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, September 17, 2009

Iron in the Brain or the Immune System

September 17, 2009 at 9:36am
Many disease modifying treatments use the reduction of immune activated lesions as shown on MRI as proof a treatment is "working" in MS. This has baffled me, since we know that the number of lesions does not correlate to level of disease progression. Someone like my husband can have 20 brain lesions and function quite well. Someone else can have one or two lesions and be wheelchair-bound. Also, at a certain point, lesion progression stops when MS turns progressive. There must be another mechanism of injury, along with the immune system, at work in the MS brain.

In Bologna, Dr. Mark Haacke addressed another means of measuring brain tissue injury in MS. Susceptibility Weighted MRI. What SWI MRI shows us, is that iron deposited in the brain is a bio marker for MS progression.

What is different in SWI-MRI, according to Dr. Haacke, is that brain damage shown due to iron deposition actually CORRESPONDS to disability in MS.

The more iron deposed in the brain, the more disability, the more progressive MS is. This is different than the usual measuring of hyperintense lesions on MRI, which have no specific correlation to disease severity.

Here's the rub:
Pharma companies use the lesions shown on MRI as "proof" that their particular drug is working. Look! We've reduced hyperintensities on MRI! Our amaze-a-bub is slowing MS! Stock prices go up, investors are happy, and MS patients continue to decline.

If we look at the TRUE cause of disability- the only measurement in the brain that correlates to disability is iron deposition and brain atrophy.

This is why my husband had 20 lesions at his diagnosis and could mountain bike, and someone with one lesion is in a wheelchair. It's not just about the white matter lesions.

If we understand that the macrophages and immune system are activated as janitors to clean up the cellular death in the brain, we understand that the lesions we see on standard MRI may be secondary--just as they are a stroke patient, or someone with an ischemic brain ijury.

Thank goodness for Dr. Haacke, and other scientists who are speaking out.  It is not simply about the lesions on MRI. We will be told it is, because we can be sold drugs that halt these lesions---but that has not stopped MS progression.  There is no drug to stop reflux, iron deposition and hypoxic injury in the brain, and this is why it has not been explored since TJ Putnam in the 1940s, and will be fought.

No comments:

Post a Comment