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What happens during fever?

Shelly Bower bower at ma.ultranet.com
Sat Feb 1 19:30:47 EST 1997

First let me say I know nothing of the mechanics of this, however I'm
a member of another newsgroup for the parents/caregivers of autistic
children and often it is commented upon that when some children with
autism get sick,  the parents report more speech, better cognitive
function and decreased undesirable behavior like stimming....
Interesting,  that fevers would have the opposite effect on these
children.  Anyway, if you'd like to post on that newsgroup
(bit.listserv.autism) there are people there that might have further


 ,flefever at ix.netcom.com(F. Frank LeFever) wrote:

>In <5clvon$qgs at dfw-ixnews9.ix.netcom.com> cambela at ix.netcom.com(A.
>Campbell) writes: 
>>Hi ,
>>I was discussing fever with some parents on the ADHD newsgroup.
>>Wondering why when a kid has a fever they seem to be more stimulated,
>>mentally.  And I put my 2c in saying it has to do with increased
>>metabolism, but I wonder if anyone here could be more specific than
>>that, since I do not know where to find this info.  
>>E-mail is good, I'll quote you, too.  Thanks in advance.
>>Ann Campbell
>>cambela at ix.netcom.com
>I'll ask for some info, then I'll give some.
>FIRST: (In the spirit of Mort Mishkin who once commented on something I
>or another grad student said, "That's an interesting finding, if true")
>(1) Is it true?  Is this a general observation?
>(2) By "stimulated, mentally" do you really mean more attentive or more
>    focused cognitively, not just bouncing off the wall more?  Did it  
>    seem to have an effect similar to a pharmacological stimulant (e.g.
>    Ritalin)?
>SECOND: Here is what little I know about fever, and some speculations
>based on  the aspect of it I have been interested in.
>(1) Fever is very complex, but it seems to be mediated by IL-1
>(interleukin-one),  a cytokine neuroimmunological agent which has too
>many different actions (besides its role in fever) to mention here.
>(2) Normally, IL-1 has an adverse effect on cognition (and indeed on
>alertness; cf. its role in normal sleep).  It is produced in the brain 
>(and elsewhere).  When administered exogenously (e.g. as a cancer
>treatment) over a period of a few days, the pyrogenic effect subsides;
>but although the fever passes, the impaired cognition (poor
>cooncentration, memory problems, etc.) and "fatigue" persist--sometimes
>being so severe as to preclude further treatment.
>(3) Some of IL-l's effects are mediated by classical neurotransmitter
>systems (via neural IL-1 receptors), so there may be an angle here,
>involving IL-1 effects on noradrenergic neurons (or perhaps
>dopaminergic), the presumed mechanism of ADD medications--but I'm not
>prepared to figure it out this time of night (if ever)!
>Interested in more ideas, more info.
>Frank LeFever
>New York Neuropsychology Group

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