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A new study could have enormous implications for conditions such as autism and schizophrenia. It claims that the immune system affects and even controls social behavior.
researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine believe that this means that our immune system controls such fundamentals as our desire to interact with others.
The implications go so far as to suggest that immune system problems contribute to an inability to have normal social interactions.
“The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as sign of a pathology. And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behavior traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens,”
Social behavior is beneficial for pathogens, as it allows them to spread.
And then there is interferon gamma. This specific immune molecule is normally produced by the immune system in response to bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
Blocking the molecule in mice using genetic modification made regions of the brain hyperactive, causing the mice to become less social.