CCSVI and fMRI
May 20, 2011 at 9:41am
Dr. Giedrius Buracas is a Functional MRI (fMRI) researcher at University of California, San Diego. He presented new research the Hubbard Foundation is conducting into the MS brain before and after angioplasty. The study utilizes functional magnetic resonance imaging to study how the brain is activated when doing specific tasks.
fMRI is a type of specialized MRI scan used to measure the hemodynamic response (change in blood flow) related to neural activity in the brain. It is one of the most recently developed forms of neuroimaging. Since the early 1990s, fMRI has come to dominate the brain mapping field due to its relatively low invasiveness, absence of radiation exposure, and relatively wide availability.
In the Hubbard study, there were many differences in how normal vs. MS brains responded to tasks. The MS brains showed an "undershoot"---or less bloodflow and neural activity.
There were changes in the subcortical gray matter response from before venoplasty and after. PwMS were able to complete tasks in a more "normal" manner, and their brains showed improved blood flow and activation after treatment for CCSVI.
Here is Dr. Buracas' presentation at the Hubbard conference
"The most surprising outcome of this angioplasty intervention is that it eleviates some symptoms of MS which presumably has to do with structural damage. The structural damage stays there, but people feel better---so, it looks like one of the contributors to the neural basis of eleviated symptoms is recovery of default mode network suppression."
Certainly, impeded blood flow into the cortical areas of the brain, as shown on these fMRI studies, could be part of the reason for slowed responses. And repairing this flow, by getting rid of extracranial blockage, could very well be the reason for improved bloodflow and a more normal response of the brain after angioplasty. The brain needs normal cerebral perfusion---delivering O2 and glucose--in order to function. Thanks again to the Hubbard Foundation for this important work.
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