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, June 20, 2013
Photorelaxation, UV rays and CCSVI
June 20, 2013
Dr. Richard Weller of Edinburgh University reports on research finding that when skin is exposed to UV rays for 20 minutes, vasodilating nitric oxide is released. This effect is independent of vitamin D levels--and may explain why even if D levels are raised by supplementation, the full benefit is not received.
Why does this matter to those with CCSVI and MS?
If MS is a disease of hypoperfusion (or slowed blood and CSF flow thru the brain)-- looking at all of the environmental issues which may compound this problem is essential. An improvement in endothelial health and nitric oxide utilization can help in symptom relief.
Here's more on how the research connects MS and UV rays--
MS and latitude--
There is a significant link between MS and the amount of sunshine we receive. The connection of higher MS prevalence for those living in northern latitudes has been long-established---based on 30 years of research.
This explains why Canada, Ireland and Scotland have higher rates of MS than countries nearer the equator.
(NOTE-This does not mean living at a northern latitude causes MS. It means there is an environmental link which has been scientifically noted regarding northern latitudes and the prevalence of MS diagnoses.)
There has been a recent surge in published research on the connection of Multiple Sclerosis and UV rays, in relation to vitamin D. The connection is being further elucidated every day. Dr. Embry's Direct-MS has the most complete library of full research papers available online. Here is a link for those who wish to explore Vitamin D more thoroughly:
But UV rays may have an effect on MS, outside of the production of vitamin D.
Dr. Furchgott and the Discovery of Photorelaxation
In reading up on the effect of UV rays on the body, and I came back to the research of Nobel prize winning researcher, Dr. Robert F. Furchgott. He passed away in 2009, and his university keeps his web page online. Dr. Furchgott was a professor at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, NY---the same place where Dr. Sal Sclafani recently retired and where the first CCSVI conference was held in the US! Here's Dr. Furchgott's page--
Dr. Furchgott discovered the process of photorelaxation over 40 years ago. What he noted in the lab was that exposure to UV rays changed the endothelium, encouraging nitric oxide production and vasodilation of arteries. In 2009, before he passed, he stated the current working hypothesis--
The present working hypothesis is that light photoactivates some material in the vascular smooth muscle, causing the release of some product which stimulates the guanylyl cyclase to produce cGMP. We are planning experiments to test this hypothesis. One possibility is that the vascular smooth muscle in vivo accumulates some "end pro" formed from the endothelium-derived nitric oxide, and that this product releases NO intracellularly when exposed to the proper wavelengths of light.
Photorelaxation and the Cardiovascular system
Research into the connection of blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in northern latitudes continues....and the connection appears to be that of nitric oxide and UV rays.
Interestingly, mean systolic and diastolic pressures and the prevalence of hypertension vary throughout the world. Many data suggest a linear rise in blood pressure at increasing distances from the equator. Similarly, blood pressure is higher in winter than summer.3
For those who are interested and want to read more research, here's a fascinating paper on UV rays and MS by Dr. Hector DeLuca of the University of Wisconsin.
about the research: For more than 30 years, scientists have known that multiple sclerosis (MS) is much more common in higher latitudes than in the tropics. Because sunlight is more abundant near the equator, many researchers have wondered if the high levels of vitamin D engendered by sunlight could explain this unusual pattern of prevalence.
Vitamin D may reduce the symptoms of MS, says Hector DeLuca, Steenbock Research Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but in a study published in PNAS this week, he and first author Bryan Becklund suggest that the ultraviolet portion of sunlight may play a bigger role than vitamin D in controlling MS.
Here's Dr. DeLuca and Dr. Beckland's full paper.
There may be properties of UV rays which reduce severity of CCSVI and MS symptoms that are still to be elucidated. We are only in the beginning stages, but moderate sun exposure continues to look like a healthy pursuit.
As with most things in life, you can have too much of a good thing. Moderation with UV rays is suggested. Ultra violet rays, or UV, are the sun's rays that give us a nasty sunburn or skin cancer, but they also allow our body to produce vitamin D.
For more information on the endothelium and other ways to increase vascular health, here's the research that began my journey in the vascular connection to MS, the Endothelial Health Program, created for my husband Jeff.
The research of MS and northern latitude makes sense within the vascular paradigm, when we consider the affects of UV rays on the endothelium and blood flow.