More than 60 million Americans have been prescribed some type of psychotropic drug; many of these Americans are children who have shown trouble focusing in school, motor or vocal ticks, obsessive-compulsive behavior, or a range of other signs of varying intensity. Doctors generally aim to treat the symptoms, but what about the underlying cause of the symptoms? And if the cause could be identified, would a psychotropic drug still be the preferred form of treatment?
Craig Shimasaki, Ph.D., joins the podcast to discuss surprising new discoveries on this topic. He’s currently the CEO of Moleculera, a company that opened its doors in 2013 after five antibody targets were discovered in the central nervous systems of children who developed sudden-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) after a strep infection. When antibodies attack our joints, we call it rheumatoid arthritis, when they attack our pancreas, we call is diabetes type I, but what do we call it when they attack our brain? According to Dr. Shimasaki and the team at Moleculera, we should call it an infection-triggered autoimmune response known as “molecular mimicry,” which applies not only to OCD but to a subset of ADHD and autism diagnoses as well.
Moleculera has created a blood test that can identify specific markers which, in conjunction with a patient’s clinical signs, indicate whether or not a case of ADHD or autism has an immune-related cause. The patients who fall into this category have improved or seen total resolution of their symptoms after a course of anti-infectives and immune modulatory treatment. Over 1,200 doctors have already ordered the test, 7,600 patients have been tested, and Moleculera continues to accept blood samples from anywhere in the world.
Dr. Shimasaki offers compelling and informative insight on a range of topics, including how the treatment works and what exactly it consists of, whether or not immune dysregulation could also be involved in schizophrenia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic depression, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and all the details of what Moleculera has in the works, such as the use of machine learning to develop a predictive algorithm for treatment efficacy, and a pharmacoeconomic model that would demonstrate the cost savings of this new method of testing for and treating neurological and psychiatric conditions. Tune in and visit www.moleculeralabs.com to learn more.
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