In Infectious Behavior, neurobiologist Paul Patterson examines the involvement of the immune system in autism, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder. Although genetic approaches to these diseases have garnered the lion’s share of publicity and funding, scientists are uncovering evidence of the important avenues of communication between the brain and the immune system and their involvement in mental illness. Patterson focuses on this brain-immune crosstalk, exploring the possibility that it may help us understand the causes of these common but still mysterious diseases. The heart of this engaging book, accessible to nonscientists, concerns the involvement of the immune systems of the pregnant woman and her fetus, and a consideration of maternal infection as a risk factor for schizophrenia and autism. Patterson reports on research that may shed light on today’s autism epidemic. He also outlines the risks and benefits of both maternal and postnatal vaccinations.
In the course of his discussion, Patterson offers a short history of immune manipulation in treating mental illness (recounting some frightening but fascinating early experiments) and explains how the immune system influences behavior and how the brain regulates the immune system, looking in particular at stress and depression. He examines the prenatal origins of adult disease and evidence for immune involvement in autism, schizophrenia, and depression. Finally, he describes the promise shown by recent animal experiments that have led to early clinical trials of postnatal and adult treatments for patients with autism and related disorders.
About the Author
Paul H. Patterson, a developmental neurobiologist, is Anne P. and Benjamin R. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences at the California Institute of Technology and a Research Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. He is the coauthor (with Alan Brown) of The Origins of Schizophrenia.
“A chapter is devoted to an evidence-based review of the theory of a connection between vaccinations and autism. For this chapter alone, this book is worth a recommendation. This well-written book is good for anyone interested in behavior, disease, maternal-child health, and public health.” , Margaret Henderson, Library Journal
“Neurobiologist Patterson has succeeded in his aim of crafting an accessible, even fascinating, book about one of the hottest topics in mental health.” — Brian Bethune, Macleans
“Neurobiologist Paul Patterson, PhD, has produced a remarkably accessible and enjoyable book that intertwines history, case studies and laboratory science It’s an engaging and thought-provoking read for nonscientists and scientists alike.”—Autism Speaks blog
“For the non-expert, this field can be more intimidating than a box of jumbled Christmas decorations. In Infectious Behavior: Brain-Immune Connections in Autism, Schizophrenia, and Depression, biologist Paul Patterson nimbly untangles the strings of lights.” — Virginia Hughes, Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
“[T]he book is simultaneously accessible to the lay reader and insightful to the reader with more expertise. It flows like a professor who rolls up his sleeves and delivers an engaging talk to his audience without once looking at his slides...[It] is a well written, enjoyable read for any audience.” —Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
“Patterson's book is so clear and compelling that it will appeal to clinicians awaiting novel disease models with new opportunities for prevention and cure, family members endlessly pondering the source of their loved one’s ailment, and any reader who enjoys medical detective stories. A lucid synthesis of historical and current thinking about “infectious” routes to mental illness.”—American Journal of Psychiatry
"Finally someone is looking at the whole picture, not just one pathogen or disease at a time. In his paradigm-shifting book, Paul Patterson explains the dynamic interaction between the immune system, the brain, and development, unveiling an important new understanding of what may underlie many devastating brain disorders. Infectious Behavior opens the door to a whole new way of thinking about the causes and cures for some of the most challenging brain disorders, giving us much cause for hope."
Portia Iversen, cofounder, Cure Autism Now Foundation (CAN), cofounder, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), founder, International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR)
"Paul Patterson is attempting to describe a new field of study of which he himself is the leading pioneer. A summation of the field at the present is not currently available, either in other books or in journal articles, and therefore this book will fill an important niche. Patterson's efforts are unique in that they bridge the basic science and clinical world in a way that no other researcher in this field has done. This is a welcome addition to the field and a book that I will clearly want to buy and recommend."
Robert Freedman, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado
"Neuroscience is one of the most exciting fields in science currently. Within neuroscience, one of the hottest research topics is the link between the immune system and the brain. Paul Patterson provides a lucid and up-to-the-minute account of this field. The research has profound implications for our understanding of disorders such as schizophrenia and autism."
John McGrath, Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland