Wednesday, July 7, 2010

then again, maybe it was the fever?

So my continuing efforts to figure out what caused T's startling "good communication days" last week has led me back to somewhere I've been before ... fever. I had temporarily forgotten that T had a fever, although when I first speculated that maybe the steroid was responsible, my husband suggested maybe it was the fever. I can't remember if I have blogged about this before or not, but there are some startling studies out there which seem fairly conclusive that a subset of autistic children, mostly high functioning, improve (sometimes substantially) when they have a fever. The Simons Foundation has a summary of a recent workshop (this year) in which various experts from across the country convened to discuss this phenomenon and brainstorm about what it could mean.

This report says that Dr. Zimmerman et al. at Kennedy Krieger (the same folks who found the neuroinflammation) found, in a study of 30 children with autism, that symptoms like irritability, stereotypy, hyperactivity and inappropriate speech improved during fever.

One of the most fascinating (out of many) things in this report is some discussion about pupil responses. Previously it has been found that the pupils of autistic individuals don't respond as much or as rapidly as those of other people. According to this report, it appears that the children who show improvements with fever are not only generally more high functioning, but they have less impairment in their pupil response. Although the developmental pediatrician described T as moderately functioning the county people seems to think he is high functioning. I don't know. But I wonder about his pupil response. Of course the pediatrician is supposed to check this during well baby visits, isn't she? but of course every regular pediatrician I saw was always very quick to assure me how "fine" T is/was.

Interestingly, I was so sure when he was an infant that he was cross-eyed, but the doctor kept insisting he was fine. And yeah, I did take him to an ophthamologist. Another waste of time and money. This fellow also assured me how "fine" T was. Well, he was a nice guy. Really all the doctors have been pretty nice. Just not exactly helpful.

But there are a lot of things in this article, too many for me to figure out and blog about right now. But among them was a discussion about the relationship between fever and prostaglandins and neural function in general. this caught my eye because, interestingly, prednisone suppresses prostaglandins.

this one report could take me days to try to parse through!

oh, to go back in time and study some biology and chemistry.

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