Before I continue I’ll update my previous blog detailing the shingles attack. It was very well treated and after the first week on valacyclovir, the pain had disappeared. My relief was short lived. The pain returned, not terrible, but an occasional headache on the left side and what was worse extreme sensitivity and creepy crawly itchy sensation on the scalp/skin. Slowly the discomfort is receding. I read recovery would take 3 to 5 weeks. Now I’m at 5 weeks. (My pharmacist said it can take 2 months to feel better and thinks I’m doing just fine.) I am up and about, but tire easily when I walk. I’m determined now to gradually build up my strength by increasing my walking “rounds” about the house or in the garden one more a day until I arrive at the minimum of 10.
Why is exercise so important? Well, we all know about the importance of cardiovascular health to get the blood circulating through the brain to nourish and protect it. But just this summer news has come out that a lymphatic circulatory system runs through the brain parallel the draining veins, direct evidence that the brain is protected by the immune system. And to keep the lymphatic fluids moving the body needs to move – EXERCISE – because it lacks a pump like the heart. So not only must we think about facilitating the flow of BLOOD through the Central Nervous System, and CEREBROSPINAL FLUID, but now LYMPHATIC FLUID. A major benefit of the lymphatic flow is to flush the brain of waste material which becomes toxic if it stagnates. A researcher at the University of Rochester has found what she calls glymphatic fluid (glial cells plus lymphatic fluid) which flushes the brain during sleep, hence the vital function of sleep. So what does sleep have to do with exercise and muscles? I presume that healthy exercise leads to healthy sleep, they go hand in hand.
Water has always symbolized life. Life on the planet earth evolved in the oceans. Human fetuses float in amniotic fluid. After Dosteovsky’s Raskolnikov murdered the old “useless” woman and her sister, he passed the river Neva which symbolized the life he had violated in obedience to a his lifeless abstract concepts.. Read a poem or a novel, everywhere the oceans, rivers, streams pulse with life. Should the waters dry and disappear, death comes.
So it is with health of the human body. As I’ve discussed in my post “Multiple Sclerosis: the Rigidity Disease” July 4, 2013, “ I believe MSers suffer in particular from stagnating, blocked fluids. When I read the comments of panicked early MS diagnosis, I want to say, “stop, probably the best thing you can do is get a good massage, then follow my 5 steps to MS health (or Matt Embry’s or anyone else’s sensible advice) and by the time the MDs figure out what ails you it won’t ail you anymore.”
OK, enough of this digression and let’s get down to some science, to the FACTS.
Since 1998 Dr.Michal Schwartz of the Weizman Institute in Israel has been publishing research confirming the absolute necessity of immune cells to protect the brain. The lymphocyte auto immune cells targeted by immune suppressive MS drugs actually are needed to produce new stem cells
The following quotes are derived from the Weizmann site
“Prof Michal Schwartz’s Research Group
Contemporary Neuroimmunology: Circulating Immune Cells Shape the Brain and the Mind in Health and Disease
“More than a decade ago... We found, against the common wisdom at that time, that immune cells are pivotal for CNS neuroprotection and repair (1, 2). Both circulating monocyte-derived macrophages and memory and regulatory T cells recognizing brain antigens were shown to have crucial beneficial roles. The population of protective T cells was found to have specificity for self brain antigens, leading us to formulate the concept of “Protective autoimmunity” (1). According to this theory, injury to the CNS initiates a signal to circulating immune cells that recognize brain antigens. This signal recruits the body’s own defense mechanisms; however, if this response escapes control, its benefit is replaced by a detrimental effect that leads to an inflammatory autoimmune disease.
Over the years, we found that circulating immune cells not only orchestrate neuroprotection (3) but are also an integral part of the functioning brain: They are needed for supporting normal stem/progenitor cell renewal and neurogenesis (4, 5), they are essential for some types of hippocampal-dependent cognitive ability (4, 6) and attention (7), and they are crucial for containing mental stress by enabling its resolution, and for fighting off depression (8-11)...”
Summer 2015 Dr. Jonathan Kipnis of the University of Virginia made the totally unexpected discovery that lymphatic vessels drain the brain, a discovery so revolutionary that the textbooks will have to be re-written. The following quotes come from this UVA (University of Virginia) article by Josh Barney dated June 1, 2015 news.virginia.edu/.../researchers-find-textbook-alterin
“Researchers Find Textbook-Altering Link Between Brain, Immune System
In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist... the brain is like every other tissue connected to the peripheral immune system through meningeal lymphatic vessels,” said Jonathan Kipnis, a professor in University of.Virginia.’s Department of Neuroscience and director of U.Va.’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia. “It changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction. We always perceived it before as something esoteric that can’t be studied. But now we can ask mechanistic questions."... will fundamentally change the way people look at the central nervous system’s relationship with the immune system.”...
