Is The Brain on Fire?

Early in my career I read an article with that title. About the same time, I discovered the Brain-Gut connection, and hundreds of articles on the importance of the gut flora, and nutrition. I also discovered that most of what I had been taught in medical school was obsolete.

If you are reading this blog you are probably familiar with these concepts, but read on; you may still be surprised to find out that practically all so-called degenerative diseases (i.e. dementia, Parkinsonism, MS,) and mood disorders (i.e. depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism,) are inflammatory in nature. What is causing the inflammation? Poor diets, toxic environments, chronic infections, and emotional problems. And, where is the inflammation generated? In the immune system, specifically, the gut.

Are you depressed? If not, chances are you have been at some point in your life. If you wish to treat it naturally, begin with your diet, and exercise. Change your brain programming, and consider taking curcumin, an anti-inflammatory condiment that may take 8 weeks to show its anti-depressant effects.


“Is the Brain on Fire?” J. Neurology 1994;36:333

“Brain-gut axis in health and disease,” J. Gastroenterology Volume 114, Issue 3, March 1998, Pages 559-578

“Inflammatory illness: Why the next wave of antidepressants may target the immune system,” J. Nature Medicine 23,1009–1011(2017)

“From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain,” J. Nat Rev NEurosci 2008;9:46

“Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study,” Journal of Affective Disorders Volume 167, 1 October 2014, Pages 368-375

“The Inflammatory Potential of the Diet Is Associated with Depressive Symptoms in Different Subgroups of the General Population,” J. Nutr. 2017 147: 879

“Psilocybin (anti-inflammatory mushroom) May Be a Psychiatry Game Changer,” J. Psychopharmacol. Published online December 1, 2016.

“Adjuvant pioglitazone (Diabetic drug) for unremitted depression: Clinical correlates of treatment response,” J. Psy Research Epub Oct 12 2015

“Effect of Anti-inflammatory Treatment on Depression, Depressive Symptoms, and Adverse Effects: :  A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials,” JAMA Psychiatry. Published online October 15, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.1611

Family Chaos and Adolescent Inflammatory Profiles: The Moderating Role of Socioeconomic Status,” J. Psychosomatic Medicine: July/August 2014 – Volume 76 – Issue 6 – p 460

“Neuropsychiatric Disease and Toxoplasma gondii infection,” J. Neuroimmunomodulation 2009;16:122–133

“Toxoplasma gondii infects approximately 30% of the world’s population, but causes overt clinical symptoms in only a small proportion of people. In recent years, the ability of the parasite to manipulate the behavior of infected mice and rats and alter personality attributes of humans has been reported. Furthermore, a number of studies have now suggested T. gondii infection as a risk factor for the development of schizophrenia and depression in humans. T. gondii … could directly affect dopamine and/or serotonin biosynthesis… Stimulation of the immune response has also recently been associated with mood and behavioral alterations in humans, and compounds designed to alter mood, such as fluoxetine, have been demonstrated to alter aspects of immune function… Potential mechanisms responsible for these changes in behavior including the role of tryptophan metabolism and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis are discussed.

Hugo Rodier, MD is an integrative physician based in Draper, Utah who specializes in healing chronic disease at the cellular level by blending proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, & allopathic practices when necessary.

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