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Thus commenced years of trial-and-error therapy, conducted mostly in a psychiatric ward.Frankovich and her colleague, psychiatrist Margo Thienemann, first prescribed steroids to dial down Paul Michael’s immune response.For years, scientists had focused on a single infection — group A streptococcal disease — that produced antibodies that attacked the part of the forebrain involved in forming habits, resulting in OCD.Today, the paradigm has widened into a much bigger idea that expands our understanding of psychiatric disease: A whole host of infections and other unknown triggers lead to the production of antibodies and immune cells that can cross into the brain.Depending on where these immune responses land and which brain structures they block, erode or destroy, a range of psychiatric ills can result.In one person, it could be OCD; in the next, it could be hyperactivity and inattention, anxiety, restricted eating, even hallucinations or autistic behavior.At Stanford and elsewhere, the hunt is on for treatment cocktails that quell the inflammation and new strategies to keep a rogue immune system at bay.
Today a gentle young man of 15, he goes to public school and hopes to be a pastry chef.
But on March 2, 2009, he woke up in the middle of the night, monstrously changed. He got hold of a knife and stabbed holes through his door. His parents hustled their son to the psychiatrist, leading to an alphabet soup of diagnoses: ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), bipolar disorder, autism and, ultimately, straight-up psychosis.
He began speaking a strange language no one could understand. Yet no matter what medications Paul Michael tried, treatment failed. He broke the windows in his room, causing the family to install Plexiglas.
Read the full article In 2010, Heleen Devos, a native of Belgium who works in corporate social responsibility and communications for a French energy company, was heading to Cuba for a United Nations climate change conference.“I had seen him and found him handsome,” Ms. Yet she was unsure of his relationship with the older woman next to him.
At 7 years old, Paul Michael Nelson was the kind of quiet, brilliant kid you were likely to find in Silicon Valley — captivated by Legos, self-taught in origami, loving and sweet.