Intestinal Infections in Children Linked to Schizophrenia

Intestinal Infections in Children Linked to Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness that often strikes people in their late teens and early 20s. It is characterized by disordered thought processes, including delusions and hallucinations. Currently, there is no cure for schizophrenia, although there are medications to manage the illness. Recent research has suggested that childhood illness may impact whether a person will develop schizophrenia in early adulthood, unraveling the mystery of this terrible illness.

Intestinal Infections in Children Linked to Schizophrenia
Early Infections Interrupt Brain Development

Researchers in Australia studied medical records for children who were admitted to the hospital before the age of three for intestinal or respiratory infections. Shockingly, children who suffered from this type of infection, even if it did not result in neurological involvement, were 80 percent more likely to develop schizophrenia when they reached early adulthood. Previously, researchers found that neurological infections, such as meningitis, are associated with the development of schizophrenia.

In light of the new findings, doctors now believe that the immune system in young children is not strong enough to prevent neurological impact when an infection or virus is present. The blood-brain barrier in adults prevents foreign bodies and bacteria from entering the brain and stops most neurological damage. However, it appears that in young children, this system is not developed enough to prevent damage from infections. Researchers now believe that toddlers and infants who have infection are at much greater risk for neurological health problems developing later in life due to the impact systemic inflammation may have on the child’s developing nervous system.

Although a child’s immune system is not fully developed at birth, parents can take measures to boost the immune system as much as possible to protect their children. Breast feeding is one such method. Breast milk carries antibodies to many infectious agents from mother to child. As a result, breast feeding instead of bottle feeding may be one of the best and most natural ways to boost your child’s natural immunity to infections.

– The Alternative Daily

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