Cover image for Infectious behavior : brain-immune connections in autism, schizophrenia, and depression
Infectious behavior : brain-immune connections in autism, schizophrenia, and depression
Patterson, Paul H.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, [2011]

Physical Description:
xiv, 162 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Studies the possible interplay between the brain, immune system, and mental illnesses; how the discrepancies in the immune system can affect pregnant women and their fetuses; and the pros and cons of child vaccinations.
Fever and madness -- Brain-immune connections, stress, and depression -- The battleground of the fetal-maternal environment -- Prenatal origins of adult health and disease -- Infections and behavior -- Animal models of autism, schizophrenia, and depression? -- Immune involvement in autism, schizophrenia and depression -- Pre- and postnatal vaccination : risks and benefits -- Reasons for optimism -- Perspectives.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC454.4 .P38 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
RC454.4 .P38 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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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.

Author Notes

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.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Patterson (neurobiologist, California Inst. of Technology & Keck Sch. of Medicine, Univ. of Southern California; coauthor, The Origins of Schizophrenia), who has published over 200 heavily cited research articles, is a perfect guide to take readers step-by-step through a research process that tests how environment and genetics combine to affect behavior and health. Patterson covers past research on implicated genes, maternal-fetal interactions, and how human diseases influence behavior. He relates these factors back to mice and other animal models used for research. Patterson stresses that prenatal environment alone is not enough to lead to disease or certain behavior-there must be other contributing genetic or environmental factors throughout life. 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. VERDICT This well-written book is good for anyone interested in behavior, disease, maternal-child health, and public health.-Margaret Henderson, Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Lib., Richmond (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
1 Fever and Madnessp. 1
2 Brain-Immune Connections, Stress, and Depressionp. 9
3 The Battleground of the Fetal-Maternal Environmentp. 29
4 Prenatal Origins of Adult Health and Diseasep. 43
5 Infections and Behaviorp. 61
6 Animal Models of Autism, Schizophrenia, and Depression?p. 73
7 Immune Involvement in Autism, Schizophrenia, and Depressionp. 99
8 Pre- and Postnatal Vaccination: Risks and Benefitsp. 117
9 Reasons for Optimismp. 129
Perspectivesp. 149
Further Readingp. 151
Indexp. 157