Monday, July 12, 2010

PS about prednisone

T's regular pediatrician had something very interesting to say about my prednisone incident, which I don't think I've mentioned here yet. My husband is actually the one who spoke with her, but I think I've gotten all the major details correct.

According to my husband, when he brought up "the incident" with her (discussed previously in these posts), she was completely unsurprised. In fact, she told him that she had had another patient some time back who tried prednisone, and that it had worked marvels. However, there had been side effects, and she did not necessarily think it was worth it. She said that due to the side effects, they wouldn't use the prednisone at Emory, but she thought her patient had traveled somewhere else.

I'm a little unclear as to whether this patient was forced to discontinue due to the side effects, but the pediatrician says that the patient did retain some of the gains after stopping the prednisone.

I wish I knew more, but I'm not sure if our pediatrician really knows much more than that. If it's true, of course, I'm wondering why she never mentioned it before??

Also, what is it that might make it work, if it does? The folks at Johns Hopkins I thought were very certain that it wouldn't affect the inflammation that they saw in the tissue samples, although maybe I need to go back and read that more closely. I find it so striking, though, that elsewhere I read that prednisone is supposedly helpful for the kind of inflammation involved in asthma because it actually turns off the genes that trigger the release of the inflammatory chemicals.

My friend the infectious diseases doc also thought for that reason that it makes perfect sense that prednisone could have an immediate beneficial effect of this sort (not that she had any idea whether it did or not, you understand -- she is an HIV specialist, this is not her area) -- so it is hard for me to let go of this idea.

But still, assuming it's not that .... could prednisone have a hormonal effect rather than an anti-inflammatory effect (if those are even separate things)? Somehow, prednisone mimics cortisol in some sort of way. And I have read that autistic individuals appear to not experience the cortisol spike in the morning that others do.

I also read somewhere that cortisol has some sort of effect on calcium channels, which have also been implicated in autism, maybe that is relevant?

I think there's a lot of other stuff about cortisol and autism out there, and I just can't remember it all. But could there be some connection there?

I wish I understood all of these things so I could see how they all fit together ....

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