Welcome! This blog contains research & information on lifestyle, nutrition and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of the endothelium and heart-brain connection. This blog is informative only--all medical decisions should be discussed with your own physicians.

The posts are searchable---simply type in your topic of interest in the search box at the top left.

Almost all of MS research is initiated and funded by pharmaceutical companies. This maintains the EAE mouse model and the auto-immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 20 billion dollar a year MS treatment industry. But as we learn more about slowed blood flow, gray matter atrophy, and environmental links to MS progression and disability--all things the current drugs do not address--we're discovering more about how to help those with MS.

To learn how this journey began, read my first post from August, 2009. Be well! Joan

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) and CCSVI

   March 14, 2013

Researchers at BNAC discover that venoplasty increases the rate of flow of CSF in the brains of those treated with for CCSVI.  CSF flow continues to improve a year after treatment.  


CSF and CCSVI will be the focus of an upcoming roundtable discussion, hosted by CCSVI Alliance in New Orleans this coming April.

Most of us are familiar with cerebrospinal fluid as it is used in the diagnosis of MS.  A lumbar puncture (or spinal tap) removes some of this liquid from the spine.  If there are specific markers in the fluid, called oligoclonal banding, it is a sign that myelin is degrading in the central nervous system, and indicative of MS.

CSF is vitally important to brain health. We've know that CSF is part of the equation in blood flow in CCSVI.  In fact, Dr. Zamboni noted that the severity of CCSVI was related to altered CSF flow in this study: 

Most of the published CCSVI research is focused on measuring blood flow.  But the brain and spine are unique in the body, in that CSF factors into blood volume in the central nervous system.

I first wrote about CSF on the forum This is MS in 2009--because I'd returned from Bologna and heard a neurologist discuss how he found parallels in CCSVI venoplasty and shunting for normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). 

I wanted to explore this topic, because we are going to hear more about the importance of CSF flow in the coming months.  There are some very exciting developments happening right now in CCSVI research, and they involve CSF flow. 

Cerebrospinal Fluid has four very important functions for the brain.
1. Supports the brain.  The weight of the brain is suspended in cerebral spinal fluid.
2. Protects the brain.  By providing a cushioning space around tissue
3. Cleanses the brain.  Rinses metabolic waste through the blood brain barrier and out through venous bloodflow.
4. Maintains perfusion level of the brain. CSF is self-regulating, and lessens volume when there is a problem with perfusion.   When CSF levels increase, perfusion (cerebral blood flow) of the brain decreases. 

There is a wonderful physician many of you already know about. He calls himself the Upright Docotor, and he has a very interesting webpage where he discusses his decades of research into neurodegenerative disease, CSF, blood flow and what happens to our venous return when we are in the upright position.   For those who do not yet know about Dr. Flanigan's work, here is his webpage:

Dr. Flanigan writes about the importance of alignment in the cervical and lower spine in relationship to brain and spinal health.  One of his areas of interest is in CSF pulsations, or waves-- and the damage these waves can inflict on brain and spinal tissue.  
When CSF volume gets out of control it can damage the brain. Likewise, when CSF waves get out of control they can damage the brain as well. The basal cisterns (wells) that surround the brainstem and cerebellum with CSF, are the first place to experience the brunt of rogue waves and the most likely to suffer the consequences. I suspect that chronic pounding from rogue waves can cause damage.

The inventor of the FONAR upright MRI machine and medical innovator, Raymond Damadian, PhD, has been studying the changes in CSF flow in those with MS.  He has noted several cases where cranial and cervical spinal trauma preceded an MS diagnosis, and has shown altered CSF flow in these patients when they are in the upright, rather than supine, position.


There is much more coming, as research continues into how CSF factors into brain health in neurodegenerative disease, and how the architecture of the spine contributes.  And this is related to CCSVI severity.  The phrase, "tip of the iceberg" comes to mind.

Here is a video of what CSF pulsations look like in the brain on MRI-

Let's continue to follow the research on CSF flow and the brain--here's to more information in the months ahead!

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