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Fever and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

Neal Prakash nprakash at taurus.oac.uci.edu
Sun Feb 2 18:09:31 EST 1997

Sorry, I missed the original post.

But I recall that there is a growing body of research linking "illness
behaviors" (i.e. fever, decreased socialization, etc.) with immune system
cytokines acting directly on the brain.  I don't recall the exact authors
right now, try L. Watkins [?] or keywords: IL1, fever, vagus, if you have
access to medline. 

One belief is that peripheral nerves, but especially the vagus nerve, have
receptors for cytokines, such as IL1, TNF-b, and IL6. So when you have an
infection, local cytokines activate the vagus nerve, which in turn
mediates illness responses in the central nervous system via the

Perhaps, with ADHD, this response is altered. Or maybe the illness
response in the hypothalamus counteracts the neurochemical pathways
involved in ADHD...

On 2 Feb 1997, Wernerson wrote:

> Why is my child less hyperactive and why does he get better attention when
> he have a fever ?
> I wonder if science has ever picked up on this point and tried to back
> trace from there ?
> There must be a connection between body temperature and brain activity ?

-Neal Prakash 
Department of Psychobiology, College of Medicine

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