According to the researchers, their findings provide “hope that major disability can be prevented for the subset of children experiencing acute psychosis with antibodies.”
It is well known that antibodies defend the body against bacteria and viruses, and that in some people antibodies also attack healthy cells, causing autoimmune disorders.
Less well known is the role autoimmune disorders may play in psychosis. However, scientists have been aware of a link between immune abnormalities and psychosis for over 100 years.
Only recently, though, have scientists been able to pinpoint the specific mechanisms in the immune system that appear to influence psychosis symptoms, such as the mechanism identified in the new study.
The authors of the new study found an antibody reaction to the dopamine D2 receptor or the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor among a subgroup of children experiencing their first episode of psychosis, but no similar antibody response among healthy children.
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