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

Friday, June 1, 2012

You can change your cells

June 1, 2012 at 8:10am

Just like stem cell science, we're going to be hearing a lot about epigenetics.  Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression. "Epi" simply means outside of or above.

These patterns of gene expression are governed by the cellular material — the epigenome — that sits on top of the genome, just outside it. It is these epigenetic "marks" that tell your genes  to speak loudly or whisper. It is through epigenetic marks that environmental factors like diet, stress and prenatal nutrition can make an imprint on genes that is passed from one generation to the next.

This new avenue of research looks at how environment changes our genes, by switching them on or off--this includes what we eat and drink, what we come in contact with, and how we move and handle stress.  How we live our lives can create and change our genes.

We used to believe that there was no outside influence that could effect our genes.  What you were born with was what you had for the rest of your life.  And this is true in many instances.  Your baby blue eyes are thanks to Grandma. But Grandpa's diabetes or heart disease aren't your destiny.

This is why identical twins can have different diseases.  We see this in cancer, heart disease and MS.

Recent research has shown that, just like cardiovascular disease,  there is not one specific gene related to multiple sclerosis.  The closest researchers have come is to isolate the HLA locus and the MHC gene.  But only 4% of pwMS have this gene. This has lead some researchers to posit that MS may be an epigenetic disease-

For an excellent article, published just last month on epigenetics and MS--

There's something you can do to change your own cells.  Today.  Honest. 

Four years ago, I contacted Dr. John Cooke at Stanford University--because I saw a connection in his work in the study of the endothelium (the lining of all our blood vessels) and multiple sclerosis.  Dr. Cooke wasn't so sure about the relationship between MS and the vasculature, but I asked him to keep an open mind.  And has has.  He's now looking at how the endothelium is the connection between CCSVI and MS.

Dr. Cooke is Professor of Medicine and Associate Director (Education and Training)of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. His research group performs translational work in vascular regeneration from molecule to man. The goal is to transfer basic research insights into clinical trials using a vertically integrated approach with an array of biochemical and molecular tools, cellular and animal models, and clinical research techniques. Our mission is to to build new blood vessels, reverse vascular senescence, and to improve vascular health.

Dr. Cooke's team is looking at a variety of stem cell applications:

But he has also been studying how lifestyle changes reprogram the body.  His book on this is called The Cardiovascular Cure, and I used it as one of the resources for the Endothelial Health Program--
I put together a list of 10 things you can do today.  These are really simple changes that anyone can incorporate into the daily lives, no matter your disability level.

I hope you'll give it a try.  Not going to nag (I know it doesn't work--I have a teenager)  but I'm going to try it from this angle.

The answers do not always come from outside.  They often come from within.

You may not be able to be infused with adult stem cells anytime soon.  That doesn't mean you can't hope for them.  But you can switch on your own healing cells. I've seen the transformation in my husband.  Dr. Cooke's seen it in his patients.  Dr. Wahls and Dr. Jelinek have, as well.  The Hubbards have seen it.  And we're all starting to think there's a connection.  

While we're waiting for the research to confirm our hunches, why not give it a try?  
Epigenetics, like stem cells, may just be the future of medicine.  
Until then,  I wish you hope and healing.

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