The discovery was made possible by the work of Antoine Louveau, a postdoctoral fellow in Kipnis’ lab...
As to how the brain’s lymphatic vessels managed to escape notice all this time, Kipnis described them as “very well hidden” and noted that they follow a major blood vessel down into the sinuses, an area difficult to image. “It’s so close to the blood vessel, you just miss it,” he said. “If you don’t know what you’re after, you just miss it...
The unexpected presence of the lymphatic vessels raises a tremendous number of questions that now need answers, both about the workings of the brain and the diseases that plague it...
And there’s an enormous array of other neurological diseases, from autism to multiple sclerosis, that must be reconsidered in light of the presence of something science insisted did not exist.
The findings have been published online by the prestigious journal Nature and will appear in a forthcoming print edition.”
This is a major discovery discussed in many prestigious scientific publications including Scientific American. www.scientificamerican.com › ... › Mind Matters.
What does this mean for MS? That the immune system represented by the lymphatic vessels works inside the brain to keep it healthy and suppressing it will likely be harmful. This provides the physical basis for Prof Michal Schwartz’s finding “that immune cells are pivotal for CNS neuroprotection and repair”.
Dr. Kipnis’ discovery of lymphatic vessels in the brain provides the missing factor which reinforces the work of Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, Professor at the University of Rochester, and Co-Director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine. (She earlier spoke of a "plumbing system" that piggybacks on the brain's blood vessels” without realizing that this “plumbing system” is in fact composed of lymphatic vessels.)
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/stor ... fm?id=3956
“In findings that give fresh meaning to the old adage that a good night’s sleep clears the mind, a new study shows that a recently discovered system that flushes waste from the brain is primarily active during sleep. This revelation could transform scientists’ understanding of the biological purpose of sleep and point to new ways to treat neurological disorders.
“This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and when awake,” said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine and lead author of the article. “In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness.”
The study, which was published today in the journal Science, reveals that the brain’s unique method of waste removal – dubbed the glymphatic system – is highly active during sleep, clearing away toxins responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. Furthermore, the researchers found that during sleep the brain’s cells reduce in size, allowing waste to be removed more effectively...
The new findings hinge on the discovery last year by Nedergaard and her colleagues of a previously unknown system of waste removal that is unique to the brain…
The timely removal of waste from the brain is essential where the unchecked accumulation of toxic proteins such as amyloid-beta can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, almost every neurodegenerative disease is associated with the accumulation of cellular waste products…
Through a series of experiments in mice, the researchers observed that the glymphatic system was almost 10-fold more active during sleep and that the sleeping brain removed significantly more amyloid-beta…
Another startling finding was that the cells in the brain “shrink” by 60 percent during sleep. This contraction creates more space between the cells and allows CSF to wash more freely through the brain tissue. In contrast, when awake the brain’s cells are closer together, restricting the flow of CSF…
“These findings have significant implications for treating ‘dirty brain’ disease like Alzheimer’s,” said Nedergaard. “Understanding precisely how and when the brain activates the glymphatic system and clears waste is a critical first step in efforts to potentially modulate this system and make it work more efficiently.”…
The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.”
Back to the present. Referring to Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment mentioned earlier, before the murders, Raskolnikov
“was haunted by daydreams and such strange day-dreams; in one, that kept recurring, he fancied that he was in Africa, in Egypt, in some sort of oasis. The caravan was resting, the camels were peacefully lying down,; the palms stood all round in a complete circle; all the party were at dinner. But he was drinking water from a spring which flowed gurgling close by. And it was so cool, it was wonderful, wonderful, blue, cold water running among the parti-coloured stones and over the clean sand which glistened here and there like gold...”**
What a wonderful, life giving, healing image to hold dear.
**(Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Translation from the Russian by Constance Garnett. Bantam Books, February 1958, New York, N.Y. pages 60-61.)
Tags: Multiple Sclerosis, MS, lymphatic system, Prof Michal Schwartz, Weizman Institute, MS Rigidity Disease, Dr. Jonathan Kipnis, Dr. Maikan Nedergaard