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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sleep and the Brain

New research from the University of Rochester, published today, reconfirms the importance of sleep for brain health.

Their results, published in Science, show that during sleep a plumbing system called the glymphatic system may open, letting fluid flow rapidly through the brain. Dr. Nedergaard's lab recently discovered the glymphatic system helps control the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord."It's as if Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues have uncovered a network of hidden caves and these exciting results highlight the potential importance of the network in normal brain function," said Roderick Corriveau, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS.

A few years ago, I first wrote about REM sleep and brain oxygenation. After venoplasty and restoration of jugular, rather than collateral venous flow,  my husband Jeff had a return of dreaming and restful sleep.  Now that his jugular veins had been repaired, they were the major route of venous return for his brain while he slept, and the changes for him were immense and immediate.  After coming home from his procedure at Stanford, he no longer had night time spasms or fits of apnea, when he would literally wake up, gasping for air.  He now slept through the night, and woke refreshed.  He could now recount his very vivid dreams to me.   This was all new for him.

When I attended the first CCSVI conference in Bologna in 2009, I heard Dr. Salvi talk about the restoration of REM sleep and dreaming in Italian patients that had been treated for CCSVI.  It was the first intimation that something vital was happening to Jeff's brain while he was in deep sleep.  Here is my post on this topic, with research on oxygenation of the brain during sleep--

Earlier this year, a new study from the University of Wisconsin showed us why sleep is essential for remyelination of the brain and synthesis of oligodendrocyte precursor cells.

They found that during sleep, hundreds of transcripts that govern the synthesis of cells called oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) are up-regulated during sleep, while genes involved in cell death, cell stress response and cell differentiation are up-regulated during wake. An assay of living cells confirmed that OPC proliferation doubles during sleep, especially during rapid eye movement phase (REM sleep) associated with dreaming.

And today, a new study from the University of Rochester helps us understand the different functions the brain performs during sleep and wake, and why sleep is essential.  

In findings that give fresh meaning to the old adage that a good night's sleep clears the mind, a new study shows that a recently discovered system that flushes waste from the brain is primarily active during sleep. This revelation could transform scientists' understanding of the biological purpose of sleep and point to new ways to treat neurological disorders.

The University of Rochester researchers have been studying how the brain cleans waste during sleep, and they have named this process the "glymphatic system", because it combines the lymph process of cleansing and glial cells.  This system is like "a plumbing system that piggybacks on the brain's blood vessels and pumps cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) through the brain's tissue, flushing waste back into the circulatory system where it eventually makes its way to the general blood circulation system and, ultimately, the liver."

Time for the BIG picture. When we lie down, our cerebral circulation changes.  This is, due in large part, to the fact that gravity allows the jugular venous system to become the main outflow.  The collateral venous system, which is activated when we are upright, gives way to the larger jugular veins.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1665206/

In normal people-- who do not have jugular venous malformations, or CCSVI-- this allows for effective flow while supine.  Why is this important?  Because it appears that this flow is essential for removal of waste from the brain.  Here's more from the U of R--

The timely removal of waste from the brain is essential where the unchecked accumulation of toxic proteins such as amyloid-beta can lead to Alzheimer's disease. In fact, almost every neurodegenerative disease is associated with the accumulation of cellular waste products.

"This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and when awake," said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine and lead author of the article. "In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness."
The study, which was published today in the journal Science, reveals that the brain's unique method of waste removal – dubbed the glymphatic system – is highly active during sleep, clearing away toxins responsible for Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders. Furthermore, the researchers found that during sleep the brain's cells reduce in size, allowing waste to be removed more effectively.

The results may also highlight the importance of sleep.
"We need sleep. It cleans up the brain," said Dr. Nedergaard.

In February 2014, scientists and researchers will be gathering in San Francisco to discuss CCSVI, venous hemodynamics and neurodegenerative disease.  The International Society for Neurovascular Disease (ISNVD) will be meeting for their 4th Annual Scientific Conference.  Dr. Leonard Prouty from LSU will be making a presentation on the use of biomarkers to trace the glymphatic system.  Dr. Roy O. Weller from the University of Southampton, UK will be presenting on how the lymphatic system can go wrong, and Professor Clive Beggs, from the University of Bradford, UK will be discussing the role of cerebral hemodynamics and diseases of neurodegeneration.  

