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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

 Fasudil, cerebral blood flow and Michael J. Fox

July 31, 2011 at 1:36pm

In the news today, Michael J. Fox's foundation for Parkinson's research has awarded a grant to study a relatively new drug that improves cerebral blood flow after ischemic injury.  What is interesting is that this drug is also being studied as a treatment for MS.  This is the kind of drug that makes sense; one that helps after axonal death due to ischemia.   Let's also hope that CCSVI and the International Society for Neurovascular Disease research provides more answers for those with Parkinson's.

GRAND RAPIDS -- Actor Michael J. Fox's foundation for Parkinson's research has awarded a $400,000 grant to fund research by Grand Rapids scientists into a drug that has the potential to halt the progression of the disease.

The focus of their efforts is Fasudil, a drug already approved in Japan to improve blood flow to the brain in stroke victims. It has shown similar positive outcomes in the U.S. in late-stage clinical trials.

Fasudil also showed potential for improving learning and memory and reducing the risk of Alzheimer's in a 2009 study by TGen and Arizona State University. VARI investigators discovered its potential for treating Parkinson's while testing drugs to reduce the toxicity caused by a gene implicated in Parkinson's disease.

"Fasudil has a very favorable safety profile in humans and is already available in Japan as an oral tablet, so upon successful milestone completion, we could be seeing clinical trials within two to three years," MacKeigan said in a statement.


The reason it is also news for those of us in CCSVI, is because of Fasudil's affect on the endothelium, cerebral blood flow and nitric oxide.  This compound could be very helpful in recovery from brain and spinal cord injury due to CCSVI.   Here are some more studies on this drug:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dr. Fox's and Cleveland Clinic CCSVI study update

July 14, 2011 at 1:52pm

The one year update from the National MS Society on the CCSVI studies did not supply any real hard data. It appears most of the teams are waiting for the 2 year mark to unveil their results.  This is disappointing, because the clock keeps ticking for those who have venous malformations and obstructions.

Dr. Fox's CCSVI study report caught my eye, since I've mentioned CCSVI and the effects of hydration many times on here, especially in relationship to hypovolemia, or low blood flow due to dehydration.
Here is the post where I mentioned the importance of hydration and blood flow.   Highly recommended reading:

I found it interesting that Dr. Fox's team is exploring hydration in relationship to CCSVI---and wondering if he will use hypovolemia as an explanation for CCSVI.

.....the state of hydration of the subject (whether they drank adequate amounts of fluids) could impact results of several of the criteria used to determine CCSVI. They concluded that these complications may help explain the mixed results reported thus far related to CCSVI and MS, and they have added to their aims a study designed to evaluate the impact of hydration on CCSVI assessments.

The reason this is important is that we know not everyone who has CCSVI is dehydrated.  My husband always drank adequate fluids, and he had two severely deformed jugular veins.  But adequate hydration IS essential for good bloodflow.

I also found another aspect of Dr. Fox's study interesting, in that Dr. Gabbiani has studied biopsies of internal jugular veins taken from living people with CCSVI, and found a collagen shift in the jugular vein tissue.  Wondering what Dr. Fox's team will find from autopsy tissue.  Looks like we'll find out in October 2011--which is sooner than the 2 year mark.

Dr. Fox’s team has also gathered autopsy specimens of venous tissue from 9 MS tissue donors and 6 donors who did not have MS. The team first had to develop and standardize techniques for studying these specimens for signs of CCSVI. They are analyzing their data and have submitted abstracts reporting preliminary findings related to this pathology study and their scanning results for consideration at the international ECTRIMS (European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS) meeting in October 2011. 

I'm going to be a glass half full gal today, and say that I am hopeful for these studies and all that we can learn to help pwMS and pwCCSVI.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Probiotics and the Brain-Gut link

July 7, 2011 at 9:39am

Probiotics, also know as helpful bacteria, are included in the Endothelial Health program, because they affect the lining of our blood vessels in a positive way, by reducing inflammation and regulating NO. A strong endothelium is less permeable, and will keep plasmic particles out of tissue--in the brain and the gut.  This can modify the reaction of immune cells, and reduce what is called the "autoimmune" reaction.  (Although I believe calling this reaction "autoimmune" is a misnomer.  The immune cells are simply doing their job, by responding to foreign particles which should not be in brain or intestinal wall tissue.)


Here is new research from Texas Tech showing another connection between the brain and gut via our blood stream, and why taking a probiotic is good for your digetive system and your brain. Probiotics actually affect and generate the neurochemicals our brains rely upon.

Good bacteria, also known as 'Probiotics' are known for their favorable effects in maintaining gastrointestinal health, but can they encourage psychological health too? New research conducted at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has explored the new world of neurological probiotics and the scientists have put forward novel ideas on how neurochemicals enforce their beneficial effects in maintaining a healthy gut and even psychological well-being when delivered directly to the gut, via probiotic intestinal microbiota. The study was led by Professor Mark Lyte and has been published recently inBioEssays.

The researchers have proposed that neuroactive compounds if delivered via neurochemical-producing probiotics could help improve a host's gastrointestinal and psychological health. These probiotics could be prepared for delivery of the compound using a unifying process of microbial endocrinology. 

Neurochemicals generated in the gut by 'good bacteria' such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are actively absorbed by the intestines and circulated through a patient's bloodstream. According to Dr. Lyte, this is the hypothesis of the pathway for probiotics to exert extra-intestinal effects including changes in behavior. 

Commenting on some of the potential clinical implications of this research, Professor Gregor Reid, from the University of Western Ontario, in the same issue ofBioEssays stated, 

"Until recently the idea that probiotic bacteria administered to the intestine could influence the brain seemed almost surreal. Yet in Lyte's paper the concept is supported by studies showing that microbes can produce and respond to neurochemicals, which can induce neurological and immunological effects on the host."

 "Probiotics function mechanistically as delivery vehicles for neuroactive compounds: Microbial Endocrinology in the design and use of probiotics"
Lyte. M, 
BioEssays, Wiley-Blackwell, July 2011, DOI: 10.1002/bies.201100024

"Neuroactive probiotics"
Reid. G
BioEssays, Wiley-Blackwell July 2011, DOI: 10.1002/ bies.201100074

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

 Blood vessels are the "scaffolding" for axonal repair

July 5, 2011 at 11:03am

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown how important healthy blood vessels are for the healing of damaged axons and nerves.  Blood vessels actually form the scaffolding, or supportive network, upon which axons can regenerate.  If the blood vessels are not healthy, the axons can't repair.  Healthy blood vessels need an intact endothelium, or lining, in order to communicate with the rest of the body.

This study was conducted with diabetic patients.  Biopsies were taken from their thighs, and the sites of healing were studied.  This is a different disease process than MS, in that these neuropathies are "peripheral" or involving the limbs, not "central" and involving the brain. Instead of oliogodendrocytes forming around axons, peripheral nerves are covered by Schwann cells.  But the process of healing damaged axons might be very important for us to understand in MS research (especially since we are not able to study brain biopsies and axonal regeneration in vivo.)

Here is the press release from Johns Hopkins---

Blood vessels and supporting cells appear to be pivotal partners in repairing nerves ravaged by diabetic neuropathy, and nurturing their partnership with nerve cells might make the difference between success and failure in experimental efforts to regrow damaged nerves, Johns Hopkins researchers report in a new study.