A Good Read: Infectious Behavior

by Judlyne Lilly
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Infectious Behavior

If you are pregnant or are thinking about getting pregnant, Dr. Paul Patterson says “It’s been shown by a number of groups around the world that if a woman gets an infection during pregnancy, depending not the timing of the infection and the severity, this can increase the risk for Schizophrenia or autism in the offspring.”

Dr. Patterson is, a Research Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, wrote the book INFECTIOUS BEHAVIOR to let women know about the danger of infections during pregnancy.

“Various kinds of viruses like influenza, the flu. It also includes bacterial infection that you might get, say with a urinary tract infection. Also includes parasite infections. So any of these different kinds of infections increase the risk, statistically speaking for these disorders in the offspring. Of course it doesn’t happen in every offspring, obviously.”

While the prospect of the infections and the possible results outlined by Dr. Patterson, he says “that’s part of what the book is about, is to get the idea out there that there is this risk factor and people should be aware of it.”

He also says there are things that can be done:

  • Get vaccinated in advance of pregnancy
  • Wash your hands after being in public places, like going shopping, putting gas in the car, and so on.
  • Avoid infection of genital viruses by using prophylactics.
  • Avoid urinary tract infections during pregnancy by avoiding sexual intercourse.
  • Avoid parasites, such as toxoplasma, by not changing the kitty litter while one is pregnant.
  • Avoid relatives and friends who happen to be sick or one can wear a mask.

Now that you’re sufficiently frightened, Dr. Patterson ays that there are clinical trials underway studying treatments for children who might be affected.

Dr. Patterson’s book is Infectious Behavior.

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