Monday, March 26, 2007

Abstract of low NO hypothesis of ASDs

Nitric oxide is important in many physiological processes which are known to be disrupted in autism. Regulation of neural proliferation requires NO. The formation and refinement of neural connections requires NO. Low NO decreases the number and extent of neuronal connectivity. The sensitivity of a neural network to change depends exponentially on connectivity in the near percolation region. Increased sensitivity to seizures, savant-type abilities, and deranged attachment are consistent with decreased connectivity and increased closeness to the percolation threshold in the CNS. Gut disturbances, obstructive sleep apnea, enuresis, decreased heart rate variability are consistent with decreased connectivity and increased closeness to the percolation threshold in the ANS. Below the percolation threshold, the functionality of a neural network would collapse.

A biofilm of autotrophic ammonia oxidizing bacteria in vivo oxidizes ammonia from sweat into nitrite and produces NO, some of which is absorbed into the skin. Modern bathing practices will remove a biofilm of autotrophic ammonia oxidizing bacteria and prevent its reestablishment. All NO mediated pathways are sensitive to the background NO level. A perturbation to the background level of NO will affect all NO mediated pathways with no threshold.

In the “wild”, before modern bathing practices, it would be impossible for humans to not develop a biofilm of these bacteria which are universally present in all soils and all natural water sources. Loss of those bacteria will affect the background NO/nitrite level, which will perturb physiology with no threshold. Low NO from the loss of these bacteria will perturb physiology in the direction of low NO. Normally, low NO is a “stress” state, a state invoked in response to “stress”. Adaptable in the short term, when metabolic resources need to be mobilized to deal with the cause of the “stress”, bad in the long term because “low priority” stuff gets put off. How much will physiology be affected? A good question, the answer of which will require an understanding of the thousands of coupled non-linear pathways regulated by NO, many of which are no doubt idiosyncratic.

Application of autotrophic ammonia oxidizing bacteria is a natural and non-invasive method for increasing the NO level in humans that is under normal physiological regulation via sweating. Increasing the background NO level in ASD children and adults should affect all NO mediated pathways in a normalizing direction and may improve or ameliorate some autism symptomology.


daedalus2u said...

Just testing to see if this comment thing works. It is hard to imagine that no one has a comment or question. Is my writing that clear?

abfh said...

Yes, it works. I haven't been commenting on your blog because I don't have a medical background and am not sufficiently familiar with the functions of NO in human physiology to discuss your hypothesis.

I do have one request for you, however: Be careful not to equate autism with being "delusional," "psychotic," or in a "berserker state." Autism is characterized by differences in social behavior and communication. It is not a psychosis, and there is nothing in the diagnostic criteria about delusions or violence. Some autistic people are very calm and never have any problem controlling their temper, while many non-autistic people have frequent fits of anger.

I wrote a post in January about the ugly and untrue stereotype of the autistic berserker. This is a very dangerous stereotype that is causing widespread prejudice and discrimination. Be careful not to perpetuate it!

daedalus2u said...

afbh, in no way shape or form did I intend to convey that. I will change it. Thank you for pointing out how someone might misconstrue what I said.

I think that many instances of psychosis are due to low ATP, and that it is a survival "feature". A great many stimulents will produce psychosis, along with hyperpyrexia. I think they "work" by inducing mitochondria uncoupling (which is where the heat comes from by uselessly dissipating the mitochondrial potential as heat instead of as ATP). I was thinking more of NTs going into that state, such as Bush. The type of exercise he does, (exercise until his mind is "clear"), is (I think) exactly inducing that kind of psychosis. The runner's "high" is (I think) actually a mild delusion where one feels not tired. A very useful delusion if one is running from a bear. A not so useful delusion if one is planning warfare.

I think the characteristic metabolic stress for men (over evolutionary time) was single combat over females (nothing else is worth fighting for). Becoming violent and unpredictable was a survival feature. For females, the characteristic metabolic stress was lactation. If there were insufficient metabolic resources to support lactation, what is the "evolutionary appropriate" response? Postpartum psychosis and infanticide. I think that higher NO will prevent both of those things via increased mitochondrial biogenesis.

The characteristic behaviors of ASD indiviuals results (for the most part) from neuroanatomy developed in utero and early childhood.

abfh said...

Thanks... much appreciated.

So Bush might be more rational if he just sat around eating cheeseburgers and fries like Bill Clinton?

Perhaps we should hope that he gets a sore knee or something...

daedalus2u said...

Yes. The Republicans (for example Bob Dole) have phyiological problems known to be mediated by low nitric oxide (E.D.), which they fix with a blue pill, aka viagra.

That was never Bill Clinton's problem.