Fever and Autism Spectrum Research 2

Peter Good, in his 2016 paper “Simplifying study of fever’s dramatic relief of autistic behavior,” proposed a quite specific hypothesis about the mechanisms by which autistic symptoms improve dramatically during the fever process. This paper presents a study of three simplified scenarios: (1) improvements appearing hours before fever, (2) return of autistic behavior soon after fever, (3) improvements persisting long after fever.  He discussed possibilities by presenting evidence implicating acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the epidemic of autism even before. Peter’s research showed that water is taken up into astrocytes by glutamine and taurine, osmolytes released by the muscles and brain during fever. This temporarily resolved the problem of myelin immaturity that is so prevalent in children with autism.

In early 2006, a study by J Hendry and colleagues, ‘ White matter abnormalities in autism detected through transverse relaxation time imaging,’ reported that the white matter of autistic boys aged 6 to 16 years contained more water than that of normal children and that the myelin in the brain of autistic children and adolescents had an immature water distribution. In other words, myelination in the brain is associated with autism.

We don’t yet know how autism symptoms improve with a fever, but these studies have some obvious implications. First, colds and autism are caused by the same etiologic agent, a viral infection. Second, the process of running a fever eliminates many of the neurophysiologic causes of autism; lastly, some mild cases of autism do not improve temporarily during the fever process but remain significantly improved.

The correlation between improving autism symptoms and fever is currently being studied and proven. Ultimately, the theory is that viral infections cause autism and colds. It is explained by the fact that the immune system does not function to eliminate autism-causing viruses on its own, so when a child comes down with a fever, the immune system boosts, weakening the autism-causing viruses and allowing the nervous system to recover.

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