[Neuroscience] Re: "cerebral encephalitis" residual effects

John Hasenkam via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by johnh from goawayplease.com)
Thu Jan 15 11:00:29 EST 2009

Residual effects should be expected but it is impossible to know the extent
and nature of these effects. Even chemotherapy in childhood can have long
lasting effects on brain function and behavior. Your cousin has experienced
two distinct kinds of brain trauma: one from the infection and a milder form
arising from the immune response to that infection. He may well be
sensitised to psychological stress and so be more prone to depression and
behavior issues arising from stressful events. He may also experience sleep
problems and have to put in much more effort to sustain concentration, with
subsequent tiring much earlier than other people.

You could go looking for sites of damage and probably find something.
However the value of this is problematic and the damage may well be diffuse
and difficult to establish. That is, to clearly establish evidence of brain
damage could require some rather esoteric imaging technologies and even if
the same is established it won't necessarily bring forth any therapeutic
possibilities. For eg. the Amen Clinics site mentions SPECT imaging.

Drugs? What drugs? Yes, there may be some value but it really depends on the
types of drugs and the targets for those drugs.

There may be some nutritional and behavior interventions that can help but
you'll need to find a damned good clinician who is prepared to put in a lot
of work. Of course that  means dollars, time, and commitment.

A quick look at the Amen Clinics site at least suggests he knows what he is
on about but the title of one of his publications: "magnificient mind at any
age" is ringing alarm bells in my head. Too much hyperbole. The website also
offers a number of products they are selling with fancy names and mediocre
contents. For example, want to boost omega 3s? Oh I don't know, you could
buy those fancy pills or eat more Atlantic or Tasmanian salmon. "Neuro St.
Wort" as a product. Oh please ... . St. John's Wort is a regular and proven
treatment for mild to moderate depression, very widely used in Europe.


Vitamin B6. Or you could eat more leafy greens.
L-tyrosine: essential amino acid for dopamine and nore creation. Not a bad
idea but could be problematic with dopamine agonists or SNRIs(?). Brain
injury can lead to a chronically lowered "dopamine tone" so L-tyrosine may
help to address this; if it exists in your cousin(lethargy, easily tired,
poor attentional skills).
GABA: inhibitory neurotransmitter, a nice settling effect but how much
sedation do you want in a developing brain?
Inositol: Vitamin B group: eat more greens.
Taurine: Good idea.
5HTP: serotonin. Whoopee.


Let me guess what will happen here. You go to the clinic, the doctor,
probably with the best of intentions, will advise this supplements and that
supplement ... . I also suspect he has a MRI machine so will want to use
that as often as possible. The acid test for these "revolutionary
approaches" cannot be established by those promoting these approaches. You
need to find independent appraisals of what Amen is offering. You don't
determine the value of a product by the claims of the seller, a lesson too
many people forget when addressing medical issues.

Who? Me? Cynical? Always be cynical of celebrity doctors.

What can you do?

Maximise the child's overall health, particularly nutrition wise. Long list
Address specific behavior issues with a good therapist, which can be hard to
Consider stress management programs.


I could run off a list of supplements that might help but I've got nothing
to sell. You might be able to find good therapists through your regular
doctor or a brain injury organisation.


Yes, drugs can be very useful but it can take quite a bit of experimentation
to find the right drugs and doses.


"JR" <JR from isnotdead.org> wrote in message 
news:Xns9B9172F17A03842437q4qu2329292343 from
> Have a cousin who had "cerebral encephalitis" as an infant.
> Had to learn to walk a second time; problems with spatial abilities, motor
> skills,conduct problems as a kid.
> Are there any patterns/locations of damage that typically occur in such
> cases?
> How valid is Daniel Amen's techniques and would the be useful in such a
> case?
> Can neuropsychologists really determine the location of brain damage?
> Do drugs really offer any solution in these cases?
> Any answers? Thanks. 

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