An MSers Homage to Chiropractor Dr. Michael Flanagan
Beginning October 1, 2010 Dr. Flanagan wrote as “uprightdoc” on his thread CCSVI – CCVBP on the ThisisMS.com website. When “Robni” reported his death on June 6, 2016, we were shocked. We had counted on him to explain how body structure and fluid circulation could impact neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. We could ask direct questions and send MRI images to be analyzed. We had a kind, enlightened, generous guide in our quest to understand and to heal. His passing leaves a big, empty space I don't see being filled any time soon. I think his thread deserves the same indexing as Dr Sclafani's, the Interventional Radiologist. Dr. Flanagan was preparing a book manuscript for a Publisher and I hope it WILL be published, I’ll be a ready buyer. I can't believe he is gone.
He wrote his uprightdoc.com blog apparently between August 2010 and December 2013.
His post “About Dr. Flanagan” of August 8, 2010 reads:
It was in 1982 that I met Dr. Harry Shapiro who was the former curator for the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and a leading expert on the design of the human skull, artificial skull deformation and trepination.
It was this relationship that put me on a course that I would never had envisioned. In 1978 I graduated with high honours from Sherman College of Chiropractic with particular focus on specific corrective care of the upper cervical spine, which is the most critical and important area of the spine. Following graduation I spent several years studying Applied Kinesiology and Sacrooccipital Technique, which includes specific pelvic analysis and corrective care procedures for the foundation of the spine, as well as craniopathy which is described below.
The pelvis contains the tail end attachment of the cord. Except for the tail, the brain and cord float within the cranial vault and spinal canal. The human pelvis is complex when it comes to health problems and requires specific analysis and correction. In my opinion, it is just as important as specific upper cervical care. Craniopathy, on the other hand, is the study of the musculoskeletal system of the skull, as well as cerebrospinal fluid flow, called CSF, in the brain and cord.
It was because of my interest in craniopathy that I met Dr. Harry Shapiro through a friend. The doctor became a patient and we had many long conversations regarding the design of the sutures and base of the skull, as well as craniopathy and chiropractic. While Dr. Shapiro was intriqued by basic chiropractic and craniopathic theories, certain craniopathic concepts clearly conflicted with his extensive forensic findings. In particular, he disagreed with issues regarding deformation of the base of the skull and the state of its special joints called sutures. Consequently, he insisted that I use the museum to do my own research.
When I got there he handed me a well used canvas sack with a set of old calipers strapped to the inside. Honestly, I had no idea about how to use them. He then gave me an old monogram he had published in 1928 called, “A Correction for Artificial Deformation of Skulls.” That’s how my chance investigation into the sutures and the design of the base of the human skull got started. It was supposed to be finished in just a few days. Instead, it turned into decades.
I spent several years examining hundreds of normal, pathological and artificially deformed human skulls. It was the artificially deformed skulls from former indigenous people of Peru and Bolivia, however, that started me looking into hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus, in turn, led to normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) and Alzheimer’s, which led to Parkinson’s and later mutliple sclerosis. Early on I recognized the close similarity between narrow angle glaucoma and NPH. Both are related to low pressure drainage issues due to similar causes. The difference is that glaucoma puts pressure on and damages the optic nerve causing blindness. NPH, on the other hand, puts pressure on the brain and causes dementia.
In addition to human skulls, I studied some primate skulls along with bats, whales and giraffes. I studied the later three because of the extreme circulatory challenges to the brain during head inversion and deep dives, which are similar to inversion and Valsalva maneuvers in humans and known to increase intracranial pressure. I was looking for answers and compensatory mechanisms these animals use to control intracranial pressure, and for possible clues as to how humans contend with challenges caused by upright posture. I found plenty of forensic evidence.
I wrote my first paper on the potential role of the spine in venous drainage issues and neurodegenerative diseases in 1987. A Google search for “stenosis Alzheimer’s” will produce an article I wrote for Dynamic Chiropractic in 1990 calling for research into the potential role of venous drainage isssues in the brain and Alzhiemer’s disease. I subsequently published many other papers on similar subjects, including Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. After three years of additional study, in 1990 I became certified in chiropractic neurology. In additon to my professional publications, I recently published a book called
THE DOWNSIDE OF UPRIGHT POSTURE – THE ANATOMICAL CAUSES OF ALZHEIMER’S, PARKINSON’S AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, based on more than twenty years of research. (MS Cure Enigmas comment: This book is apparently out of print, the least expensive used version available on Amazon being $155.79.)
The book is written as a story to make it easier to digest and remember some important and difficult concepts. It is packed with relevant information. It was written for lay people, as well as physicians and scientists to stimulate further research. It was also written for anyone interested in physical anthropology, upright posture and the human brain. You can learn more about the book by visiting my website at uprightdoc.com. No one has all the answers to the mystery but we have some new and important pieces to the puzzle that may bring us closer to solving it. I will be discussing topics from the book on this blog. It is an important subject that needs further investigation.