I would submit to you that this is the future.  
While many MS specialists continue to meet in lovely locales, eat fine food, have laughs and drinks and attend pharmaceutically financed presentations-- only to return home and bemoan the fact that there are still no treatments for progressive MS---

There is a group of researchers committed to understanding cerebral hemodynamics and the role of the venous system on brain health.  Here's their scientific program.


Let's support them.  

Make a donation to the ISNVD today.   Click on the orange button on the top right hand corner of their page, and fund the future.



  1. BUT THE BRAIN , for improved functionality , it needs to build up and balance, all the elements catalysts for biochemical reaction best and most energy production in the mitochondria and cell furnaces , lower lower lower production of free radicals or rubbish , in the venous blood , with less fatigue of the organs of purification ! all trace elements catalysts are present in the bone of Sepia, oyster in the shell of the sea! and related beads or corals , all reduced to a fine powder , 5-20 microns in mm . The trace elements , with empirical evidence , improves both bipolar disease , also known as manic depressive illness ! , And both the hyperactivity of children, in addition to immediately improve the quality and depth of sleep on memory and , in the end, everything improves CNS , central nervous system, with the function of anti oxidant recovery oxidative stress ! . Italy : MA IL CERVELLO, per miglior funzionalità, ha bisogno di un accumulo ed equilibrio , di tutti gli oligoelementi catalizzatori, per miglior reazione biochimica e maggior produzione di energia nei mitocondri fornaci cellule e, minor minor minor produzione di radicali liberi o spazzatura, nel sangue venoso, con minor affaticamento degli organi di depurazione ! tutti gli oligoelementi catalizzatori sono presenti nell'osso di Seppia, nel guscio di Ostrica di mare ! e nelle relative Perle o Coralli, tutti ridotti in polvere finissima , 5-20 micron di mm. Gli oligoelementi, con dimostrazione empirica, migliora sia le malattie bipolari , dette anche malattie maniacali depressive !, e sia l'iperattività dei bambini, oltre a migliorare da subito, la qualità profondità del sonno e la relativa memoria e, alla fine, migliora tutto il SNC , sistema nervoso centrale, con funzione di anti ossidante recupero stress ossidativo ! .

  2. Ciao, Francesco. This article is about one aspect of brain health. Yes, reducing oxidative stress, including antioxidants and phytonutrients in our diets is important, as well. Questo articolo è circa un aspetto della salute del cervello. Sì, riducendo lo stress ossidativo, tra cui antiossidanti e fitonutrienti nella nostra dieta è importante, pure. Joan

    1. e, in Sinergia con Semi di Lino , erba Portulaca, OMEGA 3 a catena corta che l'organismo, trasforma in catena lunga EPA e DHA, Alghe marine, tipo Spirulina, Olive mature con polpa interna viola denso tale da poter ungere il nòcciolo, OMEGA 9, polvere di foglie Gialle ! mai di colore Verde ! , del Ginkgo Biloba, per presenza di Ginkgo Flavonoidi , chelanti del ferro, miglioramento notevole delle cellule epiteliali delle Vene ed Arterie, oltre a maggior fluidificazione del sangue, quindi miglior irrorazione cellule periferiche, oltre a tutto il SNC, sistema nervoso centrale ! come avviene nella polvere perlacea del precedente mio commento e, il PRIMO SINTOMO, ESSERE EVIDENTE NEL MIGLIORAMENTO NOTEVOLE DELLA QUALITA' E PROFONDITA' DEL SONNO ! OLTRE A MIGLIORAMENTO MEMORIA, E MIGLIORAMENTO SISTEMA NERVOSO, IL TUTTO, PER MAGGIOR E MIGLIOR RECUPERO CON QUALITA' SONNO.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. Dimenticavo, lo effetto più importante ! gli ammalati di SM non hanno più le famose scosse elettriche e crampi muscolari.

  3. We agree. Here's how I began to help my husband. There are many steps in the program, including omega 3, vitamin D, proteolytic enzymes, exercise, sunshine, fruits and vegetables, vitamin B12, probiotics, and stress reduction. All part of healing the endothelium and improving blood flow. Be well, Francesco.

    1. fra non molto, il professor Paolo Zamboni,dietro mio suggerimento, dovrebbe pubblicare, dati scientifici, rilevati dai suoi recenti esperimenti, come si migliora l'Endotelio interno delle Vene, utilizzando, per uso interno, la polvere gialla, mai verde, delle foglie del Ginkgo Biloba !

  4. his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work.
    rem sleep definition

    1. Welcome, Mayazoe! Glad you're finding entertaining stuff! :-) Hope it helps you stay healthy, moving and hopeful. best, Joan