Research: Immune System Controls Behavior
A year ago, researchers from the University of Virginia refuted the long-held belief that the brain has no lymphatic vessels, and therefore no connection to the immune system.
Now those researchers have taken their findings one step further – they discovered that the immune system could be controlling our social behavior through these vessels.
Last year, the team revealed its findings in Nature, announcing that it had identified a network of lymphatic vessels hidden in the meninges, the layer of tissue that covers the brain. Apparently, those vessels shuttle fluid and immune cells from the cerebrospinal fluid to a group of lymph nodes in the neck.
The team speculated at the time that the discovery had significant ramifications for the treatment of neurological diseases with an immunological component, such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Then they took their experiments to the next level. They wondered if the pathogens and immune system could be inked to social conditions, could they be more broadly linked to social interactions. To answer that question, they switched off one immune molecule in mice – interferon gamma, typically released by the immune system when it comes into contact with a virus or bacteria, for example.
They found that blocking the molecule in mice caused the animals’ brains to become overly connected, making the mice less willing to interact with others.
When they replenished the spinal fluid of mice with interferon gamma, the mice resumed their social activities.
More research is needed, but insight into how germs and the immune system could control our behavior could potentially lead us to new treatments for people with social disorders.
Chiropractic has long been focused on the immune system because it is hardwired to the nervous system. Chiropractic corrects spinal abnormalities called vertebral subluxations, where bones in the spine have shifted out of position, placing pressure on nerves. When that occurs, the nervous system can’t function properly – which in turn affects the immune system. Numerous studies have shown chiropractic’s ability to boost immune function.
Chiropractic can help you feel better. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, contact Dr. Dhanish Patel at Milpitas Spine Center, 408-942-1122 for a complimentary consultation. Dr. Patel and his dedicated team of chiropractors and therapists are focused on whole body wellness. They are dedicated to giving your body the support and care it needs to heal.