END OF POST
On April 14, 2016 NZer1 asked of “uprightdoc” on the CCSVI – CCVBP thread on Thisisms.com
Is there a pulse wave encephalopathy component to multiple sclerosis?
On April 15 uprightdoc replied
Good paper. Juurlink's hypothesis is similar to what I proposed thirty years ago.
On April 16 vesta (that’s me) wrote
I think upright doc is right to feel frustrated that ideas he has long held are now being presented by others as "new and original". There has long been and still is a strong bias against "functional" thérapies such as Chiropractic. Researchers are still looking for the "happy pill" which will heal all evils. Bravo "doc".
Best regards, Vesta
On April 18 uprightdoc replied:
Actually, all the others, are far behind and just scratching at the surface. Juurlink's paper only discusses MS. My next book will cover all conditions related to craniospinal hydrodynamics from childhood hydrocephalus to Tarlov cysts and everything in between.
Until next time, TTFN.
On April 26, 2016 he wrote on ThisisMS.com a good Healing overview.
I disagree with you that rehab can't stop progression in neurodegenerative conditions. It depends on the condition, the extent of damage and the type of treatment used. Fernandez Noda showed significant recovery of Parkinson's diseases following surgical correction of thoracic outlet syndromes. Rafael Hernandez showed significant recovery of neurodegenerative conditions using omental transplantation placed according to the particular pathology. CSF Shunts prevent significant degeneration due to hydrocephalus etc.
Which concepts of chiropractic are you referring to. Are you referring to all chiropractors and all chiropractors as a waste of time?
Breach of the BBB is just one small aspect of neurodegenerative diseases. There are many other factors such as chronic ischemia, edema, inflammation, hydrocephalus etc..
Diet and exercise have long been recognized as the pillars of health and intergral to the treatment of disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine, chiropractic and other alternative health systems. Martial arts have always been a part of the Asian health care systems.
Disc bulges bulges can be corrrected surgically. I don't know about strengthening the endothelium but there are many other factors to consider other than the endothelium, which is just a small piece of the puzzle. In addition to blocking blood and CSF flow, disc bulges also cause mechanical strains of the dura that can damage the cord.
Personally, I like my explanation and approach to the treatment of neurodgenerative diseases the best. I base my treatment on what I call conformation analysis, which bases treatment on observations and analysis of the individual's particular anatomy, physiology and pathlogy. Too much research is currently focuses on genotype and ignores phenotypes. I suspect it is phenotypes that account for the racial and gender differences in MS, NMO and Asian Optic Spinal MS, not genotypes.
I agree with you there are a lot of nutbag religous fanatics in chiropractic that give it a bad name. May of the hardline religous fanatics use specific upper cervical care and stick to the bible according to BJ Palmer. There are certainly a lot of rip offs and scam artists in chiropractic and other alternative health care systems as well, espeically acupunture and herbology. Fortunately they do little harm and are comparatively inexpensive. The dental profession is likewise full of scam artists claiming expertise in musculoskeletal, neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. By far the biggest scam artists however are in the medical profession. Have you read the controvery surrounding the movie "Vaxxed?" Have you read about the tainted flu vaccines in China that were knowingly given to millions of people. Did you read about the oncologist in Chicago who treated thousands of patients with chemo and radiation therapy for cancers they didn't have? The psychiatric profession is basically a scam that makes up diseases. Unfortunately, medical treatments can cause severe harm and medical care is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy.
What Dr. Rosa is doing is terrific but needs to be done on far greater scale using public funding that includes other equally valid methods of treatment as well. And while it may be new to upper cervical doctors, the connection to blood and CSF flow has been recognized in cranial therapy for over seventy-five years.
You can't always fix damaged tissues but you can manage them and halt or slow degenerative processes and manage signs and symptoms. Diet and exercise likewise help to manage neurodegenerative conditions but they rarely fix damaged tissues either. For example, diet and excercise help to manage cardiovascular disease and arthritis but they don't cure it once the damage is done. Moreover, diet and exercise require a daily committment. If you stop, the problems return. Likewise with badly damage spines causing or contributing to neurodegenerative diseases. They need ongoing care.
Take your time, it's a lot to swallow." END OF QUOTE
His last Post appeared April 27. Then, silence.
We will look out for the book.
In the meantime one can consult his recently published paper, excerpts below.
