November 29, 2011 at 9:44am
Found a great paper in the New England Journal of Medicine that discusses how hypoxic environments, like high altitudes, can create inflammation and signal the immune system in the brain. It was written by some specialists in high altitude and hypoxia, researchers at the University of Colorado in Denver.
In persons with mountain sickness, for example, levels of circulating proinflammatory cytokines increase, and leakage of fluid ("vascular leakage") causes pulmonary or cerebral edema. Increased serum levels of interleukin-6, the interleukin-6 receptor, and c-reactive protein--all markers of inflammation--were increased in healthy volunteers who spent 3 nights at an elevation higher than 3400 m. The development of inflammation in response to hypoxia is clinically relevant.
All it took to create higher levels of serum inflammation in healthy people was 3 nights.
My husband Jeff came home from the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City in his first, soon to be diagnosed MS flare. His serum inflammation numbers were through the roof. And that's how this journey began for us.
Slowed perfusion and collateral circulation created by truncular venous malformations can create a low oxygen environment in the brain and start the inflammatory process. Understanding the link to the high levels of MS diagnosis in new residents to Colorado would be a great place to start.