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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2015 ISNVD Conference Abstracts---research breakdown

The International Society for Neurovascular Disease (ISNVD) will be convening for the 5th Annual Conference in Naples, Italy at the end of March.  Abstracts for the presentations have been made available online here:

There are many more new presenters and international researchers attending this conference.  The ISNVD continues to grow in its membership and influence.

While neuroimmunologists stubbornly insist that there is no connection between diseases of neurodegeneration and circulation, this illustrious group of international researchers is showing that we are only at the beginning of understanding the impact of blood flow on brain health.

Here is my layperson's breakdown of the research abstracts and presentations.

2D and 3D analysis of vessels in the retina and the brain
Prof. Bart ter Haar Romeny, Ph.D.1,2
1Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, the Netherlands 2Northeastern University, Shenyang, China
This research is using the imaging of blood vessels in the eye's retina to get a picture of how blood is circulating throught the central nervous system. The blood vessels in the retina give an early picture of how brain diseases and breakdown of the blood brain barrier might be developing. Scanning the eye is easier and more cost-effective, as well.

Venous dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases
Chih-Ping Chung MD PhD
Taipei Veterans General Hospital, National Yang Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
Dr. Chung and his group have been studying the venous vasculature in relationship to brain disorders for over a decade. He has spoken at a few of the ISNVD conferences now. His new research focuses on how venous abnormalities are linked to white matter changes and how venous drainage impairment leads to dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease.

Blood storage within the intracranial space and its impact on cerebrospinal fluid dynamics
Clive B Beggs 1, Simon J Shepherd 1, Pietro Cecconi 2 and Maria Marcella Lagana 2Medical Biophysics Laboratory, University of Bradford, Bradford, BD7 1DP, UK  Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS, IRCCS S. Maria Nascente. Milan, Italy 
This study measured blood flow throughout the cardiac cycle by using MRI to visualize the flow in the necks of 14 healthy adults.  This study found that it is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which controls the volume changes inside the brain.  CSF interacts with the cortical veins to facilitate how much blood is stored.  This is an important finding, because any disturbance in venous outflow of blood and CSF will change the blood storage inside the skull, potentially leading to reduced cerebral circulation.

Advances in Treatment Strategies of Extracranial Venous Disease
Hector Ferral, MD
Senior Clinical Educator NorthShore University Health System
Dr. Ferral has been treating people with CCSVI for a few years now. He has also been an attendee and presenter at the ISNVD before. His new presentation will be looking at the technical advances being made in vein measurement and treatment of CCSVI.

Imaging of Brain Microvascular Disorders: lessons from the CADASIL model.
Hugues Chabriat, MD PhD;Department of Neurology, GH Lariboisiere, APHP, INSERM UMRS1161, University Paris 7 Denis Diderot, Paris France.
This research uses imaging to look at how the small vessel disease related to stroke and dementia develops and progresses.

Endothelin- 1 as a potential target for chronic brain hypoperfusion
Jacques De Keyser, MD, PhD, Free University of Brussels (VUB), Department of Neurology, Brussels, Belgium
This study is near and dear to my heart, as it is looking at how ET-1, a marker of endothelial dysfunction, is related to slowed blood flow in the brain, called hypoperfusion. People with MS have much higher levels of ET 1 in their blood than normals, and much slower cerebral blood flow. We also see this marker elevated in a number of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's. In this study, the researchers used bosentan, a blood pressure medication, to treat ET 1 levels. This treatment increased cerebral blood flow in pwMS, and lowered ET-1 levels. (But bosentan has side effects, and is not easy on the liver. Much better, in my opinion, to lower ET-1 levels by addressing endothelial dysfunction, through diet, exercise, and lifestyle.)

TBI and hemodynamic changes in the brain

James R. Stone, MD, PhD
This presentation is looking at how traumatic brain injury induces ischemia, or a low-oxygen state, in the brain. TBI also changes cerebral blood flow and can cause a break in the blood brain barrier, igniting the immune system. New research is showing how explosive devices can cause TBI, even without direct physical contact.

Ultrasound contrast imaging of brain hemodynamic and perfusion Marcello Mancini, M.D.
Institute of Biostructure and Bioimage – CNR
Naples, Italy
This presentation will be looking at how new MRI and ultrasound technologies are allowing researchers to view cerebral circulation in MS.  People with MS show signs of hypoxia (low oxygen) injury and thrombosis (small clots) in the small veins of the brain. New technologies are allowing us to see that cerebral transit time is slowed in MS. 

Imaging of the Microvasculature
E. Mark Haacke, PhD 
Dr. Haacke, a presenter at all of the ISNVD conferences, returns this year to discuss how his invention of susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) and MRA can be used to study the neurovascular system, and clarify the relationship between the venous sytem and CSF.

Update in computational fluid modelling of the brain
Mauro Ursino
This presentation is using mathmatical and computer models to simulate the complex mechanisms affecting cerbral circulation. Using these models shows how postural changes and stenosis in extra cranial arteries and veins can change upstream intercranial circulation.

