Front Cell Neurosci
Janet K. Kern, David A. Geier, Lisa K. Sykes and Mark R. Geier
In recent years, many studies indicate that children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis have a brain disorder that suggests continuous neuroinflammation or encephalitis in different regions of their brain. Evidence of neuroinflammation or encephalitis in ASD includes: microglial and astrocytic activation, a unique and elevated proinflammatory profile of cytokines and aberrant expression of the nuclear enhancer factor of the kappa-light-chain-enhancer chain of activated B cells. A conservative research-based estimate suggests that at least 69% of people with an ASD diagnosis have microglial activation or neuroinflammation. Encephalitis, which is defined as brain inflammation, is the medical diagnosis code G04.90 in the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision; however, children with an ASD diagnosis are generally not evaluated for a possible medical diagnosis of encephalitis. This is unfortunate because if a child with ASD has neuroinflammation, treating the underlying brain inflammation could lead to better results. The purpose of this literature review is to examine the evidence of neuroinflammation / encephalitis in those diagnosed with ASD and to address how a medical diagnosis of encephalitis, if any, could benefit these children by guiding more immediate and targeted treatments.