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neurobiology of autism

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Mon Mar 29 22:16:47 EST 1999

Well, just to play Devil's Advocate: difficulty of crossing the BBB
applies to peripherally-produced IL-1 also, and yet it has
cognitive/behavioral effects.  Although there remains the possibility
of influence via some "leaky" areas, there is another well-demonstrated
route: the vagus carries the signal to the brain. (Linda Watkins, a
colleague of one of my speakers at the NYNG conference on
Neuropsychology and the Neuroimmune Dialogue) is among those who have
developed this evidence.

Conceivably, it could play a similar role for secretin influences on
brain activity--i.e. a rational possibility in the context of the
IL-1/vagus research, not to be rejected in principle, but of course far
from demonstration as an empirical reality (so far as I know; anybody
with relevant info out there??).

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group

In <37001691.186E at earthlink.net> Marcello Spinella
<marshmallow at earthlink.net> writes: 
>This is entirely true. The evidence for this secretin is purely from
>case studies and anecdotal reports at this point. I'm not sure how
>others subsequently placed on sectretin have fared either (even in
>of subjective perceptions of improvement).  Perhaps these warrant
>empirical investigation, but to my knowledge none have been done yet. 
>In light of the "facilitated communication" fiasco, a reasonable
>of skepticism is probably a healthy idea.
>On the surface, it did seem unlikely to me that a peripherally
>adminstered peptide would pass the blood-brain barrier to create
>effects. It would seem even stranger if autism resulted predominantly
>from a peripheral GI disturbance. Nonetheless, my knowledge of autism
>very limited.
>F. Frank LeFever wrote:
>> The secretin idea came in for discussion in one of the
>> listservers (i.e. listserver for neuropsychologists, not an open
>> newsgroup) a few months ago, and the consensus was that the evidence
>> far was very shaky, inconclusive.
>> So far as this study goes, some obvious questions suggest
>> improved behavior simply on the basis of relief of ANY disturbing
>> (peripheral) condition?  Hawthorne or placebo effect?  Any double
>> precautions? If pre- and post-treatment evaluations made by members
>> study team, role of child's greater familiarity and ease with
>> on post-treatment occasion?
>> F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
>> New York Neuropsychology Group
>> In <36FCF515.664D at earthlink.net> Marcello Spinella
>> <marshmallow at earthlink.net> writes:
>> >
>> >This might be of interest:
>> >
>> >J Assoc Acad Minor Phys 1998;9(1):9-15
>> >
>> >Improved social and language skills after secretin administration
>> >patients with autistic spectrum disorders.
>> >
>> >Horvath K, Stefanatos G, Sokolski KN, Wachtel R, Nabors L, Tildon
>> >
>> >
>> >We report three children with autistic spectrum disorders who
>> underwent
>> >upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and intravenous administration of
>> >secretin to stimulate pancreaticobiliary secretion. All three had
>> >increased pancreaticobiliary secretory response when compared with
>> >nonautistic patients (7.5 to 10 mL/min versus 1 to 2 mL/min).
Within 5
>> >weeks of the secretin infusion, a significant amelioration of the
>> >children's gastrointestinal symptoms was observed, as was a
>> >improvement in their behavior, manifested by improved eye contact,
>> >alertness, and expansion of expressive language. These clinical
>> >observations suggest an association between gastrointestinal and
>> >function in patients with autistic behavior.
>> >
>> >PMID: 9585670, UI: 98246761

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