Clinical Applications of Venous Treatment
Dr. Michael Dake, Stanford University
Dr. Dake, last year's ISNVD president and a founding member, will be presenting on the contributions of 2014 studies which have enhanced understanding of how endovascular and open surgical treatment of venous abnormalities has affected patients with MS, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, POTS and other pathologies.

The Heart Brain Connection
MJ Daemen
Dr. Daemen is the keynote guest speaker. He is a neurocardiologist, a member of a new field of experts who are bringing together an understanding of how the heart and brain affect each other. As a member of the Dutch Heart Foundation, his group is looking at how cardiovascular disease is influencing cognitive function and cerebral circulation.

Paolo Zamboni, Francesco Sisini, Erica Menegatti, Giacomo Gadda, Mirko Tessari, Mauro Gambaccini
Vascular Diseases Center, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy 
Dr. Zamboni's group is using ultrasound in the B mode (brightness mode) to measure the pulse wave in the jugular vein.  The way that the wave form looks is currently used to monitor for heart disease, however Dr. Zamboni's group is using this technique to find CCSVI.

Is there a role for mast cells dependent synthesis of Endothelin-1 in neurodegenerative diseases?
Pedro D’OrlĂ©ans-Juste-1, Louisane Desbiens, Denis Gris-2
Departments of Pharmacoly-1 and of Pediatrics-2, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, PQ, Canada
We know that levels of ET-1 (a marker of endothelial dysfunction) and mast cells (tissue cells of the immune system) occur in higher levels in people with MS.  This study uses the mouse model of EAE as well as a human isoform to study how mast cells found in the vicinity of spinal lesions are involved in the synthesis of ET-1.

Venous abnormalities in Meniere's Disease
P.M.Bavera; P. Cecconi; D. Alpini; F. Di Berardino 
This presentation will be using slides to show the correlation and differences between Meniere's Disease and MS, in regards to CCSVI imaging.  There are specific characteristics to the venous abnormalities seen in Meniere's.

Advances in Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Pathogensis: a Focus on Sinus Venous Stenosis
Roberto De Simone, Angelo Ranieri
Headache Centre  Dpt. of Neurosciences, Reproductive Sciences and Odontostomatology University of Naples “Federico II”
This research is focusing on how stenosis of the venous sinus is related to idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH)  There is a feedback loop which appears to occur in this situation.  The venous sinus collapses, cerebrospinal fluid pressure builds, which creates more compression.  Endovascular stenting of the venous sinus is a currently approved treatment to end this cycle of stenosis and hypertension.

In Endothelial function, the glymphatic system and New Drug Development
Endothelial dysfunction in neurodegenerative disease

J. Winny Yun, Emily Stevenson, Seiichi Omura, Fumitaka Sato, Ikuo Tsunoda, Alireza Minagar, Felix Becker, Trevor Castor, Adam Xiao, J. Steven Alexander, LSUHSC-Shreveport Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Microbiology, Virology, Neurology, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.
Dr. Steven Alexander from LSU returns to the ISNVD to again discuss the endothelium in neurovascular disease. There is a vascular association of specific biomarkers found in MS. This new research is looking for a means to regulate these neurolymphatic markers, to help those with neurovascular diseases.

Fluid Dynamic Influences on Cerebrovascular Endothelial Activation Responses
Dr. Alexander and the LSU team look at how blood flow over endothelial cells affect their health. Laminar shear stress (regular blood flow) over endothelial cells is essential to their function. Disrupted flow causes endothelial cells dysfunction and death. Shear stress alterations could lead to a break down of the endothelial layer in the brain, and create a disturbance in the blood brain barrier and inflammation.

Cardiovascular risk factors and neurodegenerative disorders
Dr. Robert Zivadinov
Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center, Department of Neurology, University at Buffalo, State
This research finds an association with cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, obesity, inactivity, high blood pressure) and MS.  MS patients who had one or more CV risk factors had higher lesions loads and more brain atrophy.



  1. Paper to read and comment by Franz Schelling


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. thanks, soho. I was the first person in the US to provide links to Dr. Schelling's very important research, back in 2007 on the ThisIsMS site. I was shocked and delighted to find his very cogent understanding of the vascular connection to MS, and wanted others to read his research. I've since had the great honor of seeing Dr. Schelling at several ISNVD conferences, and becoming a friend to this great man. Here is my first blog post where I mention the very paper you have linked :) Keep reading, keep learning!

    3. Thank You Joan your response is very much appreciated

  2. Thank you for sharing Joan from me in ENGLAND UK

  3. from multiple sclerosis to ccsvi: piercing insights call to detach research from an existence turned in on itself

    Voila https://medium.com/@franzschelling/wish-to-understand-ms-bbe8909fed39

    [Christians] tear away from the selfishness that lives only for itself, ... enter into a great fundamental orientation of life for one another (CJR - B XVI)

    1. Thanks, Dr. Schelling! Have posted link on the Facebook Page. Many important points. Time to unmoor from the EAE/ADEM model once and for all!