Sometimes the disease itself doesn’t kill; the killer is the victim’s own immune system.
A growing amount of research shows that this can happen with certain infections, such as those that cause Lyme disease, syphilis, mycoplasmal pneumonia, and especially viral infections of the nervous system. Death and severe neurological damage come from an attack by our own body’s immune system and not from the damage done by the invading microorganism.
Activation of the body’s immune system triggers the release of glutamate which slowly kills brain cells by a process called excitotoxicity.
A recent study examined a viral infection of the central nervous system of mice which produced severe damage to the hippocampus area of the brain and to the spinal cord, and resulted in death in all of the mice in a little over a week. In some of the mice, researchers used an AMPA type glutamate receptor blocker, which prevented death in most of the animals and also prevented spinal cord damage.
Ironically, at the time the animals were protected from the damage by the glutamate receptor blocker, Continue reading