Neurology Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 794829, 20 pages
The Role of the Craniocervical Junction in Craniospinal Hydrodynamics and Neurodegenerative Conditions
Michael F. Flanagan1,
Copyright © 2015 Michael F. Flanagan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The craniocervical junction (CCJ) is a potential choke point for craniospinal hydrodynamics and may play a causative or contributory role in the pathogenesis and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, MS, and ALS, as well as many other neurological conditions including hydrocephalus, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, migraines, seizures, silent-strokes, affective disorders, schizophrenia, and psychosis. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the critical role of the CCJ in craniospinal hydrodynamics and to stimulate further research that may lead to new approaches for the prevention and treatment of the above neurodegenerative and neurological conditions....
In brief, the CCJ is a potential choke point for blood and CSF flow between the cranial vault and spinal canal that can cause faulty craniospinal hydrodynamics and subsequent chronic ischemia, edema, and hydrocephalus. Upright posture and motion of the cervical spine compound the strains and deformation of blood and CSF pathways of the CCJ further contributing to blockage of flow…
2. Arteries and Veins of the CCJ
The arteries and veins of the CCJ play key roles in craniospinal hydrodynamics../
In 1988 this author proposed that neurodegenerative diseases may be due to obstruction and back pressure in the accessory drainage system of the brain as it passes through the CCJ to connect to the vertebral veins [20, 21]. Obstruction can occur due to many types of malformations and misalignments of the CCJ More recently, in 2009, Zamboni et al. proposed that MS can be caused by venous. insufficiency due to stenosis or faulty valves in jugular veins . The many different types of malformations and misalignments of the CCJ that can potentially cause vertebral venous insufficiency, however, far outnumber those due to jugular insufficiency [31–53, 85–87]. Moreover, the vertebral veins are the primary drainage routes used to drain the brain during upright posture [20–30]…
In brief, craniospinal hydrodynamics are a complex interaction between brain, blood, and CSF in the relatively closed compartments of the cranial vault and spinal canal compounded by cardiac cycles and arterial pulsations that cause continuous fluctuations in blood volume and ICP. .. Manual and surgical methods for correcting obstructions, as well as manipulation of blood and CSF flow, may help to restore or improve faulty craniospinal hydrodynamics in certain cases and decrease the prevalence, progression, and severity of neurodegenerative and other neurological conditions. Further studies using upright and cine MRI coupled with computer modeling are needed to determine the role of malformations and misalignments of the CCJ and spondylosis, stenosis and scoliosis in the lower spine in faulty craniospinal hydrodynamics, and neurodegenerative and neurological conditions, as well as the impact of the manual, mechanical, and surgical correction of structural strains and faulty craniospinal hydrodynamics on patient pathology and symptomatology.”
END OF QUOTES
Apparently Dr. Flanagan recommended Dr. Scott Rosa to the CCSVI Alliance site. (www.ccsvi.org/) Dr. Rosa is now the featured Chiropractor on their front page.
CCSVI Allance is the site to consult in English to understand the issues and to find professionals capable of relieving obstructions in blood flow through the CNS.
Before undergoing venoplasty (thanks to Dr. Flanagan) I would insist on a FONAR upright Cine MRI to rule out skeletal obstructions to blood/cerebrospinal blood flow. Here is a direct quote from the main page of CCSVI Alliance.
- Dr. Scott Rosa is doing the most compelling upper cervical chiropractic rsearch in the world today. He has spent the last 15 years working developmentally with the inventor of the MRI (Dr. Raymond Damadian) and FONAR Corporation - maker of the UPRIGHT Multi-positional MRI, in developing his advanced dynamic imaginig procedure. He has worked with FONAR Corporation in developing cine cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow software as well as cine motion MRI and vertebral artery flow studies which have been instrumental in providing advanced images validating upper cervical adjusting pre and post C-1 correction, as well as patho-physiological changes at the cranio-cervical junction.
- Dr. Rosa's latest research is in the area of neuro-degenerative brain disease, cerebellar tonsillar ectopia (CTE), altered CSF and arterial/venous flow dynamics and their correlation to the cranio-cervical junction (gateway between the brain and spinal column), and atlas misalignment. Cerebrospinal fluid is no longer thought of as JUST a cushion for the brain. Recent studies have shown the importance of CSF to clear toxins of the brain through the glymphatic system; also, the draining of CSF from the central nervous system into the deep cervical lymph nodes by the newly found meningeal lymphatic vessels. It is highly important that the CSF is un-encumbered in order for these systems to work effectively.
- Source: Trauma Imaging Foundation eEND OF QUOTE
Fortunately ThisisMS.com introduced me to Dr. Flanagan. I extend my sincere condolences to his wife, (also a Chiropractor), to his family and friends. I look forward to reading the book he was preparing for publication.
Tags: Dr. Michael Flanagan, Chiropractic, CCSVI, FONAR upright MRI, CCSVI Alliance, uprightdoc, ThisisMS.com