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, September 25, 2011

Glutathione and loving your liver

September 25, 2011 at 2:02pm

Dr. David Perlmutter has pioneered glutathione treatment and believes it can be helpful in neurological diseases, including MS and Parkinson's Disease.  And it has helped many.

Glutathione is a super antioxidant, but taken orally, it doesn't really do well.  The digestive tract breaks it down before it can become available in the rest of the body.  It's great as an IV infusion,  but this isn't readily available to many.  So, I thought I would explain a bit about glutathione, and how we can increase the production in our own bodies.  The truth is, the best way to increase glutathione is not to ingest it or use an IV, it's to let your body make it itself.

Glutathione is naturally created by a healthy liver.  
When Jeff was diagnosed with MS, one of his strange blood results was that his liver enzymes, AST and ALT, were 10 times higher than normal. He was slightly jaundiced and his eyes were a bit yellow.   It looked like he had liver disease, and his neurologist assumed he drank too much alcohol, but Jeff didn't drink.  So I did some research, and learned that high liver enzymes happened in those w/MS---even before taking any drugs.

Multiple Sclerosis Linked to Abnormal Liver Test Results- 

To make the link, the researchers used data from the Sylvia Lawry Centre for MS Research in Germany, the largest database of MS clinical trial information in the world. In all, medical information from 813 people with MS enrolled in various clinical trials from North America, Australia and Europe was analyzed. The study was funded by the MS Society of Canada. 

Over a two-year period, there was an over three-fold increased risk of a person with MS having an elevated liver test result compared to expectations. An elevated test result indicates that liver enzymes have leaked out of their cells. This leakage into the blood stream may be an indicator of liver cell damage. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dr. Dake on "retinal vein sheathing": MS-like lesions, but no myelin

September 16, 2011 at 7:57pm

Dr. Dake made a very important point for the CIRSE conference with his in depth essay on the importance of CCSVI research. 

Retinal Vein Sheathing in MS--  The veins of the retina in pwMS become enlarged and thickened and there is damage to the retinal nerves.  Without myelin.  99% of the time, there is no myelin on retinal nerves, but there is MS damage.  

Here's Dr. Dake---

Underappreciated in the midst of these clashing positions is one other example of a similar venous lesion with potential relevance to MS – sheathing of retinal veins. This cuffing or sheathing of veins can be appreciated on fundoscopic examination of the eyes and may be associated with retinal vein thrombosis, optic neuritis and vision loss. 

In the majority of cases when it is diagnosed during an evaluation of disturbed vision, it occurs in patients with MS. Studied extensively at the Mayo Clinic, it is not however singularly associated with cases of established MS. Its frequency among MS patients is estimated to range from 11% to 42%. After fluoroscein dye administration, it is possible to observe leakage of dye around the retinal veins and histologically, the veins display a thickened wall similar to appearances observed in other chronically obstructed venous territories.

When contemplating the possible association between venous obstruction, blood-brain barrier leakage, myelin destruction and immune mechanisms responsible for the initiation of MS, it is interesting to note that the retinal nerve fibres are not myelinated in 99% of the population.


Lesions due to MS, occuring on nerves that do not have myelin.  Leaking veins--in people who develop MS.  "Cuffs" that contain immune cells around these leaking veins.
The optic nerve, which exits the back of the eyeball, DOES have myelin.  The retinal nerve sheath, inside the eyeball, does not.

These vascular abnormalities of the eyes in pwMS have been noted by opthamologists for decades.
Here's a paper from 1986

Monday, September 12, 2011

New, Independent research from Serbia

September 12, 2011 at 9:10am

A new paper was recently published in Phlebology, Sept. 2011 issue.

Morphological and haemodynamic abnormalities in the jugular veins of patients with multiple sclerosis
D Radak, J Kolar, S Tanaskovic, D Sagic, Z Antonic, A Mitrasinovic, S Babic, D Nenezic and N Ilijevski Vascular Surgery Clinic, Dedinje Cardiovascular Institute, School of Medicine, Belgrade University, Heroja Milana Tepic ́a 1 Street, Belgrade, Serbia

(This study was not conducted by neurologists, nor was it funded with pharmaceutical monies.  These are vascular doctors --This study was partly funded by the Serbian Ministry of Science and Techonological Development – Project No. 41002.)

I have the full paper, and will break down what the researchers discovered.  

First, it is important to note that they only looked at the jugular veins with doppler.  No transcranial doppler, per the Zamboni criteria, and no venography or azygous.  These researchers wanted to see if they could find "morphological and haemodynamic abnormalities" in the jugular veins.  This means they were looking for physical irregularities and flow distubances in pwMS.  Not completely CCSVI, per Dr. Zamboni's definition.

The limitation of our study is that we did not examine the CCSVI prevalence in patients with MS because we did not investigate the intracranial and vertebral veins. The aim of our study was to evaluate morphological and haemodynamic IJV abnormalities in patients with MS and compare it with healthy controls. For morphological and haemodynamic abnormalities assessment of the IJVs, we used some of Zamboni’s criteria and two other parameters (parameters 1 and 2), which in our practice proved to be a good indicator of IJV flow disorder.

--What they were surprised to discover was that the IJV flow was very different in pwMS, and that they could pick this up with doppler ultrasound.

All these might result in IJV haemodynamics changes that could be assessed by non-invasive and cost-effective colour duplex sonography.6 The main finding of this study was to demonstrate a significantly higher prevalence of morphological and Doppler haemodynamics abnormalities in patients with MS in relation to healthy subjects.

Our study showed that 42% of the patients with MS had Doppler haemodynamic evidence of venous flow abnormalities as compared with 8.1% of the healthy controls. These data not only indicate that venous flow abnormalities were significantly associated with the presence of MS but also indicate that it can be seen in the population not suffering from MS, yet the difference remains statistically significant (P , 0.001).

--Also interesting was that they found faulty valves and stenosing lesions in some of the normal controls, but these irregularities didn't affect the blood flow as much as they did in pwMS.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blocked blood vessels:  New research from Rush University
September 1, 2011 at 1:28pm

Dr. Aron Buchman is a neurologist at Rush University in Chicago.  For the past 20 years, he has been studying the aging brain and subtle changes that preceed Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diagnoses.  Here is the press regarding his most recent study, which looks at the brains after the participants have passed---

Signs of aging may be linked to undetected blocked brain blood vessels

Many common signs of aging, such as shaking hands, stooped posture and walking slower, may be due to tiny blocked vessels in the brain that can't be detected by current technology.

In a study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers from Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, examined brain autopsies of older people and found:
Microscopic lesions or infarcts — too small to be detected using brain imaging — were in 30 percent of the brains of people who had no diagnosed brain disease or stroke.

Those who had the most trouble walking had multiple brain lesions. Two-thirds of the people had at least one blood vessel abnormality, suggesting a possible link between the blocked vessels and the familiar signs of aging.

"This is very surprising," said Dr. Aron S. Buchman, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush. "The public health implications are significant because we are not identifying the 30 percent who have undiagnosed small vessel disease that is not picked up by current technology. We need additional tools in order to identify this population."