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

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Study on Brain Changes in MS and Depression

July 3, 2010 at 11:43am

There's an article and podcast in Scientific American this week regarding a new study completed at UCLA. It looks at physical brain changes in people with MS who have depression. The researchers found on MRI that the hippocampus is smaller in pwMS, and that the HPA axis (the neuroendocrine system which regulates stress and other functions) is hyperactive.  The hippocampus is the area of the brain which controls memory and mood---and a hyperactive HPA axis is related to increased cortisol release and stress.  Both of these brain changes are real, measurable, and related.

If you have chronic hypoxic insult (meaning an ongoing lack of adequate oxygen) to your brain, you'll have a smaller hippocampus and a hyperactive HPA axis.   And you'll most likely suffer from depression. 
Here's the link and podcast

Those with hypoxic injury show atrophy of the hippocampus and hyperactive HPA axis. JUST LIKE people with MS, and people who have suffered a brain injury due to drug use, carbon monoxide poisoning, and sleep apnea.  There is a decrease in brain tissue due to neuronal loss.  And this is linked to lowered oxygen levels.
Here are some studies to back this up:

Several reports suggest that the activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis) is increased following hypoxia/ischaemia and that this might be associated with increased neuronal vulnerability-

Hypoxia damages multiple organ systems especially those with high oxygen utilization such as the central nervous system. The purpose of this study was to compare the neuropathological and neuropsychological effects of hypoxia in patients with either carbon monoxide poisoning or obstructive sleep apnea. Neuroimaging revealed evidence of hippocampal atrophy in both groups.

I talked about this at length with Dr. Haacke last year. I know that he and Dr. Hubbard are looking at oxygenation levels in pwMS before and after angioplasty using fMRI BOLD technology, and they are finding that patients indeed have lower oxygen levels in their brains before, and better oxygenation after.

The pieces fit together when we look at MS as a disease of chronic venous insufficiency.  Slowed blood flow to and from the brain is related to reduced oxygenation of tissue.
If ordinary people like you and I can see this...isn't it time for the medical profession to see it, too?

There are things that can be done to help alleviate depression.  
Exercise, UV ray therapy, whole foods full of phytonutrients can all be helpful.  
So can therapy and drug treatment.
Don't suffer in silence.  If depression is part of your MS---you are not alone.
Please get help,


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