are
> the central points:
> 1. While what has become a North American spin off re: CES tech is centred
> on anxiety and pain management with the latest claims that CES is a
> cost-effective as effective mood and aggression management approach.
> 2. Eastern Europeans operate in a completely different paradigm, i.e. they
> claim that their neuroimaging studies, confirmed by some work in Toronto and
> Huston, produce evidence that the first outcome of the stimulation is a
> boost of immune system.
> 3. Russians suggest that hypothalamus is the "target" area, although at
> least two their own papers (I have now two huge volumes from Prof. lebedev)
> clearly show that the stable fMRI responses were obtained also in brain
> stem. However, the brain stem has not being investigated at all. Weird,
> isn't it? especially when folks are talking about immune system boost. I
> guess, just like the rest of us, they have little technology to work with
> the Posterior Fossa.
> 4. The strange thing though is that lebedev's group claimed that placement
> of the electrodes just above eyes and on the back  of the head is central
> for getting a stable outcome, while the Alpha-Stim folks places the
> electrodes on ear-lobes and claim similar efficacy. Pr. lebedev was not able
> to comment on such a discrepancy, except saying that "there is something in
> it" (I spoke to him).
> 5. My comparative review of the so called "intrinsic brain activities"
> papers suggests that the frequencies used by both groups match the such
> frequencies considered as "healthy", at least in hypothalamus.
> Since then I have obtained additional unpublished data on efficacy of CES in
> one American project involving offenders with mental health problems,
> especially with a combination of aggression and positive symptoms.
> In addition, anything I ever managed to obtain regarding possible
> deleterious effect of low-frequencies, including from the UN folks, suggest
> both a/ there is no evidence of them being harmful, at least within the
> frequencies both groups used and b/ on a cellular level, there is a
> confirming study from Germany regarding immune boost resulting from a
> short-term (minutes) application of such frequencies and currents.
> This is how far I managed to get at this point as the entire context has
> been perceived by the folks in charge of some specific populations in
> question, at least where I could talk to them, as "irregular". The other
> side of the coin: Eastern Europe seems to be "infected" by governmental and
> private clinics promoting the CES/TES as a "cannon boll" approach for immune
> boost which they "market" as a precursor to elimination of certain mental
> health problems, i.e. stress, fatigue, etc.
> There is absolutely no research comprehensive enough to allow any definite
> impressions/interpretations. It does not fit any "calls for proposals", and
> the emotional "resistance" of the majority of the main stream clinical folks
> whose OK with clinical trials is central is very much an issue. A gap
> between neuro-chemical and electro-magnetic interpretations is another
> issue, perhaps the conventional synaptic transmission paradigms provide
> little help in bridging these two aspects of brain function while there is
> amore and more calls to consider the synaptic transmission context as
> overrated. On another hand, the Intrinsic Brain Activity theory is way too
> young to compete or supplement the latter.
> Try to find Allen Childs paper on this topic, if interested.
> Konstantin.
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