Neurotransmitters, Endocrine and Immune Imbalances Do Matter
What an outstanding meeting in San Francisco! This brief review will cover some points for those who couldn't make it. – And BTW, you did miss the excited bicycle crowd shouting their unhappiness with automobiles, and the naked guy in that same fossil fuel protest zooming in a bike-cloud past the palms here >>>
No he wasn't wearing a naked suit, he was truly naked… you had to be there. The inherent lesson: we don't have to get naked to make a difference.
– Dr Gottfried Kellerman [PhD Biochemistry]: So many clinically important points it will be difficult to summarize, but suffice it to say at the outset that Dr G is exceedingly serious about pulling the biomedical/psychoneuroimmunology puzzle together. With each next presentation he sharpens the interaction between the Sympathetic Nervous System [SNS], the Parasympathetic System [PNS], and the changes that occur with neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, immune dysfunction and chronic illness. Some brief highlights:
– Neural [Norepinephrine related, A5 nucleus in the brain stem] and Adrenal [Epinephrine related, C1 nucleus in the brain stem] branches of the SNS are in balance under normal healthy conditions.
– Locus Ceruleus [LC in the brain stem] is the regulator of that balance – and if stressed by life stressors, or immune dysfunction [from gluten to Lyme Disease, to toxins in the environment], can become so chronically unbalanced that recovery remains impaired by that imbalance.
– The LC balance can be improved by specific identification of the targeted imbalance with “both medications and supplements” as referenced in this piece.
Lechin F, J Appl Res 2008, 8: 151. [Journal of Applied Research]
– Understanding these fundamental imbalances may guide clinicians to more specifically targeted interventions.
– Dr Sirid Kellerman [PhD Cellular Immunology]: The depth of these two presentations are truly beyond the scope of CorePsych Blog, as you can see from my comments on Dr G Kellerman's presentation. And rest assured that Dr S left no stone unturned in her review of the specifics of cytokine aberrations leaving imbalanced communications between endocrine and neurotransmitter pathways. These two neuroscientists are on a serious mission to look at the laboratory evidence, measure it, and then treat. Some brief highlights from Dr S:
– The sensory circuitry is signaled by many different inflammatory triggers: bacteria, parasites, viruses, food proteins [gluten/casein], environmental toxins [lead/mercury], psychosocial stress. Sternberg, EM Nature Reviews 2006, 6: 318-328
– These inflammatory triggers send measurable cytokine messengers to a variety of sites including the SNS, the PNS and the HPA axis creating imbalances in epinephrine and norepinephrine pathways.
– Measuring and specifically addressing these cytokine imbalances can reveal specific underlying medical conditions such as Lyme, candida, and provide improved target recognition, and clinical outcomes for those who, on the surface, appear to be troubled by non-specific psychiatric conditions.
The CorePsych View
My theme in San Francisco, faithful readers, has not changed from these CorePsych Blog comments for 6 years: Far too many remain glib, indeed superficial, with reductionistic views of brain and body conditions found in the oversimplified DSM4 psych diagnoses. I used the now-familiar misunderstandings so prevalent with current ADHD diagnosis and treatment to a encourage review of underlying functional biological data that looks on the surface like ADHD – but turns out to reside downstream from a variety of biomedical issues, not the least of which is measurable immune dysfunction with endocrine and neurotransmitter imbalances. Yes, I did hit Transit Time! 😉
A brief review of my comments:
– The challenging problems that occur with successful treatment for ADHD encourage an improved review of underlying biomedical issues. With that additional laboratory understanding more precise treatment strategies often provide improved outcomes.
– Using ADHD as an example I documented several cases with underlying measurable immune issues that effected neurotransmitter balance and endocrine dysfunction. Correcting the entire picture often provides more predictable outcomes. Evidence matters.
– New treatment strategies must seek to combine the excellent responses witnessed with balanced psychiatric medication management [the “traditional” view] with new science insights from molecular and cellular physiology [the “functional” view] into a more Comprehensive Neuroscientific view of biomedical intervention strategies.
Take a quick listen to this brief summary:
Understanding these new measures does significantly improve patient care – I've seen it in the office. Nothing in medicine is categorically correct, so why guess? Appreciation of the complexity of these matters makes a difference.