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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Blood flow matters

If you ever wondered whether blood flow was important to brain health, all you would have to do is read about three new MS drug trials announced in the past month.

All three of these compounds have been shown in EAE mouse trials to reduce symptoms, reduce inflammation and slow progression of MS.  All three have been touted as "neuroprotective."

But all three of these medications have a very similar known method of action (MOA) in humans.  All have been used for years for cardiovascular and stroke patients.  All have an effect on the endothelium and release nitric oxide and lower blood pressure.  All three deal with "hypoperfusion", or reduced blood flow.

They all widen blood vessels, and increase blood flow to and from the brain.

guanabenz-- relaxes blood vessels so that blood may pass through more easily.

ibudilast-- increases cerebral blood flow, is a vasodilator

biotin---decreases blood pressure, increases blood flow, treats ischemia (low O2) after stroke

That's right.  MS researchers have learned from Dr. Zamboni's discovery of CCSVI and slowed cerebral blood flow and hypoperfusion in the MS brain.

But they do not want patients to try "alternative treatments"; to have venous malformations treated, or to receive HBOT treatment,  or have atlas adjustments, or to eat better, quit smoking, get UV rays or exercise more.  All of these alternatives have been scientifically shown to increase cerebral blood flow and perfusion.  These alternatives will help people with MS live healthier lives.  But they will not help MS researchers.

MS researchers would prefer it if you would take a pill.  That way, their research labs will remain funded.  That way, they receive finders' fees when you are enrolled in a drug trial.
(Up to $5,000 per patient!)

That way, they can receive speakers' fees, and have wonderful conferences, and do not have to address the elephant in the room----that the EAE model of MS is not MS.  EAE has been used to create a $20 billion dollar a year drug industry, based on immune modulation and ablation, but has not stopped MS disease progression in humans.

There is most certainly a problem with cerebral blood flow and hypoperfusion in people with MS.  In fact, all diseases of neurodegeneration have hypoperfusion.

I simply wonder when the MS industry will admit that the new target of "neuroprotection", simply means increasing blood flow to neurons and myelin in the hypoperfused MS brain.

Still waiting,

This picture on the left is from Dr. Zamboni and Dr. Simka---it illustrates how cerebral blood flow becomes blocked, refluxes up jugular veins and goes to less efficient, collateral veins in CCSVI,  creating hypoperfusion.  I know it's real, because it's what my husband had on MRV (see pic on right)  And there is no pill in the universe that could have restored Jeff's blood flow.  He needed venous repair, and a new lifestyle.  Six years later, no MS progression.  This is real.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Neuroprotection" and Ibudilast

The latest MS drug trials all have a new target.  The new buzzword in MS drug development is "neuroprotection."  What does this mean, and why the switch?

Neuroprotection simply means protecting neurons by reestablishing blood flow and perfusion after a loss of oxygen to the brain.  We see these drugs are currently marketed to those who suffer from stroke.

Neuroprotective agents are used in an attempt to save ischemic neurons in the brain from irreversible injury.[2]    http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1161422-overview

I wrote about this subtle shift from drugs which modulate the immune system to drugs which address blood flow in 2013.  Here's that post:

What MS researchers are now doing is working with pharmaceutical companies to test and prescribe new drugs which address the damage caused by slowed blood flow.  And these drugs are called "neuroprotective."

Which is exactly what Dr.  Robert Fox is doing now with Ibudilast.
How does ibudilast work?   
It relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow by inhibiting phosphodiesterases and releasing nitric oxide from the endothelium.

Dr. Fox has been working on a clinical trial for those with progressive MS, using Ibudilast (MN-166) which has been prescribed to treat stroke and asthma patients for two decades-

Ironically, ibudiblast has already been studied in a phase II trial involving 292 patients with relapsing MS and was found to decrease relapses.

However, Dr. Fox's trial will only be looking at progressive MS.  This way, people with relapsing remitting MS can still be sold expensive immune modulating drugs, and the researchers do not have to change their EAE story line.  

When Dr. Zamboni discovered the link to slowed venous return, hypoperfusion and MS, he opened up a new way of looking at the MS disease process.  Although neurologists and MS specialists will not say this, he has changed how they are studying the MS disease process and how they are developing drugs to treat MS.

And, not coincidently, one such researcher is Dr. Robert Fox.  In 2010,  Dr. Fox, a neurologist, received money from the MS Society to study CCSVI, a vascular disorder.   A medical student in his lab discovered never before seen venous malformations in the jugular veins of cadavers of people with MS.  And in 2011, the results of this study cause quite a stir at ECTRIMS.

Some results from the first 13 cadavers were presented during a platform session at ECTRIMS by Case Western University medical student Claudiu Diaconu. He confirmed that venous structures in the brain and brainstem appear to be far more complicated and variable than previously thought.
In fact, the postmortem study revealed the presence of a novel venous valve that had not been described in anatomy textbooks.
Perhaps the most important finding was that most of the stenoses identified in the study were not associated with vessel wall thickness or circumference.
As a result, Diaconu said, cerebrospinal vein scans in live patients "should focus on identifying intraluminal abnormalities, not just vessel wall narrowing or thickening.

What Diaconu found, and Dr. Fox knows---"intraluminal abnormalities with possible hemodynamic consequences were higher in MS patients compared to healthy controls."  

"Hemodynamic consequences from intraluminal abnormalities" simply means they found a mechanical reason for the slowed blood flow, also known as hypoperfusion, which exists in MS.  Blockages inside the veins.

This hypoperfusion and ischemia in MS is a fact.  But neurologists and MS specialists cannot make any money treating venous malformations, or understanding how to improve perfusion with nutrition, exercise and lifestyle adjustments.  Understanding the heart brain connection won't benefit them, or their labs.

That's right.  Dr. Robert Fox will never tell you that ibudilast is a post stroke treatment, already approved and shown to relax blood vessels, increase blood flow, oxygenation and perfusion in the brain.  And it helps people with RRMS, as well as progressive MS.  He will tell you it is "neuroprotective" and blood flow doesn't matter....

I am so sick and tired of this charade.  I hope everyone can understand this.  Medicalese is being used to keep people in the dark regarding the MS disease mechnisms.

Hypoperfusion and slowed blood flow are realities in MS.  

Make sense?